Questions and answers
We have provided answers to many commonly asked questions about our policies below. If you would like any more information, please download the Product Disclosure Statement for your policy or call us on 1800 668 502 (Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm AEST).
Frequently asked questions about our policies
Our policies cover vet treatments and surgeries for accidental injury and illnesses ranging from minor problems such as ear infections and bee stings to major conditions such as broken bones, diabetes and cancer. Our Ultimate Care Plan goes one step further and also includes cover for Dental Illness (up to $1,000 per year) and optional Alternative Care cover of up to $1,000 per year.
Plus, if you choose the optional Routine Care cover you can use these benefits to provide your pet with cover towards routine preventative care such as vaccinations, health checks, flea, tick, worm control, teeth cleaning, microchipping, desexing and even council registration fees.
For further details, please refer to our Product Disclosure Statement.
This is the stated percentage of each claim for eligible Vet Expenses for which we will reimburse you, subject to any applicable Benefit Limits. For example: for an 80% Benefit Percentage we will reimburse you for 80% of the eligible Vet Expenses and subject to Benefit Limits.
You can start your pet’s cover from 8 weeks of age and before its 9th birthday on our Indoor Cat Plan, Peace of Mind Plan and Ultimate Care Plan. There is no upper age limit for our Accident Plus plan, so any pet can join no matter how old.
We offer lifetime cover, so once your pet is insured with us we will renew your pet’s policy for life, as long as you continue to renew your policy (subject to the terms and conditions of the policy).
Yes, you can visit any vet (other than yourself) that is licensed to legally practice as a veterinarian in Australia.
Your premium is calculated using a combination of factors about you and your pet. These factors can affect the premium amount up or down depending upon whether we believe it increases or decreases the risk to us, such as the cover you have chosen, the benefit percentage applicable to the cover you have chosen, where you and your pet permanently live, your age and the species, breed, gender of your pet, the current age of your pet, the age you first insured your pet, and other factors related to our cost of doing business.
Factors that are taken into consideration for renewal premium calculation include your pet’s age, breed, location, duration for which your pet has been insured, claims history, as well as data relating to the health of pets that are a similar age and breed. Each year we review premiums based on these factors to ensure we can accommodate the costs of possible treatment up to your annual benefit limit, in the event that your pet becomes injured or ill.
Yes, if you insure more than one pet with us you will receive a 10% discount on the second and subsequent pets.
If you take out a new policy for a dog under 12 months of age, you will automatically receives 2 months free, which is applied as a discount over your 12-month policy period.2
For a limited time, if you take out a new policy for a cat, you will get 20% off premiums for life.1
Read more about our latest pet insurance deals
No. Pet insurance does not work like health insurance. Health insurance is ‘community rated’, which means that everyone pays the same premium for their health insurance regardless of their individual health status, age or claims history. This is not the case for pet insurance.
Health insurance providers are able to community rate health insurance because there are many other factors at play in the human health care system, such as Medicare and government rebates and subsidies, which is not the case with veterinary care and pet insurance.
Pet insurance claim reimbursements are paid for purely by the premiums received by those who insure their pets. In order for each person to pay a fair price for their pet insurance, premiums vary depending on your and your pet’s risk factors.
Every year, we review the cost of everyone’s insurance with regards to a combination of factors as well as claims inflation across all our insured pets. Increases in our claims costs due to increases in the range of available veterinary procedures, or due to an increased take-up of those services, impacts everyone’s premiums.
Your premium takes into account the average cost of care for pets like yours. To provide an example of this, a pet parent with a three-year-old French Bulldog will be affected by the trends we see in our data from hundreds of three-year-old French Bulldogs that we insure, as well as the specific claims history of their own pet.
Like most insurance policies, we have a few exclusions to keep your premiums affordable. These include pregnancy, elective procedures, foods/diet, grooming, behavioural problems, and pre-existing conditions that showed clinical signs before taking out the insurance. More information about exclusions is available in our Policy Booklet, which you can download here.
You can upgrade to a higher cover on your policy renewal date at any time as long as you haven’t made a claim on your current level of cover. Where you upgrade to a higher cover level, then applicable waiting periods for the higher cover will apply.
If you are not happy with your policy, you may cancel the policy within the 21-day cooling off period as long as you have not made a claim and any premium you have paid will be refunded in full, less any reasonable costs or taxes or duties we are unable to refund.
The excess (or per-condition excess) is the amount that you (the pet owner) pays towards a claim before pet insurance pays.
We have listened to our customers, and know you prefer to get money back for each eligible vet bill. We have therefore removed the excess from our new range of policies. This translates into more rebates for you for even the smallest vet bills.
Bow Wow Meow will pay up to 80% of eligible vet fees (subject to any benefit limits or sub-limits), up to a maximum of:
- $5,000 on the Indoor Cat policy
- $10,000 on the Accident Plus policy
- $15,000 on the Peace of Mind policy
- $20,000 on the Ultimate Care policy
Some sub-limits also apply within each policy.
No, you are covered for these items up to the annual overall benefit limit.
Yes, provided symptoms or clinical signs of these defects were not present prior to commencing cover, or during the applicable waiting periods.
- Your policy will commence at 23:59 on the day that your proposal has been accepted by us.
- Your Certificate of Insurance will state the commencement date of your policy, and your policy will be effective from 23:59 on that date.
- Depending on your level of cover, there may be different waiting periods that apply. The ‘What’s covered’ section of My pets in the pet portal and the Product Disclosure Statement will give a personalised overview of your waiting periods
Depending on the policy chosen, you will receive up to 60%, 70% or 80% of the eligible cost of treatment for your dog or cat, subject to the annual limits, benefit rates and conditions set out in the policy documentation.
You are not required to undertake a health check for your pet when you first get insurance. However, you may wish to apply to waive the six (6) month cruciate ligament waiting period (if covered by your policy) which will require a vet to examine your pet and complete a cruciate ligament exam form.
You also need to be aware that pre-existing conditions are excluded from illness cover, which includes conditions that pre-date the policy and conditions that arise during the waiting period.
As a Bow Wow Meow policy holder, you are entitled to a free personalised ID tag to let people know that your pet is insured with us. A coupon for your tag will be emailed to you (as long as you continue to hold the policy after the 21-day cooling off period has ended) within 3-4 weeks after signup, along with instructions for ordering your tag online. You can also order a new tag if you change your contact details or if your pet’s tag is lost(limit of one new tag per policy period).
Once you have ordered your tag, it will be sent out to you along with a handy pet health card to keep in your wallet. The card is a useful way to store information related to your pet insurance policy.
Yes, your premium will increase each year. This is for two main reasons:
Reason #1: Just like humans, the older our pets get, the more likely they are to have health hiccups. Cats and dogs age faster than we do, which means that their likely veterinary treatment costs go up rapidly each year too. As a result, the cost of insuring your pet will also increase as they get older.
Reason #2: Advancements in Veterinary Treatments.
The overall cost of medical treatment for pets has increased in recent years due to the increased availability of medical treatments and technology-enabled services and ongoing demand for these services. The treatment options and advancements in technology are providing us with great opportunities to give our pets a great quality of life for longer.
While this is great news for the care of our pets, these treatments come at a significant cost. Year on year treatment costs increase, and this is factored into the cost of pet insurance.
Please see ‘How do you calculate my premium’ for more information about calculation of premiums.
It’s a great idea to cover your puppy from the start, to make sure you are covered before any health issues are diagnosed and become pre-existing conditions. We recommend choosing a policy that covers your puppy for accidental injury and illnesses, such as our Peace of Mind plan or Ultimate Care plan.
Our plans offer a choice of features and benefit levels. You can read more here:
Special offer: Take out a new policy for your puppy and you will automatically receive 2 months free, which is applied as a discount over your 12-month policy period.2
There are many reasons why it makes sense to take out pet insurance for your dog.
We know that, as caring parents, you value your dogs’ health and ensure they are always well looked after. Unfortunately, the fact is that no matter how well you look after them, most dogs will require veterinary treatment at some stage. Vet treatment nowadays is highly advanced, but that often comes with a hefty price tag. And unfortunately there is no Medicare for pets, so when anything happens to your dog, you will need to foot the entire bill.
Pet insurance is a way to protect both you and your pet from unexpected vet bills. There is no need for your dog to suffer if veterinary care is too pricey, and no difficult decisions for you to make other than getting them the care they deserve.
Above all, pet insurance will provide you with the security that you will never have to choose between money and the life of your beloved fur baby.
Cat owners often think that it may be unnecessary to insure a cat that stays indoors. However, in reality, most of the claims that we get for cats are related to illness conditions that can affect any cat. These include conditions like kidney disorders, diabetes and urinary tract disease.
Our Indoor Cat plan is designed specifically for the needs of indoor cats, who have a lower risk of getting injured, at an affordable price.
Special offer: For a limited time, if you take out a new policy for a cat, you will get 20% off premiums for life.1
Unfortunately, no pet insurer will cover conditions that are considered pre-existing (ie. conditions that presented signs or symptoms prior to policy commencement or during the applicable waiting period).
However, Bow Wow Meow does give you the option to apply to have a pre-existing condition waived after 18 months of continuous cover, and providing that your vet can certify that there have been no signs of recurrence.
What should I do as soon as I have signed up?
When you first start your policy, there are a few things you should do to prepare you for future claims:
- Read over your policy documents: Your policy documents are sent to you via post or email, depending on your communication preference. They can also be accessed at any time through My documents in the pet portal. Check that all your personal details and pet details are correct. You also should make sure you understand your level of cover and any waiting periods, sub-limits and exclusions that may apply. Included in your welcome pack is a Product Disclosure Statement – this will give you information about what is and isn’t covered.
- Add a reimbursement account: Adding a bank account for reimbursements means your claim payments reach you faster. If you already provided a bank account for premium payments this should be automatically set up for you. If you pay your premiums by credit card, you will need to add a reimbursement account. Banking preferences can be updates in the pet portal.
- Understand claim requirements: As a minimum we will need an itemised invoice for each claim, and usually for the first claim we will need vet consultation notes for the life of your pet. If you don’t provide these at the time of claiming, we may need to contact you or your vet and this may result in a delay in claim processing. Find out more here in our pet portal.
- Add your vet details: Add in the details in the pet portal of your current and previous vets so contacting them is easier.
- Update your notification preferences: Email and SMS communication gets to you faster than the post. If you wish to receive communication by email and SMS, ensure your notification preference is switched to ‘Digital’ in our pet portal for fast and easy notifications.
- Review the cruciate ligament exam form:
- Dogs and cats have a cruciate ligament located in their knee that helps to stabilise the knee joint. Sometimes, the cruciate ligament can either partially or completely tear and it generally requires surgery to repair it.
- Cruciate ligament conditions irrespective of cause or origin, are subject to a six (6) month waiting period unless we agree to waive it. To do this, we need to receive a completed and signed ‘Cruciate Ligament Exam Form*’ from your vet within 14 days of the cruciate examination date certifying that your pet has been examined, at your expense, on or after the policy commencement date. You can email, fax or mail the form, if we receive it within the 14-day timeframe. We will notify you of the outcome in writing. Refer to your PDS for further terms and conditions.
- *This form can be found in your welcome pack or you can download it here.
It’s great you want to insure another pet with us. To complete this application there are a few questions we need to ask you about your new family member, so it’s best if we go through this application process over the phone.
Call us on 1800 668 502 (Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5pm AEST) or contact us and we can arrange this for you.
For your convenience and to ensure continuity of cover for your pet, we will automatically renew your policy each year unless you instruct us otherwise. You will receive your renewal notice a few weeks before your renewal date – either by email or in the post depending on your notification preferences. This notice will specify any changes to your cover or your premium.
There’s no need to get in touch unless you would like to discuss making changes to your cover or any of your details or your pet’s details have changed. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your cover options.
Yes, all you need to do is call us with your request and we’ll let you know what’s required.
Bear in mind that your authorised person does not have the same rights as you, the policy holder. This is designed to protect your interests.
Authorised persons can make claims, enquire about claims, update payment details and change the premium collection date or frequency. They will not be able to cancel your policy, add a pet, make changes to the level of cover, register for the Pet Portal or change your contact details – these rights reside with the policy holder.
For privacy and legal reasons, we cannot release any policy information to those not authorised on your policy.
The easiest way to make a claim is by submitting a claim through the Pet Portal. To make a claim, you will need the following documentation:
- Itemised invoice (a paid invoice that includes individual treatment items and costs adding up to the total amount paid)
- Vet consultation notes, if you have them (these are the veterinarian’s medical notes from examination findings)
For the first claim we also require vet consultation notes for the life of your pet. If you adopted your pet at a later age, we will need documentation showing the date you took ownership. To help assist us with obtaining this vet history, you can also add your vet details in the Pet Portal.
You can submit your claim without vet consultation notes but in some cases, we may not be able to process your claim without them. If this is the case, we may need to contact you or your vet/s which may result in a delay in processing your claim.
If submitting a claim via post, the same documentation needs to be submitted as above. All claim documentation must be original for postal claims and it must be accompanied by a completed claim form, that must be signed by you and your vet.
When you visit the vet, you may have several different treatments that happen in one visit – such as a vaccination and treatment for an ear infection.
While you may submit these in one claim, we need to process them per pet condition type. This will make it easy for you to see which expenses have been covered and what documents we require to complete each individual claim.
You can also see your benefit amount for each condition and if any excess has been applied.
Claims are generally processed within 5-10 business days, if we have all the required documentation.
To ensure speedy processing of your claim, see How do I make a claim? to find out what documentation is required.
If the required documentation is not submitted with the claim, there may be a delay and we may need to contact you or your vet/s.
Generally, for the first claim we require vet consultation notes for the life of your pet.
If you can provide us with proof of adoption or transfer of ownership papers, we will only request vet documentation from that date onwards.
How do I make a complaint?
If you have any concerns about our products or services or wish to dispute the outcome of a decision, we will do our best to work with you to resolve it.
You should first contact one of our Customer Service consultants on 1800 668 502. If, after speaking to our team, you are still not happy with the outcome, you can take your matter further by contacting our Internal Dispute Resolution Committee.
The Internal Dispute Resolution Committee’s contact details are:
The Complaints Officer
Locked Bag No. 9021
Castle Hill NSW 1765
Phone: 1800 668 502
Fax: 1300 367 229
Your concerns will be investigated by the Committee and, provided that we have all the necessary information, we will inform you of the outcome within 15 working days of receiving your letter, email or phone call.
If we are unable to resolve this matter in 15 working days, we will let you know and will provide a final response no later than 45 days from the date we received your complaint.
External Dispute Resolution
If the Internal Dispute Resolution Committee does not resolve the matter to your satisfaction or does not provide you with an outcome within 45 days of receipt of your complaint, you may refer the matter to an external dispute resolution scheme.
This is a free service to consumers to assist in resolving complaints.
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority
Phone: 1800 931 678
Mail: Australian Financial Complaints Authority, GPO Box 3 Melbourne VIC 3001
Premiums and payments
Your premium is based on the risk of insuring your pet. Some factors we consider when calculating a pet insurance premium are your pet’s breed, cross-breed and age.
If you miss a payment you will be notified by SMS, email or letter.
A policy may be cancelled due to non-payment if a payment is unsuccessful on three separate occasions. If you receive communication from us regarding a missed payment, make sure your payment details are up to date. You can update your bank details through your Pet Portal or contact us to discuss your payments.
Bear in mind that if your premium cannot be paid (for example there is not enough money in your nominated account) your bank may dishonour that payment, and you may be charged a dishonour fee by your bank. Neither Hollard nor PetSure will be responsible for dishonour fees charged by your bank or financial institution should this occur.
If you pay your premiums by direct debit, a valid claim will be paid directly into your nominated bank account.
If you pay your premiums by credit card, a valid claim will be paid by cheque if you don’t provide us with reimbursement account details.
You can add a reimbursement account here.
You can pay by credit card or by direct debit from a bank account.
For your convenience, you can choose to pay your premiums fortnightly, monthly or annually.