What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance is a financial product that helps pet owners cover the risk of eligible veterinary expenses resulting from accident and illness conditions in their dogs and cats. Pet insurance plans available in Australia cover anywhere from 60% to 100% of the vet bill (the majority cover 80%) and come with different inclusions, exclusions, excesses, annual benefit limits and sub-limits on certain conditions e.g. sub-limits on cruciate ligaments conditions.
Many pet owners’ question whether they need to take out pet insurance for their dog or cat. With the cost of veterinary care outstripping inflation and advances in available treatments, vet care for an ill or injured pet can quickly add up to thousands of dollars, particularly if the condition is chronic and ongoing. Unless you have savings to cover this, it can be very difficult to find the money to pay for the care your cat or dog needs.
We find that the value of pet insurance is often realised by pet owners after they are faced with a large vet bill, and unfortunately this is often too late. You should also be aware that any condition that arises before you take up pet insurance, or during the applicable waiting period is considered a pre-existing condition and will not be covered by pet insurance in the future.
When researching pet insurance products in Australia, we recommend getting an understanding of what is covered by the different types of products on the market. While the product names and benefit amounts may change, the main types of pet insurance cover are generally as follows:
Accident Plus cover
Accident Plus cover is the option to cover you for accidents or accident related emergencies. These policies cover harm or injury caused by accidents, such as: accidents involving burns, broken bones, snake bites, allergic reactions to insect bites or bites from other dogs or cats. It is important to be aware that this type of pet insurance cover is limited as you won’t be covered for all illnesses. However, we have added additional cover to this policy (that was not there before in our old Accident Only policy).
Please see covered conditions below (please view our PDS for additional details, exclusions, sub limits and related waiting periods for different conditions):
- a motor vehicle incident
- a burn or electrocution
- an allergic reaction to insect or spider bite excluding flea bites
- ingestion of foreign object
- a paralysis tick
- heat stroke
- gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
- trauma induced respiratory impairment
- bone fractures
- snake bite toxicity
- a traumatic ligament or tendon injury other than cruciate ligament condition
- bite wound or fight wound abscesses
- lacerations or abrasion of tissue, skin or mucous membrane due to external violence
- traumatic spinal disc rupture
- torn nail
- embedded grass seed
- soft tissue injury
- eye Trauma
- intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
- cruciate ligament condition
- Hip Joint Surgery for stated conditions (only covered where it is related to one of the accidental injuries covered)
Accident and illness cover (Peace of Mind Plan & Ultimate Care Plans)
- Accident and Illness cover includes illnesses as well as accidents (as listed in the Accident Plus plan) and will provide you with a more wide-ranging cover. For Bow Wow Meow policies, this includes our Peace of Mind Plan & Ultimate Care Plans. Minor as well as major conditions are covered which would include anything from skin conditions and ear infections to cancer, diabetes, broken bones and hereditary conditions, along with chronic conditions11 which are covered for life (provided you renew your policy each year without any break, lapse or change in the level of Cover).
- The Ultimate Plan covers everything the Peace of Mind plan covers except it also includes dental illness cover with a sub limit of $1,000 per annum. In addition, it offers optional alternative therapy up to $1,000.10
- Note that any pre-existing conditions are excluded.
Indoor Cat Cover (Specified Illness Cover)
- Bow Wow Meow now offers an Indoor Cat Policy. These are for cat owners who feel that they do not feel the need to pay additional premium to cover the additional risk normally associated with pets that go outside which is why certain conditions are excluded.
- This policy has an annual limit $5,000 per annum, a benefit rate of 80% with no excess and covers, consultation fees up to limit of $300 per annum, surgery, hospitalisation, outer and inner ear infections, poisoning, cancer diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems and other conditions listed in the PDS.
- Certain accidents such as cover for car accidents, burns, snake bites, allergic reaction to insect bites and bone fractures to name a few are excluded from the policy.
- Likewise, certain illness conditions such as eye trauma, elbow & hip dysplasia, cruciate ligaments and patella luxation are also not covered.
- This policy covers chronic, reoccurring and ongoing specified illnesses for life, provided you renew your policy each year without any break, lapse or change in the level of Cover. See details in our product disclosure statement.
Routine care cover
This additional cover provides assistance 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. For details relating to this, please read more here.