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Vet with two dogs and a cat

Vet Costs and Common Claims

Annual limit? Average claims? ‘What could this cost’ – we have heard it all, so lets investigate.

The total amount you can claim in a policy period (12 months) can be the first step to personalising your policy. We get lots of questions about how to choose an annual limit in our pet insurance quote tool and what average vet costs are, especially from new pet parents. The truth is, they vary depending on where you live and your pet, but below we have compiled historical data* (from 01 February 2022 to 31 January 2023) to help you make an informed decision. These are not estimates of how much you will pay in the future.


As with all averages based on historical data, there will be outliers. A very commonly claimed for accident is ‘foreign body ingestion’. This is when a pet swallows something and it gets stuck … and a vet has to get it out. The smallest claim we have for foreign body ingestion was $40 for soda crystals that helped the pet vomit the toy he had swallowed back up.  That was lucky because it often requires a vet’s help costing hundreds of dollars. If a foreign body gets stuck, it often can require surgery and hospitalisation, costing thousands of dollars. The average claim we had for foreign body ingestion was $1,528, while the biggest was $11,914.

A fractured leg claim varied from $487 to $12,388, with the average being  $5,470. Again, surgery is often needed and can increase the vet costs significantly. 

We have supplied this historical data and shown below the averages and ranges for vet bills to help you understand what you might be up for if your pet is unlucky.   We want our policy holders to be able to make informed decisions, but remember these are averages and ranges based on historical data and you should always talk to your vet for specific estimates relating to your pet.

Below we have broken the data and vet costs in to two sections, the most common conditions (claimed by lots of pet parents) and the most expensive conditions (claimed less often but are still not uncommon claims).

Choosing your annual limit comes down to your own personal financial situation as well as your pets age and breed. Remember you cannot increase your annual limit after your policy has started, but you can decrease it at any time.

Most Common Conditions

ConditionAverage Vet CostsHighest claim
Ear infection (bacterial or yeast)$497$4,363
Vomiting and diarrhoea$617$6,279
Foreign body (intestinal)$1,528$11,914
Urinary tract infection$590$5,265
Data from 01 February 2022 to 31 January 2023

Less common but more expensive

ConditionAverage Vet CostsHighest claim
Hit by car$4,003$28,420
Cancer or Malignant tumours$6,426$16,389
Fractured leg$6,640$25,304
Paralysis tick$1,934$4,336
Portosystemic shunt (liver shunt)$8,976$37,886
Cruciate ligament rupture$4,990$12,180
Data from 01 February 2022 to 31 January 2023

Learn more about our dog insurance and cat insurance policies as well as our 360 care! Brand new Pet-Parent? We have our Insurance 101 guide to take you through everything.

Other Common Pet Insurance FAQs

What Is Excess In Pet Insurance?

Does Pet Insurance Cover Skin Conditions?

What Is A Pre-Existing Condition?

Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental?

*All data in this article was correct as of 31 January 2023 and is based on the total of all invoices submitted to  Knose Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 38 620 795 735, AFSL 536651) trading as is an underwriting agency acting under a binding authority as an agent for the insurer; (a) Pacific International Insurance Pty Limited (ABN 83 169 311 193)  (‘Pacific) in relation to policies from 01 March 2023 or have an anniversary renewal date from 18 March 2023, and (b) the Australian branch of Allied World Assurance Company, Ltd (ABN 54 163 304 907) (‘Allied World’) in relation to policies purchased between 17 February 2022 and 28 February 2023 (inclusive) or renewed between 01 March 2023 and 17 March 2023 (inclusive).