Is pet insurance worthwhile?

We were recently asked about the value of pet insurance, so here are a few thoughts. As we all know, having a pet in the family is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and a privilege that comes with great responsibility. They give us unconditional love and loyalty, and in turn, we all wish for them to receive proper care. 

Pet owning families hope that a serious accident or illness will never happen to their pet, but it often does. Pet insurance allows pet owners to be confident that they have an affordable and reliable method to cover the costs of unexpected veterinary care. 

Unlike our public health care and the ACC provision, when a health issue pops up for our pets, there is no public funding to help pay for treatment. This can result in an unexpected expense, placing pressure on your family and often leading to some tough decisions. 

So, what is pet insurance? 

Basically, it is a healthcare policy for your pet, that reimburses you for certain, agreed veterinary care expenses. Pet health insurance plan premiums are usually paid monthly and can cost between $20 to $120 a month. Prices vary depending on what type of pet you have, the level of cover you choose, and the amount of excess / co-payment you have selected. 

In most cases, the policyholder pays for their pet's treatment and puts in a claim for reimbursement of the costs, less their elected excess. The claim process is now well established, and repayment is usually prompt.  

If your pet is hit by a vehicle, gets attacked by another animal, swallows a bone, develops cancer, or eats too much chocolate, the costs of surgery, diagnostics and medications can quickly add up. These costs are related to the provision of full veterinary services (including after-hours emergency care), professional time, medications, diagnostic imaging, tests, and equipment.  

Onward referral for specialist veterinary care is also a more manageable option if your pet is insured. 

Who do we recommend? 

We are unable to recommend a specific provider (we leave this to qualified insurance brokers), but there are a number available on the market. Do your research, thinking about the species, breed and age of your pet, and what coverage is right for you (accident and/or illness). Some providers will give you a free period of cover when you first join up.  

What we do recommend is that you consider pet insurance, providing you peace of mind over your pet’s well-being and their healthcare, so that the decision at those challenging times is made simpler.