What’s the Best Dog Insurance in NZ?

We've reviewed over 20 different policies to create the most comprehensive list of the best dog insurance plans and providers in New Zealand. We also examine the cost of dog insurance, outline tips for getting cheaper dog insurance and discuss the types of dog insurance cover available.
profile picture of Mason
Mason Author
profile picture of Thibault
Thibault Editor
Updated Jun 10 2024
The specific conditions covered by your dog insurance policy depend on the plan you choose. Generally speaking, there are two types of dog insurance plans offered by pet insurance companies in New Zealand, accident-only plans and accident and illness plans. 

Accident-only plans cover only accidental injuries whereas accident and illness plans also cover illnesses. Often they also cover additional conditions or treatments like dental, routine care, vaccinations, third party liability, vet consultations and emergency boarding as well. Sometimes these extra coverage options are included in your plan, other times they available to choose as add-ons.

The price of dog insurance depends on a range of factors including your dog's age and breed, the conditions/treatments covered, your monthly or annual premiums (what you pay to have dog insurance cover), the excess, deductible or co-payment (what you pay when making a claim), and the policy limit (the maximum amount the insurance company will pay per year). Some providers also offer multi-pet discounts and sign-up offers.

It is always recommended to read the policy documents of any dog insurance plan before buying it. These are, however, notoriously confusing and hard to compare given that they are all structured differently and may even use different definitions.

We've read the policy documents, requested quotes, and applied online so that we can comprehensively compare the costs and coverage of all the best (and worst) dog insurance policies in New Zealand. You'll find our recommendations below or on our best pet insurance NZ article if you have a pet that's not a dog.

The Best Dog Insurance Plans in NZ

Tap 'read more' for a summary of the best dog insurance plans or scroll to go straight to the list comparing all plans.
 
  • The best overall dog insurance policy in New Zealand (considering costs, cover and value for money) is PD Insurance's Deluxe Plan. It covers nearly all ailments (injuries, illnesses, dental, vet consultations, hereditary conditions and third party liability), has one of the highest policy limits in New Zealand ($20,000), and is one of the only plans in New Zealand without a co-payment.
  • The best accident-only dog insurance plan is also PD Insurance's Accident Plan because it has no co-pay, is the only accident-only dog insurance to cover third party liability and only costs a couple of dollars more than similar plans with less cover and an excess/co-pay.
  • The most comprehensive dog insurance plan in New Zealand is AA Pet Insurance's only dog insurance plan. By default it covers injuries, illnesses, dental, vet consultations, hereditary conditions, parasite treatments, emergency boarding and overseas treatments. It also has an optional add-on for routine care cover and unlike almost all other insurers, AA will waive pre-existing conditions after 18 months with no symptoms. And it's cheaper than other plans with less cover and similar excesses/co-payments.
  • The cheapest dog insurance plan in New Zealand is Southern Cross's AcciPet Plan ($13.85 a month for our fictional dog Quoty). This price is affected a lot by the high excess, co-payment and the fact that the policy only covers accidents. We've found PD Insurance to be the most affordable dog insurance provider when you account for the fact that none of their policies have a co-payment and they each only have a maximum $200 excess which means that even if your premiums aren't cheap you'll likely never have a particularly large vet bill.
  • The most flexible dog insurance plan is Southern Cross's PetCare Plan. With this plan you can control your monthly premiums by choosing between a $100, $250 or $500 excess and $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 policy limit. You can also elect to cover vet consultations, routine care/vaccinations and dental if you want to.
Below are our summaries and rankings of all 20+ of the NZ dog insurance policies we could find along with all of their important policy details, pros, cons, and sign up offers. 

We also compare the best dog insurances for puppies and the best older dog insurances in separate articles.
 

All 20+ NZ Dog Insurance Policies Compared

Show 13 more plans
*The average monthly cost of dog insurance for policies listed on this page is based on quotes obtained for a 6 month-old female Labrador Retriever named Quoty. She's desexed and we've picked the maximum policy limit, excess and co-payment where we had the option (a moderately expensive option) because she's a good girl. We haven't selected any add-ons. Quotes were last updated in May 2024.

How We Evaluated the Best Dog Insurance Plans

Every policy is slightly different so here are the top factors we paid attention to when comparing NZ's best dog insurance plans.

Which conditions and treatments are covered and which ones are excluded? 

Most pet insurance plans cover accidental injury and/or illness but some have hidden exclusions like accidental poisoning or ingestion.

On the other hand, there are common exclusions that certain dog insurance plans in NZ do in fact cover like third party liability (damage to other people or property), dental, routine care (like vet check ups and vaccinations), pre-existing conditions, hereditary conditions, parasite treatments, emergency boarding (if you need your dog to stay in a kennel) and overseas treatments. 

If you’re looking for the most comprehensive dog insurance plan then we recommend PD Insurance's Deluxe Plan which covers dental, third party liability, vet consultations and hereditary conditions or AA Pet Insurance's only plan which covers dental, vet consultations, hereditary conditions, parasite treatments, emergency boarding and overseas treatments.
 
How much do your insurance premiums cost each month and how much of your vet bills are you responsible for paying?

Here we look at the excess (the amount you have to pay before your insurance kicks in), deductible (the portion of your policy limit that you have to pay) and/or co-payment (the percentage of each vet bill you need to pay) associated with each policy. Some NZ dog insurance policies have no such costs, while others, for example, have both an excess and a co-payment.

It is generally true however that if you bear more of the costs (by having a higher co-pay or excess) then your monthly premiums are also likely to be lower. 

All of PD Insurance's plans have no co-payment and flexible excess.
 
Each policy has a maximum amount that you can claim each year - the bigger the better.

However, some dog insurance providers also cap the amount that they will pay per condition or claim. For example, they may pay only $1,000 towards emergency boarding with a $10,000 policy. We prefer policies without condition limits although they tend to be (but are not always) tied to extra cover not offered by other providers.

Petnsur’s Rhodium Plan doesn’t have condition limits. Cove and Southern Cross also have minimal condition limits in their plans.
Nearly every pet insurance policy for dogs has a minimum and maximum age your pup can be when taking out the policy. This means you need to be careful of which plan you choose if you are insuring very young puppies or older dogs.

For puppies, Petnsur has no minimum age for new policies. For older dogs, PD insurance’s Accident Plan can be taken out up 12 years old and their Classic and Deluxe Plans up to 9 years old (all of PD Insurance’s plans start at 6 weeks old).
 
Some policies offer extra cover not typically offered by other NZ dog insurances. Often these extras have lower condition limits and are missed by most pet owners but it always pays to be aware of what your policy does cover.

Other policies have optional add-ons with their own excesses, co-payments, limits and conditions for things like dental care, third party liability and routine care. This flexibility is always welcome as it lets you personalize your cover.

PetCover’s Superior Plans cover death, funeral costs, advertising and rewards for lost pets, emergency respiration etc. which are not included in most other dog insurances in NZ. Otherwise, Southern Cross’s PetCare plan is worth mentioning for the Routine and Dental care add-ons that are also quite unique.
 
Pet insurance discounts are widely available, even if they’re not massive. This includes but isn’t limited to sign up offers and offers when switching pet insurance that may give you free weeks of insurance or discounted premiums.

Also typical is a multi pet discount if you insure 2 to 3 pets with the same company, or multi policy discounts i.e. if you buy car insurance through Cove then they will discount your dog insurance.

Cove has the best options for those looking to reduce their premiums with up to $100 off for the first 3 months if your dog is less than 6 months old along with a 10% multi-policy discount, 10% discount when paying annually and up to $100 per friend you refer.
 
Last but not least, the reputation, financial rating and customer service including things like claim processing times, responsive support and online reviews are all things that we consider when evaluating dog insurance plans. 

While these things are harder to compare than policy limits or excesses they do play into our overall ratings of different NZ dog insurance providers and their plans.

PD Insurance has one of the best online reputations of any dog insurance provider in New Zealand with a 4.3 star rating on Google, Reader’s Digest’s Quality Silver Service Award, and Moneyhub’s Favourite Pet Insurer 2023 (although Moneyhub only lists pet insurance providers that pay them). They also have the fastest claims processing (2 days for most claims).
The Comparesies Promise: Unlike other comparison sites, our recommendations are based solely on our own research and opinions - no matter the financial incentives.

How Much Does Dog Insurance Cost in New Zealand?

An average dog insurance policy* costs between $20 and $150 in New Zealand per month.

The price of your monthly dog insurance premiums depend your dog's age and breed, your level of cover, you claim limits, and most of all your excess or co-payment. 

In fact, depending on your plan, your monthly costs can double or even triple if you choose a $500 excess and 30% co-payment compared to a $0 excess and 0% co-payment.

Not only do these things impact the costs of your premiums but they also affect the cost of your vet bills when making a claim. The higher your policy limits and the smaller your excess and co-payments are then the less you will have to contribute to your vet bills when making a claim. Similarly, the more conditions and treatments that you cover the more likely it is that your dog insurance will cover more of your vet bills.

So essentially, you either pay more per month but less when claiming, or vice versa.

Without having your specific policy and future vet bills at hand the potential cost of not having dog insurance is impossible to outline but can be in the thousands or tens of thousands. In other words, the cost of not having dog insurance can, for a lot of owners, be much greater than the monetary value of a policy.

Below you can see how much some common treatments cost on average and at their most expensive.
Average treatment costs for a dog
Also note that is it a normal part of having insurance to see your premiums increase annually. This is to cover the cost of inflation, the increased likelihood of needing to use your insurance as your dog ages and also often reflects dog insurers' evolving understanding of the average cost of insuring a dog like yours. Essentially your premiums should be thought of as the cost of insuring your dog as it is today, but not necessarily reflective of that cost in the future.

In order to find out exactly what dog insurance may cost you you will need to select one of the 'get a quote' buttons at the top of this page and fill in some basic information about your pet. After receiving your quotes instantly you can apply directly online and you should have your policy within one to two working days.

We compare the average cost of every dog insurance policy in New Zealand below along with giving some tips for getting cheaper dog insurance.

NZ Dog Insurance Quotes Compared for Every Plan

PlanAverage Monthly CostExcessCo-PaymentPolicy Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$43.94$50020%$15,000
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan$15.93$50010%$5,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major Plan$39.33$1,00010%$25,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor Plan$47.78$50020%$25,000
PD Insurance Accident Plan
 
$18.97$200None$5,000
PD Insurance Classic Plan
 
$62.41$200None$10,000
PD Insurance Deluxe Plan
 
$83.27$200None$20,000
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Economy)
 
$51.45$15020%$7,000 for some accidental injuries
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)
 
$45.45 / $54.08$90020%$5,000 / $10,000
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)
 
$34.15 / $38.52 / $53.34$20030%$5,000 / $10,000 / $15,000
Petcover Superior Plans (Entry / Mid-Point / Superior)
 
$67.73 / $75.88 / $90.53$15020%$10,000 / $15,000 / $20,000
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus Plans
 
$23.91 / $37.46None10%$1,500 / $3,000 for surgical treatments
Petnsur Rhodium Plan
 
$79.92None$300$6,000
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans
 
$55.73 / $72.64 / $101.01None30% / 25% / 20%$4,000 / $6,000 / $9,000
Petnsur Titanium Plan
 
$159.01None20%$18,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet Plan
 
$13.85$50030%$5,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan
 
$57.97$50030%$15,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover
 
$78.19None30%$11,000, $2,000 per condition
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover
 
$95.00None20%$20,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover
 
$57.56$1,00020%$25,000
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan
 
$23.53None20%$5,000, $2,000 for non-life threatening injuries
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan
 
$56.49None20%$7,000, $2,000 for non-life threatening injuries
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan
 
$67.23None20%$15,000, $4,000 for non-life threatening injuries

The average costs listed for the dog insurance plans above are for a dog whose breed and age might be quite unlike your own. We have also selected the maximum excess and co-payment option for each plan - which can sometimes be quite different between plans and impact the cost significantly.

Therefore we don't recommend using these prices to do 1 to 1 comparisons of different dog insurance plans but rather as indicative of what you may pay for a similar level of cover.

Plans with no co-payment compared to say a 30% co-payment will always have higher premiums but can cost you thousands of dollars less if you need to make a large claim because these plans give the insurance companies more liability.

Instead, this table should only be used as a guide for the price of each policy for the level of cover offered and then we recommend getting quotes for several plans and comparing their costs and coverage for your specific situation.

Cheap Dog Insurance Plans in NZ

The cheapest dog insurance policy in New Zealand is Southern Cross's AcciPet Plan. 

We compared all dog insurance policies in NZ by obtaining quotes for a 6 month old female Labrador Retriever named Quoty and selected the maximum excess and co-payment options where possible and Southern Cross's AcciPet Plan cost $13.85 per month compared to Cove's Accident Only Plan which was $15.93 and PD Insurance's Accident Plan which was $18.97.

Note that the excess/co-payment on your policy can greatly affect your monthly premiums i.e. because we could choose a $500 excess and 30% co-payment with Southern Cross compared to a $500 excess and 10% co-payment with Cove and a $200 excess and no co-payment with PD Insurance, Sothern Cross's plan was slightly cheaper.

However, this also shows the value of choosing a policy with a low excess and co-payment. With Quoty we could pay around $5 more per month for PD's plan compared to Southern Cross's but if we had to make a $5,000 accidental injury claim then we would only pay $200 with PD Insurance compared to $1,850 with Southern Cross.

The most affordable pet insurance policy for dogs therefore is often not the cheapest one but rather the one that won't break the bank for you personally - that's why we recommend paying more upfront costs by selecting a low excess and co-payment where you have the choice because the extra $5 to $50 you spend each month can mean savings in the thousands or even tens of thousands when you need to make a large claim on your insurance.

For many, this piece of mind is priceless and is why we love that PD Insurance has a maximum excess of $200 and no co-payment making it often the most affordable dog insurance option in New Zealand.

Tips to Make Your Dog Insurance Cheaper

There are several different tips we can give you to make your dog insurance policy cheaper. When it comes to minimising the price of your dog insurance it's often a combination between being well-informed about where your costs lie and picking the most suitable provider for the cover that you want.

In saying that, here's our 6 tips to get cheaper dog insurance:
 
  1. Use the same insurer - Most NZ dog insurance companies offer multi-pet discounts. Cove even offers multi policy discounts (not limited to pet insurance). Other companies like Southern Cross and AA also have discounts for their members.
  2. Take advantage of sign up offers - Dog insurance companies know the value of getting you signed up to a plan because people often don't (and often shouldn't) switch policies. Therefore taking advantage of the more generous sign up offers from the likes of Petnsur, Southern Cross Pet Insurance and PD Insurance is always wise.
  3. Cover the most necessary conditions and not others - The more you cover the more your dog insurance will cost. Without knowing your dog it's hard to say whether their breed or lifestyle warrants this cover or that cover so do a bit of research, talk to your vet or breeder and consider choosing a policy that doesn't necessarily cover every condition but only those conditions that you are most likely to impact your dog in the future.
  4. Consider opting for higher monthly premiums - The biggest things that impact your costs when making a claim are your excess, co-payment and policy limit. That means that if you opt for high policy limits and a low excess/co-payment you will pay less when you need to use your insurance. The money has to come from somewhere though so having smaller costs at claim time means higher monthly premiums but it can be a lot easier to pay $25 to $50 more each month but pay thousands of dollars less when you're facing a large vet bill.
  5. Compare quotes and potential costs - Once you have narrowed down your options, request a no-obligation quote for the dog insurance policies you like the look of. Then sit down and compare your monthly premiums, as well as your claim limits, excess and co-payment. This kind of comparison is not always straightforward but you can also try to estimate your costs by assuming that you will claim an average of $1,000 per year or $5,000 once every 5 years.
  6. Pay annually for your policy - Cove has a whopping 10% discount when you pay annually while Southern Cross offers 2.5% off as well. If a discount is available and you have the means then paying for your full policy annually can impact your bills significantly.

Which Dog Insurance Plans Cover What?

Finding a dog insurance plan with the level cover that you want can take hours. Comparing it to other similar plans is even more challenging. That's why we've picked out all the major conditions and treatments covered by every NZ dog insurance provider and compared them side by side below.

Scroll to see which dog insurance policies cover which conditions/treatments and which policies impose claim limits and stand-down periods on each treatment/condition that they cover.

NZ Dog Insurance Coverage Options Compared

The following conditions/treatments are the most common and important for owners when choosing a dog insurance plan. Click one to see all of the policies with this level of cover and their corresponding annual limits.

PlanAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness
$5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan
$5,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major Plan
$25,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor Plan
$25,000
PD Insurance Accident Plan
$5,000
PD Insurance Classic Plan
$10,000
PD Insurance Deluxe Plan
$20,000
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Economy)
$7,000 for some accidental injuries
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)
$5,000 / $10,000
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)
$5,000 / $10,000 / $15,000
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)
$10,000 / $15,000 / $20,000
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus Plans
$1,500 / $3,000 for surgical treatments
Petnsur Rhodium Plan
$6,000
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans
$4,000 / $6,000 / $9,000
Petnsur Titanium Plan
$18,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet Plan
$5,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan
$2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover
$11,000, $2,000 per condition
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover
$20,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover
$25,000
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan
$5,000, $2,000 for non-life threatening injuries
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan
$7,000, $2,000 for non-life threatening injuries
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan
$15,000, $4,000 for non-life threatening injuries
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major Plan$25,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor Plan$25,000
PD Insurance Classic Plan$10,000
PD Insurance Deluxe Plan$20,000
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Economy)$7,000 for some accidental injuries
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)$5,000 / $10,000
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)$5,000 / $10,000 / $15,000
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)$10,000 / $15,000 / $20,000
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus Plans$1,500 / $3,000 for surgical treatments
Petnsur Rhodium Plan$6,000
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans$4,000 / $6,000 / $9,000
Petnsur Titanium Plan$18,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan$2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover$11,000, $2,000 per condition
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover$20,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover$25,000
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan$7,000, $2,000 for non-life threatening illnesses
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan$15,000, $4,000 for non-life threatening illnesses
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
PD Insurance Accident Plan$10,000
PD Insurance Classic Plan$10,000
PD Insurance Deluxe Plan$10,000
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Economy)$1,000,000
Petcover Safety-net Plans (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2) *Optional Add-On$1,000,000
Petcover Mid-range Plans (Core / Vital / Key)$1,000,000
Petcover Superior Plans (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)$3,000,000 / $3,000,000 / $5,000,000
Petnsur Titanium Plan$13,000
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$600
PD Insurance Deluxe Plan$500
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor Plan *Optional Add-On$500
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan *Optional Add-On$300
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan *Optional Add-On$350
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan *Optional Add-On$350
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
Southern Cross PetCare Plan *Optional Add On$300, $75 per visit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness Plan *Optional Add On$100
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key) *Optional Add On$145 total across different procedures
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
Southern Cross PetCare Plan *Optional Add On$75
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness * Optional Add On$100
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key) * Optional Add On$30
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness
 
$300
 
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan
 
$5,000
 
Cove Pet Insurance Major Plan
 
$25,000
 
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor Plan
 
$25,000
 
PD Insurance Accident Plan
 
$200 per visit
 
PD Insurance Classic Plan
 
$200 per visit
 
PD Insurance Deluxe Plan
 
$200 per visit
 
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)
 
$400
 
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)
 
$400
 
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)
 
$10,000 / $15,000 / $20,000
 
Petnsur Rhodium Plan
 
$6,000
 
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans
 
$4,000 / $6,000 / $9,000
 
Petnsur Titanium Plan
 
$5,000
 
Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet Plan * Optional Add On
 
$1,000
 
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan * Optional Add On
 
 
$1,000
 
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover
 
$300
 
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover
 
$500
 
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover
 
$25,000
 
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan
 
$5,000
 
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan
 
$7,000
 
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan
 
$15,000
 
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Economy)
 
$1,000
 
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key) * Optional Add On
 
$50
 
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)
 
$2,000 / $2,000 / $4,000
 
Petnsur Rhodium Plan
 
$6,000
 
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans
 
$150 / $250 / $350
 
Petnsur Titanium Plan
 
$5,000
 
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan * Optional Add On
 
$300
 
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan
 
$350
 
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan
 
$500
 
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan
 
$1,000
 
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness Plan$5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover Plan$11,000, $2,000 per condition
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover Plan$20,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover Plan$25,000
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major Plan$25,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor Plan$25,000
PD Insurance Classic Plan$10,000
PD Insurance Deluxe Plan$20,000
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus Plans$1,500 / $3,000 for surgical treatments
Petnsur Rhodium Plan$6,000
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans$4,000 / $6,000 / $9,000
Petnsur Titanium Plan$5,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan$2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major Plan$25,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor Plan$25,000
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)$2,000 and then $1,000 for paralysis tick
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover$11,000, $2,000 per condition
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover$20,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover$25,000
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$1,500
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan$1,500
Cove Pet Insurance Major Plan$1,500
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor Plan$1,500
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)$1,000
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)$500
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)$1,000 / $1,000 / $2,000
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans$60 / $100 / $150
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover$1,000
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover$1,500
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover$1,500
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan$350
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan$700
PlanAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover$11,000, $2,000 per condition
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover$20,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover$25,000

What About Specific Condition Limits?

There are also several common conditions that often have a limit imposed on their cover. If your dog's breed or lifestyle makes them more susceptible to any of these conditions then they're especially important to be covered for.

PlanAnnual Condition Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$3,200
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only PlanNone - $5,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major PlanNone - $25,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor PlanNone - $25,000
PD Insurance Classic Plan$2,000
PD Insurance Deluxe Plan$7,500
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)$1,500 / $3,000
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)$1,500 / $2,500 / $3,000
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)None - $10,000 / $15,000 / $20,000
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus Plans$700 / $1,100 for surgical treatments
Petnsur Rhodium PlanNone - $6,000
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans$600 / $700 / $800
Petnsur Titanium PlanNone - $18,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet Plan$2,500
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan$2,500 or $5,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover$2,000
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover$4,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff CoverNone - $25,000
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan$800
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan$800
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan$1,500
PlanAnnual Condition Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + IllnessNone - $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only PlanNone - $5,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major PlanNone - $25,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor PlanNone - $25,000
PD Insurance Classic PlanNone - $2,000
PD Insurance Deluxe PlanNone - $7,500
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)$1,500 / $3,000
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)None - $5,000 / $10,000 / $15,000
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)None - $10,000 / $15,000 / $20,000
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus Plans$700 / $1,100 for surgical treatments
Petnsur Rhodium PlanNone - $6,000
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans$600 / $700 / $800
Petnsur Titanium PlanNone - $18,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet PlanNone - $5,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare PlanNone - $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover$2,000
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works CoverNone - $20,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff CoverNone - $25,000
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan$800
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan$800
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan$1,500
PlanAnnual Condition Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + IllnessNone - $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only PlanNone - $5,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major PlanNone - $25,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor PlanNone - $25,000
PD Insurance Accident PlanNone - $5,000
PD Insurance Classic PlanNone - $10,000
PD Insurance Deluxe PlanNone - $20,000
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)$1,500 / $3,000
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)$4,000
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)None - $10,000 / $15,000 / $20,000
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus PlansNone - $1,500 / $3,000 for surgical treatments
Petnsur Rhodium PlanNone - $6,000
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum PlansNone - $4,000 / $6,000 / $9,000
Petnsur Titanium PlanNone - $18,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet PlanNone - $5,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare PlanNone - $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover$2,000
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works CoverNone - $20,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff CoverNone - $25,000
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only PlanNone - $5,000
Tower Pet Insurance Essential PlanNone - $7,000
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive PlanNone - $15,000
PlanAnnual Condition Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$4,000
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only PlanNone - $5,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major PlanNone - $25,000
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor PlanNone - $25,000
PD Insurance Accident PlanNone - $5,000
PD Insurance Classic PlanNone - $10,000
PD Insurance Deluxe PlanNone - $20,000
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Economy)None - $7,000
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)None - $5,000 / $10,000
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)None - $5,000 / $10,000 / $15,000
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)None - $10,000 / $15,000 / $20,000
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus PlansNone - $1,500 / $3,000 for surgical treatments
Petnsur Rhodium PlanNone - $6,000
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum PlansNone - $4,000 / $6,000 / $9,000
Petnsur Titanium PlanNone - $18,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet PlanNone - $5,000
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare PlanNone - $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover$2,000
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover$4,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff CoverNone - $25,000
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only PlanNone - $5,000
Tower Pet Insurance Essential PlanNone - $7,000
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive PlanNone - $15,000

What About Stand Down Periods?

The following plans have the corresponding stand down or waiting periods for each cover level. This means that you won't be covered for the period specified after you take out your policy.

This is done to avoid insurance fraud whereby you take out a policy only to make a claim on that policy right away. However, it does mean that several plans will require you to pay monthly premiums but not give you any support if you are unfortunate enough to need to claim on one of the specified conditions with a waiting period.

Therefore the plans without stand down periods and shorter stand down periods are the most valuable - everything else being equal. Interestingly, our experts' best dog insurance provider, PD Insurance, has the longest/most stand down periods. You may also notice that Petnsur is the only dog insurance company with a stand down period on accidents while all providers have a waiting period for illness claims. 

The "-" represents the fact that these policies do not cover the corresponding conditions.
 

Stand Down Periods for All NZ Dog Insurance Policies
 

PlanAccidental InjuryIllnessDentalThird Party LiabilityCruciate LigamentPatella LuxationIVDBOASIngestion / Poisoning
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + IllnessNone14 Days6 Months-6 MonthsNoneNoneNoneNone
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only PlanNone---6 MonthsNone6 MonthsNoneNone
Cove Pet Insurance Major PlanNone21 Days--6 MonthsNone6 MonthsNoneNone
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor PlanNone21 DaysNone-6 MonthsNone6 MonthsNoneNone
PD Insurance Accident PlanNone--180 Days180 Days180 DaysNoneNoneNone
PD Insurance Classic PlanNone21 Days-180 Days180 Days180 DaysNoneNone21 Days
PD Insurance Deluxe PlanNone21 Days180 Days180 Days180 Days180 DaysNoneNone21 Days
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Economy)None21 Days-None---None21 Days
Petcover Safety-net Plan
(Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)
None30 Days-None6 MonthsNoneNone365 DaysNone
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)None28 Days-None365 DaysNoneNone28 DaysNone
Petcover Superior Plan (Entry / Mid-point / Superior)None21 Days-NoneNoneNoneNone28 DaysNone
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus Plans7 Days21 Days--NoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Petnsur Rhodium Plan7 Days21 Days--NoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Petnsu Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans7 Days21 Days--NoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Petnsur Titanium Plan7 Days21 Days-NoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet PlanNone---90 Days90 DaysNoneNoneNone
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare PlanNone21 Days90 Days-90 Days90 DaysNoneNoneNone
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday CoverNone21 Days--6 Months*NoneNoneNoneNone
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works CoverNone21 Days--6 Months*NoneNoneNoneNone
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff CoverNone21 Days--6 Months*NoneNoneNoneNone
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only PlanNone---NoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Tower Pet Insurance Essential PlanNone14 Days90 Days-NoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive PlanNone14 Days90 Days-NoneNoneNoneNoneNone
*Can be waived with vet's note

What's the Most Comprehensive Dog Insurance Plan?

New Zealand's best dog insurance coverage comes with the only plan available from AA Pet Insurance

AA Pet Insurance's policy covers both accidental injuries and illnesses as well as seven of the most important additional treatments/conditions - dental, vet consultations, pre-existing conditions, hereditary conditions, parasite treatments, emergency boarding, and overseas treatments. There's also a routine care add-on available.

The next most comprehensive plans are available with SPCA Pet Insurance - their plans cover all of the above conditions except dental, hereditary conditions and have no routine care add-on. Unfortunately both SPCA and AA have condition limits and stand down periods for several of the conditions/treatments that they cover.

That's why we still recommend PD Insurance's Deluxe Plan above all other dog insurance plans in New Zealand as covers accidental injury, illness, third party liability, dental, vet consultations and hereditary conditions but with fewer large condition limits.

What Should My Dog Insurance Cover?

There are hundreds of potential treatments and conditions covered by a typical NZ dog insurance plan, and also a very long list of exclusions. But what specific conditions and treatments should you expect your policy to cover? Moreover, what level of cover is right for you?

Only you can answer that question but unless you are on a tight budget then we recommend a policy that at least covers both accidental injury and illness. This way almost all of your potential vet bills will be covered to some extent, as opposed to only those resulting from accidental injury.

If you are on a tight budget then accident-only plans are still worth it given that their costs can be several times lower than a comprehensive accident & illness policy.

It's also nice to understand what is 'normal' for a pet insurance policy in NZ to cover, that way you can better understand which plans are better than others.

All dog insurance plans in NZ cover the costs associated with:
 
  • Accidental Injury
Most dog insurance plans in NZ cover the costs associated with:
 
  • Illness
Some dog insurance plans in NZ cover the costs associated with:
 
  • Third party liability (damage to a third party or their property)
  • Dental care (often excluded preventable diseases)
  • Routine care (cover for de-sexing, microchipping or other periodic treatments)
  • Vaccinations
  • Vet consultations
  • Alternative treatments (including acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, manipulation, massage therapy, physiotherapy, and osteopathy)
  • Pre-existing conditions (when symptom-free or with a vet's note)
  • Hereditary conditions (when symptom free by a certain age)
  • Parasite treatments
  • Emergency boarding (if your dog needs to stay in a kennel after an emergency)
  • Overseas treatments
  • Accidental ingestion
  • Alternative therapies
  • Loss, replacement or death
  • Prescriptions medication
  • Ongoing vet care
No dog insurance plans in NZ cover the costs associated with:
 
  • Breeding or obstetric conditions
  • Commercial/occupational treatments
  • Congenital conditions
  • Cosmetic treatments
  • Preventable disease
  • Behavioral or psychological conditions
  • Equipment, transport and grooming
  • Voluntary euthanasia
Note also that all dog insurance plans in New Zealand, except for Petcover's Economy Plan, cover your dog for their entire life. Petcover and Petnsur also increase the excess and copayments on your policy after a certain age and depending on your dog's breed.

Another thing to look out for is any condition limits. These apply to certain conditions and limit the amount claimable per condition or year. For example, SPCA imposes condition limits of $2,000 or $4,000 per condition on Everyday Cover and The Works Cover plans.

Also, remember that if your dog needs a treatment that you have opted not to cover then you'll have to foot the bill all by yourself. Inversely, keep in mind that the more you cover, the more you pay for your monthly premiums.

Overall though, there's really no need to choose one of our lower rated plans that imposes strict condition limits and doesn't cover at least some extras outside of accidental injury and illness given that better plans do exist.

The Best NZ Dog Insurances by Coverage Type

Sometimes you're looking for something specific with your dog insurance plan. Below we recommend the best dog insurances New Zealand has by specific coverage types.

Based on our experts' ratings and their 10% multi-policy discount, the best multi-dog insurance is Cove's Major Plan.

But Cove's not your only option if you have more than one dog (or pet) to insure. The following NZ dog insurance providers offer multi-dog discounts:
 
  • Cove - 10% multi-policy discount
  • PD Insurance - 5% multi-pet discount
  • Petcover - 10% multi-pet discount (3+ pets)
  • Southern Cross Pet Insurance - 5% multi-pet discount
  • SPCA Pet Insurance - 10% multi-pet discount
Note that while the other providers above offer multi-pet discounts, Cove's discount is a multi-policy discount meaning that if you, for example, buy car insurance and dog insurance with Cove then you'll get 10% off both policies. In fact, Cove also has a 10% discount when you pay annually too.
Even if puppies have different needs from older dogs the best puppy insurance should really be the same as the best dog insurance. 

That's primarily because you want to get insurance early in your dog's life so that they do not have any pre-existing conditions that are excluded. So, even if you think that cancer or illness cover isn't necessary for your puppy right now, you'll want it before your dog does get sick otherwise all treatments relating to their illness will never be covered.

In saying all this, many dog insurance providers offer discounts for puppies which are hard to ignore when choosing an insurance for your puppy. Especially when they're as good as Petnsur's Six Weeks of Free No Obligation Cover worth up to $2,000.

It's also important to mention that all Pet Insurers in New Zealand only cover puppies that are at least 8 weeks old except PD Insurance and Petnsur where cover starts from 6 weeks, making them slightly better for puppies in this regard.

So, our recommendation for the best puppy insurance in New Zealand?

Sign up for six weeks of free cover at Petnsur and then the day that runs out switch to PD Insurance's Deluxe Plan (or favourite insurance) where you also get your first month free.
The best older dog insurance in New Zealand is AA Pet Insurance's only plan because it covers both pre-existing and hereditary conditions that have been symptom free as well as many other conditions and treatments.

This plan does have a max age of 9 years though so if you have an even older dog then SPCA's Big Stuff Cover is a better option as it has no maximum age limit and also covers symptom free pre-existing conditions along with accidents, illnesses and more.

Factors to consider when picking a pet insurance policy for an older dog are the maximum age limit, the ability to waive exclusions on pre-existing conditions, cover for common conditions like illnesses and ligament surgeries as well as regular concerns like cost and cover more generally.

Here are several plans better suited to older dogs:
 
  • PD Insurance Deluxe Plan (max 9 years, covers dental and hereditary conditions, long stand down periods and condition limits)
  • Southern Cross AcciPet Plan (no max age, accident only)
  • AA Pet Insurance (max 9 years, covers dental, pre-existing and hereditary conditions, long stand down periods and condition limits)
  • SPCA Big Stuff Cover (no max age, covers pre-existing conditions, $1,000 excess)
  • Petnsur Surgery Plans (max 12 years, covers hereditary conditions, surgical treatments only)
  • SPCA The Works Cover (max 9 years, covers pre-existing conditions, several condition limits)
  • Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans (max 12 years, covers hereditary conditions, many condition limits)
  • Petnsur Titanium Plan (max 12 years, covers hereditary conditions, many condition limits)
  • Petcover Safety-Net Economy Plan (no max age, high co-payment)
  • Tower Accident Only Plan (no max age, accident only)
  • SPCA Everyday Cover (no max age, covers pre-existing conditions, $2,000 condition limit)
Almost all dog insurance plans in New Zealand cover vet consultations (relating to the conditions they cover). Sometimes the limit on these consultations is specified while other times there is no limit. If there is a limit, it tends to be around $100/$200 per condition or $300/$1,000 per year, although several plans don't specify an annual limit.

Dog Vet Insurances without limits include SPCA Pet Insurance's Big Stuff Cover, Petcover's Superior plans, Petnsur's Silver, Gold, Rhodium and Platinum Plans and all of Cove's plans.

Dog insurance companies want to encourage you to visit the vet so as to not exacerbate any condition that needs treatment but also because their excesses make you front the costs for consultations that don't require any further treatment. 
There re only two dog insurance providers in New Zealand that offer cover for pre-existing conditions - AA Pet Insurance and SPCA Pet Insurance. Both companies have good pet insurance plans but our top-rated dog insurance that covers pre-existing conditions is AA's Accidental Injury + Illness Plan.

Do note that pre-existing conditions must be waived first in order to be covered at both AA and SPCA, in the case of AA they can be waived after 18 months with no symptoms by sending in a note from your vet.
The best dog insurance in New Zealand with dental cover is undoubtedly AA Pet Insurance's only plan as it has the highest claim limit ($600), although it does have a 6 month stand down period.

In total, there are two dog insurance plans in New Zealand that cover dental treatments with four more plans offering it as an add-on to existing plans. 

Dental insurance for dogs can be found with:
 
  • AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness Plan ($600 limit, 6 month stand down period)
  • PD Insurance Deluxe Plan ($500 limit, 180 day stand down period)
And as an add-on with:
 
  • Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor Plan ($500 limit, no stand down period)
  • Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan ($300 limit, 90 day stand down period)
  • Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan ($350 limit, 90 day stand down period)
  • Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan ($350 limit, 90 day stand down period)
Every dog insurance plan in New Zealand, except Petcover's Safety-Net Economy Plan, covers your dog for life.

This means that ongoing claims (up to the annual policy and condition limits) will be covered for the life of your pet.

This does not however mean that your monthly premium, excess, co-payment and other costs will not increase over the lifetime of your dog. At least your monthly premiums, but in some cases your excess/co-payment too will increase as you dog gets older and is more likely to need treatment.

It is more expensive to insure an older dog, whether you are starting a new policy or renewing an existing one.

Dog Insurance for Businesses

Dog insurance isn't just for pet owners but a range of businesses including kennels, groomers, dog walkers and farmers either need to insure the dogs they care for or the dogs the use in their every day work. The dog insurance policies compared on this page all exclude occupational treatments and are not suitable for businesses.

Where Can You Get Dog Breeders Insurance?

Dog breeders insurance is offered by a handful of pet insurers in New Zealand - PD Insurance, Cove, Petnsur and Petcover. Dog Breeders insurance is a free insurance that breeders can offer to new owners whereby they get a free, often limited, insurance for the first 3 or more weeks after purchasing their dog from you.

This is a win-win-win offer because owners get free cover from the moment they leave your premises, the dog insurers have the opportunity to up-sell an insurance policy to your customers before their free cover runs out and you as a breeder can not only offer free insurance but in most cases will be compensated if your customers commit to buying a policy.

The four dog breeders insurances offered in New Zealand are:
  • Cove - 90 days free cover
  • PD Insurance - 3 weeks free cover, up to $1,000 for accident & illness
  • Petcover - 6 weeks free cover, up to $3,000 for accident & illness
  • Petnsur - 6 weeks free cover
Of course, like any business, dog breeders can also purchase a more traditional business insurance that covers things like liability, theft, and fire. This type of insurance is different to those offered by the pet insurance companies we compare on this page so you should contact a corporate/business insurance company for more information.

Where Can You Buy Dog Grooming, Sitting & Walking Insurance?

Just like any business, dog groomers, sitters and walkers should seriously consider having insurance. This includes but isn't limited to insurance that covers damage to their workplace and inventory but also insurance that protects them from liability to staff, third parties, clients and their pets should any accidents happen - it's certainly not guaranteed that their clients will have this type of cover themselves.

None of the pet insurance companies on this page offer this type of business insurance but there are plenty of corporate/business insurers who do - reach out to one to find out more.

Where Can You Buy Working Dog Insurance?

None of the insurance providers that we compare (yet) offer working dog insurance (yet) although it is available with some farm insurance providers in New Zealand like FMG and Aon.

Summary: How to Compare Dog Insurances (and Pick the Best One For You)

Comparing dog insurance plans is difficult because there are so many different options, each with different conditions covered, different cost structures, different limits and more. Because of this it's important to pin down what you want your dog insurance to cover and how much your willing to pay per month, or if you need to go to the vet.

Here's our advice for picking the best dog insurance plan for you:

  1. Decide your level of cover. Do you want to be covered for both accidents and illnesses? How about dental? Does your dog's breed have certain hereditary conditions you'd like to be covered? etc.
  2. Narrow down your options. Based on what you want to cover you can already eliminate many dog insurance plans from your shortlist eg. all accident-only plans or none. Be sure to not include plans that cover too many things that you don't consider necessary as you'll still pay for this cover in your monthly premiums. Likewise, be prepared that the best dog insurance plan for you might not cover exactly, and only exactly, what you want.
  3. Estimate how much your willing to pay at the vet. If you don't want a big vet bill then you will need to pick a plan with a high policy limit and/or low excess or co-payment. This will likely mean higher monthly premiums but paying a few extra dollars a month is often a lot easier than coming up with several thousand dollars in an emergency.
  4. Narrow down your options, again. You can eliminate plans whose costs structure doesn't align with your needs. Eg. plans whose policy limits are very low will mean low monthly premiums but not that much support if you are facing a large vert bill. Conversely, plans whose policy limits are high will mean that you have peace of mind should anything significant happen to your dog.
  5. Pick the provider you resonate the most with. If you can't separate two (or more) similar dog insurance plans based on their policy conditions then consider the providers themselves. Do you recognize the brand or know someone who is insured by them? What is the claims processing like? What do others say about them online, or what do we say about them?

At the end of the day you will find yourself paying for what you get. In other words, dog insurance, like all other insurances, is designed to benefit dog owners who have to make claims at the expense of the dog owners who are fortunate enough not to have to visit the vet. This means that as long as you understand what your covering and what the costs will be to you, then whatever policy you chose you will always still have the benefit of financial support should you and your dog need it.