Pet insurance can help cover a portion of eligible veterinary costs if your pet gets sick or injured unexpectedly. Before buying a policy, make sure you consider the appropriate cover for your pet’s specific requirements and the costs.
Remember too, pet insurance products are designed to cover larger, unexpected pet healthcare expenses and may not cover routine costs, for example, flea and worm preventive treatments, vaccinations or grooming for example.
To determine the type of pet insurance product and level of cover that may suit your needs, consider factors like:
- your pet’s breed and specific needs and the costs of veterinary care
- your budget
- different policy types
- key product features like the annual benefit limit and excess options
Why does breed matter?
Health conditions for pets can vary according to their breed, so research your pet’s breed profile to identify common breed-specific conditions that may affect your pet, including the average treatment costs. For example, Golden Retrievers can be prone to gastrointestinal problems, and PetSure data shows the highest cost for a treatment in 2022 was $19,500.
When researching pet insurance, it’s important to source a policy that will cover your pet for the kinds of treatment they are likely to need. Review the breed profile for your pet and the policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) because there may be sub-limits for specific treatments for some breeds.
It’s also important to understand that each year pet insurance premiums rise due to the change in risk profile over a 12-month period, which is impacted by your pet ageing and other factors, so consider how this will fit into your budget.
What are the different policy types?
This article focuses on pet health insurance, rather than wellness programs. The difference between the two is explained here.
This covers vet costs if your pet is injured in an accident. Consider whether accident-only cover is the most appropriate for your pet. You may not need this type of cover if, for example, you walk your pet on a leash and keep them mainly indoors. Read the PDS to understand exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Accident and illness insurance
This covers your pet if they are in an accident or get sick. This cover can reimburse you for a portion of eligible vet treatments if your pet becomes unexpectedly sick or is injured. Read the PDS to understand exactly what is and isn’t covered.
This covers your pet for accidents, illness, preventive care and some routine vet checks such as vaccinations and worming. Check the PDS to see exactly what is and isn’t covered for any comprehensive policy you’re considering.
When comparing the various policy types available, consider the features of each and your budget to determine what best suits you and your pet.
Most insurers won’t cover pre-existing medical conditions, which means any condition your pet shows signs and symptoms of before being insured. Read the PDS to see what exclusions apply if your pet is already sick or injured. PetSure’s quick video explains more.
What are the key product features to consider?
Annual benefit limit
Policies have annual benefit limits, which means there is a maximum amount you can claim against your insurance in a policy period, which is usually 12 months. Check the PDS for a specific product you are considering, but generally annual limits are $10,000 or more.
Most policies have sub-limits for specific illnesses for example, tick paralysis, cruciate ligament surgery, hip dysplasia and dental illness. Check the PDS to see if a policy has additional limits on specified veterinary expenses.
Policies also offer a set benefit percentage, usually up to 60%–90%. That’s the amount you’ll get back for each eligible claim you make. You pay the remainder as a gap (the difference between the vet’s invoice and the eligible claim benefit under their policy) or an out-of-pocket expense.
Policies have excess levels. That’s the amount you pay before the insurance cover kicks in. You can generally increase the excess amount to reduce your premium however, when it comes time to claim, you’ll pay the excess (typically $50 to $500 for each claimable condition), which is deducted from the amount you are reimbursed for the claim.
Many policies offer a range of value-add services. Here’s two examples:
- All PetSure administered products offer GapOnly®, an innovative payment solution that enables pet parents to just pay the gap (the difference between the vet’s invoice and the eligible claim benefit under their policy), which reduces upfront out-of-pocket vet expenses.
- Vet telehealth offers pet parents 24/7 online access to Australian-registered vets for advice and triage. Vet telehealth services, like VetChat, are a great way for pet owners to quickly determine the next steps to resolve their animal’s issues.
PetSure’s policy finder tool can help you understand different product types and features so you can find a policy that suits your needs. If you have more questions about pet insurance, this article provides some in-depth answers to help you make an educated and informed decision.
Insurance products are issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436 (Hollard) and/or PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure) (from 8 May 2023 only), administered by PetSure and promoted and distributed through their authorised representatives and distribution partners.
Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing or choosing to continue with the product. PDS and Target Market Determination are available on our partners’ websites. Meet our partners at petsure.com.au/partners.
GapOnly ® is a trademark owned by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Meet our partners at petsure.com.au/partners.
VetChat Services Pty Ltd is a related company to PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd.
Pet insurance can help by covering a portion of the eligible vet bill if the unexpected happens. Because it is difficult to predict the costs of veterinary care, it can help to have measures in place to help prepare for the unexpected. Check out our partner network and explore our policy tools to find a pet insurance policy.
Not all conditions or items are covered by Pet Insurance. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for information about coverage and exclusions.