costs and insurance
A Vet bill is something a pet owner will be faced with at some point, often at the most unexpected times.
It’s an uncomfortable subject to discuss – for both us as a Practice, and for our clients.
Continually advancing diagnostic and treatment options mean that these costs can add up very quickly if your pet becomes ill. The unpredictable nature of Accidents and Illnesses also means that some diagnoses are hard to make without significant and advanced diagnostics, such as CT and MRI scans, and that occasionally treatment outcomes may not be favourable.
Our commitment to all our clients is that we’ll be open and honest about all aspects of your pet’s care, from treatment choices through to the costs thereof.
Pet Insurance has a history of bad press, mainly because pet owners have been sold a policy that they don’t understand, or had exclusions or sub-limits that have resulted in claims not being paid out.
As a result, some clients feel pet insurance isn’t worth it. This isn’t a view we share and we strongly recommend pet insurance.
However, we believe that the only people who are able to give unbiased opinions about which policy is suitable for you, are the people who deal with all the Insurance companies every day – us!
We aren’t financial advisors so aren’t able to give financial advice – but we can explain in very plain language what each policy offers, so you can make the decision you feel is best.
This is a complicated subject so we encourage you to pop down and discuss this with one of our friendly team before you take a policy out online.
What to look for in an insurance policy?
We know insurance like the back of our hands, so the best thing to do when researching pet insurance yourself, is to save a quote from the policy you like best – then bring it down to us so we can look at the fine print.
It’ll take us no time to take a look, but could save you an enormous amount of time, stress and unfortunately, cost.
lifetime vs time-limited
A lifetime policy simply means that if your pet gets a condition that could last for it’s lifetime e.g. diabetes or arthritis, as long as you keep your premiums up-to-date, your pet will be covered for life.
Cheaper policies often have time limits i.e. they will pay for a particular condition for a limited period of time
sublimits for conditions
Regardless of the headline amount of cover a policy states, almost all have specific limits for for certain common conditions – or exclude them completely.
A common example is cruciate ligament injury, which often has a sublimit of under $3000 or there could be a limit on amounts that can be claimed for consultations.
Policies with sublimits are a pet hate of mine – buyer beware!
excesses and gaps
The amount of excess or gap that you need to pay will reflect in your insurance premium.
Generally the higher the excess or gap you’ll pay, the cheaper the premium.
The commonest benefit amount is 80% – in other words you will pay 20% of the Vet bill.
Using an comparison site is a common way to compare insurance. Understanding what is or isn’t covered is difficult for our clients, so the fallback when using these sites is to compare on cost.
For reference, Dr Haydn pays $89 per month for his Golden Retriever, Nala. If you have been quoted less, it pays to read the fine print carefully.
Another thorny issue regarding pet insurance is that in general, insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing conditions and illness.
So, if you are thinking of changing your insurance provider, pop down and chat with us first – before you do so.
the claims procedure
Many Vets require clients to pay their Vet bill up front and reclaim the fees themselves.
Depending on your Insurance provider, we take this burden away, often only requiring that the gap or excess is paid at the time of your visit.
so, who do we recommend?
Your household budget is an important consideration when deciding on a pet Insurance Policy, which makes it difficult to make an exact recommendation.
However, having recently been through the research process for my Golden Retriever, Nala, I decided to choose the Superior Plan (mid-point), provided by Petcover. My view is that Petcover’s Superior Policies offer the most comprehensive cover on the market.
Why you ask, would a Vet need insurance for their own dog?
Although we do advanced work at our Practice and very rarely need to refer anyone for treatment by Specialists elsewhere, if Nala ever needed an MRI or CT scan (which we currently don’t provided on-site) we would be charged just as any client would.
These costs are high so we, just like anyone else, need the reassurance that we have comprehensive cover so she can have the very best treatment available.
4 weeks free Petcover insurance
For all new puppies and kittens, 4 weeks of introductory, FREE cover can be provided at their first vaccinations or their first visit to us if they are younger than 12 months of age.
Petcover provide this with no obligation to extend it beyond 4 weeks.
We recommend taking up the offer so that you can take your time researching what’s right for you, while knowing your puppy or kitten is covered.
as with all insurance products, T&C’s apply