5 Reasons You Should Take Out Pet Insurance

At Gawler Animal Hospital, we think pet insurance is a real ‘no-brainer’ and I’d like to tell you why.  I heard yesterday about a tale of woe that reminded me why insurance is such a good idea for pet owners.

The lady telling me the story discovered her dog in a pretty distressed state and showing signs of an acute respiratory condition (she couldn’t breathe!). She took the dog to an emergency after-hours facility in Adelaide for treatment. Two days later, the dog came home along with a hefty invoice. (nothing wrong with the invoice, it’s just that intensive care treatment is a time-consuming and costly service to provide). Unfortunately, this owner didn’t have pet insurance and so had to come up with the funds – not something most of us would budget for in our day-to-day lives.

So, what’s the story behind insurance and why should you consider taking this out for your pet(s)?

  • The reality is that insurance can be the difference between life and death
    • Although we don’t even come close to the costs of healthcare provided by our medical brethren, there’s no getting away from the fact that veterinary care can be a real challenge for many owners to afford and there’s no Medicare to bankroll us when it comes to payment.
    • Sadly, there are occasions when owners simply can’t afford the costs of treatment and so have to make the awful decision to euthanise rather than treat their pet
  • Insurance provides owners with peace of mind and allows them to provide the ideal level of care for their pets
    • Although we’ll always recommend the best options when it comes to healthcare, there are times when owners have to modify this approach because of costs
    • Pretty much every day of the week, we have to deal with a situation where a pet needs treatment but the estimate we provide for the owner is either out of their reach, financially, or requires a major re-jig of family finances in order for them to be able to afford the necessary care.
    • With insured pets, however, we’re able to provide ‘gold-standard’ care without having to compromise
  • Insurance really isn’t that costly relative to the value it provides
    • Like any insurance company, the underwriters have to cover their costs (and make a profit). Monthly premiums (premia?) through PetPlan, for example, range from $25 for a cat to about $85 for a large dog (giant breed dogs can be more, so speak to the companies about this).
    • When compared to costs of emergency treatment, however, that provides owners with pretty good value. Consider a couple of common conditions we see at this time of year such as snakebite in cats or a ruptured cruciate ligament in dogs. These conditions can result in an invoice ranging from $2500 to over $4000 and not everyone has that sitting in their back pocket. As I mentioned, there is no Medicare to cover most of your cost.
    • With insured pets, the only cost the owner has is the excess on their policy. After that, all fees are covered by the insurance company while that condition continues to require treatment
  • The earlier you start your pets’ insurance, the better it is for you
    • Our main insurance provider (PetPlan), offers a free 4-week policy when you first bring your pet to us and that’s the ideal time to start
    • With a young pup, there are no ‘pre-existing’ conditions that can affect your premiums
    • As long as you maintain your policy, it will generally provide you with cover for the life of your pet
  • Making a claim is a straightforward process and generally works very well for owners
    • Most reports coming back from owners would indicate their claims are processed quickly and successfully
    • To help you out, our staff will even lodge the claim for you.

Ok, how do you go about insuring your dog or cat?

  • The first thing is to do your research on companies and policies
    • Actually, there are really only 2 companies that underwrite the different policies
      • PetPlan has it’s own underwriter
      • All of the others (Medibank, RSPCA, RAA, BowWow, etc) are all underwritten by the one company
      • Although we recommend PetPlan, they all have their own points of difference so have a look at what suits you best
    • Although they can be more expensive than the others, PetPlan actually pay out quite a bit more (a lot more with extensive or lengthy treatments)
  • Either contact the company directly or give us a call as we can often help
    • Our reception staff are all over this as they deal with the companies on a regular basis
    • Whichever insurance company you choose, they’ll contact us to request any existing history for your pet – reasonably enough, they’ll want to know if there are any pre-existing conditions they have to consider
  • As mentioned, PetPlan offers a free 4-week introductory offer if your pet is under 12 months of age
    • Talk to our staff and they can arrange this for you
    • PetPlan will contact you regarding converting this into an ongoing policy
    • Even if your pet contracts a problem during that initial 4 week period, they won’t penalise you when it comes to setting up the cover for your pet
  • Once you’ve arranged insurance, be sure to let our staff know so that we can put that on your records
    • As mentioned, we’re happy to process any claims you need to make in future (bit quicker and easier for us to do it than for you)

The bottom line is that we feel pet insurance is well worth the cost. We see so many instances where this makes so much difference to an owner and to the pet. It’s also really heart-breaking for our staff to deal with those cases where clients have to decline treatment or, worse still, to opt for euthanasia (by a country mile, the worst part of our job). If you need any more advice, please feel free to call our reception team on 8522 3500 or chat to us when you come in for your next visit.




Picture of Anne Crouch

Anne Crouch

1 thought on “5 Reasons You Should Take Out Pet Insurance”

  1. If you have RAA house contents insurance your pet is insured for $7 odd per month. Cover for illness and accidents. $50 costs for each incident only. The cover continues for the life of your pet. The same cover with RSPCA is over $30 per month.


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Gawler Animal Hospital

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