This guide will cover everything you need to know about:
Most insurers have an age limit on when you can get pet insurance for your companion. Though this may vary from insurer to insurer, generally, if your pet is younger than six weeks or older than nine years, you won’t be able to take out a new policy for your companion.
Accident-only cover is the only exception – you can usually get this policy for your pet up until 16 years of age with some insurers.
Ideally, you should get pet insurance as soon as possible because the younger your pet, the less likely they will have pre-existing conditions that your insurer won’t cover. As your pet gets older, they’ll gradually have access to fewer policy options and less coverage.
Once your pet reaches the maximum age limit on a certain policy (with most providers), you’ll be able to keep the same policy for your pet for as long as you’d like, provided there’s no break in cover. If you decide to discontinue the policy, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get your pet covered again.
Pet insurance premiums are calculated based on the risk profile of your pet and the likelihood of claiming on a policy. Your pet’s age, breed, health status and other factors are considered when you take out a new cover. That’s why it’s important to insure your pet early in their life before they develop any health problems. The type of cover you choose will also impact the cost of pet insurance; for example, basic pet insurance policies will be cheaper than more comprehensive policies with add-ons.
Different insurers will place their own annual limits on the services and treatments you can claim on your policy. Although many pet owners never reach their annual limit, checking what benefit limits apply to your policy before making a purchase is important.
Some policies may also have sub-limits for specific conditions (e.g. an annual limit on medicine); these limits may become an issue if your pet ends up needing intensive ongoing treatment. Though it’s impossible to foresee issues, it’s important to read through your policy’s PDS to know exactly what you’ll be covered for.
Most insurers begin covering accidents immediately after you purchase your policy. However, there is usually a waiting period for illnesses, health conditions and routine treatments. Most waiting periods are 30 days, but this can vary, depending on your specific pet insurance cover, insurer and the service or treatment you want to claim.
Exclusions vary between insurers, but most policies won’t cover:
Depending on your insurer, vaccinations, de-sexing, hereditary conditions and preventative treatments may not be included. Be sure always to check the exclusions in your policy’s PDS.
Yes, you’ll need to pay an excess each time you claim on your pet insurance policy, although this can vary between insurers (for example, some policies may only require one excess payment per condition). Excess is the fixed amount you pay towards a claim, with your insurer covering the rest of the vet bill up to your benefit percentage. You’ll need to cover this gap between the benefit and the total bill in addition to your policy excess. The general rule of thumb is the higher your excess payment, the lower your monthly premium and vice versa.
Some insurers will apply the policy excess before the benefit percentage is applied, while other insurers will apply the policy excess after.
Pet insurance doesn’t dictate which vet you should use, so the choice is yours no matter the type of policy you have. You can take your insured cat or dog to any veterinary practitioner, specialist, animal clinic or pet hospital that’s licensed and registered in Australia.