Top 10 Things To Think About When Selecting Pet Insurance

Top 10 Things To Think About When Selecting Pet Insurance

Choosing the right pet insurance plan is not always easy!  Some pet insurance policies use complex terminology or have a long list of terms and conditions.  Consumers have to compare policies carefully to ensure their pets get the coverage they need.

This article will make buying the right pet insurance policy much simpler!  It shares the 10 most important considerations you should make when buying pet insurance.  These tips will help you find the perfect pet insurance policy.  Let’s get started!

1 — Choose a policy with the right deductible

Most Australian pet insurance policies have a deductible (sometimes called an excess).  This is the financial contribution you make when filing a new claim with your insurance company.  A deductible is only payable on any new medical condition that you claim within a policy year.  

For example, if your dog has a skin condition, you may have to pay a $200 deductible when you first visit a vet.  Subsequent visits to the vet to treat that condition will not attract another deductible.  However, if your dog has another flare up of the skin condition a year later, you may have to pay another deductible.  

Australian pet insurance policies have deductibles ranging from $0 to $500.  Typically, the lower the deductible, the higher the monthly premiums are.  You should consider your financial situation and the health of your pet before choosing a deductible.  

Is your dog older or gets sick often?  Choose a policy with a low deductible and higher monthly premiums.  Is your pet healthy and you want to keep monthly premiums low?  Choose a policy with a high deductible and low premium.

2 — Check if the policy has a variety of deductible rates

Some Australian pet insurance policies will have different deductibles for different conditions.  For example, if you have a dog that needs cruciate ligament surgery, you may find that the policy has a $1,000 deductible instead of $300.  This is because this condition is common for certain dog breeds and very active dogs.  Some policies may also have larger deductibles for paralysis tick treatments, because there are preventative treatments available for ticks.  Check if your pet is more likely to have one of the conditions with a higher deductible.

3 — Check which conditions and treatments are not covered

Australian pet insurance policies will have a list of conditions that are not covered by the policy.  Generally, that will always include conditions caused by neglect, pre-existing conditions and illnesses that could have been avoided with a vaccine.  However, some policies will also not cover: 

  • Dental procedures
  • Elective or cosmetic procedures
  • Cancer
  • Ambulance fees
  • Stem cell therapies
  • Prescription diet food
  • Conditions relating to pregnancy or breeding

4 — Ask your vet about different insurance providers

Your local vet will have a lot of experience dealing with different Australian pet insurance companies.  They will know which companies are easier to deal with and which ones have a great track record for helping clients.  Ask them for suggestions when selecting an insurance company.

5 — How much will they actually pay?

Australian pet insurance companies only pay a portion of your veterinary costs.  Most policies will cover between 70% to 90% of the total bill.  However, some policies will cover less if your pet is older than 8 years of age.  Think about how much the policy will cover and how much you may have to contribute to each bill.

6 — Will the insurance company insure your pet when it is older?

Some insurance companies will not accept new insurance policies for dogs or cats that are  older than 8 years of age.  The only way you can obtain coverage for your pet is by insuring your pet when they are young.  If you want to retain coverage for your pet when they are older, look for a policy with “lifetime coverage”.  

Be aware that some policies will change their payouts for older pets.  They may only pay 65% of your veterinary costs of older pets.  They may also increase the deductible that you pay when making a claim on an older pet.

7 — Does the policy cover accidents or illnesses?

There are three types of pet insurance policies: accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive.  An accident-only policy will cover injuries like broken limbs from a fall or injuries from an animal bite.  Accident and illness also cover diseases and other illnesses.  Comprehensive covers accident and illnesses while also providing some funds for preventive and routine care.

Pay close attention to the kind of policy you are purchasing.  If you purchase an accident-only policy and your pet is diagnosed with cancer, it will not be covered!

8 — Do purebred animals have certain restrictions?

Some pet insurance policies exclude coverage for certain conditions that purebred pets often suffer from.  For example, you may find it hard to purchase a policy that covers German Shepherds for hip dysplasia because it is so common.  The same goes for pugs that have Luxating Patella, a condition that affects their knees.  If you have a purebred animal, look for a policy that covers common conditions.

9 — Does the insurance company have a good reputation?

The quickest way to find a great insurance company is by asking your friends and family for recommendations.  If no one has heard of the insurance company you are considering, choose another one.  Also, check some reviews of the company online to determine how good their customer service is.

10 — Check the annual maximum payout

Most Australian pet insurance policies will have an annual limit on payouts.  The limit is usually anywhere between $3,000 and $20,000 per year.  Typically, policies with higher premiums have higher maximum annual payouts.  You may also encounter policies with lower annual payout limits for certain conditions.  Always check the payout limits of each policy you are considering.