Pet Insurance For Seniors In Australia
Australians love their pets, with about three in every five Australian households owning one1. However, owning a pet comes with costs, and if you’re a senior, understanding those costs is important.
If you own a pet, or are considering buying one, it’s important to understand both the ongoing costs of a pet, as well as unexpected medical costs which can occur. In this article you’ll learn more about the benefits of having pet insurance, and how, as a senior, to determine which level of cover is right for your pet.
The costs of pet ownership
If you’re one of the 38% of pet owners who has a dog, you’ll know that the costs can be unpredictable1.
The Australian government estimates the cost of feeding a dog alone to be $622 a year on average2. That’s just for food. When you add all other expenses you could be looking at an annual cost of about $1,475, and $25,000 over a dog’s average lifespan3.
Cats aren’t much cheaper, either. The RSPCA estimates that the first-year cost of owning a cat can be up to $3,5704. Then of course there’s the unforeseeable costs. Fixed expenses like food are easy to manage, but what happens if you’re faced with an unexpected veterinary bill?
An x-ray for a dog can cost $800 and a dental clean up to $618. These are costs for just basic procedures. When you add anything else in, it isn’t long before your vet bill can become quite hefty.
It’s about more than just medical costs
As a senior, it’s important to decide where you spend your money. However, pet insurance doesn’t just provide financial assistance, but also peace of mind. If your pet needs urgent medical care, the cost of this treatment can be a cause of stress, as can worrying about the health and wellbeing of your pet.
Pet insurance may help alleviate some of this worry. If you have the right level of cover, and know your pet is going to get the treatment it needs, you may sleep a little easier at night.
Insuring your pet
Pet insurance can reduce the financial burden if your dog or cat becomes unwell; and if you have multiple pets to insure and you’re a senior, some products may offer you a discount.
Committing to a small monthly, or even yearly amount for pet insurance means you’ll be better able to cover the big vet bills you may face as a pet owner. However, with companies offering many different pet cover options, the choice can be overwhelming.
But at iSelect, we make it easier to compare pet insurance policies side by side. You can compare online, or call us on 13 19 20 today.
Always check the small print
Some health conditions or illnesses may not be covered, and if your pet already has a condition before you take out cover it will generally be excluded. It’s a good idea to confirm the details of the policy to see if it affects your ability to claim.
Almost all insurance policies will reimburse on expenses covered by the policy up to a limit for each claim as well as an overall annual cap. These limits will make it clear when you purchase the policy. There may also be sub-limits for certain types of illnesses or conditions. Most insurers work on an annual limit, so each year you hold your policy, your annual cap will be refreshed.
Even the most comprehensive policies may charge you an excess when you make a claim, so find out which fees and costs apply to you. Be mindful that some policies may only offer reduced care for older pets, which is when their medical needs may be greater.
You always want to make sure you check the maximum age eligibility for a policy, as some insurers won’t offer new policies for older animals.
Finding the right level of cover for your pet
Finding the right insurance doesn’t need to be stressful, and there are a few simple things to look out for when comparing policies.
First, you need to weigh up the cost of a policy, which can vary by your dog’s or cat’s breed, size, age, and a range of other factors. Then you’ll need to find out exactly what the insurance covers. There are three basic types of pet insurance policies which insurers provide their own variations of:
- Accident only
- Accident and illness
- Accident and illness, plus routine and preventative care
The important thing is to find the right policy for your pet’s needs. For example, if your dog becomes seriously ill, accident-only policies won’t pay for any healthcare costs.
You may also be interested in policies that include extras such as routine vaccinations, or emergency boarding if you yourself are hospitalised5.
Understanding the claims process
Check to see how long it takes for your policy to become active after agreeing to the contract. Some policies will have a no-claim period which you should be aware of.
Once you take out the insurance, make sure that you keep any relevant bills, such as vets’ bills safe, as you’ll need them when you submit a claim. It’s always a good idea to scan them and save them somewhere on your computer, if that’s viable for you. This can ensure you don’t lose the receipt, and keeps a clean copy in case the physical version becomes worn or damaged.
When you do have to make a claim, you’ll usually be able to download a form from your insurer’s website. Also, depending on the insurer, you may be able to lodge the claim online, or via phone.
As long as your claim is covered by your policy, you should find most of your costs are met. However, this will depend on your policy, and the individual circumstances surrounding the claim.
Finding the right pet insurance
At iSelect we make the process of finding the right pet insurance simple. You can get started by comparing policies side by side with out free comparison service, or you can call us on 13 19 20 today.
iSelect does not compare all providers or policies in the market. Not all policies are available at all times.
iSelect General Pty Limited ABN 90 131 798 126, AFS Licence Number: 334115. Any advice provided by iSelect is of a general nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You need to consider the appropriateness of any information or general advice we give you, having regard to your personal situation, before acting on our advice or purchasing any product. You should consider iSelect’s Financial Services Guide which provides information about our services and your rights as a client of iSelect. We receive commission for each product sold.