What most Australians look for in a pet insurance policy is financial protection from unexpected vet bills, which can quickly blow the household budget and add unnecessary stress to pet ownership.
If you want to keep your fur baby happy and healthy without impacting your finances, choosing a pet insurance policy with the right features is important.
Paying for the unforeseen
Serious injuries and healthcare conditions occur all the time. Not only are these difficult (if not impossible) to plan for, but they can also be devastatingly expensive to fix.
But don’t take our word for it. Check out the top conditions affecting dogs and cats and their reported maximum treatment costs, according to PetSure’s 2022 Pet Health Monitor.1
|Top conditions affecting dogs and maximum vet costs ||Top conditions affecting cats and maximum vet costs|
- Skin conditions/diseases = $17,720
- Ear infections = $14,629
- Osteoarthritis (arthritis) = $9,758
- Cruciate ligament disease = $26,894
- Diarrhoea = $15,971
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) = $47,693
- Vomiting = $10,784
- Diarrhoea = $6,904
- Hyperthyroidism = $4,768
- Osteoarthritis (arthritis) = $5,524
Even with a sizeable emergency fund and cash to spare, most people would struggle to shoulder those costs, especially if their pet requires ongoing treatment. This is where pet insurance can alleviate some pain by paying a portion of eligible vet bills. Not only that, but pet insurance can cost anywhere from $20-$80 per month − a small sum by comparison.2
Coverage for regular expenses
You should expect quite a few expenses in the first year of pet ownership, as you may need to fork out for things like microchipping, vaccinations, and perhaps even behavioural training. A basic pet insurance policy may not necessarily cover these costs, but a comprehensive policy might (albeit not the total expenses).
As your pet gets older, it makes sense to get pet insurance to help pay for regular treatments like annual check-ups, dental care, flea/tick/worming treatments, prescription diets, and so on. An optional extra like routine care can contribute to covering some of these costs.
Look out for hidden costs, restrictions and exclusions
Many Australians struggle with the finer details of insurance policies, which can leave you underinsured, needing to pay more than expected when making a claim, or simply paying too much for cover you don’t need. Before you sign on the dotted line (so to speak), ask yourself the following questions:
- What excess or co-payment will I 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 an additional payment towards the vet’s bill after your benefit percentage is applied. Increasing the policy excess or lowering the benefit percentage will lower your monthly premiums. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s an amount you’re comfortable paying.
- How much of the vet fees/treatment does my insurance policy pay for? Pet insurance only covers a portion of your pet’s treatment (in most cases). For example, your policy could pay up to 90% of your vet’s bill − known as the benefit percentage – which means you’ll be left to cover the remaining 10% of the vet’s fees as well as your excess. 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. Most insurers allow you to choose the benefit percentage, which typically ranges from 60% to 90% but can be higher or lower. The lower the benefit percentage, the more of the vet’s bill you’ll need to pay.
- How much will the cost of my policy go up by each year? Most insurers will allow you to renew your pet insurance policy each year, some may even automatically renew it for you. To better reflect your pet’s likelihood of needing to claim (as they age) and advancements in veterinary care, your policy is likely to become more expensive as the years go by.
- 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 and elective treatments. Also, any pre-existing conditions will be excluded. Your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) will outline the full list of these.
Now that you’re armed with the right information, it’s time to look for the right cover! The best starting point we can give you is to consider polices with an affordable premium (there’s plenty to choose from) and that lets you claim back a higher percentage of your pet’s treatment.
Want to know more? We’ll fill you in on any relevant pet insurance information.