Pet insurance

Why do you need pet insurance and who regulates them?

Pet insurance is intended to provide a safety net for pet owners, and to assist in the event of an unplanned or major accident or procedure. 

Owners with pet insurance may find themselves in a better position to manage the finances associated with major medical emergencies which can become costly due to the expertise, equipment and resources that are required in such a situation. 

Different insurance providers may offer different products and pet owners need to consider whether the coverage is right for their own pet and circumstances. Some policies only cover accidental injury and do not provide coverage for the treatment of diseases, so it pays to read the fine print. 

Your vet may have information already in their practice, and can provide factual, general information about how pet insurance works, however most veterinarians are not financial advisors or authorised agents for pet insurance companies and as such cannot recommend specific policies or insurance products over others.

Pet insurance is intended to be a safety net for owners to ensure that they can cover the cost of vet bills in the event of an unplanned or major procedure. Sometimes however claims are disputed and need to be escalated. 

The first step is always to raise the complaint officially with the pet insurance company. If the response is not satisfactory, there are avenues open via the Financial Ombudsman Service of Australia.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) can make recommendations on disputed claims as they are the regulators for the insurance industry, and the ombudsman dispute resolution process. The Financial Ombudsman also provides dispute resolution services in other languages as well as additional access needs where this is necessary.

The processes insurance companies are required to have are outlined at: http://www.insurancecouncil.com.au/for-consumers/code-of-practice.