Your pet is part of the family, which means it’s your job to ensure their long-term wellbeing. If that pet gets into an accident, you may need to pay thousands of dollars to make them well again. Pet insurance can help you pay such costs, so that you’re not faced with a difficult decision.

In addition, higher levels of cover can help pay for need to vet checkups, vaccinations, medication, and more. Let’s learn a little more about the product.

What is pet insurance?

A typical pet insurance policy helps you pay for healthcare treatment for your dog or cat. It’s a product often sought after because of the sheer expense needed to care for seriously ill or injured pets. The expense is greater than you may realise. A good insurance policy will help allay those costs.

How much does pet insurance cost?

A pet insurance policy can be inexpensive, although you can pay a little more if you want added benefits. The price varies, depending on your pet, but insurance can cost as little as $20 per month for accident only cover and as high as $60 for comprehensive cover – according to MoneySmart^.

It’s an expense many of us are happy to pay, too. As of 2016, 26% of households with a dog, and 18% of cat owners, held a pet insurance policy – according to Animal Medicines Australia.

^ Monthly averages sourced from ASIC (2016, December 13th). Pet insurance. moneysmart.gov.au/insurance/pet-insurance

What should I look out for in a pet insurance policy?

We encourage you to conduct a pretty simple needs analysis before getting your pet insurance by considering the following:

  1. Pick a policy that covers critical treatment. Your chief concern should be finding cover that helps pay for accidents and emergencies. These bills can be the most expensive, but accident-only cover can protect you from the full cost.
  2. Read through your Product Disclosure Statement for this product, to ensure you fully understand the extent of your cover. In particular, look out for:
    1. The cost of any excess or co-payments you’ll owe if you need to claim
    2. Benefit limits, i.e. how much you can claim for each type of treatment
    3. Waiting periods that need to be served before you can commence claiming
    4. Exclusions on cover that may prevent claims on certain conditions
  3. Get covered early on while your pet is young and healthy. Older pets may not be insurable, or they may develop a condition barring them from cover. Just keep in mind that policies become more expensive as pets age.
  4. Consider cover for routine care. Comprehensive policies subsidise regular expenses like checkups and deworming. If it’s cost-effective over the long term, look into it!

In summary: look for a pet insurance policy that is affordable month-on-month, and can cover significant expenses in the event of an accident. You should also decide whether or not you’re happy to pay a little extra to get subsided benefits.

Common exclusions to watch out for

Why wouldn’t you be able to claim on your insurance? It’s a fair question: you pay premiums each month and take care of your pet, only to be denied a claim at a crucial time. These exclusions and restrictions are easy to spot when taking out cover – they’re listed in your Product Disclosure Statement. Please be aware that pre-existing conditions, certain dental treatments, and more may be excluded from cover.

How pet insurance premiums are calculated

Your pet insurance premium is calculated by your insurer determining how likely you are to claim on that policy. The following factors have an impact on premium prices:

  1. Age
  2. Breed
  3. Desexed / spayed status
  4. Gender
  5. Type of animal

It is recalculated each year at the time of renewal.

Which breeds cost more to insure?

A Porsche 911 costs more to replace than a Toyota Corolla, which means it will likely cost a little bit more to insure. This is because replacing it (or repairing it) will cost your insurer more money.

It is a similar story with your pets: rare breeds, and ones prone to certain healthcare conditions, will cost more to insure. For example, dogs born from unintended breeding tend to cost more to insure.

Do you have any tips for choosing pet insurance?

  1. Take it out cover early in your pet’s life.
  2. Watch out for common exclusions and restrictions.
  3. Make sure you know how much is paid per claim.

Ready to cover your favourite furry family member? Spot a great pet insurance policy by comparing with us; it only takes a few minutes!