If you’re like us, you’ll find that there isn’t anything more ‘purr-plexing’ than the array of pet insurance products available to the Australian pet owner. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that it can be a ‘ruff’ ride to find out what works best for you.
Okay, okay, enough of the terrible pet puns. Like children, pets can be expensive as well as adorable, and it’s worth having a think about whether pet insurance is going to save you, or cost you, money.
The age of your fur-baby is the first thing taken into consideration. It’s generally easier and less expensive to insure younger pets as they are unlikely to have pre-existing conditions. Most companies don’t let you insure dogs older than about 8 or 9 years old.
The size of your pet also affects the size of your premiums. This is simply because it costs more to treat larger dogs – they generally need more medicine or in the event of surgery, larger doses of anaesthesia and so on.
Some breeds are known for certain conditions which may also drive up your premiums, irrespective of age. Put another way, the more pedigree your pet has, the more likely it is to have genetic conditions which will cost you money. For instance, sausage dogs suffer a lot of back problems, while pugs tend to have a lot of breathing related challenges. Add in the spaniel’s predisposition for weight gain, owning a pet is starting to look a lot like middle age.
Like all insurances, the devil is in the detail. You can get anything from accident only cover to comprehensive cover. It’s important to look at what is NOT included as much as it is to consider what IS included. https://www.canstar.com.au/pet-insurance/cost-of-pet-insurance/ has the average cost of pet insurance premiums as $531 right up to $1268 per annum in 2019 so it’s important to know what additional costs might come your way on top of those premiums. Likewise, insurance plans have waiting periods, and even once you are paying your premiums you may be liable for costs incurred prior to those waiting periods being served.
There are alternatives to pet insurance. You can set up a savings account that you put a regular amount into purely for costs associated with your pet. Keep in mind that the average life span for a dog is 8 – 11 years and the average life span for a cat is 12 – 18 years so this needs to be a long-term savings plan, not just for a year or two.
Some vets offer payment plans to their customers whose pets require expensive treatment. It’s worth having a talk to some of your local vet services to see if these are available to you locally. Once again, find out what fees might be associated with these options (like interest, gap fees, etc).
And of course, there is the option of doing nothing and hoping for the best. This last one is a particularly high-risk strategy, especially if you have a number of different pets. Part of being a responsible pet owner is making sure you are able to care for them properly which includes de-sexing, vaccinations, grooming and feeding.
Disclaimer: The ideas, discussions, options and details expressed in SCCU Blogs are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific personal advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security or investment product. We intended only to provide education about the financial and banking industry to make the complex simple, and help everyday customers realise their dreams.