Pet insurance explained in just 3 minutes

Owning a pet can be expensive, especially if you’re always traipsing to the vet and back. That’s where pet insurance can help, enabling you to claim back some of your eligible vet bills. However, choosing the right policy for your pet can be overwhelming – and easy to put into the too-hard basket!

So if you’ve been looking into pet insurance plans and trying to figure out which one is right for your situation, here are some key questions to ask to help you make a decision.

Why should I get pet insurance?

It’s no secret that owning a pet can put a serious strain on your budget – and that’s why some dog and cat owners opt for insurance. To crunch some numbers, research shows that it costs around $1,475 per year to have a dog, or $1,079 per year for a cat. However, your pets can end up costing you a lot more if they require ongoing medications, surgeries or emergency care.

And if your pet gets sick or injured, having pet insurance can offer peace of mind as it can cover you for expensive eligible vet bills, helping you give your pet the best possible care.

Will my pet be covered by insurance when they get older?

Yes – if your pet is accepted and you continue to renew your insurance policy each year, your pet will be insured for life, provided the premiums are paid. And it can be great to know you’ve got a buffer as the RSPCA estimates that cats and dogs can live up to 20 years (depending on the exact breed). And just like humans, animals may suffer injuries or be affected by age-related issues as they get older.

Dogs, for example, can experience joint disorders, teeth issues or their sense of smell, eyesight and hearing can start to decline. This is when you may find yourself at the vet more often, and you’ll be glad you can claim back some of the vet bills. Keep in mind that  there are usually age limits when applying. With Seniors Pet Insurance, you can take out cover for your cat or dog as soon as they are eight weeks old.

If I get pet insurance, can I stay with the vet I already use?

A vet you’ve seen for years is likely to be someone your pet trusts and is comfortable with. Some policies allow you to take your pet to any vet you like, as long as they’re licensed and registered to practice in Australia.

This may not be the case with all types of pet insurance policies – some may stipulate that you only see an approved provider – so it’s always a good idea to read the fine print.

I have more than one pet –can I get insurance for all of them?

Lucky you! This is a common question for pet owners with multiple fur-babies and the answer is, you can put all your pets on the one policy. You’ll still have to pay a premium for each pet, though.

Will my pet be covered for ongoing health conditions?

Many policies cover pets with a chronic or recurring condition as long as you renew your policy every year without a break in your cover. Generally, however, this excludes pre-existing conditions.

Make sure you compare the different covers carefully, so you can choose the right policy for your pet.