Think of all the medical treatment you need throughout your life: check-ups, medications, X-rays, surgery. Our pets aren't much different. And since they're not eligible for Medicare, those costs can add up quickly. Comprehensive pet insurance covers accidents and illnesses and can also help out with the little stuff like vaccines, worming and teeth cleaning.
Featuring Guide Dogs Pet Insurance
Featuring Woolworths Pet Insurance
Protect your furry friend while getting a bunch of extra perks. T&Cs apply.
- Woolworths will Price Beat any lower comparable quote you find
- Get 12 months free VetAssist with every policy, so you can have an online chat with a licensed Australian Vet if you're worried about your pet. Valued at $199.
- Claim up to 80% of your vet bill back.
- $10 from every new policy goes to PetRescue, so you're helping a rescue pet find their furrever home.
- Enjoy 10% off your Woolworths grocery shop every month.
Comprehensive policies will generally cover the following:
- Accident cover. Helps cover vet fees relating to physical injuries, such as electrocution, broken bones, fractures and snake bites.
- Illness cover. Reimburses you for all vet bills, up to the limits and chosen reimbursement percentage of your policy, except for certain conditions that are specifically excluded.
- Routine care allowance. This is usually an optional add-on providing benefits to spend on routine care expenses, such as microchipping, neutering and teeth cleaning.
- Additional benefits. Gives your pet emergency boarding cover, overseas pet cover, tick paralysis benefits and can cover the cost of essential, humane euthanasia.
One insurer’s comprehensive policy might be equivalent to a mid-level policy from a different insurer. You’ll need to look at a few specific factors when choosing the pet policy that’s right for you.
- What does it cover? It’s usually clear whether a given plan has both accident and illness cover, but you will need to look for some of the less common additions, such as dental cover, and check the exclusions.
- How much does it reimburse you? Pet insurance policies reimburse you a certain percentage of medical costs. The typical amount for comprehensive cover is 80%, but it’s possible to find policies that go all the way up to 100% reimbursement, at the cost of higher premiums.
- What’s the annual limit? The annual limit is the total amount you can claim per year. Comprehensive plans typically provide around $15,000 of cover, but once again it’s possible to find higher limits with select policies of up to $20,000. Sub-limits will also typically apply to specific conditions, such as cruciate ligament claims.
A number of factors affect the cost of a pet insurance policy. The age of your pet makes a significant difference as older animals are more susceptible to a range of health issues, which translates to higher premiums with age. Certain breeds are also more at risk of specific health issues and will also grow up to be very different from each other. Larger breeds of dog, for example, will cost more to feed and house than others and usually also attract higher premiums.
Your policy options also affect premiums.
- Your excess. As with other forms of insurance, pet plans typically require you to pay an excess when making a claim. You can generally choose your own excess. You can opt for a higher excess to reduce premiums or select a $0 excess to avoid it entirely. If you select a lower excess, you will have to pay more in premiums.
- Your chosen reimbursement. Many policies give you a range of options, and let you select your own reimbursement amount up to a specific cap, such as 80%.
- Multi-pet discounts. If you’re looking for cover for multiple animals, it can be a good idea to get them all from the same provider. Many providers will give discounts based on the number of animals insured with them.
- Your payment plan. Some insurers will let you opt to pay premiums monthly, fortnightly or annually. It often costs less to opt for annual payments.
The example below provides an example quote from a known pet insurer:
|Cover Type||Breed||Age||Annual Premium|
|Premium Accident and Illness Cover||Labrador||5||$1095|
Disclaimer: Please note that this example should only be viewed as a guide for what you may expect to pay for a comprehensive policy.
You can use the above options to help tailor your policy’s costs to suit your needs, but it’s also a good idea to consider other ways of reducing costs.
- Access discounts. Australia’s pet insurance market is relatively small and competitive. Many insurers extend discounts to new customers.
- Utilise routine care. The total limits on your routine care allowance can often exceed your cost. You can save money by using its full limits each year on benefits such as teeth cleaning, which also helps your pet stay healthy and reduces the odds of it needing more expensive treatments later.
- Keep your pet happy and healthy. Health and happiness can often go hand in hand.
The complex nature of animal health needs and the differences between policies mean it’s often a good idea to consult your vet before deciding on any one option. Where possible, you should do this before your puppy or kitten is eight weeks old, so you’re ready to find cover as soon as you can.
It’s often worth getting quotes from multiple insurers and checking how to customise a policy in line with your vet’s recommendations. This will help you to find the highest level of cover available and make sure you and your pet enjoy your time together to the fullest.
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