Does it pay to have pet insurance?

 
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What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance is available for cats and dogs. The type of cover that Choosi can arrange offers a combined accidental injury and illness cover with extras that can be added (see table below). The relevant Policy Booklet (containing the Product Disclosure Statement, Policy Terms and Conditions, and Financial Services Guide) outlines which illnesses and injuries are covered under a policy.

Pet insurance doesn’t have to be expensive, but it could help you afford life-saving care when your pet needs it most. Choosi can provide you with some options to help you weigh up the costs so you can decide if it pays to insure your pet.

We’ve all heard stories of small fortunes being lost after a visit to the vet! See the table below for the most common conditions that are claimed and for how much, according to 2018–2019 PetSure claim statistics.

 
Insuring our pets can ensure you can give them the best treatment if they’re sick or injured
Pet insurance provides a financial safety net for you if your cat falls ill or suffers an injury.

Vets can be unpredictably expensive

For an emergency, there’s an element of the unknown. Your pet might have a common health issue that you can afford. Alternatively, it could be something serious requiring expensive procedures and long-term care. You might also face additional costs for out-of-hours attention. A cat owner spent $17,000 in vet bills after her cat was injured when it fell from a balcony 8 storeys high.1

Whatever the situation, bills for pet care come directly out of your pocket. For anything urgent, serious or ongoing, you may be forced to make the difficult choice between the cost of care and the treatment of your dog or cat. With pet insurance, you may be able to claim up to 85% back on eligible vet bills.*


By numbers: common costs and claims

A survey completed in 2019 of over 1300 pet owners found that at least 84% of dog-owners and 68% of cat-owners visit a vet in the previous 12 months and some even multiple times, spending an average of $546 for dogs, and $371 for cats.2 That’s a lot of visits to the vet! See below the most common pet medical conditions and total cost of claims ranked by number of claims according to 2018–2019 PetSure claim statistics.


Top 10 most common pet medical conditions and total cost of claims ranked by number of claims by PetSure 2018-2019

Diagnoses

No of claims

Total claim amount

Otitis externa 10,000 $1,065,627.88
Cruciate disease 8,520 $3,403,739.08
Gait abnormality - lameness 6,683 $940,045.44
Ear (aural) infection 6,419 $700,966.95
Hypersensitivity (allergic) skin disorder - atopic dermatitis 6,299 $980,513.56
Arthritis 6,011 $417,086.42
Dermatitis 5,714 $643,499.18
Hypersensitivity disorder (allergy) 5,102 $602,672.83
Conjunctivitis 3,751 $294,317.47
Faecal appearance abnormal - diarrhoea 3,627 $655,667.60

Top 10 expensive pet operations and average claim amount by Petsure claim statistics 2018-2019

Diagnoses

Total claim amount

Average cost

Neoplasm - jaw, maxilla $7,523.03 $7,523.03
Intestinal perforation $7,218.37 7,218.37
Portosystemic (portasystemic, portacaval) shunt - acquired $5,732.50 5,732.50
Urolithiasis - ureteric 15,914.52 5,304.84
Total hip replacement surgery- left hip 14,888.79 4,962.93
Urinary bladder, intra-pelvic position $4,040.28 4,040.28
Total hip replacement surgery (fracture) - left hip $4,000.00 $4,000.00
Total hip replacement surgery - right hip $24,000.00 $3,428.57
Physeal Disorder – Premature Physeal Closure $3,939 $3,939
Joint subluxation $6,711.93 $3,355.97
Gallbladder rupture $14,811.47 $2,962.29

As our animals age, just like us, medical care becomes more likely and complicated. For example, an average claim is $2,131.42 for a snake bite, $1,950.66 for diabetes, and $1,859.31 for cataracts (based on 2018–2019 PetSure claims statistics). Pet insurance could be the answer if you worry about being able to afford the treatment your dog or cat may need.


How pet insurance can help with vet bills

With pet insurance, depending on the level of cover you select, you can claim up to 85% of eligible vet bills* if your pet suffers an accidental injury or an illness that’s covered. For an insured dog or cat, an owner can:

  • claim up to 85% of eligible vet bills, up to a maximum of $20,000 per year;*
  • cover their pet from as young as 8 weeks; and
  • use their own vet as long they’re licensed to practice in Australia.

Some policies offer extra benefits on top of the standard policy such as emergency boarding, essential euthanasia, overseas pet travel insurance, and paralysis ticks at no extra cost. For a small increase to your premium, you can also choose to add a routine care benefit to your policy and this helps cover the cost of some typical preventative treatments.

 

Type of cover Benefit  
Accidental injury and illness (combined)

Cover for accidental injuries in certain circumstances, and for specified covered illnesses (except pre-existing conditions).*

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Other benefits
Emergency boarding

Cover to help with the cost of boarding at a registered kennel/cattery up to an agreed amount, if you, the sole carer, are unexpectedly hospitalised or need emergency accommodation due to family violence, for a specified period and unable to care for your dog/cat.

 
Essential euthanasia

If a vet deems euthanasia essential and humane for your pet as a result of a condition covered under your policy, the benefit percentage will be covered up to your chosen benefit limit.

 
Paralysis ticks

Tick bites are very serious and can cause paralysis in pets that can be fatal if untreated.3 The benefit percentage will be covered up to the specified sub-limit.

 
Optional extras
Routine care

Including this in your policy (for an additional premium) can help cover the cost of some routine health checks or procedures that are otherwise not covered, such as vaccinations, de-sexing and worming.

 

* Pre-existing conditions and some illnesses are excluded. Benefit limits, sub-limits and annual condition limits apply. Claim for reimbursement. Information is general. Please read and consider the relevant Policy Booklet (containing the Product Disclosure Statement, Policy Terms and Conditions, and Financial Services Guide) before purchasing for specific details of the policy’s inclusions and exclusions based on your selected level of cover.

References  

  1. Aussie pet owners forking out thousands on vetsnews.com.au
  2. Animal Medicines AustraliaPet Ownership in Australia 2019 Report p.40
  3. Animal Welfare League NSW, Ticks


The pet insurance information provided on this website is based only on the pet insurance policies that Choosi can arrange. Choosi doesn’t provide information or offer cover for all products available in the market and there may be aspects to some products that Choosi doesn’t compare. Information on this website doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the relevant Policy Booklet for more information and to ensure the product suits your needs.


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