New pet? Consider insuring them now!

Woman - Dog

Have you just welcomed a new pet into your family? Whilst you’ve probably budgeted for the obvious day-to-day pet care items, it’s important to also consider how you will provide ongoing, quality veterinary care for your new family member over the course of their lifetime.

Unfortunately, there is no animal equivalent of Medicare to help subsidise the medical costs of any accidents or illnesses which your pet may suffer, meaning that you will cover the full cost of any treatment they require. For this reason, it is strongly recommended, to take out a pet insurance policy for your new “fur baby” as soon as possible.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance helps to cover the costs of medical or surgical treatments required by your pet. The cover provided depends on the particular policy you have selected (and the premiums you pay). In many cases, common illnesses and accidents are covered. In some cases, routine veterinary procedures such as desexing and microchipping can also be covered.  

Like other types of insurance, there are excesses, waiting periods, and certain exclusions, so it’s important to do your research and carefully compare policies to ensure you are selecting the most appropriate coverage for your pet and your particular budget.

Additionally, pet insurance generally does not cover “pre-existing conditions” – this is a problem that your pet was diagnosed with prior to being covered by the insurance policy. For this reason, it’s best to take out insurance as early as possible for your new pet. This way they are unlikely to have any future problems that are refused coverage due to past history.

Do I really need pet insurance?

In most cases, pet insurance is the best way of ensuring your pet can get the level of medical or surgical help that they require. It helps to cover the costs of accidents or illnesses and avoids the owner “bill shock” which can be associated with unsubsidised, high-quality veterinary care, especially in an emergency situation.

The now very popular “designer” dog breeds (such as Labradoodles or Cavoodles) have been reported to visit the vet 1.7 times per year, often for common illnesses such as ear or skin disease. Even a relatively straightforward veterinary visit like this may cost several hundred dollars when consultation fees, laboratory testing and medications are factored in.

For more serious injuries or illnesses, such as broken bones, tick paralysis, snake bites, organ failure or cancer conditions, it gives great peace of mind to know that you would be able to seek specialist services for your pet if required. Gold standard specialist hospitalisation, treatment and advanced diagnostics (such as CT and MRI) can routinely incur costs of $5-10K+.

With pets now living longer, and owners being more aware of their pet’s quality of life (rather than attributing symptoms to just “old age”), many more pets receive long-term treatment for conditions such as arthritis, signs of “dementia”, and illnesses common in older pets such as hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease. These conditions can require prescription diets, regular blood tests and ongoing medications, so can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.

Pet insurance such as Vets Choice endorsed by the Australian Veterinary Association, gives peace of mind that you’ll always be able to provide your pet with the best veterinary care throughout their lifetime.