Pet Insurance FAQs

Answers when you need them

Pet Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about your dog or cat’s vet care, which type of pet insurance you may need, or what might be covered? We cover the basic of pet insurance – right here.

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Basics

Do I need pet insurance?

Pets enrich the lives of many Australians – in fact, almost two-thirds of Australian households had pets in 2019.1

But, no matter how much we love our pets, sometimes we can’t control what they do – and what could make them sick. Ultimately, you’ll need to foot the bill for any medical assistance or surgeries that they may require.

The costs for treatment can tally up to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. However, pet insurance, can help ease the burden of these expenses.

To find a great-value pet insurance policy, try our pet insurance comparison service. With us, you can compare products from a range of reputable pet insurance brands in just minutes. Best of all, it’s free to complete a quote – so why not try and find a policy for your furry friend?

 

1 Animal Medicines Australia. ‘Pets in Australia: A national survey of pets and people’. 2019. Date accessed 30 April 2020.

Does pet insurance coverage start immediately?

Depending on your insurer and specific policy, pet insurance coverage generally starts at 11:59pm on your policy commencement date (this will be confirmed once you’ve bought a policy and will be listed on your certificate of insurance).

For accidental injuries, you can typically start claiming as soon as your policy starts, but you may need to wait a period (e.g. 30 days) for any illness claims, including claims for tick paralysis.

Cruciate ligament claims usually have a six-month waiting period, but this can be waived when you apply for your policy. To waive this, you need to submit a cruciate ligament waiver form, which should be available through your insurance provider. To complete this form, you’ll need your vet to answer questions regarding your pet’s medical history and sign an examining veterinarian’s declaration.

If you want to serve the waiting periods sooner rather than later, you may wish to purchase cover right away. Our pet insurance comparison service allows you to compare policies from a variety of reputable brands. Best of all, it’s free to use.

What does pet insurance cover?

If you take out the basic accident-only cover option, your pet is only covered if it’s injured in an accident. Higher-level policy options cover accidental injuries and certain illnesses at a minimum. However, the breadth of cover in these policies will depend on the type of policy you take out and that policy’s annual claim limits.

Depending on the level of cover and the insurer you choose, your pet may be covered for things like (but not limited to):

  • medication
  • tick paralysis
  • hereditary and congenital conditions (not including pre-existing conditions)
  • ingestion of foreign objects
  • eye and ear conditions
  • emergency boarding
  • essential euthanasia
  • routine care (e.g. worming and vaccinations).

You should always read the policy’s Product Disclosure Document (PDS) before purchasing to learn about any exclusions, waiting periods and other terms and conditions that apply.

Still unsure about which policy would suit your pet? Learn more about the different types of pet insurance.

How does pet insurance work, and what are the different types of cover?

Pet insurance can help pay for eligible vet bills by reimbursing you for a percentage of the costs (up to the policy’s annual claim limits).*

There are different levels of pet insurance available – and the level of cover for each will vary, depending on the insurer.

Accident only

A basic, no-frills policy that’s designed to cover your pet if it’s injured in an accident.

Keep in mind that the insurer typically covers a portion of costs for eligible treatment (e.g. up to 60% of the costs). This percentage will vary depending on the insurer and the policy.

You’ll also have annual claim limits up to a certain dollar figure, so this policy may not work for you if your pet has a lot of health issues.

However, a basic pet insurance policy can cover older pets (unlike higher levels of pet insurance), so long as your pet is typically under 16 years old.

Accident and illness

For a mid-range option, you could consider accident and illness cover. As its name suggests, this type of policy covers your pet if it’s injured in an accident or falls ill.

There are typically fewer condition limits than accident-only cover, and you’ll be able to claim up to a higher percentage back on eligible vet bills.*

Comprehensive

This top-level cover includes higher annual limits as well as features found in accident and illness policies. Plus, you have an option to add routine care for an additional premium to cover things like worming and vaccinations.

Depending on the insurer, you can typically claim up to 85%* on eligible vet bills, but you can usually only insure younger pets (e.g. under nine years old).

* Exclusions are applicable, such as any pre-existing conditions and certain illnesses. Benefit limits, sub-limits and annual condition limits may apply.

Insuring your pet

Can you get pet insurance for older pets?

Depending on the insurer, you can typically insure your pet if they’re under a certain age (e.g. 16 years old). Keep in mind that the older your pet, the more likely you’re limited to more basic policies. Most insurers offer higher levels of cover for pets under a certain age (typically around nine years old).

Due to these limitations, you may wish to get cover as soon as possible for your pet. Usually, your cat or dog can be insured when they reach eight weeks old, which is generally the time breeders allow you to take home your fur-friend.

Furthermore, if you purchase a policy before your pet turns nine, your cover should roll over every year at renewal. This means your pet will be covered regardless of its age, as long as:

  • you stay with the same policy; and
  • you don’t break your cover.

If you do cease cover, you may not be able to take it out again if your pet doesn’t satisfy the insurer’s age restrictions.

To see which options are available for your pet, try our pet insurance comparison service. By entering in details such as your pet’s breed and its birth date, you can compare policies specific to your pet’s needs.

What should I look for in a pet insurance policy?

What you should look for in a pet insurance policy depends on your individual circumstances and needs. Some common things you might want to consider when you’re shopping around for a pet insurance policy include:

Accident cover

No matter how well you look after your pet, accidents can happen, and treatment can cost thousands. Accidental injury cover can help with these costs by up to a certain percentage (e.g. 60%).*

Illness cover

Much like their owners, pets can get sick at the worst times. Accident and illness pet insurance policies cover certain illness as well as accidental injuries.

Routine care

Do you want coverage for vaccinations, worming and other routine procedures performed during regular vet check-ups? Most comprehensive policies allow you to add this cover as an optional benefit for an additional premium.

Exclusions

Insurers may exclude pre-existing conditions from accident only and accident and illness policies. Additional exclusions also apply such as certain illnesses, dental care and elective treatments, among others.

Waiting periods

You’ll typically need to serve a few waiting periods before you can claim on your policy. While cover for accidental injuries starts as soon as your policy is active, you may need to wait at least 30 days to claim on any illness treatment (pre-existing conditions, whether injury or illness, are excluded).

*Always read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of any policy you (a) plan on taking out or (b) currently hold, in order to know the true extent of your coverage including which waiting periods apply to your policy.

What's covered?

Does pet insurance cover snake bites?

Yes, pet insurance can cover your pal if they’re bitten by a snake, so long as the bite didn’t occur before you took out your policy. Insurance can also cover your pet if they’re injured in an accident or fall ill.

Our free comparison service makes it easy to find great-value cover from some of Australia’s top brands, without the hassle of trawling through multiple websites.

If you’d rather discuss pet insurance options with a consultant, call 1800 353 962.

Does pet insurance cover pregnancy?

Generally, pet insurance doesn’t cover pregnancy. Pregnancy expenses can be substantial, particularly since specific breeds might have more complicated pregnancies and may require caesareans when giving birth.

To avoid major vet costs that aren’t covered, owners are advised to de-sex their pets, particularly since many animals reported to shelters nationwide are a result of unwanted pregnancies.1 If you’re looking for pregnancy cover, talk to your insurer; they may be about to provide further assistance.

 

1 https://www.rspca.org.au/campaigns/responsible-pet-ownership/desexing

 

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

No, pet insurance policies don’t typically cover pre-existing conditions. A reason for this is to deter people from taking out a policy for the sole purpose of making a claim straight away.

It’s also worth noting that, generally, any related conditions or conditions that arise during any applicable waiting periods are also excluded. Ensure you read your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to understand what is defined as a pre-existing condition and a related condition.

If your pet’s breed is known to have hereditary conditions - but is relatively healthy now – taking out a policy when they’re young could be a good idea. This could help assist in partially covering their medical costs in the future, should these issues arise.

With our pet insurance comparison service, you can weigh up multiple policies from some of Australia’s top insurers. You can compare policy:

  • premiums
  • features
  • inclusions

What’s more, the products we quote on our services cost the same as going direct.

Does pet insurance cover MRI scans?

MRI and CT scans may be covered by your pet insurance policy provided it’s required to diagnose an injury/illness, and the costs don’t exceed the balance left on your annual limit. However, it’s vital you check the policy’s terms and conditions to be certain.

For more information on how much you can claim, read your policy booklet containing the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Does pet insurance cover dachshund back problems?

When it comes to covering dachshund back problems, timing is everything.

If you purchase a comprehensive policy before your dog shows symptoms, the treatment required should be covered. However, this may be subject to annual limits, so it’s best to read your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Conversely, if you purchase a policy after your dog develops back problems, treatment most likely won’t be covered, since pre-existing conditions are generally excluded from pet insurance policies.

Back problems are quite common in the dachshund breed, with approximately 25% experiencing some sort of issue throughout their lifespan.3 Since it can cost roughly $10,000 to treat the back ailments of dachshunds4, it might be worth purchasing a policy early to avoid having to pay this expense in full.

Through our free pet insurance comparison service, you can compare policies from a variety of leading brands in minutes.

Alternatively, if you want to discuss your decision with a consultant, call 1800 353 962.

 

3 Dachshund IVDD Support. ‘Pet insurance: Helpful tips’. Date accessed 30 April 2020.

4 Ibid.

Does pet insurance cover cherry eye?

Whether or not your policy will cover treatment for cherry eye depends on your insurer and your level of cover. You may be covered up to your policy’s annual claiming limit if:

  1. your dog or cat didn’t have this condition before your policy commenced or during the waiting period; and
  2. you haven’t exhausted your annual cover limit for treating this condition.

Please refer to the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for more information on treatment limits, inclusions and exclusions.

Does pet insurance cover allergy testing?

Yes, allergy testing can be covered, typically through the optional routine care add-on of a comprehensive policy. However, your ability to claim on this service will depend on your annual limits, which should be stipulated in the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Is de-sexing covered by pet insurance?

Yes, comprehensive pet insurance policies can cover de-sexing (or spaying) under the optional routine care cover add-on. This add-on can come with an annual limit, meaning you can’t have already claimed up to this limit amount before the operation.

While vets have de-sexed cats and dogs around the six-month period traditionally, the RSPCA have suggested that spaying could be done as early as eight weeks.1 So, depending on the age of your pet, you can potentially claim this straight away, as it isn’t technically a condition that requires a waiting period.

To find a comprehensive policy that suits your pet, try our free pet insurance comparison service. It allows you to compare a variety of reputable pet insurance brands in just minutes, all on one page.

 

1 RSPCA. ‘Why does the RSPCA advocate early-age desexing?’ Updated on 30 April 2019. Date accessed 30 April 2020.

Does pet insurance cover dental?

Generally, insurers exclude dental care from most pet insurance policies. However, some insurers will offer dental illness coverage, which can be a set dollar amount you can claim for certain conditions, like gingivitis and abscesses, along with medically-required tooth removal.

Furthermore:

  • there’s usually a two-year waiting period to claim on this service; and
  • the service doesn’t cover dental treatment your pet received during that two-year waiting period.

To see if you can find a policy with dental illness cover, use our pet insurance comparison service.

Does pet insurance cover vaccinations?

Yes, but typically only if you choose the comprehensive level of cover and add routine care as an optional extra to your policy (an additional premium applies). You can also claim on de-sexing and worming if you have this routine care option.

Does pet insurance cover vet visits?

Yes – the primary purpose of pet insurance is to cover vet visits, but the reason for the visit must be for a condition that’s covered by your policy.

For example, if you took your pet to the vet for dental care, you may not be able to claim the cost of that visit if dental care isn’t covered under your policy. Always read your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for information on how much you can claim, as well as cover inclusions and exclusions.

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