What most Australians look for in a pet insurance policy is financial protection from surprise costs; the means in which to keep their pets healthy and active – no matter the situation. We’re eager to help you find such a product, which is why we’re happy to explain the key features to watch for when comparing cover.

Paying for the unforeseen

Serious injuries and healthcare conditions occur all the time. Not only are these difficult to plan for, but they can also be devastatingly expensive to fix.

Dogs Life Magazine asked one insurer what the most expensive pet treatments were in Australia, as of 2015:

  1. Stomach tears ($9,000+)
  2. Wound infections (approximately $8,000)
  3. Liver failure ($6,000+)

Paying for these expenses out of pocket would send the budgets of many families into cardiac arrest. Happily, it’s less of an issue if you have accident & illness cover. On average, pet insurance costs as little as $20 a month for accident only cover, according to ASIC^– a small sum in comparison.

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

Coverage for regular expenses

You should expect quite a few expenses in the first year of pet ownership. You’ll need to fork out cash for things like micro-chipping, vaccinations, and perhaps even behavioural training. Low-level pet insurance may not necessarily cover these costs, but a comprehensive policy might (albeit, only a portion of it).

As your pet gets older, It makes sense to get pet insurance to help pay for regular treatments. RSPCA put together a list of the most common ongoing costs of owning a cat or dog. In it, they reveal that an annual health check costs between $80 and $90, and flea/worming treatments could be anywhere between $100 and $150. Routine care can contribute to some of these costs.

Look out for hidden costs, restrictions and exclusions

Many Australians struggle with the finer details of insurance policies, which can be dangerous if misunderstood. Before you sign on the dotted line (so to speak), ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the excess or co-payment I’ll pay each time I claim on my policy? An excess is a payment you make to the insurer every time you make a claim, while the co-payment is the cost   left over after the claim is paid. Raising the cost of these will lower your monthly premiums while removing or lowering them will result in a more expensive premium. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s an amount you’re comfortable paying.
  2. How much of the vet fees/treatment does my insurance policy pay for? Pet insurance will not (in most cases) pay for all of your pet’s treatment. It could pay for a majority (e.g. 80%), but you’re going to have to fork up for the rest. The amount covered by your insurer will change as they get older, which is something you should look out for each time your policy is renewed.
  3. How much will the cost of my policy go up by each year? Your pet insurance policy is automatically renewed each year. In order to better reflect your pet’s likelihood of needing to claim (as they age), your policy is likely to become more expensive as the years go by.
  4. Are there any exclusions I need to be aware of? There are certain services you won’t be able to make a claim for at all, like dental treatment. Also, any pre-existing conditions will be excluded. A full list of these will be outlined in your Product Disclosure Statement.

Now that you’re armed with the right information, it’s time to find the right cover! The best advice we can give you is to find a policy with an affordable premium (there’s plenty to choose between), and lets you claim back the greatest amount possible following your pet’s treatment.

Want to know more? We’ll fill you in on any relevant pet insurance information.