Pet Insurance: what is covered and what isn't covered

There’s no one size fits all Pet Insurance Policy, which means you need to do serious shopping around to find the cover that offers maximum protection at a realistic cost.

To help you choose, here is a general overview of inclusions and exclusions – what is covered and what is not covered. These will vary from different insurers but the following can serve as a guide that applies to most policies on the market today.

What most policies cover

  • Hereditary and congenital conditions.
  • Accidental injuries covered from the day after commencement.
  • Illnesses caused by parasites like tapeworm, provided the pet has been vaccinated.
  • Patella Luxation, a knee joint problem which is quite common, particularly in certain breeds.
  • Elbow dysplasia, a front leg degenerative condition, found in large breeds and generally requiring surgery.
  • Cancer, diabetes and skin diseases.
  • Essential euthanasia.
  • Stray animals, provided you have them checked by a vet.
  • Some policies pay for death from illness, holiday cancellation, straying and some even pay for the cost of advertising lost pets.

What most policies do not cover

  • Pre-existing conditions, unless you have special documentation from your vet.
  • Chronic or recurring conditions beyond pre-set annual benefit limit.
  • Third party liability for injury or damage – caused mainly by dogs.
  • Claims within the initial waiting period which is 30 days from joining. Some policies also have a 6 month waiting period for ligament injuries.
  • Illegal breeds.
  • Pets under 8 weeks and older than 9 years.
  • Pandemics.
  • Special therapies including stem cell and alternative therapies.
  • Voluntary euthanasia.
  • Prostheses and organ transplants.
  • Conditions that could be prevented by vaccination.
  • Breeding and obstetrics.
  • Above pre-set maximum payments for hospitalisation, medicines, skin conditions and radiography.

Although there appear to be many exclusions, when you consider what is covered, you’ll realise that the policy covers most of the common conditions that pets can be subject to.

If you need a greater range of options they are available. However, most insurers focus on the above inclusions because this is the cover that most pet owners want, as these are the conditions most likely to incur vet bills, driving up the cost of owning a pet.

To answer a frequently asked question:

“Does it pay to insure a pet?”

Yes, because when it comes to our precious pets, Pet Insurance helps reduce the financial burden if a pet becomes ill or is involved in an accident.

These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.