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What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance helps cover a portion of eligible veterinary bills when your pet gets sick or is injured from an accident. Even the simplest of vet procedures can wrack up an expensive bill, so pet insurance is intended to ease this financial burden when your pet’s health is compromised.
How does pet insurance work?
When you take out a policy, you pay an agreed premium weekly, fortnightly, monthly or annually. In return, an insurer provides you with financial support for eligible vet treatments if your pet becomes injured or sick.
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Dog or puppy insurance helps pay for a portion of any eligible vet bills or treatment costs. Comprehensive policies have optional routine care benefits which can help cover vaccination costs or worming. Even lower levels of cover can ensure your dog gets the care it needs if it falls ill or an unexpected accident occurs, but keep in mind there are limits to what you can claim for certain conditions.
Cats can live to be older than 15 years of age, which means many years of vet bills may potentially lay ahead. A basic cat insurance (or kitten insurance) policy can help you pay for medical bills if your cat gets injured from an accident and may cover illness to a certain degree. Meanwhile, a comprehensive level of cover can provide even more benefits like optional routine care (an additional premium applies).
At a minimum, basic policies typically cover some of the veterinary costs if your pet is injured from an accident. Some providers will also include limited cover if your pet falls ill. As the cheapest form of insurance, you usually won’t get as much back on your vet bills compared to higher levels of cover.
Where illnesses are included, you’ll be subject to annual condition limits – which caps the annual amount you can claim back for specific conditions. This type of insurance is available to all pet dogs and cats aged between eight weeks and under 16 years old.
You can rest assured that all standard levels of pet insurance on the market will cover your pet for both accidents and illness. A higher level than basic, standard cover’s benefit rate is also higher. You must take out this policy before your pet turns nine years old and while it costs more than the basic level of cover, it may be the option to consider if you want to lower your out-of-pocket costs. Pre-existing conditions usually aren’t covered.
A comprehensive policy is the most expensive type of pet insurance available but also offers the highest level of cover for your pet. It covers illnesses, accidents and provides routine care as an optional benefit for an additional premium. It also boasts the highest benefit rate of levels of pet insurance available, but you’ll need to insure your pet before it turns nine years old.
Learn more about pet insurance and caring for your cat or dog
Some health issues that affect dogs and could increase how often they need medical care. If you don’t take out pet insurance before your pet starts showing symptoms, these issues could be treated as pre-existing medical conditions and may not be covered by your insurance policy.
We want to ensure our feline friends are as happy and healthy as possible, but there are health issues that are common with cats. Getting on top of these issues as early as possible is key to keeping your cat fit and taking out pet insurance early could to be helpful in providing them with care when they need it.
With so many different policies available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when arranging insurance for your four-legged friend. We’re happy to take the guesswork out of picking a policy, as you’ll discover with these tips for finding pet insurance.
Frequently asked questions
What does pet insurance cover?
It depends on the type of cover you take out and the provider you go with. Generally, pet insurance will cover either both accidents and illnesses to some extent. Opting for higher levels of cover usually means your annual policy limits are greater, meaning more expensive treatments for your pet could be within your reach.
It’s important to read each insurer’s Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) to compare what’s available through different providers and what limits apply to each policy. This way, you’ll know as much about the products as possible before making your decision.
Is pet insurance compulsory?
Pet insurance isn’t compulsory in Australia, but it’s something you may want to consider if you don’t think you’d be able to pay for vet bills or medical assistance if your pet needed immediate care. These treatments can cost thousands and pet insurance can help cover a percentage of these costs.
Are there waiting periods for pet insurance?
Depending on the level of pet insurance, you may be subject to waiting. While these periods vary between providers, you may need to wait 30 days for most illnesses and up to six months for cruciate ligament injuries.
Can I choose which vet treats my pet with pet insurance?
Yes, you’ll be able to choose which vet treats your pet if you hold a pet insurance policy – provided they’re registered in Australia. It’s important to note that vets can set their own fees for surgeries and procedures, so you may be able to save even more money by choosing your vet wisely.
How are pet insurance premiums calculated?
Whether you’re taking out a new policy or renewing the level of cover you already have, several factors can influence the premiums you pay for pet insurance. These can include:
how likely you are to make a claim
the level of cover you take out
the age of your pet
the breed and species of your pet
how long your pet has been insured
any claims you’ve previously made.
Premiums vary between providers, so it’s essential to compare what’s out there to ensure you’re paying an amount you’re happy with.
Does pet insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?
It’s unlikely that pet insurance policies will cover your pet’s pre-existing medical conditions. However, you can insure your pet from eight weeks old and taking out a policy as early as possible can help cover their vet bills if they experience health issues in their later years.
Different providers have their own rules around pre-existing conditions, so be aware of these before purchasing a policy.
Compare pet insurance policies today
If you’re looking to take out pet insurance for your cat or dog – or simply want to know what’s on offer from some of Australia’s leading pet insurance providers – we can help you.
Our pet insurance comparison service allows you to complete a free quote and view a range of policies from several providers. The best part is you can easily compare the features of each policy and find one you’re happy with.