Is it time to re-think pet insurance?

pet advice

Is it time to re-think pet insurance?

words by
catherine harper // Barossa Veterinary clinic

Many people have mixed opinions or experiences around pet insurance.  

Like all things, some are overwhelmingly positive, and others are terrible.  

Generally, press around pet insurance has been on the negative side in the last few years, with the entire industry being awarded a shonky by Choice in 2019.  

Choice justified this award due to concerns around policies being expensive, confusing around inclusions and for offering policies with many exclusions and restrictions.  

Reading the fine print was essential to get value from the policy.  

A major sticking point was pre-existing conditions and the common complaint of ‘nit picking’ by the insurer to avoid having to pay out on any condition previously even hinted at as part of a pet’s clinical records.  

Since the 2019 put down, pet insurance companies have significantly reviewed their policy offerings and several new providers have entered the market.  

This has created additional competition as well as a changing face of the options provided though pet insurance.  

The big changes include: 

• Many policies will now cover or have the option to cover dental procedures – given these are one of the most common intervention procedures to ensure a pet’s ongoing good health. This is a huge improvement for the pet and owner.

•Pre-existing conditions that have previously been resolved but recur, may be covered.

• GapOnly payments are available for a good portion of providers. 

• Limits for particular conditions have been removed.

All these things are not true of all policies, but they are positive changes in the right direction.  

In terms of where to look, assessing your other insurance providers and seeing if you can bundle pet insurance with them is a good starting point. Otherwise having a chat to staff at your local clinic can help provide further information.

While they are not able to recommend a specific provider, they can provide good information on the options available.  

So, why would I consider pet insurance? 

The benefits of pet insurance are significant, especially in these times where finances are tighter for a lot of households.  

Pet insurance provides peace of mind and reduces the potential economic challenges of owning an pet.  

It can take finance off the table when considering treatment options for your pet, as after the excess, the majority of the account is covered.  

This improves the care pets can receive and ultimately leads to better outcomes.  

GapOnly coverage improves the service even more, by reducing the cost of paying upfront and waiting for reimbursement.  

My own pet has been insured throughout his 14 years, starting when he was a puppy and I was a uni student.  

It allowed me to treat him with the best options available throughout his life and fortunately has helped him to be the beautiful old soul that he is.  

I happily recommend this product. It is not without it faults, but it can be an absolute blessing in so many situations.  

Some quick tips:

• Insure your new pet as young as possible. This ensures everything is covered and has given you the maximum benefit of the policy.

• Consider a bigger excess to reduce the monthly cost – ensuring you have cover for any significant problems.

• Do your research, compare companies and read the product disclosure statement –  be very clear about what you are paying for .

• If insurance isn’t right for you, consider a bank account for your pet’s health care. 

Catherine Harper


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