9 tips for choosing pet insurance

9 tips for choosing pet insurance

Check how much your premium will increase as your pet ages

Consumer group, CHOICE has 9 tips for choosing pet insurance following their latest review of policies.

CHOICE explains in their Pet Insurance Buying Guide that health insurance for pets is still a relatively new product. In Australia, there are only two providers of pet insurance – Petplan and PetSure, underwritten by Allianz Australia and Hollard respectively. Between them they administer over 60 policies for 19 brands.

The policies in CHOICE’s latest review are either basic accident-only cover or more comprehensive accident-and-illness cover (and one that is illness-only). While these cover surgery, hospitalisation and medicines, in many cases dental care, vaccinations and preventative treatment isn’t included. For those you might need to add routine care, sometimes called wellness care.

Like human health insurance, the customer can be charged either an excess or a co-payment, or both. The excess is the cost of making a claim, which you might pay once for each condition, each year. In the case of a co-payment the insurer splits the vet bill with you. Depending on the co-pay level, customers can pay up to 35% of the overall bill.

Because different policies offer different levels of cover, it can be difficult to figure out which one gives you value for money. To make it easier for you, in CHOICE’s pet insurance reviews they have levelled the playing field by calculating roughly how much cover you get for each dollar of premiums. But remember: although a policy may be great value, it needs to have the features and cover that best suit your needs.

9 tips for choosing pet insurance

  1.  Always read the product disclosure statement (PDS) thoroughly
  2. The earlier you insure your pet, the better. Pre-existing conditions can be a catch.
  3. Check the co-payment policy and the percentage it pays out.
  4. Bear in mind premiums are specific to breed as well as species
  5. Check how much your premium will increase as your pet ages
  6. Check for caps on how much you can claim for ongoing or chronic conditions
  7. Vet bills for tick paralysis can be up to $6000, so check your cover and watch for sublimits.
  8. Ask your vet about common conditions affecting your pet‟s breed. Make sure your policy has sufficient cover for them as some genetic conditions can be pricey.
  9. ‘Routine care’ is a form of ‘extras’ insurance for your pet. Look at your regular pet costs and weigh them against the potential benefits.



CHOICE Pet Insurance Buying Guide
CHOICE Media Release: BEWARE: FISHY CLAWS, CHOICE lets the cat out of the bag on pet insurance terms & conditions that can come back to bite you