Should I consider getting pet insurance?
Pet insurance is a lot more affordable than it used to be, as the number of available plans increases. With prices now more reasonable, pet insurance is becoming a good way to avoid unexpected vet bills.
Unfortunately, medical and surgical treatment for pets can be very expensive. Your vet is not just your pet’s GP, but also their anaesthetist, surgeon, oncologist, radiologist, pathologist, dentist and more! A serious illness or injury requiring some or all of these services can quickly total hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars.
We are often unaware of the actual costs of our own medical treatment. If we ever go to hospital we rarely see the bill sent from the anaesthetist, the surgeon or the hospital as these are usually covered by Medicare. Unfortunately, there is no Medicare for our pets.
What does pet insurance cover?
The cover will depend on the policy you choose but will often include accident, injury, illness or a combination of these. You can also extend your cover to include dentals, emergency boarding and even rewards for missing pets.
Most pet insurance won’t cover routine preventative measures such as vaccinations or neutering. In fact most pet insurance requires your pet to have up to date vaccinations, and will not cover conditions like pregnancy unless you get specialised breeders insurance.
The cover will usually extend to a certain amount per year, such as $10,000 or $15,000 per animal or per condition.
What are the benefits?
Pet insurance can remove the financial burden from how you decide to treat your pet. Unfortunately, we do see some animals put to sleep for treatable problems because the cost of treatment is too much. This is always a particularly sad situation, and pet insurance is the best way of avoiding it.
Recent studies have shown you are more likely to claim on your pet’s health insurance than any other insurance cover.
What is the out-of-pocket cost?
Out-of-pocket costs vary depending on the type of cover. Some plans require you to pay an excess (such as $100-$200), while on other plans you can reduce your monthly premiums by choosing a co-payment which might be 15-20 per cent of the vet bills.
Choosing a plan
If you are considering pet insurance there are dedicated pet insurance companies (Petplan, BowWow, Pet Secure) as well as options through your own private health insurance company (Medibank, HBA etc.). Even Woolworths offers pet insurance these days!
Before committing to a plan, it is always important to read the policy documents so you know what your pet would be covered for, what your out-of-pocket expenses would be, and what exclusions your policy may have.
The cost will vary depending on your level of cover chosen, breed and age of animal. We have plenty of brochures at our Kilmore or Wallan clinics if you would like more information.
We are very pleased to be able to offer our clients direct claims through Petplan pet insurance. Essentially this works the same as bulk billing where we will do the paperwork and claim directly off the insurer. This means you have no out of pocket expenses (except of course any excess or shared co-payment).
This means it reduces your financial burden by not having to pay for the pets treatment then wait weeks for the insurance to be processed and the refund sent back.
We offer this at no extra cost to you, but only through our Petplan insured clients.