The purpose of this page is to provide general information to BBNA/BBNQ members on pet insurance. It does not attempt to explain the policy conditions of any specific pet insurance brand.
The Ins and Outs of Pet Insurance
The unexpected can happen with a pet when you are least financially prepared. So being prepared for veterinary costs gives peace of mind and it avoids a situation where you have to make hard decisions with a pet who is ill or who has had an accident. Most of us know that veterinary bills can quickly escalate; surgery, medication or overnight stays at the vet could leave you with a debt that you could be paying off for years.
Taking pet insurance is one way of being prepared for veterinary costs, or if one is disciplined enough, a regular savings plan can be undertaken to put some money away for future veterinary outlays.
While there are many pet insurance bands available such as: PetSecure, Woolworths, Bupa and many more. All of these brands are underwritten by two insurance companies, these are The Hollard Insurance company, and Allianz Insurance company.
Across all of the pet insurance brands, there are basically three types of pet insurance product types available.
• Accident only. This type covers accidents only, not illness, and is subject to the usual benefit limitations.
• Accident and illness. This type is the most common policy, with coverage subject to annual benefit limits.
• Accident, illness and routine care. Routine Care can be added on to many of the accident and illness policies and provides limited annual benefits for routine care such as: micro-chipping, teeth cleaning, council registration fees, de-sexing and heartworm control.
All policies will have general conditions and exclusions and these will DIFFER between pet insurance brands. So it is very important to check these in the Product Disclosure Statement(PDS) for each brand:
• Pre-existing conditions. These are generally excluded for the lifetime of your pet, which differs from human health insurance, where pre-existing condition exclusions are waived after a waiting period. One example of a pre-existing condition could be if you have a dog who has a skin/fur condition before the start of a policy and it is unfortunately later on diagnosed with Cushing disease, then the Cushing disease could be excluded as a pre-existing condition since the skin/fur problem may have been an early symptom of the disease.
• If your pet dies after you make a claim, some policies insist that you still pay premiums for the remainder of the policy period.
• Restrictions on which events are covered. For example swallowing foreign objects is covered by most accident and illness policies (but not accident only), but many insurers restrict this cover to once per policy period. So if your cat or dog is a serial offender like my Cat Hamish is, then it could become costly.
Other things to consider
• The earlier you insure your pet, the better as there is limited scope to change policies later in your pet’s life if it has pre-existing conditions. A puppy or kitten is likely to have less pre-existing conditions than a mature dog or cat.
• Most of the pet insurance policies have some kind of co-payment/excess. The insurer pays a fixed percentage of costs up to the annual maximum benefit, and you pay the rest. For most policies, the insurer will pay between 70% and 85%.
• Some policies increase premiums for older animals.
• Review the regular costs for your pet and weigh them against the premiums you would pay. Compare different policies to ensure that you get the best cover to suit your requirements for a premium within your budget.
• A Routine care optional add-on is similar to human health insurance “extras” and is subject to maximum benefit and sub-limits per treatment.
• Some policies may not cover your pet after 12 months of a chronic or recurring illness/injury, while some policies will cover these under certain conditions.
• Generally most policies have waiting periods.
In Australia you also have a cooling off period from when you sign a policy where you can cancel it and get your money back. However different policies will generally have different time periods for cooling off (or money back guarantees), which can range anyway from 14 days up to 30 days, so it is very important to check this with each policy.
Note: While BBNA advertises PetSecure pet insurance on its website it recommends to its members to read all pet insurance product disclosure statements (PDS) careful so that you understand the conditions and exclusions in a policy before you sign on the dotted line. The PetSecure product is issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd and administered by PetSure Australia Pty Ltd.
Petsecure proudly supports the many hard working pet rescue organisations across Australia, including BBNA. If you are interested in Petsecure pet insurance then click on the Petsecure icon on the BBNA home page and this will take you to Petsecure’s pet insurance website.
10% Discount is available to BBNA members and our rescue clients. Enter the promo code: RESC14 when you apply for your cover. Also if you introduce your friends to Petsecure you can receive a special gift card of $50.00 – up to a maximum of $150.00.