It seems that every company is dipping their fingers in the pet insurance pie these days, with so many insurance policies to choose from, how will you know which policy to choose? When choosing an insurance policy, make sure that you read the fine print of what you’re covered for, and what you’re not. There will be no benefit in buying a cheap insurance cover if you are covered for virtually nothing, or if your expensive insurance cover doesn’t cover a disease or condition that your pet’s breed is predisposed to! This page is designed to make sense of insurance policies, so that you may make the best decision on pet cover based on your financial situation.
1. 12 month plans
These plans will only cover 12 months from the start of the policy. When the cover expires, a new policy will have to be taken out. If there are any conditions that are diagnosed within the 12 months that your cover is valid, you cannot claim against them under the next policy, as it is deemed ‘pre-existing’, and will be excluded.
2. Accident only Cover
These plans are limited to only situations that the insurance policy deems ‘accident’, no matter the intention behind how the injury is received. They include (but are not always limited to, depending on the company providing the insurance)
3. Routine Care cover
Routine Care plans are provided to decrease the cost of routine veterinary visits, such as vaccinations, heartworm control, flea preventatives, council registration fees and cleaning of your pet’s teeth. Although routine care cover is not very expensive, weigh up the amount of money you pay vs the money that you would receive back from your vet bills. These plans will not cover your pet if your pet gets sick for any reason.
4. Maximum Benefit Policy
These plans usually state that they will cover your pet for the value of $X (varies, depending on the company who provides the cover). This is the total amount that the policy will pay you, either over the life of your pet or every year, either in one claim, or over several claims. Some policies may roll this amount over each year. Once this amount has been reached, your policy expires and you cannot claim any more veterinary fees. Sometimes this policy may expire completely once the pet has reached 8 years old (or over 5 years in selected breeds). Please read the fine print of your policy, make sure that you will be guaranteed renewal of the policy, and avoid policies which expire as your pet reaches ‘senior’ status (which is most likely when pets will have the most problems).
5. Covered for Life Cover
Covered for life policies provide lifetime cover with wide-ranging cover for vet fees. Covered for life policies are designed for pet owners concerned about their pet developing a long-term, chronic or recurring illness (ie. Arthritis, eczema, diabetes, heart conditions, skin conditions, etc) which would need treatment by a vet for the life of your pet. These policies give you a maximum amount to spend per year for treatment for your pet, starting from $10,000 to $20,000. This amount rolls over each year, rather than a set amount to spend for the lifetime of your pet. This cover is the most comprehensive, gives you the best cover, and the most amount of money back, but may be more expensive than others.
Check with your insurance company, but listed below are some things which may be excluded from your insurance policy.
Any insurance company has the right to deny a claim, and/or cancel your policy if you submit a fraudulent claim, or solicit your veterinarian to behave in a fraudulent manner.
Sub-limits occur in a policy when the insurance cover will limit the amount you can claim, between the categories of the policy. For example, if a Maximum benefit policy covers accident and illness, to the value of $8,000, it may be divided between accident cover and illness cover, for a total of $4,000 each. The claim is then subjected to the conditions listed for the ‘accident’ cover.
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER