Everything you need to know about pet insurance

 
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Why's pet insurance important?

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.

But sometimes, our pets get up to no good which may mean an unexpected trip to the vet! Vet bills can be very expensive, and pet insurance can help by reimbursing some of the cost of the treatment for your pet, so that your out of pocket costs may be minimal. If your beloved pet gets ill or is injured in an accident, you’d want to know that you can give them the care they deserve.


Vet bills come out of your pocket

There’s no Medicare equivalent for our furry friends, so a trip to the vet is at your expense. While a routine visit may be able to be budgeted for, emergency treatment or surgery can be expensive. This presents some owners with a devastating dilemma: fork out a hefty sum, let their pet suffer, or be put down if recommended as humane. This is where pet insurance can come in handy: you can claim up to 85% of eligible vet bills* in the event of a specified accidental injury or covered illness, so when faced with such a dilemma, you can afford to give your pet the treatment they need.


What’s pet insurance?

Pet insurance can help you give your pet the care they need in the event of a covered illness or specified accidental injury. Depending on the level of cover, 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 pets from as young as 8 weeks; and
  • use their own vet as long as they’re registered 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. You can also choose to add a routine care benefit to your policy and this helps cover the cost of some typical preventative treatments.

* Exclusions, benefit limits, and sub-limits apply. An annual condition limit applies to some policies. 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.


Top 10 most common pet medical conditions and total cost of claims ranked by number of claims by Petsure claim statistics 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

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance is available for cats and dogs. The type of cover that Choosi can arrange offers a combined specified 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 can be purchased for puppies and kittens aged from 8 weeks old. If you’re taking a new policy for an older cat or dog, you may find that some policies have an age limit of younger than 9 years (some policies cover up to younger than 16 years) and won’t cover your pet. However, once you have the policy in place, you can renew your policy each year regardless of your pet’s age, provided there’s no break on your cover (your renewal may also be subject to other renewal terms and conditions from your insurer). In other words, your policy won’t expire once your pet turns 9 years old (or 16 years old for some policies), as long as you took out the policy before your pet turned 9 years (or 16 years for some policies). You’ll need to refer to each individual Policy Booklet for all of the relevant policy’s inclusions, terms and conditions, and exclusions.

With pet insurance, some policies offer benefits on top of the standard policy including emergency boarding, essential euthanasia, and paralysis ticks. You can also add optional extra cover on top of the standard cover to some policies, such as routine care (an additional premium applies). 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’s not covered by pet insurance?

It’s important to know that like any other type of insurance, pet insurance policies have exclusions to the cover. Typically, these are:

  • pre-existing conditions or conditions arising within the applicable waiting period;
  • dental care;
  • preventative/routine items;
  • certain treatments and conditions;
  • certain services and procedures;
  • certain elective treatments and procedures; and
  • lack of protection for pet due to gross negligence.

The Policy Booklet will set out the above exclusions in more detail. It’s recommended that you read and understand the Policy Booklet so you’re clear what won’t be covered. You also need to refer to your Certificate of Insurance for any additional information specific to your pet insurance policy.


What are the types of cover?

While there are some polices that only cover accidental injuries, the pet insurance policies that Choosi can arrange cover both specified accidental injuries and illnesses, with pre-existing conditions excluded. Through Choosi, you can choose a policy that allows you to claim up to 85% of eligible vet bills up to $20,000 per year.*

  • Optional routine care

    Including this in your policy for an additional premium can provide a contribution towards the cost of some routine health checks or procedures that are otherwise not covered, such as vaccinations, de-sexing, and worming. Be sure to check the Policy Booklet and your Certificate of Insurance for specifics regarding routine care.

  • Emergency boarding

    If you (the sole carer) are unexpectedly hospitalised, or need emergency accommodation due to family violence for a specified period and are unable to care for your pet, this cover can help with the cost of boarding at a registered kennel or cattery up to an agreed amount.

  • Essential euthanasia

    If a vet deems euthanasia essential and humane treatment 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.1 The benefit percentage will be covered up to the specified sub-limit.


References  

  1. TicksAnimal Welfare League NSW


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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