Compare Pet Insurance Companies

Compare Pet Insurance Companies

Finding the right pet insurance plan doesn’t have to be complex!  If you know the right questions to ask, you can find a policy that is affordable and provides the coverage your pet needs.  This article will highlight the most important aspects to keep in mind when comparing pet insurance companies.

Compare the policy type

The first aspect you should keep in mind when comparing pet insurance policies is the policy type.  There are three types of coverage available in Australia:

  1. Accident only pet insurance plans
    These policies cover your pet for any medical costs relating to an accident.  This includes things like animal bites, bee stings, falls, and car accidents. 
  2. Accident and illness pet insurance plans
    This type of policy also covers illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. 
  3. Comprehensive insurance plans
    In addition to covering accidents and illnesses, comprehensive plans provide funds for routine and preventative care.  This means the insurance company will help you pay for vaccinations, behavioural classes, and flea treatments.

By understanding which type of policy you are looking at, you can make apples-to-apples comparisons.

Compare the premiums

The premium is the money you pay to the insurance company for coverage.  Most consumers pay their pet insurance premiums on a monthly basis, however, some providers encourage consumers to pay annually or quarterly.  

It’s important to understand that the policy’s premium usually reflects the features that the policy has.  For example, comprehensive pet insurance policies will cost more than accident-only policies.  Policies with a low deductible will usually have a high premium.  Policies with higher benefit limits or more features will also have a higher premium. 

Compare the deductibles

The deductible is the amount of money you must contribute when making a new claim on your pet insurance policy.  Here are a few important considerations when comparing deductibles:

  • What is the total amount of the deductible
    Most Australian pet insurance policies have a deductible of between $200 to $500.  It is possible to find policies with smaller deductibles, but they will usually have larger premiums.
  • Are there different deductibles for different conditions or treatments?
    Some policies will have larger deductibles for specific conditions like cruciate ligament surgery or paralysis ticks treatments.  It is common to see $1,000 deductibles for some treatments.
  • Will the deductibles change as my pet gets older?
    Some policies will increase the rate of deductibles for older pets.
  • How high is the policy’s premium?
    When comparing the deductibles of two or more different policies, always keep the premiums in mind.  You will find that policies with lower premiums have higher deductibles and vice versa.   

Compare the exclusions

Pet insurance policies usually have a list of conditions and treatments they will not cover — called exclusions.  Common exclusions include:

  • Illness or injuries from pre-existing conditions
  • Illness or injuries caused by neglect
  • Elective treatments like orthodontics or de-sexing
  • Certain genetic conditions
  • Treatment of illnesses during the waiting period
  • Treatment of illnesses for which there is a vaccine
  • Prescription diet food
  • Stem cell and gene therapies
  • Conditions relating to breeding
  • Organ transplants and artificial limbs
  • Travel and emergency boarding fees

Always check the exclusions list before purchasing a policy so you are aware of what is not included.

Compare each policy’s excess and annual benefit limit

Most Australian pet insurance policies will only cover a portion of your veterinary bills.  Typically, that will be between 80 to 85% of the total bill.  You have to pay the remainder, which is called the excess.  Compare the excess of each policy to see how much they will actually pay when you make a claim.  

Most insurance policies will also have an annual benefit limit.  This is the maximum amount of money you can claim in a policy year.  Some policies may also have different annual benefit limits on certain procedures or conditions.  For example, it is common for policies to have a limit on how much money they will pay for cruciate ligament surgery each year.

Compare each policies coverage of older animals

Pet insurance policies often have limitations when it comes to covering older pets.  Some policies will refuse to cover cats or dogs older than 8 or 9 years of age.  Other policies will only provide coverage to older pets if you register them with the provider when they are young.  

Most Australian pet insurance policies will change the premiums and deductibles that are due for older pets.  It is common for premiums to increase by 25% when your pet reaches a certain age and your deductible may increase.

They may also change the amount that they are willing to cover.  Instead of covering 80 or 85% of a veterinary bill, they may only cover 65% of the bill for older pets. 

Compare the reputations of each insurance company

Ask your veterinarian, friends and family for their opinion on the insurance companies you are considering.  They may have some experience with one or more of the companies.  You can also visit review sites online to see what other people say about the pet insurance companies you are considering.