Compare Pet Insurance in Australia

It can take a while to get your head around the different options insurers offer. Below is a pet insurance comparison guide which will help you to compare Australian pet insurers and better understand what each offers, in order to make the best decision for you and your pet.

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Provider Annual benefit limits Vet bill coverage limit Excess options Discounts Tick paraysis cover Emergency boarding Other benefits
4 Bow Wow Meow $8,000 to $12,000 80% Nil – $500 10% for multiple pets Free ID tag for life
1.5 HCF $8,000 to $12,000 80% Nil – $200 10% for members
1.8 Medibank $8,000 to $15,000 80% Nil – $200 10% for members
2.7 Pet Insurance Australia $8,000 to $15,000 80% Nil – $200 Incremental 5% for each extra pet
1.8 PetPlan $7,000 to $20,000 80% or 100% $125 – $200(plus 20% if over 9 years for standard breeds)
  • 3rd party liability
  • Optional death cover
  • Advertising reward for lost dog
2.2 Petsure – Vet’s Own $8,000 to $14,500 80% NIL 10% for multiple pets. No claim bonus Member privileges program
1.5 RSPCA $7,000 to $11,000 70% or 80% NIL Multi-pet discount Premiums help support the RSPCA

Note: This guide does not represent all pet insurance brands available in the Australian market. Current as at 01/11/15.

Things to look out for

When comparing pet insurance companies, it is important to look out for a number of key variables which affect pricing, customer service and claims. We have explained each of these below.

1. Different types of cover

The product names and details may change, but basically you can choose between the following types of pet insurance cover:

  • Accident only – the affordable option to cover emergencies. But be aware that you won’t be covered for illnesses.
  • Comprehensive – covers illnesses as well as accidents, with options to choose higher annual benefit limits and excess levels. For Bow Wow Meow policies, this includes our Comprehensive and Major Medical plans.
  • Routine care – this often costs more, but will give you help with costs for routine items such as vaccinations and micro chipping. Bow Wow Meow offers this as an optional extra on any Accident and Illness policy.

2. Limits for older pets

Just like humans, older pets who haven’t been insured previously may be harder to insure. For most providers, there is no age limit on taking out accident cover. For comprehensive and routine care, so long as your pet’s cover started before they turned 9, and hasn’t lapsed since, your cover can continue. For PetPlan, on the other hand, an upper age limit of 4 or 7 years may apply depending on the breed and product.

It is also important to understand if the level of cover remains the same over the life of the pet. When comparing pet insurers you will notice that some insurers reduce the level of cover as the pet reaches a certain age (note: Bow Wow Meow does not do this). We suggest looking out for this as you will find that you often need pet insurance most when your pet has entered its golden years.

3. Percentage of vet bills covered

The percentage of bills covered differs considerably when comparing pet insurers in Australia, with some insurers providing rebates of 65%, 75%, 80%, 85% or up to 100% of the vet bill. Note that although some pet insurers may say that they provide 100% cover, there is always an excess that is payable and therefore it is not 100% cover in reality. Most insurers, including Bow Wow Meow, cover 80% of eligible vet bills.

4. What are the maximum annual payable limits?

This is the total maximum amount that will be paid out for each policy within the annual policy period. Bow Wow Meow has the choice of a lower $8,000 annual benefit limit or a higher $12,000 annual benefit limit. Some insurers do offer as much as $20,000 in annual benefits, however, this level is very rarely reached and we suggest that you question whether you really need to pay higher premiums for very high annual limits when they are generally unnecessary.

5. Is there continuous cover for chronic conditions?

When you compare pet insurers, it is important to find out whether chronic conditions  are covered for the life of the policy. Once your pet is insured, Bow Wow Meow guarantees to cover all chronic conditions for the life of the pet up to the annual benefit limit each year (as long as the condition was not pre-existing), provided you renew your policy each year without any break, lapse or change in the level of cover.

6. What are your excess options?

When taking out a new policy, you need to consider what level of per-condition excess payments you are comfortable with. This  excess is the amount that is deducted from the first eligible claim that is treated for a specific condition within the period of cover. If your pet has multiple treatments for the same condition, you will only be required to pay one excess in each policy year for that condition. Bow Wow Meow provides a range of excess options which will help you with pricing considerations. The options we offer are as follows: $Nil, $100, $200 and $500.

7. Discounts for multiple pets

Not all pet insurers offer discounts on multiple pets, and those that do may only offer 5% off the second and subsequent pet/s. Bow Wow Meow offers a 10% discount on premiums for the second and other pets.

8. Routine care cover options

In line with our flexible options, we offer Routine Care cover as an optional extra. We provide this as an option as many other pet inurers may include it already as part of the policy package. You will then have no option but to have it included at a higher premium even though you may not want it.

9. Pricing, ability to pay claims & service levels

For most people, pricing plays a role in the purchase decision. However, it is important to balance pricing with cover options, ability to pay claims and service levels when comparing different pet insurance providers. Bow Wow Meow is proud of our high customer service standards. We currently pay 85% of eligible claims within 5 working days and 95% of eligible claims within 10 working days, following receipt of all requested documentation.

We are underwritten by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd, Australia’s leading pet insurer, which makes us just as safe and secure as any of our competitors. Since our launch, more than thirty thousand pet owners have found the benefits, options and costs of our policies to be very attractive. We hope you do too.

Why is it important to compare pet insurance options before you sign up?

It is fairly easy to sign up with a pet insurance company for a new policy, however, it can be quite difficult to move to another provider once a claim has been made on the policy. This is because a new provider will classify any condition that has been claimed for as pre-existing, and it would therefore be  deemed not claimable in the future (this is the same for all pet insurance policies in Australia). This is something to be aware of if you do decide to move to another pet insurer in the future.

It therefore makes sense to take the time doing a thorough pet insurance comparison at the start and ensure you choose a provider that will cater for your needs in terms of cover and pricing – for both the short term and as your pet ages (as this is when cover is needed most).

At Bow Wow Meow, we do recognise that pre-existing conditions may lock you into other insurers, and we have a policy clause that enables you to apply for particular condition/s to be waived provided there are no signs of that condition/s for 18 continuous months from when you commence your policy with us.

We are also proud of our excellent customer ratings and believe that reading reviews from real customers – both good and bad – will help you to compare pet insurance options and make an informed decision.

 

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