Explore Pet Insurance

Furry friends hold a special place in our hearts, so it’s important to have pet insurance to cover them for accidental injuries, emergencies, or if they get sick. Like any insurance policy, checking your new policy for exclusions before signing up is crucial.

Pet insurance exclusions to watch out for

Insurers will typically exclude therapies deemed too risky to cover and list any pre-existing or preventable conditions as exclusions. We’ve listed some of the most common exclusions below, but keep in mind these will vary between policies and insurers.

  • Failure to take due care or abuse. Insurers will not pay out claims if your pet is injured or gets sick because of an evident malicious act or negligence.
  • Ambulance costs. Some vets offer callouts for sick animals. Depending on your level of cover, transportation may not be included.
  • Artificial limbs. While your insurance may cover a procedure to fit a prosthetic, the cost of the artificial limb itself may not be included.
  • Bilateral conditions. These are ailments that affect both sides of an animal’s body. For example, if a pre-existing condition affects your dog’s right patella, the opposite body part generally won’t be covered.
  • Cruciate ligament conditions. These are common conditions and expensive to treat, so may not be covered by your insurance. However, some policies will allow treatment after a waiting period.
  • Dental procedures. Most pet insurance policies do not cover dental treatments such as cleaning and therapy for oral diseases. However, some insurers allow you to add routine care as an optional extra to your policy to cover a portion of dental treatments.
  • Diseases with a known vaccine. This exclusion is designed to stop people from neglecting important vaccinations and preventative treatments for ailments like parvovirus and heartworm.
  • Elective treatments. This can include de-sexing and other therapies that aren’t medically necessary. Depending on the insurance company and the level of cover on your pet’s policy, you may be able to claim reimbursement for routine care. It’s important to check the full details to understand your annual benefit limit.
  • Organ transplants. Organ transplants can be particularly risky operations, and donors can be difficult to source. Typically, this procedure is excluded from illness cover.
  • Breeding or pregnancy. Pet insurance is designed for pet owners rather than breeders, which means most pet policies don’t cover pregnancy, obstetrics, or difficulties in breeding or in labour.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Any problems that occurred before your policy started generally won’t be covered. Common examples include hip and elbow dysplasia. However, you should still be able to claim for chronic conditions that begin after you’ve started your policy.
  • Prescription foods. Doggy on a diet? That’s another bill you’ll need to cover. Special foods are usually an exclusion in most pet insurance products.
  • Preventative care. Some basic policies won’t cover routine check-ups and preventative care, including vaccinations, worming, and tick treatments.
  • Banned breeds: Breeds banned by the government, or a local authority and dogs declared dangerous will generally not be eligible for insurance. Certain insurers may also exclude specific dog breeds from coverage.

A couple holding their dog and checking their policy for pet insurance exclusions

Other pet insurance restrictions you may encounter

There are several terms and conditions that can impact your ability to claim. We encourage policyholders to check the full details of their desired insurance policy before signing a new policy.

Most pet insurance policies provide cover from when your pet is six weeks of age and up until they turn eight or nine years old. Once insured, pet insurance can cover your fur baby for life – for as long as the product is offered, provided there are no breaks in cover, and subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.

Many policies also include a waiting period, which can range between 30 days and six months, depending on the insurer and the benefit(s) you want to claim. Premium costs will differ based on your pet’s breed, age, and health status.

Always read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to understand your benefit limit and any sub-limits on certain conditions or therapies.

Adrian Taylor, Executive General Manager

Tips for pet owners from Adrian Taylor, Compare the Market’s Pet Insurance expert

  1. Choose your policy wisely. Pet insurance doesn’t work in the same way that human health insurance does; for one thing, pet insurance doesn’t always cover pre-existing conditions, even if the condition was covered by a previous policy. Therefore, when you’re shopping around for a new policy or for a renewal, consider your options very carefully.
  2. Cover your pet while they’re young. Don’t wait until your pet is older before taking out insurance for them. Premiums usually increase the older your pet is when you cover them.
  3. Be honest. Disclosing your pet’s true medical history when taking out cover can help prevent any nasty surprises in the future should you need to claim.
  4. Always read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). Reading this document thoroughly before taking out a policy will help you understand your cover.

Don’t wait for the right opportunity to get covered

It’s important to keep pet insurance exclusions in mind while you’re shopping around for a policy to make sure you’re covered when your furry friend needs it most. For all the things that pet insurance excludes from cover, there are still lots that it will cover.

Still sniffing around for pet insurance information? We’ve got your back.

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