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Pet insurance exclusions

Pet insurance is cool, and keeps your best mate safe. But there's also a bunch of small print that spells out exclusions where you won't be covered.

What you need to know

  • Animals are rad. I like rabbits the most. Anyway, pet insurance keeps them healthy and you not poor.
  • Alas, insurance companies are still cogs in the capitalist machine, and will do anything to deny your claim.
  • Knowledge is power though, so lets chat about pet insurance exclusions.

Common Pet Insurance Exclusions in Australia

While exclusions vary across policies and insurers, here are some common ones to watch out for:

  1. Pre-existing Conditions: Most policies exclude pre-existing conditions, such as hip or elbow dysplasia, that occurred before the policy's start date. However, chronic conditions that develop after the policy's inception may be covered.
  2. Preventable Diseases: Insurers typically exclude diseases with known vaccines, like parvovirus or heartworm, to encourage responsible pet ownership and preventative care.
  3. Dental Treatments: Routine dental cleanings and treatments for oral diseases are often excluded from standard policies. Some insurers offer optional routine care add-ons to cover a portion of dental expenses.
  4. Elective Procedures: Treatments deemed non-medically necessary, such as de-sexing or cosmetic procedures, are generally excluded from illness cover.
  5. Breeding and Pregnancy: Most pet insurance policies are designed for pet owners, not breeders, and exclude costs related to breeding, pregnancy, or obstetrics.
  6. Prescription Diets: Special prescription foods or dietary supplements are typically not covered by pet insurance policies.
  7. Ambulance Costs: Some policies may exclude transportation costs for sick or injured pets, even if the veterinary treatment itself is covered.

Why compare pet insurance with Finder?

  • You pay the same price as buying directly from the pet insurer.

  • We're not owned by an insurer (unlike other comparison sites).

  • We don't ask for your phone or email.

  • We've reviewed over 35 policies on the market, so you don't have to.

Other stuff that can come up

Yup, there's more. These are some other conditions that can stop you getting a claim approved, even if they're not technically a general exclusion.

  • Age Limits: Many insurers only cover pets from 6-8 weeks old until they reach 8-9 years of age. Premiums may increase as pets get older.
  • Waiting Periods: Policies often have waiting periods of 30 days to 6 months before certain conditions or benefits can be claimed.
  • Benefit Limits: Policies may have annual or per-condition benefit limits, as well as sub-limits for specific treatments or therapies.
  • Banned Breeds: Certain dog breeds deemed dangerous or banned by local authorities may be excluded from coverage.

Tips for Pet Owners

What kind of writer would I be if I didn't leave you with actionable tips? A terrible one - they'd never let me back on the morning shows again.

  1. Read the PDS: Thoroughly review the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to understand your policy's coverage, exclusions, and benefit limits.
  2. Insure Early: Consider insuring your pet while they're young, as premiums tend to be lower and pre-existing conditions are less likely.
  3. Disclose Medical History: Be honest about your pet's medical history when applying for insurance to avoid potential claim denials.
  4. Compare Policies: Shop around and compare policies from different insurers to find the best coverage for your pet's needs and budget.

Why you can trust Finder's pet insurance experts

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independentYou can trust us. We say it like it is. We aren't owned by an insurer and our opinions are our own.

Frequently Asked Questions

Written by

Tim Bennett

Tim Bennett is a Finder insurance expert. For over 10 years he's reported on news, politics, finance and other topics as a journalist and radio presenter. Tim's roles have included radio news reader and breakfast at the ABC, news producer for SBS and producer for Fairfax Media. Tim regularly appears as a health insurance expert on programs like Sunrise and SBS news, as well as in the Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail and more. See full profile

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2 Responses

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    AnniemacSeptember 29, 2017

    We have had our Golden Retriever insured since he was 8 weeks of age – he is now 6. We have just received our insurance renewal and it has increased over 19.5%. The monthly premium is now causing issues to our budget, however, our pup has had both his back knees replaced (TPLO surgery) due to cruciate ligament and he has arthritis. I have not been able to find a provide who is willing to cover us for these conditions if we move our policy stating that they are pre-existing conditions – BUT we have been paying insurance since he was 8 weeks of age – these condition are not pre-existing to insurance cover – they are only pre-existing to a new company. Why won’t policy writer’s “transfer” conditions that have been covered by other providers???? We have done the right thing but are now in a position of having to stay and pay the exorbitant fee increase our current insurer has levied, or we move and lose the cover we have had for the past 6 years.

      JoanneSeptember 29, 2017Finder

      Hi Anniemac,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Some of conditions that could affect your pet’s insurance premium over time would be age and premium loading. For the pre-existing condition that the new insurer is considering, you will need to discuss this with the previous/existing insurer.

      In line with that, it may still be possible to obtain pet insurance with pre-existing conditions on record. Our page will discuss what the options are and how an insurer will determine a pet’s pre existing conditions.

      As always, please read the fine print carefully and familiarise yourself with the product disclosure statement (PDS), as each insurer’s definition of a pre-existing condition may vary.


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