So will pet insurance save you money?
According to the RSPCA 63% of households in Australia own pets, one of the highest rates in the world. For many people, their pets become an integral member of their family so when something goes wrong it can be devastating but also very expensive. Since pets have a relatively low life span it makes sense that problems can occur in a short space of time especially as your pet gets older.
In recent years Pet Insurance has become widely available-but is it worth it?
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is much like any other insurance; you pay a set amount to cover vet bills in the event your pet has an accident or illness. Even some of the major private health insurance providers have hopped onto the pet insurance train.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Whilst all providers are differen,t there tends to be different levels of cover you can choose to suite your budget. Most will have two options that can be taken on their own or together. This is Accident Cover and Illness Cover. Differences include the dollar amount that covers vet fees, emergency boarding fees, theft or straying, third party liability (if your dog causes damage or injury you become liable), holiday cancellation costs in the event of your dog going into surgery, advertising and reward, death from illness and death from injury.
There are also rebates available for certain yearly activities such as vaccination, flea prevention and worming.
Things you need to be aware of with Pet Insurance
Different providers will have different percentage payment rates usually ranging from 65-100%. There also may be limitations on whether the provider will insure your pet based on their age (usually before 9) or pre-existing conditions (this means it is better to insure them earlier then later). Also make sure you know whether there are excesses on your policy.
If you make a number of smaller claims over the year this could add up dramatically. Also check the sub limits on set procedures to make sure you cover all the areas that you want. And make sure you understand whether there are any exclusions and what this may mean for your pet. Like private health insurance there may also be some waiting periods on certain conditions.
Is Pet Insurance Worthwhile?
One in three pets is likely to need urgent vet care every year. The average bill for this care is more than $1000 but can go into the tens of thousands.
It is estimated that up to 6000 pets are put down each year because owners cannot pay for the procedures that will save them. 10% of all treatments such as vaccinations are stopped again because owners cannot afford them (ninemsn,2007).
On average most of the premiums for pet insurance range from $20 to $50 per month, so depending on the level of cover it will average $3000 over the insurable life of the pet (ninemsn, 2007). I know from my experience of having 3 dogs throughout my life that this is well worthwhile based on some of the illnesses and injuries that they had which costs thousands of dollars. I would not want to have to put my dogs down just because I could not afford the treatment that would make them better.
Support a Cause
If you want to insure your pet think about using one of the charities such as RSCPA or Guide Dogs Australia who offer insurance. Part of the policy fees go towards helping the good work that each organisation does.