Pet Insurance – Is it right for you?
With so many people becoming proud pet parents, Pawssum looks at pet insurance, and if it could be the right fit for you and your pet.
It’s no surprise to many pet owners that veterinary costs can be high, with many pet parents not understanding the extent of the costs until something goes wrong.
We caught up with Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia to get a better understanding of what pet insurance can help with.
“It’s important that pet owners understand that veterinary costs are not subsidised by the government like human medical costs,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “So ultimately the entire cost of your veterinary care will fall directly on the owner of the animal.”
Veterinarians are also highly-trained specialists. When you consider the many years of training to become a vet, it can all come at a large cost. Particularly with no government subsidiary – imagine having to pay for your human surgery with no help from Medicare or the like.
Your mobile vet is typically a one-stop-shop for all of your pet’s medical needs, from sick pet consultation, vaccinations, microchipping, blood tests, nail clipping and even euthanasia. It’s this level of quality care that can add to the end costs when treating and saving a beloved family pet.
Veterinary Technology and advancements have also increased hugely over the past two decades, with many injuries and illnesses once deemed untreatable, now becoming curable.
Many pet households have proven that budgeting a little each month towards pet insurance can save them massive amounts of stress, and money, during an accident or illness. Remembering that if your pet does get sick, you could be left with a bill that includes*:
• Mobile vet visit
• Examination of your sick pet
• Anaesthetic costs
• Hospital stays
• Lab testing
• 24hr care
and more depending on your pet’s condition.
*Not all conditions and treatments are covered by pet insurance. Please refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for further information.
“Pet Insurance Australia offers pet insurance for pets that can save you as much as 80% of your eligible veterinary bills, depending on the type of cover, limits, waiting periods, and pre-existing conditions,” Crighton says. “As with all insurance, it’s important to read the fine print and get a good understanding of what you are covered for in your policies.”
Best Time to Get Pet Insurance
It’s always a good idea to budget for your pet insurance when you first decide to get a pet. Most providers offer sign-up from the age of eight weeks old, with cut-off ages at nine, and lifetime cover for those pets who hold policies.
Unfortunately if your pet sufferers from a serious illness, this could be deemed a pre-existing condition – meaning that the illness was diagnosed before the insurance took place, and cover will not be possible for that certain illness.
“Not all pre-existing conditions are the same,” Crighton notes. “ At PIA we have pre-existing conditions categorised as chronic or temporary, meaning that some conditions that do resolve with treatment can be coverable in the future.”
Many pet insurance providers can also offer a review of pre-existing conditions for their clients.
“It’s important to also understand that your first claim – that requires more information – you will be asked to provide your pet’s vet history,” Crighton recommends. “For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep note of all the vets you attend to make your first claim go smoothly.”
Once this information is on record your pet insurance provider shouldn’t need to ask for it again.
“It’s also good to remember that for our lovable rescue pets, most pet insurance providers will only require history from the time you took ownership, but it’s important to check and ask these questions before you sign-up.”
What Will I Be Covered For?
This can vary. Certain providers will cover different things however you must read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) that you can normally find on the insurer’s website. You can normally sign-up online with just a few clicks.
Important things to ponder:
• What is the annual cap?
• What limits apply?
• Pre-existing conditions?
• Waiting periods?
• Illnesses not covered?
• Can I choose my excess?
• History of pet?
• How do I make a claim?
• Are the a GapOnly member – meaning you can claim on the spot at a participating vet?
“Sometimes, clients are not aware of some of the benefits, such as an annual benefit for paralysis tick conditions or treatments such as worming and other routine care claims, while others are not aware that their pet’s condition is not covered until it comes time to claim,” Crighton says. “At PIA we understand that sometimes reading the fine print can be boring so, we’ve made a PDS as easily digestible as possible, so we strongly advise pulling up a comfy chair, grabbing a cuppa, and having a good read over your policy.”
How Much Does Vet Care Cost
We’ve compiled a list of the top treatments and their max amounts claimed to give owners a good snapshot of how much treatments can cost, and how quickly they can add up for the average pet parent, during an emergency, or even for something less traumatic such as skin conditions.
Max Claimed Conditions Dogs
• Skin Condition – Infection/Allergy – $2,729.10
• Gastrointestinal Tract Condition – $8,307.80
• Ear Condition – $14,372.74
• Accident – Tissue Damage or Fracture – $23,490.05
• Muscle/Skeletal Condition – Arthritis- $6,131.24
• Neoplasia or Mass Lesion – $14,266.83
• Eye Condition – $4,687.10
• Ingestion of a Foreign Body or Toxin – $9,224.68
• Muscle/Skeletal Condition – $6,774.41
• Neurological Condition – $10,905.40
Max Claimed Conditions Cats
• Gastrointestinal Tract Condition – $5,206.01
• Urinary System Disorder – Other – $5,894.89
• Accident – Tissue Damage or Fracture – $6,603.85
• Urinary System Disorder – $8,430.13
• Skin Condition – Infection/Allergy – $1,500.45
• Respiratory Tract Condition – $6,137.34
• Eye Condition – $4,570.94
• Diabetes – $5,029.67
• Ingestion of a Foreign Body or Toxin – $6,313.17
• Neoplasia – $5,775.25
*PIA Portfolio Data 2022
“If you are considering pet insurance also do a bit of research into the chosen brand,” Crighton suggests. “Consider recent and past awards, client reviews and testimonials, and comments on their customer service, all of this information will help you make the best choice for you and your family pet.”
The Promo Code PIAPAWSSUM on the Pet Insurance Australia website entitles you to 3 MONTHS FREE in your first year of cover (the first three months) when you opt to pay your premiums fortnightly or monthly. If you opt to pay annually, you will instead receive this benefit as a 25% discount off your premium paid at policy inception. This special offer applies to new policies only and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer (other than our discount for additional pets).