Pet Insurance Review - a waste of reading time?

Thanks Jodi. I appreciate that you have made the effort to respond to a subscriber.
And, I can see that your two points explain Choice’s position.
However, can I say that your first point is, frankly, pure flim flam.
This argument effectively states that Choice’s request for transparent and detailed pricing info was quite simply ignored by the insurance industry.
So what?
This is NOT an excuse for Choice to then simply accept a condescending refusal to play by the industry.
If the industry refuses to provide useful information, then surely they effectively yield the field to Choice, and THAT permits you to set YOUR OWN measures of insurance value and performance. Thus, as I suggest previously, YOU define an “average” age for each animal (cat, dog), based on veterinarian/actuarial measures and assume a mixed breed, then provide all the necessary insurance cost/service info for these notional animals. You also provide any and all known measures of age-cost escalation etc. Naturally, if you are able to source more nuanced info (eg. “small dog”, “large dog”, “short-hair cat”, “long hair cat” etc), you can expand your scope of interest to include that. Of course, this is an imperfect assessment - but we have been left with no choice by the industry intransigence and secrecy. So, the industry has no-one to blame but itself if it feels aggrieved that you have inadequately assessed the manifold “features” and subtleties of its services. At least this way, subscribers (and consumers) have SOME measure of insurance service quality - bang for buck. I have a feeling that the industry, confronted by a report that explicitly notes its refusal to provide clear consumer info, and an assessment based on notional averages, would very rapidly reverse course and drop the airy arrogance that seems to be its established practice.
I guess what I’m saying is: don’t just meekly accept the haughty rejection by the industry. If they won’t play the game, then they’ve effectively conceded the field to us (Choice), and we should turn up to claim the game.

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There is no real bang for buck, CHOICE do not recommend them. Then a consumer who ignores that advice continues to use the insurance at their risk. Why should CHOICE expend more resources funding a cost/performance review when they have said there is no benefit to using this insurance. CHOICE have warned, and now it is up to us to listen.

The public Shonky gained by the industry was obviously ignored, what you asked for was provided “confronted by a report [ie CHOICE made the Shonky award] that explicitly notes its refusal to provide clear consumer info”. Simply put they don’t care as there are enough people who continue to ignore CHOICE’s recommendation and still sign up to these insurances.


Thanks grahroll, if I accept your argument (which has merit), then I must infer that Choice has disqualified itself from its declared organisational purpose. So, why should Choice exist? And - more to the point - what exactly am I paying for?
Now, I need to re-consider my membership of Choice. If you are correct - and you may well be - then it would appear that Choice does not provide the service I imagined I was paying for.
Thanks for the thought-provoking response.

They haven’t stepped back. It is a a CHOICE subscriber’s choice whether they accept the CHOICE advice to avoid the industry or use the industry.

You and others asked CHOICE to provide a view (advice if you like), they did. It is now up to all of us to listen or ignore that advice.


AFCA provide the complaints data publicly, so there’s no problem with sharing the data. We don’t think the data is much use on it’s own as a measure of how an insurer is handling claims, so we’re looking at alternative solutions.

Our submission to the AFCA independent review which notes our complaint is also available publicly, as is the final report of the independent review. I haven’t been able to locate a response to our concerns in the final report, though I haven’t read it in detail yet.


To clarify, I’m not saying that we lack pricing data because the industry has refused to cooperate in providing pricing information (some insurers cooperate, some don’t).

Regardless of whether the insurers cooperate to provide pricing information, we need to independently verify that information. So that means we either collect quotes ourselves (for the insurers that don’t cooperate), or we spot check quote data that co-operative insurers have provided.

We were previously able to collect enough quotes manually, either to calculate an average premium, or to independently verify the data. But that is no longer possible. We need to collect a much larger sample of quotes than is possible for us to do manually. Hence we’re working on a solution to expand our capacity to collect and check insurance quotes.

I hope that makes more sense.


Agree with @Ozcelt on this one.

The trouble is I’m seeing more and more of these sort of “reviews” being coppled together.

Choice Reviews (comparisons) without ratings are simply consolidations of data. While I appreciate Choice pulling all the information together (which saves us time) it doesn’t necessarily enable subscribers to reach a purchasing decision, which can then be a waste of time.

I think a bigger distinction needs to be made between reviews with ratings and those without, to better manage subscriber expectations. Call them Buyer Guides or something else, but I want to know up-front that studying the data tables for an hour won’t necessarily lead to a puchasing decision.

Also completely agree that Choice could be doing more to make it clear why it is unable to provide finalised ratings (for whatever reason) and to challenge insurance companies to simplify policies and make things easier (rather than harder) for consumers.

Ok, yes you can use the filters to narrow down particular policy features etc which is somewhat helpful, but at the end of the day I have to go to each of the insurers websites, understand their policy inclusions/exclusions, read the full PDS, give them all my information to obtain a quote, then repeat the process 4-5 times with other insurers to get anything close to data that I can objectively use to make an informed decision.

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With any type of insurance pet or human my opinion is you would be better off paying the premium amount into a financial institution who is providing a decent interest rate. Health, funeral, life insurance is the biggest scam yet.


Although off topic for Pet insurance and insurance, the points raised about the data collection articles as compared to actual reviews is really about how Choice could improve its products, or as was implied, how Choice may have lost its way, regardless of why, but as seen from its readership.

This topic is fundamentally about ‘problems of tests (evaluations)’. The following linked topic started in 2017, spanned a few years, and touches on a few other aspects of the ‘problem of tests (evaluations)’. Some of the posters in this topic previously commented there!

@BrendanMays, just tapping you here to assure visibility.

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Do what we did. We looked at pet insurance when we got this dog. Too expensive, too many exclusions and an age cost (basically no cover). We have a bank account and put what the insurance premiums would have been away, plus other money as well. She’s now 9 years old and we could use that account to cover all of her medical bills, few at this stage thank goodness. However we have elected to leave it there in case it is needed for her later. Our previous dog had a major health issue at the end of her life. Cost us a lot, but she was worth it. Our dog is also a beneficiary in our will.


Thanks for this wise counsel. We’ll discuss this approach for each of our two animals - a 4yo mutt and a 17yo very grumpy cat…

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Yes! Thank you. So much better explained than my weak efforts.

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PhilT, you are precisely correct. Yes I am indeed having a moan about pet insurance and industry “best practice”…BUT, yes, I am ALSO criticising (critiquing?) Choice’s “product” or service quality in certain areas of consumer - and, subscriber - interest.
It is not enough to keep referring feedback “to our team” (sorry, BrendanM, that is kind of a mantra you use). At what point will the “team” actually do something to improve quality of reviews and toughen up the Choice reaction to anodyne, meaningless crap spouted by certain industries to often valid complaint and feedback? If you are being held back from publishing scored reviews by industry prevarication, move to membership feedback and surveys, ask for customer ratings, examine other data on other rating sites and/or other consumer orgs - then publish and be damned. And do it regularly. And publicise it widely.
THAT will get the industry’s attention, I’ll bet.
When the industry feel you’re being “unfair” - and they will - then offer your coldest sympathy and suggest bluntly they have no one to blame but themselves. If you deliberately obfuscate and obscure the costs, exclusions, escalations, exemptions, and coverage of pet insurance (or ANY other product or service), then you shouldn’t be surprised when your product/service is deemed in print to be inadequate, or deceitful, or …“tricksy”.
Those are my expectations, as a subscriber, from Choice and its team.

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I am in Queensland. Our pet insurance is with RSPCA and they are very happy for the Vet to electronically lodge the claim and then we just pay the gap. Unfortunately, changing insurers is NOT easy.

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This thread has become a more general concern about Choice’s ability to provide members with better purchasing options.

Where comparative data is lacking, then it seems quite reasonable for Choice to make the essence of the report, the issues Choice and hence members, will have in making a good choice of the respective product range. In doing so making very public the inadequacies, and reason for getting a Shonky, be they the companies, retailers, industry or gov’t. Maybe then giving members some tips that might aid product selection.

I don’t think it is fair to blame Choice, unless Choice portray a report as a comparative review of the market.

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Your Insurer is Hollard, RSPCA are an on-seller (they term them partners or Authorised Representatives (AR)). RSPCA receive a small portion of your first year premiums for allowing them to be used in this way. If you try to change policies (which moving to another on-seller is doing) then they (talking about Hollard here) apply the pet type, age, and pre-existing problems criteria to whether they will allow a new policy.

This issue has raised it’s head here several times and it is often around the same company, Hollard. CHOICE has given the industry a Shonky, yet even some CHOICE subscribers sadly continue to use this industry and then raise the issue here that they have received a bad deal. I think in some ways CHOICE are dammed if they do and damned if they don’t. Some members want a warning that is public, well it is public. Some still want some sort of detailed review of the policies, CHOICE reviews the industry and policies and are still accused of not being involved in making people aware of the Shonkiness of the industry or the full detail of every policy (why recommend a policy that whose Industry, CHOICE doesn’t trust nor support and has made clear is a Shonky Industry). Sometimes it is difficult to find a common ground that everyone is happy with. From reading many of the posts made over a few years about the industry, and writing responses to some of them, it has become crystal clear this is an Insurance to avoid and yet, people continue to not avoid it.

There are others (actual insurers) out there but they are hard to find.

FYI some of the commentary on this site:

Hollard Insurances and Underwriting - Money - Community (

BUPA Pet Insurance gouging ageing dog premiums! - General - Community (

RSPCA Pet Insurance Shonky - SpotAShonky - Community (

Privacy issues and Woolworths pet insurance PDS - Money - Community (

Pet Insurance rip off - Money - Community (


I’ve shifted to Knose insurance and I’m pretty happy with their flexible options. I’ve had Medibank and Woolies pet insurance previously and hated how their excesses worked…ie pay the excess per each condition/per year.
Knose has just introduced an excess option, but it’s how you would like an excess to work…they just charge it ONCE per year…not per condition, not multiple times…and you can choose to have an excess or not. Plus you can choose your percentage refund…from 70, 80 or 90 % and also choose your overall yearly limit.
I figure you are an insurance type person, or not. I like to be covered and I don’t want to have to double think my options when at the vets.
I did an extensive spread sheet comparing costs and options and I optimised at 80% cover, $200 excess and yearly maximum benefit of around $12,000. Costs me about $35/month for each dog…one is 4mo and the other 3yo.


Suzique, I’ve never heard of Knose, but you make a strong case for investigating them. I do agree there are two types of people - the insurers and the self-insurers!! I think maybe I’m in the former group - I’m an ill-disciplined person financially. I’ve checked out the Knose website, so I’ll test them out for a quote for our dog (the cat is WAY too old!). I really appreciate this advice. Thanks


Hi Ozcelt:
Re Pet Insurance:
I’m unsure of your age, but I’m in my late 70’s and have had plethora of pets throughout my life. I have NEVER had Pet Insurance because when it was first brought in I considered it was a waste of MY money. My last much loved pure bred Devon Rex would’ve been outside of the age where I could claim, when he died in my arms from Cardiomyopathy in December last year at the age of 13 plus years. Getting the diagnosis was costly, (se la vie🤷‍♀️) but when I look back over the years of pet ownership, I doubt that any of them including the last cat have cost me more than $1.00 per week in vet bills, and in fact even less when I calculate it. (I have also had dogs, but they are in the minority of my pets owned) He was a totally indoor cat without any contact with other cats - thus I didn’t need all the yearly injections, just a yearly vet check, which often didn’t happen because he was so healthy. It turned out that he was severely allergic to ‘whatever’ in a round of injections following my first visit to a Vet after I got him, when I thought it perhaps a better idea than not to get the ‘advised’ vaccinations. After an emergency rush back to the Vet to get him checked out following his extremely bad reaction, (he almost died) the Vet and I agreed to never give him another round of injections. I will get another Devon next year, and having spoken with the Breeder who advised that all her animals come with Vet checks and vaccinations, she leaves the ‘yearly Vet issues’ with each individual who purchases an animal. I will again err on the side of caution in all areas by having an indoor cat, which means no killing of wild life, no possibility of being killed by car or other animal attack, and (knowing how friendly to all people that Devons are), no climbing into a strangers car. The cat will only be allowed outside on a leash with me in tow. This was how I kept the last one, and it worked brilliantly. I’m sure I’m not the only one with these views about insurance too. Perhaps we really don’t need as many insurance policies as the industry tries to get us to buy.

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Thought I might mention an alternate to pet insurance that some could find useful. I looked into pet insurance when my cat was just over the age limit for cover. The vet I was using was part of a large chain. I know these can be hit and miss but the staff at mine have proven awesome. The chain has a plan where you can pay under $500 a year for various discounts and complimentary services, including unlimited free consultations. For my older pet (she’s almost 18 now), this has been fabulous to stay ahead of her health needs. I take her along every 4-6 weeks and have the peace of mind that they will let me know if they think she’s unwell or suffering. I realise it’s not the same as insurance but it’s been a wonderful way of assuring a proactive approach to veterinary care and I’ve no doubt it’s saved me a lot of money.