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Is pet insurance worth it?

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New pet owners who found a furry friend under the Christmas tree will soon feel the full impact on their budget.

"For many new pet owners this will be the first trip to the veterinarian for their puppy or kittens final round of vaccinations and progress check-ups," says Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia.

"For some apprentice pet owners this will be the first sneak-peak at the cost of veterinary care for their beloved new family member."

pet insurance pets dogs cats

A common vaccination and check-up can cost $80 to $120. However, if your new pup or kitten does require veterinary treatment for more serious conditions the costs can reach into the thousands.

"Ten to 20 years ago many of the life-saving techniques currently offered by veterinarians around the globe, simply were not on offer," Crighton says.

The vast majority of cats and dogs facing life-threatening disease or injury back in the 80s and early 90s would have been euthanised, she says.

While improvements in veterinary medicine are saving lives, they come at a cost, making pet insurance one of the fastest growing sectors of the insurance market.

Owners can claim up to 80% of eligible vet costs, Crighton says.

"This means on a high end procedure such as a complex fracture or foreign body ingestion complication you could be reimbursed as much as $10,000 on a vet bill of $12,500."

Top five kitten claims Top five puppy claims
Diarrhoea: $100 - $600 Otitis externa (ear): $100 - $1,500
Conjunctivitis: $100 - $900 Conjunctivitis: $100 - $300
Lethargy: $350 - $2,500 Diarrhoea: $150 - $1,500
Foreign object: $500 - $4,500 Ear infection: $100 - $1000
Eye conditions: $100 - $350 Vomiting: $300 - $6000

Top tips for pet insurance

"The most important part of pet insurance is understanding the fine print and what you are actually covered for," Crighton says,

  • Read your PDS before signing up.
  • Ensure you have a full understanding of what your policy covers and what is doesn't.
  • What other benefits do you have? You may be covered for vaccinations, dog training or other extras.
  • Ask about waiting periods, caps on certain claims and pre-existing conditions.
  • First time claims will require a vet history to rule out pre-existing conditions. Have this information on hand and keep note of vet visits to fast-track claims.

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