Everything you need to know about Pet Insurance

 
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Why is pet insurance important?

Should anything happen to your pet, you want to know that you can afford to care for them when they need it most.

For so many of us, pets are a big part of the family. They rely on us for food, shelter and a loving scratch behind the ears. In return, our pets give us unconditional love, companionship and even improved health. If they become sick or are injured in an accident, you want to know that you can give them the very best care.


Vet bills come out of your pocket

There is no Medicare equivalent for our furry friends: a trip to the vet is at your expense.  While a routine visit can be budgeted for, emergency treatment or surgery can be expensive to the point of being unaffordable.1

This presents some owners with a devastating dilemma: to fork out a hefty sum, let their pet suffer or be put down if recommended as humane. This is where pet insurance comes in: you can claim up to 85% of eligible vet bills in the event of an accident or illness that is covered so when faced with such a dilemma, you can afford to give your pet the treatment they need.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance helps you give Fido or Felix the care they need in the event of an illness or accident. For an insured dog or cat, an owner:

  1. Can claim up to 85% of eligible vet bills, to a maximum $14,000 per year*
  2. Has no excess to pay
  3. Can cover their pets from as young as 8 weeks
  4. Use your own vet so long as they are licensed in Australia
* Pre-existing Conditions and certain illnesses are excluded, sub-limits may apply. Claim for reimbursement.

Top 10 Most Common Pet Medical Conditions & Total Cost of Claims, ranked by number of claims by the RSPCA, 2014-20152

Diagnoses

Number of Claims

Total Claim Amount

Otitis Externa (Outer ear infection) 3,189 $441,049
Skin Conditions 2,438 $312,249
Arthritis 2,417 $237,141
Cruciate Leg Rupture 1,874 $1,415,869
Conjunctivitis 1,633 $163,783
Ear infection 1,560 $207,548
Lumps (inc. tumours) 1,390 $430,090
Dermatitis 1,373 $187,406
Gastroenteritis 1,291 $392,254
Ear Conditions 1,205 $151,215

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance is available for cats and dogs. There are two types of cover; accidental injury cover and combined accident and illness cover with extras that can be added (see table below). The relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) outlines which illnesses and injuries are covered under a policy.

Insurance can be purchased for puppies and kittens aged over 8 weeks old. If you are taking a new policy for an older cat or dog, you may find that some insurers have an age limit (around 9 years) and will not cover your pet. However, for accident and illness cover, once you have the policy in place you can renew your policy each year, regardless of the pets age. In other words, your policy won’t expire once your pet turns 9 years old, as long as you took out the policy before your pet turned 9. You will need to refer to each individual policy PDS for all of the relevant policy’s inclusions, terms and conditions. 

With pet insurance, you can also add extra cover on top of the standard policy, including Routine Care, Emergency Boarding, Essential Euthanasia and Paralysis Ticks (see the table below for how these can add value to a pet insurance policy).
 
A puppy visiting a vet
With pet insurance, you may be able to claim up to 85% of the vet bills for your dog's broken bones.

What doesn't it cover?

Pet insurance policies have exclusions, including but not limited to:

  1. Illness or injury from a medical condition that pre-dates the policy's commencement (Pre-existing conditions)
  2. Dental care
  3. Grooming, food, accessories or training
  4. Chiropractic treatments or physiotherapy

The PDS will specify which types of disorders, accidents and sickness are covered by the policy. It's recommended you look closely at the PDS to see what will and will not be covered. You also need to refer to your policy schedule.


What are the types of cover?

  • Accident
    (Accidental Injury)

    Covers your pet for injury that occurs from an accident in certain circumstances. This can include injuries from fights, snake bites, and broken bones.

  • Accident & Illness
    (combined)

    Cover for accidents in certain circumstances, as well as for specified covered illnesses except for pre-existing conditions.

  • Routine Care

    Including this in your policy can cover some routine health checks or procedures that are otherwise not covered, such as vaccinations, de-sexing and worming. Be sure to check the PDS and your policy schedule for specifics regarding Routine Care.

  • Emergency Boarding

    Cover to help with the cost of boarding at a registered kennel or cattery up to an agreed amount, if you, the sole carer, are unexpectedly hospitalised for a specified period and unable to care for your pet.

  • Essential Euthanasia

    If a vet deems euthanasia essential and humane for your pet, 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.The benefit percentage will be covered up to the specified sub-limit.


How much does it cost?

Insurance for a dog tends to be higher than that for a cat.4 Your premium will depend on things like your pet's breed and associated health risks and age. The premium will also reflect the level of cover you select.

Doing the sums

In 2013, the average spend on pet insurance for dog-owners was $206; for cat lovers, this was $167.4 

Let’s put this into context. If your dog got an eye infection, this could set you back a staggering $1,000. However, if you had pet insurance and your policy covered up to 85% of this vet bill, then that is $750 you would get back when you claim.5

It is important for you to select a level of cover that suits your needs and those of your pet. As inclusions and exclusions vary between policies, it is best to do your homework. Choosi’s team of Choosers can help you compare, select and apply for pet insurance that will protect your furry loved one. Request a quote or contact our team today.

This is general information only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the relevant PDS available on this website prior to purchasing any product. Choosi offers insurance products from a range of brands but does not compare all products available in the market.

References  



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