Things to look out for when buying pet insurance

The cost of veterinary treatment can sometimes be high, which is leading many Australian pet owners to invest in pet insurance. There are a few important things to consider before signing up for an insurance plan to make sure you get the best coverage available for you and your dog.

Are there breeds that are excluded from coverage?

Some pedigree dog and cat breeds are more susceptible to injury and illness than others, especially pure breeds with hereditary health issues. If you have a pedigree dog, it is important to make sure they are not excluded from any plan you sign up to.

Waiting periods

Some dog insurance plans have a waiting period for illnesses and injuries that may apply before you can make a claim. Some plans may have defined waiting periods on specified conditions, so it is important to read each plan’s terms and conditions.

Age restrictions

Among the insurance plans available, animals at both ends of the age spectrum may be excluded, so it is important to know if a policy has an age range. Plans may also vary regarding which conditions may be claimed by different aged dogs such as whether or not senior dogs are covered for injury.

Routine preventative treatments

Check if the plan covers check-ups, heartworm treatments and other routine veterinary appointments?  The inclusion or exclusion of routine veterinary treatments can make the difference between a policy that reduces general veterinary expenses and a plan that insures against emergency or unforeseen vet costs.

Maximum payout

What is the maximum pay out a policy will allow on a claim?  Vet bills can run up to thousands of dollars, so it pays to invest in a policy that offers as generous payouts as possible.

Some plans may have claim limits per dog, per condition or per year. Details such as this may be the factor that differentiates between average plans and plans that offer great value for money.

Making a claim

Some dog insurance plans may include limits on the percentage of vet’s bills that are covered, or may have an excess payment for claims. It is important to understand these (and other) terms and conditions – and their implications – before opening a policy.

Choosing the right plan

Once a claim has been made to treat a dog’s condition or illness, it can become difficult to change your coverage, as any claims made will be classed as a ‘pre-existing condition’, which will exclude a dog from most insurance policies. For this reason, it is vital that policy holders select the right pet insurance plan from the beginning.

Pet Insurance has the potential to save pet owners a lot of money, but it is crucial to select the most appropriate plan.

Author: Michael Lush, iSelect

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