- What is Pet Insurance?
- Dog Insurance
- Cat Insurance
- Accident Only Pet Insurance
- The Cost of Owning a Pet
- Get the right vet for your pet
- Reviewing Pet Insurance
- Seniors Pet Insurance
- Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
- Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Cleaning?
- Waiting Periods For Pet Insurance
- How Much Is Pet Insurance?
Waiting Periods For Pet Insurance
For many Australians, pet insurance provides peace of mind should an illness or accident strike. With the lifetime cost of owning a dog running up to $25,000, and similar for a cat, insurance can be a good way to manage any unexpected vet bills.
However it’s important to understand what events you can claim for before you’ve secured your pet’s insurance policy. Let’s look at one of the considerations for your insurance choice—how long it takes before your pet is covered under your policy—also known as the ‘waiting period’.
How long will you have to wait to make a claim?
Each insurer will have different waiting periods, and policies may differ in terms of how long you have to wait before you can make a particular type of claim. Certain health conditions may be subject to a longer no-claim period. For example, some dog breeds are known to suffer from cruciate ligament problems, and waiting periods for attending to these issues may run into months.
If you have a breed that faces particular health risks, sometimes insurers will charge extra for it or in some cases, insurance may not be available at all.
You might find that a policy will cover accidents immediately, but not illnesses or long-term health conditions. Be sure to check which conditions the policy limits or excludes. Most policies have a waiting period of around 30 days before you can make a claim, but this can vary.
Why do insurers have waiting periods?
There are a number of reasons why insurers won’t let you claim straight away.
The main reason is to prevent people whose pets need urgent treatment from simply getting insurance only to pay for an upcoming cost. So if your dog has broken its leg and you need treatment the same day, you won’t be able to use a new policy to cover that. Similarly, if you booked a vet treatment before deciding to get insurance, it won’t be covered.
The waiting period also covers pre-existing conditions. It may take some weeks for pre-existing conditions to become apparent. The weeks between signing a policy, and being able to claim, enables insurers to cover only what happens after the waiting period is completed.
Pet insurance policies often provide a cooling off period, which is around 14 days. If you begin a policy and then change your mind, you can cancel the policy within that period without paying any charges or fees.
Get a clear idea of what your policy does and does not cover
In the past, the details of pet insurance policies weren’t always clear—but in recent years, insurers have reached an agreement with the Australian government to improve procedures, and improve product disclosure statements that tell you exactly what to expect from the policy.
However, advertising for insurance can’t include every single detail of a policy, and some relevant points might require extra time to check the small print. If you have an elderly pet, it can be more difficult to get cover. Some policies might exclude certain medical conditions too, so always read the details of the policy carefully.
How are waiting periods affected if you change policies?
There’s many reasons why you might decide to switch pet insurance policies.
Perhaps you‘re looking to change from a comprehensive policy back to a basic policy to cut costs—or maybe you’d like to change insurers altogether so that you can consolidate different policies. However, if you change insurers, it’s likely that you’ll have to serve a new waiting period. This means that your pet may be without cover for a month or longer after the changeover.
Changing policies and ‘no claims’ periods
Even if you change policies with the same insurer, there’s a chance that they’ll impose another no-claim period. Always check with the insurer to make sure your cover continues. Some insurers may be able to offer a waiver so that cover is continuous.
The last thing you want as a pet owner is to think your beloved pet is covered for an illness or accident, only to discover that your claim is rejected—leaving you to foot all of a potentially expensive bill. When you’re checking through policies, make sure you don’t forget to look carefully at the no-claim and waiting periods offered by different insurers.
To help you find a policy that’s right for you and your special companion, have a look at how we can help you weigh up the pros and cons of different policies today. Compare online, or call us on 13 19 20 today.
We do not compare all pet insurers or products in the market. Not all products 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.