Choice didn't have an "ultimate" or single recommendation, they just had a short list from many - which is what I've tried to convey. They did say that they thought that pet insurance could be better value and to watch out for ones that had reduced or capped cover for older animals or ones with chronic (ongoing) diseases.
Essentially the insurance companies are out to make a profit, so they would rather insure for a fairly unlikely accident / illness than cover things that most people will claim eventually.
Pet Plan "top cover" $100 excess accident and illness was the only one listed that had "no limit" on the benefit per condition for life of pet, and it was also the most expensive in its category for a dog, but cheapest for a cat. There was nothing listed for Petplan for a higher excess.
Pet Insurance and 1300 insurance Australia had higher annual benefit limits but these were also the same as the life time benefit limit, not sure how much value there.
I liked Pet Insurace Australia Accident + Illness cover with $300 excess. It has a life time limit of 15000 (also the same as the annual limit) and was over $100 pa than Pet Plan.
I haven't really done anything. Theoretically I could "self insure" ie just pay up out of my own money. I really should find out how much some of these procedures are likely to cost. And how much I'd need to spend to keep a good quality of life for the pet. I've heard about cases for pets and humans where they can swallow up infinite amounts of money and still have a crappy quality of life - ie can't walk, toilet or feed themselves. I'm not prepared to do that to my puppy just to keep her "alive" and my mum won't allow me to do it to her (living will).