Compare Pet Insurance Australia: Compare Pet Insurance Policies from Australian Insurers
The improvement in the level of veterinary care available to our pets has been astounding in recent years. It’s now possible to give our pets a wide range of advanced treatments than ever before, and dogs and cats are living longer, healthier lives as a result.
Unfortunately, the advances in veterinary medicine come at a cost. While people have the luxury of Medicare to help take care of medical bills, our pets don’t. When a pet suffers an unexpected illness or injury, many owners find themselves facing astronomical vet bills that they simply cannot afford.
This is where pet insurance comes to the rescue. It offers essential financial assistance to help pet owners cover those costly vet bills, ensuring that you don’t have to compromise on the treatment your four-legged family member receives.
Pet insurance offers peace of mind and allows you to give your dog or cat the treatment he deserves. But in order to find the best policy* for your needs, it’s important to compare pet insurance to help you find the right cover solution.
Types of Pet Insurance
Though the exact policies and level of cover provided will differ between insurers, most companies tend to offer three separate pet insurance policies:
- Accident or injury cover. This type of policy will provide cover for up to 80% of your vet bills when your pet requires treatment for an accidental injury. This includes bone fractures, tendon and ligament injuries, injuries from falls, injuries from car accidents, burns, snake bites, allergic reactions from insect bites (excluding fleas and ticks) and more. Your policy will let you claim up to a certain amount of emergency vet bills each year, for example up to $12,000.
- Accident and illness cover. This type of policy will provide cover for all the injuries mentioned above. In addition, if your pet suffers a specified illness your policy will cover up a percentage of the veterinary costs that result. This can include cover for cancer, hereditary problems, skin conditions and much more. However, you will not be covered if your pet suffers an illness for which there is a vaccine, or if your claim relates to a pre-existing condition.
- Comprehensive cover. This type of policy offers all the cover included in an accident and illness policy but often to a higher limit. In addition, it features a range of premium benefits like emergency boarding costs when you are hospitalised, cover for essential euthanasia, a paralysis tick benefit and overseas travel insurance for your pet. In addition, you can add a routine care benefit to cover some of the cost of things like ongoing vet check-ups and vaccinations.
How to Compare Pet Insurance
The best thing you can do when looking for pet insurance cover is shop around. This type of insurance offers a vital form of financial protection, so it’s important that you find a policy that meets the needs of you and your pet. First of all, when you begin to compare pet insurance, you should look at online comparison websites and weigh up the pros and cons of a number of competing policies.
You’ll need to make sure you’re comparing apples with apples when you compare pet insurance, as the cover offered under an accident only policy is very different to the protection you’ll receive from a comprehensive policy. Once you know the type of policy you’re looking for and what you want cover for, you can have a better idea of what you need to keep your pet safe.
Read product disclosure statements (PDS) closely to familiarise yourself with the benefits, features, limits and exclusions on offer. Comparing pet insurance policies can be a boring task, but it is a necessary one. And once you know what to look for, all the technical jargon of these policy documents quickly becomes much easier to understand.
It’s also a sensible idea to obtain quotes for a number of policies. You can quickly and easily get quotes online, allowing you to assess the true value of the cover offered by each policy. However, remember that a cheap policy isn’t necessarily the best one for your needs, as you typically get what you pay for when it comes to insurance.Back to top
What to Look for in a Pet Insurance Policy
There are a host of factors you will need to take into consideration when comparing pet insurance policies. To start with, look at the minimum and maximum age your pet can be when you apply for cover. This typically ranges from eight weeks to about nine or ten years of age. Also, investigate whether your pet will be eligible for lifetime cover once you have a policy in place.
What limit does the insurer place on the amount you will be able to claim each year? A policy that will pay out $12,000 in benefits per year will obviously offer more financial protection than one which limits its payouts to $8,000 annually, so take the time to familiarise yourself with these figures. You should also be wary of the fact that some policies will word their limits in terms of the maximum amount they will pay out per claim, as opposed to the maximum amount they will pay out per year.
What percentage of your eligible vet bills does each competing policy cover? While policies will typically cover around 75% to 80% of the cost of your veterinary bills, the figure may be higher or lower on different insurance plans.
Depending on where you live, ticks may pose a significant threat to the health of your pet. With this in mind, check to see whether a tick paralysis benefit applies to your policy, as ticks can lead to some expensive vet bills piling up in your name.
Finally, you’ll need to consider how much your policy will cost you. Of course, the factor that people most commonly take into account is the cost of premiums, but don’t forget that you’ll probably have to pay an excess when making a claim. Remember to take this into account when doing your sums and weighing up the benefits and drawbacks of each policy.Back to top
Why Pet Owners Need Pet Insurance
When your dog or cat suffers an unexpected illness or injury, you’d be surprised just how quickly the bills can add up. Veterinary treatment isn’t cheap, and if your dog suffers a serious health issue and faces a few nights’ stay in a vet clinic as well as expensive treatment, your bills could soon be heading north of the $10,000 mark. For example, a 2011 report by CHOICE magazine revealed the average cost of vet fee claims for cancer was $2,245, for cataracts was $2,151, for multiple fractures was $2,444 and for snake bite was $1,673.
Sadly, many owners simply can’t afford to pay for such expensive treatment. These owners love and adore their pets and would do just about anything for them, but sometimes the cost of vet fees is simply too much to bear. In these unfortunate cases, dogs and cats that could otherwise have been saved have to be put down.
Taking out pet insurance cover is the best way to avoid such a heartbreaking situation. This type of insurance is designed to guarantee that you can give your furry friend the care and treatment he or she needs. You won’t have to compromise on your pet’s health and you won’t have to stress about your finances while your pet lies on the operating table.
There are pet insurance plans available to suit the needs and budgets of a wide variety of pet owners, so taking out cover really is the best thing you can do for your pet.Back to top
What to be Careful When Comparing Pet Insurance
Just like with any other type of insurance policy, there are a few factors you need to be wary of when you compare pet insurance policies. These include:
- Pre-existing conditions. Your policy will most likely exclude coverage for any pre-existing conditions which your pet suffers from. However, you may be able to arrange special coverage with your insurer for an extra cost.
- Entry age. Most insurers will not allow you to take out your policy after your pet has reached a certain age, usually nine years. The minimum entry age is usually around eight weeks.
- Make sure you vaccinate. It’s the job of every responsible pet owner to vaccinate their pet. If you fail to keep up to date with your pet’s vaccinations and then he or she suffers an otherwise preventable illness, don’t expect any sympathy from your insurance company.
- Take reasonable care. If you fail to take reasonable steps to look after your pet, your insurer has the right to reject your claim. For example, if you keep your dog in an unfenced yard right next to a busy road, the injuries he sustains when he gets hit by a car may not be covered by your insurer.
- Breeding. If you decide to breed your pet, keep in mind that many policies exclude all conditions related to breeding and pregnancy.
- What percentage of the bills will you have to pay? Most policies will typically cover 75% or 80% of your eligible vet bills. So, when you're choosing a policy, be on thee look out for a policy that covers a large percentage.
- Benefit limits. How much will your policy pay in benefits each year? Is there a lifetime benefit limit in place for certain conditions?
How to Compare Pet Insurance Costs
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a whopping 36.9% of the $6 billion Australians spend on their pets each year goes towards pet health. Despite this fact, the vast majority of Australian pet owners (around 95%) do not have any pet insurance cover in place.
Many people are put off by the perceived cost of this type of cover, but pet insurance may actually be more affordable than you think. On average, pet insurance will set you back around $350 a year, with cross-bred animals typically cheaper to insure than their purebred counterparts.
Cats are generally cheaper to insure than dogs, while the type of policy you choose (accident, accident and illness or comprehensive) will obviously also affect how much you have to pay.
When you consider just how easily your dog or cat could rack up a vet bill in excess of $1,000, it quickly becomes apparent just how good an investment pet insurance can be. Without this cover in place, you’d need to have an emergency fund of at least a few thousand dollars stored away to cope with unexpected emergencies. Even then, this may not be enough and you may still have more expensive bills to manage in the future.
When comparing pet insurance costs, also remember to take into account the percentage of vet bills your policy covers.Back to top
Pet Insurance FAQs
Q. How old does my pet have to be to be eligible for cover?
- A. You can typically apply for cover when your pet is aged between eight weeks and nine years.
Q. Do I have to go to a certain vet to ensure that I’m still covered?
- A. No. As long as your regular vet is licensed to practise in Australia, you can continue to go to your regular vet clinic.
Q. Are hereditary problems covered?
- A. Some insurers will exclude all hereditary conditions from cover. However, some providers will cover these conditions, as long as there were no symptoms of the condition when you applied for cover.
Q. How can I pay my premiums?
- A. Most insurers will offer flexible repayment options to help you schedule premium payments to suit your budget. You may be able to pay fortnightly, monthly or annually, via credit card or direct debit.
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If you’re a dog lover or a feline fancier, it makes perfect sense to take out pet insurance cover so you can afford to pay for any veterinary treatment your pet may need. However, make sure to shop around and compare pet insurance to find the policy that offers the best protection* for you and your pet.Back to top
* The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.