a little pup plays in the garden while their owner looks out on them from their computer while pet plan shopping

Pet Plan Shopping in NZ: Costs, Risks and Research


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A pet plan is a wonderful way to protect your beloved fur baby and your finances when health issues hit. With the right insurance provider, pet plans for cats and dogs needn’t break the bank, instead it can offer a valuable buffer. You simply need to know how to find what suits you best – and with a bit of direction that’s easy.

In this article, PD Insurance unpacks the how, what and why of pet plans for cats and dogs. We share some top health concerns for pets, along with interesting treatment costs you could incur at some point in your pet’s journey. Then we share five tips on what to look for in a top notch pet plan.

How many Kiwi cats and dogs have a pet plan?

We share our homes with over 1.2 million cats and over 850,000 dogs, according to the most recent Companion Animals in New Zealand Report. There’s no denying it, Kiwis love their pets.

But despite these staggering numbers, few pets have the soft landing pet insurance provides. Thankfully as time goes by and more vets and pet owners experience the value of a pet plan, numbers are rising.

In 2020, our research showed that just 15% of pet parents had a pet insurance policy in place. However, in 2023 that number looks to have more than doubled.

An owner plays with their furbaby with the peace of mind that comes from having a pet plan for cats

Top 5 pet health concerns for New Zealanders

Despite how few pet owners are covered with a pet plan, Kiwis do nevertheless worry about the health of their pets. Our research discovered the main pet health concerns that cause Kiwis to lose sleep.

Here they are:

  1. Eating something they shouldn’t and getting sick (what’s known as accidental ingestion)
  2. Bite injury from another animal
  3. Arthritis
  4. Skin infections (read about dog skin conditions here)
  5. Being poisoned by another human 😞

Each of these concerns can be treated by a vet and that treatment can be covered by a pet plan. With pet insurance available for less than a $1 a day for some types of pets, why aren’t more people getting insured?

Speaking of pet parenting concerns, have a look at how some of those on the list above overlap with the top PD Insurance pet health insurance claims. Know what that means? It means that pet owners must have a sixth sense about dangers and risks to their fur kids.

Just another reason to have the soft landing of pet insurance in place, well before those dangers convert from worries to realities.

Do I need a pet plan?

As anyone who has ever owned a pet that’s needed medical attention will attest, vet bills can be expensive. Sometimes eye wateringly so.

Having to say farewell to your pet because you can’t afford the vet bill is a heartbreaking position too many pet owners find themselves in.

In addition, this weighs on vets who train for years to keep pets healthy only to have to compromise on treatment options to match pet owners’ budgets. Read more on how pet health affects vet mental health.

a woman runs through a dry grassy hill with her two dogs, both of which enjoy the benefit of a pet plan

What are Kiwi pet owners spending on vet bills?

So just how much can vet bills be? We asked nearly 2,000 pet owners in New Zealand what they spent on vet bills and here’s what they had to share:

  • 46% spent up to $500
  • 14% spent between $1,000 and $2,500
  • 5% spent between $2,501 and $5,000
  • 2% spent between $5,000 and $10,000
  • 1% spent over $10,000

By the looks of things, if you’re considering pet insurance vs savings it’s worth weighing the pros and cons. Anyone could end up in that 1 percent and it doesn’t stop there. Pet insurance only costs a little each month, but in an emergency the savings can be priceless – so to speak.

How much are unexpected treatment costs?

We see treatment costs that run from double to triple digits every day at PD Insurance. Sometimes pets have several big claims in a year, which is when savings simply might not be enough of a buffer, at least not on its own.

Read about Harvey the Schnauzer here. Imagine, three mishaps back-to-back – poor little pooch!

According to Money Hub, and to give you a clearer idea on medical costs, you can expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of the following unexpected vet bills:

  • CT scan: $1,750
  • Surgery to remove intestinal blockage: $1,950
  • Repairing a broken bone: $2,800
  • Emergency surgery after being hit by a car: $4,000
  • Kidney condition treatment: $5,500

Many people consider these costs simply unaffordable. Yet if they’ve been paying for a pet plan they can take advantage of cover up to either the annual limit or the sub-limit for treating the health condition, with an excess to pay.

When you’re insured, you’re far less likely to need to go back and forth over a decision on expensive medical care for your mate.

Still wondering if a pet plan is worth it – then read our article that answers the question ‘Do I really need pet insurance?’ in more detail.

a cat looks up at it's owner from between garden foliage

Simple and affordable pet insurance is here

So, why are pet plan numbers low (albeit growing)? Our research shows the main reasons people avoid pet insurance is because they think it’s too expensive or aren’t sure what is and isn’t covered.

Two key takeaways here are that pet parents deserve affordability and simplicity in pet insurance. We’re proud to share that both these points are cornerstones of PD Insurance pet plans.

We understand more and more Kiwi pet owners want pet insurance for cats and dogs. That’s why we’re all about busting pet insurance myths to make it more accessible and affordable in every way.

What makes a great pet plan?

So, you’ve decided it’s time to take out a pet insurance policy to protect your four-legged friend. But where on earth do you start and who offers the best pet insurance?

Here are five things to look for in a top-notch pet plan.

pet plan love comes from due diligence


As mentioned, one of the main reasons people avoid pet insurance is because they’re confused about what’s covered and what isn’t. Policies are often long and full of frustrating insurance jargon that puts people off – or puts them to sleep!

PD Insurance is different. Our customer service philosophy is ‘Simplicity’. We spell out our pet plans in plain English, minus the jargon. Our dog insurance and cat insurance pages are super clear about what’s in and what’s out then our FAQs give even more info.

That means you know exactly what you’re paying for: no-nonsense, high-quality insurance that cuts the confusion. And if it comes time to make a claim on your pet plan, our process is simple. Our 24/7 claims portal is fuss-free and quick, so you can concentrate on what matters – caring for your pet.

Plus, we aim to reimburse you within two business days of you making a claim and sending us your documentation. We understand that no one wants to wait weeks to get their vet treatment payment back!


The main concern cited by Kiwis who don’t have pet insurance is affordability. And it’s true, historically pet insurance has been unaffordable for many pet parents. But PD Insurance aims to disrupt that idea.

We think it’s unacceptable that such a large number of New Zealanders have previously been unable to afford pet insurance nor vet bills. The more pets that have the protection of a pet plan, the healthier, happier a pet-loving society we’re likely to have.

That’s why we offer pet plans for cats and dogs starting from as little as a coffee a week – depending on the type, breed and age of your animal, of course. Now doesn’t that make the coffee you do have taste even better?

Bonus: if you sign up online PD Insurance will give you one or more months of free cat insurance or dog insurance and no lock-in contracts. We’re just that kind of pet lover! We see the importance of insurance and want you to also understand how crucial it is.

a couple sit on the couch with their cat and dog


Let’s be honest, no one likes being locked into a contract where they have to hand over cash each month whether they like it or not or pay some big exit fee. What is this, 2002?

PD Insurance does things differently. We know your circumstances can change and that what was affordable last month might be different this month.

That’s why our month-to-month payment model provides our customers with the ultimate in flexibility. You can upgrade or downgrade your PD Insurance customer policy whenever you like or even cancel it without penalty. It helps you put you, your family and your super cute pet first.

If you’re with another provider and looking to join us, we’ll even contribute towards your switching fees! Just remember that waiting periods do apply as they do for any pet insurance provider.

4.Clear pet plan options

When it comes to taking out a pet plan, your options for cover should be clearly laid out from the get-go. At PD Insurance, we keep it simple with three tiers of coverage* for cat and dog owners:

  • Accident Plan: Covers basics, like accidents and third-party liability. Defined annual benefit limit – $5,000.
  • Classic Plan: Covers the basics as well as illnesses. Defined annual benefit limit – $10,000.
  • Deluxe Plan: Covering the basics as well as illnesses and dental. Defined annual benefit limit – $20,000.

They may not cover pet vaccinations and desexing your dog or cat but these are costs you know you’ll need to budget for, while it’s the unexpected costs that can really knock your hat off, clean your bank out and leave your pet in need.

Our pet plans cover sooooooo much, from X-rays to surgery, medicine and more. You can also make as many eligible claims as you like each year, up to your annual benefit limit and within any sub-limits.

a woman kisses her dog on the cheek heaving a sigh of relief as it comes home from the vet and bills are reimbursed via her pet plan

5.Speed of claim repayments

Because pet insurance works by reimbursing customers, the speed at which that happens when you make a claim is vital. You’re already focussed on the trials and tribulations of pets in need of TLC so the last thing you need is a complicated and slow claims process – we get that!

PD Insurance is its own underwriter, which means we turn pet insurance claims around fast. Our goal is within two business days, in fact. It’s all part of our philosophy to provide a ‘Soft Landing’ for our customers when things get tough.

We process claims, make fair decisions and reimburse quickly, making the process as pain-free as possible. Read about how PD Insurance makes pet claims easy.  

Time to take out a pet plan for your fur baby?

Still wondering whether dog and cat insurance is worth it? The simple answer is yes. Especially if you choose a pet plan for cats and dogs before any pre-existing conditions emerge…

Not only will that give your fur baby cover against any hereditary conditions or other conditions that emerge but you’ll also be able to heave a sigh of relief as you worry not about your pocket but enjoy your time with your pet.

Buy one of PD Insurance’s award winning pet plans for cats and dogs and we’ll give you one or more months of FREE pet insurance. Click the button below to get a quote.

*sub-limits apply

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