As a pet lover, and until recently home to two spoilt cats, I know how important it is to keep our pets in good health. They deserve to be looked after and kept in the best possible condition, but unfortunately this can be expensive and pet health is not covered on any form of medical care, or free hospital care.
My precious Felix, who left us aged 17, was on medication for his kidneys and medication for his arthritis. These two medicines cost me over NZ$100 a month, not to mention half-yearly trips to the vet to get the kidney medicine renewed. Without his arthritis medicine Felix, who was a very large cat, suffered terribly from sore hips. Stopping either of these treatments was just not an option. Unfortunately I did not have pet insurance cover for him, and by the time I realized that pet insurance cover existed, he was too old to qualify.
A number of families nowadays have more than one pet and can find themselves under financial strain when their pet gets ill, are injured or pass away. I thought I would take a look at what is pet insurance cover and what to expect from the average pet insurance plan.
Please note this information is aimed at cover for cats and dogs.
Why Pet Insurance Matters
It is unfortunately a sad fact that pets are just as prone to illness and injury as we are. Most claims for Pet Insurance are for illness, rather than accident. Pet Insurance can help you to get financial assistance at the time it is most needed.
A number of years ago, our second cat, Amber, was bitten by a brown snake. For those of you not from Australia, this is one of the deadliest snakes in Aussie. Somehow, much to everyone’s amazement, she survived, however, I nearly needed medical care when I was hit with a bill close to $1000. I did not have pet insurance, and the only reason I managed to pay the vet was because I had been saving for a new washing machine.
Did you know that you’re more likely to claim on your pet insurance than your home or car policy?
Pet Insurance is designed to give your animals the best possible care when it is most needed, so let’s look at the basic coverage for dogs and cats.
What Does Pet Insurance Typically Cover?
Not all pet insurance covers are equal, so it certainly pays to shop around. Most pet insurers will have their plans available on the internet to look through at your leisure, and a help line to discuss premiums, what is covered and any other general information you may need to start with.
As a general guide you can normally insure your cat or dog, from the age of 6 months to 6 years. If you insure your pet before they turn 6 this will give life insurance for your pet. After the age of 6 insurance becomes harder to get and more expensive, and is a topic I will look at in more detail in a separate blog.
Most pet insurance plans will generally cover you if your pet is injured or sick. This would normally include veterinary consultations, surgery, specialist care, diagnostic and post-operative treatments, prescription medicines and drugs, and imaging.
Pet insurance companies also offer a basic reimbursement towards vaccinations. Standard policy appears to be to pay a set fee per year towards vaccinations or check-up. Some pet insurers will offer you day-to-day care as a policy option. This will allow you to claim a higher fee per treatment, up to a set total each year, for qualifying treatments, such as desexing and vaccinations.
Looking after our pets teeth is really important to their overall health, especially as they age. Unfortunately a number of plans do not cover for routine dental care. Cover for dental work if your pet has been injured, however, is often included. It is important to shop around for the care you believe you will require.
Insuring For Euthanasia and Cremation Fees and Burial
Unfortunately not all pet insurance companies offer cover for pet euthanasia, burial costs and cremation fees.
Euthanasia is when your pet is painlessly put to sleep using an injection, carried out by the vet. If you would like to learn more about Euthanasia for your pet, I have a number of blogs covering this topic.
While not all insurance companies offer cover for euthanasia, burial and cremation services. Some do offer this as an extra coverage, for which you will be required to pay more. Some plans may only reimburse for one or the other, but not both. So you may get a policy that covers euthanasia but not cremation. It is not uncommon for companies to have a maximum limit on the amount you can insure for. Insurance to help you with the end of life of your pet can vary considerably from one company to another, so it is important to shop around.
How Is The Insurance Premium Calculated
Premiums vary from company to company, so discussing them with your chosen company is a great idea.
As a general guide dogs are covered according to their breed, their age and the plan you choose. Some breeds may cost more than others and there are a number of reasons for this, including the size of the dog, genetic predisposition, such as hip dysplasia in large dogs and even activity levels.
Cats premiums are normally worked out according to the cats age and plan, but not breed.
Let’s Sum Up What Is Pet Insurance Cover
By purchasing pet insurance cover you are essentially trying to help ease the financial strain when your pet becomes ill or is injured. There are a number of different plans and they cover a range of services.
I would like to stress that it is important to thoroughly read what is covered in the pet insurance policy, as they do differ from company to company, as does the costs.
Insuring your pet at a younger age is incredibly important, as once your pet reaches 6 years it is normally harder and more expensive to get cover for them.
All pet insurance companies will have a list of conditions they do not insure for, do not just presume your animal will qualify for insurance cover, have a chat to a consultant, or at the very least look through their website thoroughly to see if you can find out if they have a plan that suites your needs. The more informed you are, the better and, hopefully, less expensive choice you will be able to make.
Pet Insurance can help you through a stressful time, and may even prevent you from having to make a tough call in an emergency situation.
If you have any feedback or stories to share about your pets and pet insurance, I would love to hear from you. Ask me any questions and I will try to answer them for you. Or just leave a comment, it is always good to get feedback.
Cat question – Do I have to take out separate cover for all of my nine lives?
No, all nine lives are normally covered under one policy.
Love our Pets