All The Things You Might Not Know About Pet Insurance

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Pet insurance can be a handy product. It can give us peace of mind when it comes to protecting our beloved furry friends and acts as a safety net in case of an emergency. No matter how pet-proof your home may be, you never know when the unexpected could strike.

It’s only human to be keeping an eye out for a better deal, but when it comes to pet insurance – chopping and changing isn’t always in the best interest of your pet. Unlike health insurance, you might not be able to switch providers without losing coverage for any health conditions that your pet developed since you first signed up.

But that won’t stop some of the providers from trying to entice you to make the switch in the name of saving a few dollars. The best way to avoid this is to familiarise yourself with what your policy covers, what you need and what you don’t need before you sign up.

We’re going to run you through some of the important things you need to know about pet insurance with this guide to help make your decision a little easier. 

How does pet insurance work?

When tricky situations do arise, seeing a vet and receiving urgent care can end up costing you thousands of dollars. Pet insurance can help you pay for unexpected vet bills by allowing you to claim back part of the bill. 

While insurance doesn’t cover everything, it should provide you with adequate cover for a lot of common accidents and injuries. 

Most policies usually fall into two categories:

  • Accident-only cover: if your pet suffers an unexpected injury.
  • Comprehensive accident and illness cover: This is the highest level of coverage available to help cover your pet from accidents and illnesses. 

Normally dental care, vaccinations and preventative treatments aren’t included unless you pay a higher premium.

What most Aussie pet owners don’t know about pet insurance

There’s nothing worse than getting stung or paying for coverage that doesn’t meet your needs. So, here are some of the common pet insurance traps to know about:

1. You can’t buy an old pet new insurance

If you want to insure your pet above the age of 8, you’ll find yourself restricted to only a handful of comprehensive policies available or seniors’ products and accident-only covers. 

Insurers do this for several reasons, usually to keep premiums under control and because they want to encourage pet parents to insure their pets when they’re young and healthy. 

This very factor automatically restricts your ability to switch insurance providers, as the provider can change the policy with each annual review. 

2. It’s important to check what is and isn’t covered

If your pet develops a health condition, you’ll be locked into your current policy. If you decide to switch providers, your pet may not be covered for any pre-existing conditions. Your insurer can always change the premiums and introduce new restrictions with each renewal as well.  

Some providers will now cover pre-existing conditions, however, chronic health conditions are still not covered by most providers.

3. Preventative care usually isn’t covered

This includes routine treatments like vaccinations, desexing and parasite control. Many policies offer these as extras for a fixed cost. 

4. Cheaper isn’t always better

Looking after your pet is by no means cheap. When choosing to go with a price-competitive pet insurance policy, you might be very limited in terms of what you’re able to claim back, face a higher excess fee or potentially a variety of different policy exclusions. 

Some providers may try to entice customers (like you) to sign up with the promise of low prices but just because it’s cheaper, this doesn’t mean you’re purchasing the right cover for your pet. Remember: always read the fine print. 

What to consider before taking out pet insurance

If you’re thinking about taking out an insurance policy for your pet, here are a few things to consider before taking your pick:

  • Have you read through the product disclosure statement (PDS) and other important documents? Always read the fine print before you commit to anything to truly understand what you’re signing up for.
  • Do you understand the different levels of coverage available? For example, you could opt for accident-only coverage or pay extra for a comprehensive policy.
  • Under most policies, you pay the bill and the insurer reimburses you, are you okay with this? Would you be able to afford an expensive bill upfront and on short notice or would you prefer a different arrangement with your insurance provider?
  • Is your pet’s breed prone to health issues? Are these issues covered? For example, French Bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds are prone to breathing problems. This is considered a pre-existing condition and more than likely would be an issue for certain insurance companies.
  • Does your policy have a waiting period where you’re unable to claim? Most policies have a 30-day waiting period where you’re unable to make a claim. Some insurers do offer a shorter waiting period depending on what you’re claiming for.
  • How old is your pet? Are you prepared to pay the rising premium as they age? From ages eight and up it becomes difficult to insure your pet as they’re considered senior and will more than likely have underlying health conditions due to older age.
  • Do you plan to keep your pet insured for the duration of its life? As your pet ages, it could develop health conditions or suffer from normal age-related ailments. If you’re going to insure your pet, consider insurance when they’re very young and try to stick with the same insurance provider. 

Now that you’re more across pet insurance, you might be wanting to take out a policy to protect your pet and give yourself some peace of mind.  Find out more about Pet Insurance by Stella.

 

Stella Pet Insurance is underwritten by Pacific International Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 83 169 311 193) and distributed by Knose Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 38 620 795 735, AFSL 536651) (‘Knose’).  Stella Underwriting Pty Ltd (ABN 72 633 811 319, AR 001282046) (‘Stella’) act as an authorised representative of Knose. Any advice provided is general only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of any such advice, the Product Disclosure Statement (‘PDS’),  and the Target Market Determination (‘TMD’) available at www.stellainsurance.com.au before making a decision to acquire, or to continue to hold, the product.

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