Pet Insurance, working through the insurance maze!

Pet Insurance can be one of the most valuable things you can do for your pet in the long term, but looking at the options and picking a policy that suits you can be a daunting task. There is a lot of insurance jargon, fine print, and conditions to read through, which makes trying to get started difficult.

When starting your insurance research, here are some things worth noting:

• Each company markets their policy differently; however the majority of companies actually have the same underwriter and very similar PDS’s.
• As a rule of thumb, the sooner insurance is taken out; the more likely you are to have full coverage with no exclusions on your policy due to a lack of pre-existing conditions.
• I haven’t heard of an insurance policy yet that doesn’t have a waiting period that needs to be served before claiming, so bare this in mind before taking out insurance.
• Your pets specific circumstances need to be considered when you are deciding what the best insurance fit is. This includes age, breed, and pre-existing conditions (ie has your pet been to the vet for allergies? Gastro-intestinal upset? Limping?)
• Choosing a policy that include a payment towards desexings or vaccination is often not worth paying the extra premium for – the contribution you get is sometimes the extra you pay!
• There is a small group of insurers which are beginning to offer ‘Gap Only’ payments, similar to how the HICAPS system in human health care works. This is an advance in pet insurance that has been sorely needed, to help potentially lessen the outgoing expenses for our clients.

Once you have narrowed down some options, there will be some questions you need to ask yourself when considering the cover, such as:

• What are the applicable excesses, if any? How are these excess’ applied? On every claim, or per condition per policy year?
• Are there any restrictions on amount of surgery type you can claim? (e.g. 1 claim per life of policy for foreign body surgery may not be sufficient if you have a chewer!)
• Are their long waiting periods for issues such as cruciate disease that your pets breed may be prone to?
• Are their monetary limits to some claimable procedures? (is your pets surgery costs likely to exceed what the policy is willing to cover? Important to consider for some larger breed dogs)
• Is there anything that the policy will not cover, such as parvovirus treatment?
• Is there liability cover in the event that your pet causes harm to another person or pet?
• Does your pet have any pre-existing issues that may be excluded from future cover?
• Considering the breed of your pet, what are common health concerns that you would expect to be covered? Will they be covered?
• Are there breed or age restrictions that may apply to your pet?
• Does the policy allow for specialist treatment, or remedial/alternative treatment such as massage and acupuncture? Are you likely to use these services?

All of these factors differ between each insurance company (as does the cost) so it is important to consider your potential needs and expectations of insurance prior to picking the cover that best suits you and your pet. Not any one insurance fits all!

On the flip side, Insurance may not be for you at all. In this case, make preparations for unexpected events by creating a savings fund to help offset these costs as they occur. There is nothing more stressful than caring for a sick pet while also worrying about how to cover the costs.

As always we’re here to help, so if you have any further questions about pet insurance, give the clinic a call and I will be happy to help.

Written by our insurance loving Customer Care member Lauren Di Girolamo

Call us today if you have any further help choosing the right insurance company for you!

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Anne Crouch

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Gawler Animal Hospital

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