Mozo Pet Insurance Report 2021: Size matters when paying for puppy protection

how much does it cost to insure my dog?

Quick facts from our report:

  • Pet insurance can add up if you don't shop around, but different breeds can cost more.
  • For example, smaller dog breeds are some of the cheapest to insure with the average premium ranging from $1,011  - $1,045.
  • Miniature Schnauzers and Pomeranians are among the cheaper breeds. 
  • $1,357 is the average cost per year to insure purebreds, which is $327 more than popular crossbreeds.
  • Bullmastiffs and Mastiffs are the most expensive dogs to insure at an average cost of $2,461.
  • West Highland White Terriers are the most affordable, costing $1,011 on average.
  • As much as $1,922 can be saved on insurance when you shop around comparable policies.
  • Location can matter too: Western Australian residents pay 15% (avg) more compared to those in NSW.

Introduction: Bigger dogs take bigger bite out of your wallet

Throughout history, pets have been an important part of families and households. They provide friendship, love and even a sense of security. And it wasn't too long ago that buying a pet was inexpensive and relatively easy. But the comparatively higher price of pets and especially dogs in the last few years has made our best furry friends much more of an overall investment

While you can't put a price on a pet's affection, most good investments do call for some level of insurance. That's where pet insurance comes in. The question is, how much exactly should you be paying to protect little Spot? Well this largely depends on the type of dog he is.

Mozo's latest analysis shows that purebred dogs such as Beagles or Bullmastiffs cost $1,357 on average per year, which is $327 more than popular crossbreeds. In fact, Bullmastiffs and Mastiffs are the most expensive dog breeds to insure overall, costing  $2,461 on average. Meanwhile, West Highland White Terriers are the most affordable, costing $1,011 on average. Smaller breeds are typically more affordable. But of course we aren't always able to choose our pets based on size and breed, sometimes it's just about an instant kinship. 

So, we have compared 131 policies from 32 different brands to give you the information you need to go about insuring your pet.

Pet Insurance report dog cost based on size
Insuring by breed: Among the cheaper dogs to insure per year are Border Collies, Schnauzers, Pomeranians, Poodles, West Highland White Terriers and Australian Shepherds. Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Great Danes and Dobermans are more expensive on average. Whippits, Dachshunds and Pugs are in the middle on price.

“With many households welcoming a new furry family member during the pandemic, it pays to do a little legwork when it comes to pet insurance,” says Tom Godfrey, Mozo Spokesperson. 

But where do you start? We have highlighted three key things that can help you reduce what you pay to insure your pup: the size of your dog, the type of breed and where you live.

Cost by Size:

The bigger the dog the less space you have in your bed, but did you know that the size of your pet affects the costs of your pet insurance? For example, the bigger a dog is the shorter its lifespan will typically be, meaning it might have health issues associated with ageing. According to many animal experts, larger size dogs are at a higher risk of suffering from canine cancer, development disorders, and tumours—which all may be linked to their accelerated growth.

Mozo found Mastiffs’ financial pawprints are almost as giant as the dogs themselves: this breed is the most expensive to insure at $2,461 on average per year. Other canines that could take a significant chunk out of your hip pocket include French Bulldogs, British Bulldogs and Bernese Mountain Dogs. If big dogs are your thing though, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds and Huskies are more affordable to insure, with average premiums ranging from $1,017 - $1,074.

As mentioned, smaller breeds like West Highland White Terriers are generally cheaper to insure. Miniature Schnauzers and Pomeranians also offer low average premiums, ranging from $1,032  - $1,045. Not all small breeds are inexpensive to protect though, with miniature breeds British Bulldogs ($2,380), French bulldogs ($2,380) and Pugs ($1,363) offering some hairy premiums.

Cost by breed:

Much like a sports car and a designer handbag, the dog breed you own can be a status symbol. So while most owners value a pet’s affection above all, not all breeds are created equal. This can be due to how difficult it is to breed them, how ‘pure’ they actually are as a breed, and the number of similar dogs available around the country. 

The more pure the dog, the greater risk it has of developing hereditary disorders and insurance prices tend to reflect that. Bulldogs, for example, tend to suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome due their short muzzles. Even the best breeder can’t prevent the risks of this type of issue, so this dog is known for its numerous annual trips to the vet.

So when it comes to pet insurance, Mozo found that purebred dogs ($1,357) are almost a third (32%) more expensive to insure compared to cross breeds ($1,030). 

“Your dog’s breed can make a considerable difference to the price of the pet insurance premium, so it pays to factor in this cost when planning your pet purchase, ” Godfrey says.

BreedEstimated annual insurance
French Bulldog
Great Dane$2,379.88
Golden Retriever$1,289.24
Labrador Retriever$1,247.88
Australian Shepherd$1,072.96
Poodle (Standard)$1,053.60
Schnauzer (Miniature)$1,032.28
Border Collie$1,017.32

Cost by location

Mozo found that dog owners in Western Australia are paying 15% more on pet insurance than residences in NSW, on average. This analysis was based on insuring a three year old border collie for accident and illness pet insurance. All other states had minor differences in average price, when compared to NSW.

Digging a little deeper, however, shows that WA is a bit of a standout. For example, the average cost of a pet insurance policy Australia-wide is $975, yet the average cost in WA is $1,127, as per our data. So we might actually conclude that WA is on average 15% more expensive than the rest of Australia.

The reason for different policy prices in WA is hard to pinpoint. However, it may be due to the potential dangers of a different habitat and how those risks are assessed: these include a variety of snakes, scorpions and even many more large animals such as kangaroos.

“No matter where you live or the breed or size of dog you choose, taking a little time to compare pet insurance plans is the secret to sniffing out a great deal,” says Godfrey.

Pet Insurance Report Cost based on state
Location-based differences: Average prices in NSW are somewhat cheaper. Tasmania and SA are only marginally more expensive than NSW. WA is noticeably more expensive than NSW on average, but by this baseline comparison only.

Tips for finding cheaper pet insurance:

While it might appear overwhelming, getting your furry companion pet insurance is worth the investment. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially for your wallet.

Regardless of the type of plan you’re looking for, here are a few tips and tricks you can use when buying pet insurance:

  • Insure your pet when it’s young: The older your pet is when you try to insure them the more expensive it will be and the more pre-existing conditions they will have. 
  • Beware costly breeds: Different dog breeds can be more expensive to insure, so it pays to do your research before purchasing your furry pal. 
  • Avoiding poor quality policies: Look for policies that cover your pet for items such as dental, CT and MRI scans, hip surgery and replacement, tick paralysis and emergency boarding when your pet is in hospital.

For the full list of winners check out our Mozo Experts Choice Pet Insurance Awards hub or read our Best Pet Insurance in 2021 article.