Is Pet Insurance Worth it?

Simple question - Is Pet Insurance Worth it?

We have a 4 year old male Maltese so who is fairly young and healthy. Received an insurance renewal today for $450 which seems quite expensive!

What are the pros/cons of not having pet insurance?

Comments

  • +15 votes

    Have 2 dogs, both have had pet insurance since they were about 7 years old (now 10, and 11). Our Maltese required surgery, but because it was preventative surgery, insurance didn’t cover it. After that, got rid of it because i thought it was bullshit

    • -3 votes

      Your dog required surgery but it was preventative surgery??

      •  

        …..to mitigate or prevent something. yes thats what preventative surgery is

        • -1 vote

          "Requiring" surgery isn't the same as "preventative/prophylactic"surgery.. As per the post below patella surgery that is clinical is not considered preventative/prophylactic surgery. I'm assuming the insurance company deemed this as a pre-existing condition.

      •  

        His knee cap was slipping or something like that, and causing him pain. So vet suggested he go and do surgery on it. If we had waited until it actually got worse, insurance would have covered it..

        •  

          If you had insurance prior to any clinical signs of patellar issues then insurance should pay out. However if it was a pre-existing condition then yea you won't be able to claim through insurance.

  •  

    In my personal opinion, no. In the long run they are more expensive than what you would spend on vet bills provided your pet doesn't get sick constantly.

    For our previous cats we had no insurance until they were old and started having health issues, at which point we got this: https://www.greencrossvets.com.au/healthy-pets-plus/

  • +2 votes

    It's a gamble. I slept on my insurance and my cat got a rare bacterial disease which is costing about $5000 to treat, a week after I took out the policy (so it wasn't covered). So yeah, wish I took it out a few weeks earlier.

  • +21 votes

    The number of people that put down their pet because they can't or won't pay for routine treatment would shock most people.

    My personal belief is that you should have pet insurance if you couldn't afford a $2000 bill tomorrow.

    Further I consider it unethical to own a pet if you aren't willing to pay thousands for their care. Of course others' ethics will vary. It's commonplace to pay $1000 to buy a breed animal and then scoff at a $2000 vet bill.

    The vet industry gets a completely unfair reputation for being expensive when it is significantly cheaper than equivalent care in hospitals. People need to see their medical bills in full before passing judgement on vet bills.

    I hate insurers as much as the next person but I would like to see pet insurance become compulsory. Quality of life for the average pet would go up enormously.

    •  

      Thanks for your detailed response:)

    • +3 votes

      it's commonplace to pay $1000 to buy a breed animal and then scoff at a $2000 vet bill.

      Dogs prices how gone up $3-4k now

    •  

      But will the insurance pay for your $2,000 operation to extend the life of your cat by six months. If it were that easy wouldn't the insurers go bankrupt as every pet inevitably ages and gets cancers and stuff?

      •  

        No, they pay bugger all. We have lots of ticks in our area, and I thought about it, but they really don't pay much for it to be worth it.

      •  

        Obviously there are exclusions. Insurance companies are very good at keeping their risks low. They won't pay for things like prosthetic limbs or other ground breaking treatments. The product is designed to make money, obviously.

        But they will not, and cannot, deny a claim for an old cat or dog just because of their age. So as far as I know, they will pay for an operation even if the chance of success is low.

    • -3 votes

      "It's commonplace to pay $1000 to buy a breed animal and then scoff at a $2000 vet bill"

      That would be like buying a $20,000 car and then scoffing at a $40,000 mechanic bill.

    •  

      I'd rather just use savings, then again, I always make sure I have extra money put aside for emergencies.

    •  

      This is so true. That’s why I laugh when people say they are like a family member. Don’t get me wrong. I have 2 dogs and love them dearly, but I will not sacrifice my families security to a massive extent over a pet, no matter how much it would hurt. I’m not a monster, I’ve spent thousands over the past few years on the 2 we have now and gladly did it. But if some crazy rare operation costing 20+k came into the picture…. it would require a lot of thinking and probably a really tragic outcome.

  •  

    Thank you all for your response:)

  • +4 votes

    Pet insurers seem to target your emotional connection to your pet, same as funeral insurance targets those who are a bit older and "don't want to worry the family".

    Everyone has a different emotional connection to their own pet. E.g. OpenHand (above) must be extremely fond of their cat to spend $5,000.

    Up to OP if they think they could make a 'difficult decision' if the time came for some serious cash to be spent, or if insurance is worthwhile to not have to make that decision.

  • +9 votes

    It really depends on your financial situation, and how much money you would realistically spend on your pet's health.
    If you can afford to spend the money without insurance, then insurance isn't worth it. Most insurers will only pay about 80% of any ongoing costs, and thats after excesses. Some even have a "per year" ceiling. But if you don't have cash on hand, and would do anything for your pet, its worth it for peace of min.

    I didn't have a heap of savings, but knew that I would spend any amount to look after my dog. We originally got pet insurance when our dog was a puppy, incase he required hip dysplasia surgery.
    Our poor puppy ended up with a rare infection, requiring a couple weeks of vet care before unfortunately passing away.
    The total bill was about $23,000 - which i never would've been able to pay without insurance. I think the total out of pocket costs ended up being around $3-4000.

    It kept me sane to just focus on trying to do what was in the dog's best interest, instead of worrying so much about the cost.

  • +1 vote

    It depends on how lucky you are really and if your pet requires expensive medical treatment throughout their life. I also have a Maltese and claimed about $6k on insurance for her a few years ago and $5k this year.

    I have it for peace of mind so I know that I will always be able to say yes when they think she needs an additional test or procedure without having to worry about the money.

  • +5 votes

    As with all insurance products, they are a waste of money until you need them.

    I own two French Bulldogs (4 and 6 years old), to have them insured I am looking at $2000+ per year. I have never had them insured, and our only expenses have been regular vet bills/ food/ cleaning and every 3 months a cytopoint injection (~$200) to assist with allergies.

    For us, we know that this breed of dog is prone to health issues down the road, however, we made sure that did our research, waited and purchased them from a reputable breeder with great nasal passage/ hip/ spine/ etc.

    The money we don't spend on insurance is simply part of our household emergency fund. If either of them required a $5000+ surgery, we would be OK to pay it out of pocket, as over the past 4-6 years we have 'saved' ~$10k by not insuring them.

    At the end of the day, everyone's situation is different. For a Maltese, I wouldn't see much value in having pet insurance for it, provided you have the savings readily available if it ever did require surgery/ medication.

  • +15 votes

    We had it… the amount of exclusions and reductions in inclusions made it not worth it.
    We ended up opening a high interest savings account and depositing our "premium cost" ourselves and having it set aside for rainy day.

    Almost all vets have options if you cant afford the surgery if it happens etc

    Honestly Pet Insurance is dead money and the amount you get back vs what you spend makes it a hard NO from me.

    Even when you "need it" the exclusions will hurt.
    The amount they DO NOT cover and the amount the pay back is minimal compared to what you pay out each month

    Also when you pet reaches the age of 10 you are locked to your insurer and cant change as no one will insure you again
    They know this and your premium will almost double the year your pet hits this age threshold.

    Also,
    The pet insurance industry is unregulated so switching to a better deal means re starting waiting periods.
    They can increase premiums without reason
    They can remove inclusions with minimal notice and immediate effect.
    there is only THREE pet insurance underwriters in Australia so if you have one of the many policys you are with one of the three and as such the competotion is low. Also they pay kickbacks to the "retailer who sells you the product" which is of course included in your premium.

    Not a fan of Choice on the whole but Pet Insurance was a winner in the 2019 Shonky awards for good reason
    https://www.choice.com.au/shonky-awards/hall-of-shame/shonky...

    •  

      Agree with most of this.

      Unfortunately asking vets to provide 'options' is what makes their work so distressing. This is 'emotional blackmail'. You are asking vets to do more than they should because they should 'do it for the animal'.

      Pet insurance is a mess but it's the lesser of two evils.

  • +1 vote

    I know of someone who's dog would constantly eat their socks and required surgery to get it out. This happened 3-4 times that I know of.

    Is your dog stupid? Get pet insurance.

    • +2 votes

      Dog must be pretty smart to open the sock drawer or get into the clicked shut hamper four times.

      • +3 votes

        Oh we're talking about a 20yo female owner here. Pets love a good floordrobe.

  • +2 votes

    I didn't have it for my previous cat, cost me about $3k to try and save his life which was unsuccessful. After a while, we got 2 new kittens and decided to get pet insurance which is about $400pa each. One of our new kittens had a urinary issue and had to see a specialist a few times, which cost over $1k but was covered by pet insurance, so for us, it's paid for itself in the first year.

  • +6 votes

    Much smarter to set aside say $10 a week in a separate account for vet emergencies. By getting pet insurance you are betting on your pet getting very sick multiple times and having many accidents through their life as that's the only way you'll be ahead. And if this happens you'll still have had to spend thousands on excesses and the percentage it doesn't cover and all the exclusions too.

  • +3 votes

    I took out pet insurance once our cats and dog where 6 years old…..
    Things to note
    - any condition that you visited a vet for (in vets notes) is a pre-existing condition which are not covered
    - dental tooth cleaning and extraction is not covered (costs between $1200-$2000) not covered.

    I am keeping my pet insurance as my pets are now 11 yrs old so may come into health issues…..

    But next time i will put $600 a year into a savings account for any pet emergencies……

    • +1 vote

      Gotcha. We gotta lie to our vets before we get insurance.

      • +1 vote

        That's not how it works. Anything a vet picks up will be on a problem list or differential diagnoses, regardless of what the owner tells them. If you want to get insurance, do so before you see the vet at all, otherwise you might go for puppy vaccinations, the vet might notice a luxating patella, it winds up I the history, and years down the line, the surgery's not covered.

  • +2 votes

    I would add one of the biggest complaints about pet insurance is that it never covers inbred conditions.

    Many/most breeds come with a high chance of certain conditions (100% in some cases) so these will obviously not be covered. You need to research and budget for them.

    Again regulation will help. I think there should be regulation around continued inbreeding. It's creating more problems when diversity is clearly healthier.

    I certainly believe it will be one of those things we look back on in hundreds of years and say I can't believe how cruel we were for creating animal life for designer purposes.

    •  

      So true. The only way the breeding and aesthetic criteria will change is if consumers put pressure on the breeders and legislators.

  •  

    There are two categories of insce - general and accident. Be sure to check out the difference of what is covered under each.

  • +1 vote

    Probably an unpopular opinion… but imho the whole 'industry' is pretty crazy.

    Certain breeds cost way too much for starters. The manipulation that goes on by breeders to keep them expensive is ridiculous, the whole market feels really scummy to me anyway.

    Also there is no reason to be spending multiple thousands of dollars to extend some poor animals life. Animals are born, they live, they die, this is nature.

    Just except it and remember the good times, grieve for your pet, and get a new one!

    • +6 votes

      "…and get a new one!"
      If people are concerned for the well-being of pets, they should look at rescue pets, pet shelters, etc. This eliminates those breeders from the equation and provides an existing animal a quality of life they would otherwise not enjoy.

    • -2 votes

      You tell us it is nature, then you tell us to make an exception for it. Which one is it!?

  • +2 votes

    We’ve wrestled with this as well. Our two kitties, currently, have Pet Insurance because they are active little idiots that keep trying to fall off things. They also are Somalis and this breed are prone to gingivitis so we might have teeth issues in their future.

    The real problem is vets aren’t, necessarily, straight with owners. Our last girl racked up $12,000 in vet bills, most covered by insurance, before we had to put her down. She was 12, we’ve had ones live to 18, so we thought we would give her a chance. After we’d gone deep down the rabbit hole they said “she was doing remarkably well” and we only got 6 more months. If we’d known the full extent upfront we wouldn’t have put her, and us, through this.

    Ironically, now we have been through this, to us it is when they are young that the insurance is most useful. If one of our kitties gets a chronic illness, or needs an operation, it is harder to say no when they will get a lot of good years once you get the, over the hump. If you do go down the insurance route make sure they can’t dump you if your cat needs ongoing support.

    Whatever you decide never let an animal suffer because you can’t make a hard decision. Leaving an animal in pain is not doing it a favour. Ask the Vet some hard questions on what the outcome of any treatment will be and what the long term prognosis is for the animal.

    • +1 vote

      Change vets.

      •  

        We have. But it is a common problem with many vets.

        •  

          I cannot speak for your vet, but we don't have crystal balls. When we talk about prognoses, these numbers come from population studies. So if the published 'mean survival time' is 12 months, it means that for every pet that made it 2 years, another one didn't make it at all. They aren't guarantees, and human physicians will say the same thing. As long as your vet didn't sell it as a miracle and honestly communicated the risk, they didn't do anything wrong.

          Secondly, you can never perfectly predict how a pet will take. It's all an educated guess based on physical presentation (often unreliable), owner's report (not always representative, often biased), and diagnostics (still imperfect). A pet with seemingly normal bloods and imaging can still go downhill.

          •  

            @Strand0410: Our girl had heart trouble, failing kidneys and a duodenal ulcer. What they neglected to impress on us was that once the cat was operated on we would need to inject food, and water, through a feeding tube in her neck; which was 12 times a day. This went on for 6 weeks until the cat had had enough and pulled the tube out herself. The problem with failing kidneys is the cat feels nauseous so they don’t want to eat and you have the dance of fluid issues between kidneys and heart. Once the tube is out there may well be the fight to feed it and the risk the fight will bring on a heart attack.

            To be told at about the 4 month mark that she was doing “really well”, makes me think they weren’t expecting her to do this well. If we had understood the full implications before the duodenal ulcer operation we, probably, would’ve made a different decision, even though we had pet insurance. Let me say the vet we dealt with was amazing, a wonderful person, but I worry the “we can do this” meant we were redoubling effort instead of stepping back and assessing if it was the best thing to be doing.

            I “get” that cats aren’t motor cars, it is uncertain, but this was a specialist emergency place and they, basically, knew what they were looking at. They had the scans, the blood and urine tests, etc. I know people with a sick pet are in grief and denial but I’ve also been frustrated at time’s when we’ve been hedging the conversation around “it’s time” and the vet is steering us away from it. We are good pet owners, we have nursed cats through a multitude of illnesses, including losing a less than 5 year old cat to cardiomyopathy, but my view with any animal is better 2 days too early than 1 day too late. We owe them a good life and a good death.

            •  

              @try2bhelpful: Enteral feeding is a last resort for severe inappetance and/or GI disease, and the O tube stays in only as long as necessary. That it stayed in for six weeks was testament to your commitment. The only thing I would have maybe done differently is communicated the risk of prolonged home care more clearly (but not being in that room, it's hard to judge). Some cats quickly bounce back to voluntarily eating, some need appetite stimulants, while others much longer, but this is impossible to predict. You can have all the blood panels in the world, but pets (especially cats) don't read the textbook.

              Our job is to offer you the options and provide the information. If a prognosis is guarded, and the vet recommended euthanasia, you'll get accused of wanting to kill their pet. But if they went ahead and it ends poorly, you're accused of profiteering off their desperation. In these cases, there is literally no happy outcome that will satisfy everyone. It's an impossible balance.

              •  

                @Strand0410: We’ve had two kidney issue ones, and neither ended well. They weren’t interested in the special food and, in the end, they weren’t interested in food at all. We did find out that Fancy Feast is kitty crack. That was the last thing they gave up on.

                I, honestly, don’t think the vets were profiteering off us. In fact, in the end, they weren’t even charging us for a lot of the scans. If anything my issue is they were too dedicated. I just think that everyone might be better served by the “hard talk” upfront. Maybe we are more “realistic” than some owners because we’ve had a few, but if they’d said. “We’ll do the operation but you will be feed tubing her for six weeks, and then the odds are she will be dead in six months”, then I can make an informed choice. I agree when dealing with a terminally sick animal there is no easy choice, however, I would never accuse a vet of wanting to kill my pet if they recommended euthanasia. To be brutally honest I prefer a dead cat to a suffering one.

                If I may ask some advice. We have two Somali kitties, roughly five years old, full sisters from the same litter and one was the runt. (Not anymore, she is heavier than her sister and, I think, our Vet is going to have a few stern words to say to us). They were fine as kittens, together, but now the non runt one has trouble walking past the runt one without hassling her. Do you know a way i might be able to stop her doing this. The non runt one does likes treats but I just think I’m reinforcing the behaviour by trying to distract her with them. The behaviour means the runt one doesn’t run around as much as her sister because it attracts her sisters attention then she chases her. The poor runt spends a lot of time being nervous.

                Thanks for your input. I’m, certainly, not trying to denigrate Vets. Just, perhaps, show some tough conversations up front might save a lot of pain afterwards. I wouldn’t be a vet for quids, I would spend every night crying myself to sleep.

  • +1 vote

    Big Fat NO

  •  

    Just remember that not buying insurance means you are 'self insuring'. The key problem with insurance (all insurance, not just pet), that that insurance companies pay out less than what is paid in premiums, because they have to cover their administration costs. So each person pays $1 for effectively 80c of insurance (or whatever the ratio is). On the flipside, the way insurance works is that if the risk is spread over a large pool of people, the insurance company can bear the cost of the payouts and keep premiums below what they would be if everyone insured individually.

    As for pet insurance itself, I think others have made better points than I can re the pros and cons. Ultimately I think it is up to you.

  •  

    I have pet insurance, and havent claimed all that much in the 5 years I have had it. I too have considered whether or not it is worth keeping around as it does have a lot of limitations and exclusions, but after owning a dog previously who required treatment and surgery for cancer tumours, seeing my parents dog keep needing dental surgery until they just had all the teeth removed, and my friends accident prone dog needing a surgery that cost $9k I decided to keep mine.

    Like others have said, its not worth it until you need it. If you have the money then why not but its complete personal preference.

    My dog breed is prone to hip dysplasia so I wanted to make sure we are covered for that if anything happens and he needs surgery or medication. Earlier this year he was required to undergo multiple xrays (and sedation) to diagnose shoulder issues, and apart from the excess of $200, the other $800 was covered by insurance. It costs about $700 a year in premiums so I guess this year you could say I got my moneys worth? :)

    Most policies also wont cover dental unless you have been with them for X amount of years and a bunch of other requirements so I wanted to make sure I qualified before my dog got too old and started having dental problems. Some policies also have varying levels of dental cover and they will be a big increase in premium. You should read the PDS and see if thats worth it for you.

  •  

    No, cancelled ours this year went up to near $800 for our 6 year CAV. And for vet visits hardly get anything back after a $100 excess for each issue, Woolworths. As much as we love him if anything bad happens it will be a $140 injection. Our other one made it to13 died in March this year.

  •  

    For me, what it had paid in the past already covered us for almost the rest of my 3 dogs life.

    3 years back one of my dog has been diagnosed with ME which is cause by MG. She spent 6 days in the Vet emergency with total bill of $14K.

    I pay only $200 excess + 20% gap as the insurance covered 80%.

    Can you pay that kind of bill if it happen? If not pay for insurance.

  • +2 votes

    Put $450 into shares a year. Its a better gamble.

  • +1 vote

    Even Choice features pet insurance in their "shonkys".
    https://www.choice.com.au/shonky-awards/hall-of-shame/shonky...

    • +1 vote

      There are a lot of “somes” there. If you want pet insurance then make sure you understand what you are buying. In our case we have, certainly, got a good return on investment. However, if I had my druthers with pet insurance I would prefer an insurance product, that was relatively cheap, that actually cut out, or got very expensive, when the dog/cat became elderly. I’m not adverse to putting down an elderly cat because they have multiple serious health problems, but I baulk at it with a young animal that might have a chronic problem that can be managed with the right medication. The problem is pet medicine isn’t subsidised so you might be up for thousands over many years. That is when health insurance would be useful.

      Unfortunately vet bills can rack up quickly as the initial vet visit becomes the “weekend stay to check things out”, the X-ray, the ultrasound, the drip, the operation. You keep investing in the hope you can “fix” the problem and get Fluffy home again. We all think we won’t end up doing this but it is hard to say no when it is your own pet.

    •  

      We don't recommend any pet insurance policy due to their many restrictions and the lack of competition in the market

      https://www.choice.com.au/money/insurance/pet/articles/six-t...

  • +1 vote

    I have been sucked in a few times, can't see the point. They reimburse little if anything must of the time. My partner is now paying $30/ month for something with the local vet which includes free inoculations and some other procedures… at least that is with a local vet and not some large multinational…

    Another thing I found the let insurance schemes do is double the premiums very very quickly…. be very cautious and sceptical i say!

    • +1 vote

      Frankly, your last bit is something we should approach most of our purchases with :).

  • +2 votes

    Insurance is "gambling"… Look after your pet, good food, grooming, exercise, love and attention, and they should be JUST FINE.
    If something does go wrong…. look… this is life!
    Save your gambling money and spend it on your self

  • +3 votes

    Choice did a review and for the first time ever they couldn't recommend even one. They described them as useless.

  • +1 vote

    No.

  •  

    NO
    Have a separate bank account or similar and just put some money in there instead
    You will will be better off instead of "sorry we don't cover this or that and we only cover up to 80%"
    stuff them

  •  

    I asked a vet once. They said you are better off saving the money and have it able to be accessed via visa. As for those RSPCA ads with the morons running in slow motion in 1980s clothing - there is a prime example of who they market to - and why you have more brains than that.

  •  

    Ive got Bow wow meow insurance and they have paid over $35000 over the last five years for cancer treatment. Usually dogs that get this aggressive type of cancer due after a couple of years. But the meds I spend all this money on seem to be keeping her alive.

  •  
  •  

    adding my vote to the "no" side.

    My pup died in my arms about 2 years ago (week after next is anniversary - yes, it still hurts).

    She was a Malty, and had a congenital heart condition. She was just over 16 years old.

    Having insurance would have done nothing towards extending her life - I don't know of any 'heart transplant' vet's around :/ - maybe in Sydney?

    Whenever we went to the vet outside the annual checkups / vaccinations - I paid from savings. There was her spaying / microchipping early on ($200-ish), some surgery on her eye (some membrane had come loose and was stitched up - about $400) and one of her front legs was dislocated in an accident with an exuberant 8 year old - actually, that last was 'just' a visit to the vet who popped the joint back in, and gave her some pain killers and anti-inflammatory tablets for a week. As good as gold after that :)

    But overall, those bills were a lot less than the $7000 I would have forked out for insurance, and she was never worse off for me not having it. And from experience with other insurances, there is no way they would have paid the entire vet's fee for those services, so there would have still been a 'gap' to pay.

    .h

  •  

    It depends. The answer is generally a resounding no, but for some breeds you may get value out of it. There have been plenty of financial articles on this topic and the answer is pet insurance has far too low a limit on various treatments together with too many exclusions (unless you pay a huge premium) and even then they don't give you 100% of costs back. I used to have it then did the maths and then did some online research to double check my maths and then DUMPED my pet insurance in favour of self insurance (I put the same amount as the premium aside each month).

  •  

    We've just about broken even on ours because our dog had some crazy hard to work out allergy issues and all sorts of meds / injections / test to try to get to the bottom of them. (they didn't, waste of money)

    Like everything it's just a gamble.

  •  

    Pet insurance is like car insurance, most of us will never need it, until we do. As a vet, I think it really depends on your pet. It may be beneficial for certain breeds like Pugs, Frenchies, and Dachshunds, but I'd very carefully read the fine print as they might exclude things like spinal or airway surgery. If your pet is an idiot and hoovers up scraps and debris, accidental is great. If your dog is old but has been otherwise healthy, insurance can help with the usual inevitable age-related conditions like paying for chemo, arthritis, metabolic disease etc.

    If you don't fall into the above categories, or have a Jack Russell that'll live to 20, I probably wouldn't get insurance, and rather just put money into a rainy day fund so I'm comfortable to pay 4-5k for unforseen things like cruciates, or ex lap surgery with extended hospitalisation.

  •  

    I was skeptical at first but it ended up being well worth it for us. Adopted an ex-racing Greyhound who has a rare autoimmune disease scleroderma (his dermatologist said he could only find 5 other known cases in dogs). His biopsy to determine his issue cost over $2,000 and he's now on regular medication which initially cost $250/month. Pet insurance with RAC covered the biopsy with no fuss and are covering his ongoing medication, 80% with no excess. Plus every so often he hurts himself due to the scleroderma which requires a vet visit and 2 weeks of antibiotics. That gets paid as well everytime.

  •  

    One of our little girls was “off” the other day. We managed to get her to see a vet, and they couldn’t find anything wrong with her, but it was some comfort that if we needed blood tests, or scans, we would have insurance to cover it. She’s back to normal now, we think, but we had the sinking feeling we had with one of our cats who didn’t make it to five due to heart issues. If the Vet had recommended blood and urine tests we didn’t need to quibble. It is the open nature of tests, overnight stays, etc before you even have a diagnosis; the figures rack up.

  •  

    Totally depends on the pet. For purebreds I'd probably recommend, given they're more prone to health issues (in general). As other people have written here, it can really help with medical emergencies, especially out of hours.

  •  

    Insurance is designed to protect from financial loss. If you can't afford to consistently treat your car or dog, you probably need insurance. If you can reasonably save or come up with money on short notice, you probably don't need it.

  •  

    An insurance renewal for $450? you haven't mentioned what period this covers. Is that a year? That's fine.

    A friend of mine has a 7 month old spoodle. She just had to pay $3000 in vet bills because it got a virus and had to have scans etc. Insurance covered.

    Another friend (5 years ago) had a new puppy and she started to have seizures and needed medication and a tonne of tests. $10,000+

    Are you willing to gamble that your "healthy moodle" won't get hit by a car tomorrow or get a virus from another dog and need $1000-$20,000 in bills? WOuld you pay it, or put the animal down?

    Up to you. There's a reason you get health insurance for yourself, why not your beloved animal?

  •  
    Merged from Pet Insurance - Is It Worth It? Which Insurance Company?

    We are soon becoming first time pet owners and are getting our female Beagle puppy in mid-February 2021, once she has turned 8 weeks old. To all pet owners on OzBargain - Is pet insurance recommended? Any recommendation on which insurance companies offer better value?

    Also, most insurance companies ask if the dog is de-sexed when getting a quote. Given that our dog will be de-sexed only when she turns a certain age (to be confirmed, 6 months?), do we accept a higher premium until the procedure happens and then apply to get a reduction on the premium? Or do we just apply after the procedure is complete?

    Any advice will be helpful. Thank you!

    Edit:
    Recommendations from Mozo and Canstar:
    * Pets Insurance Australia - https://www.petinsuranceaustralia.com.au/
    * Knose - https://www.knose.com.au/
    * Petcover Superior - https://www.petcover.com.au/

    • +5 votes

      Pet insurance is a scam.

      If you are unlucky and your Beagle needs major treatment at some point, it could cost thousands.
      However, if you have pet insurance, the overwhelming odds are it will not be covered and you have wasted thousands on premiums and will still have spend thousands.

      •  

        Thanks!
        That's exactly I keep hearing. Perhaps putting aside some money every month (as suggested in some posts below) is the way to go.

    •  

      With pet insurance, you have to accurately predict what sort of injury or illness will happen to your pet alongside where on their body it will occur. All this to ensure you're covered.

      And that alone is quite frankly impossible.

    • +1 vote

      Pet insurance costs more than saving up for procedures that the pet will need over their lifetime unless you are really unlucky like your pet gets sick and dies young.

      Once your pet gets old and starts to have more problems, you can look into vet programs like this: https://www.greencrossvets.com.au/healthy-pets-plus/
      We had it for one of our elderly cats for his last 2 years of life and it saved us money because we knew he would need the regular vet visits etc. I would not bother with it or pet insurance for a young/healthy pet.

      • +1 vote

        Thanks for this!

    • +1 vote

      Congrats on your new family member!
      I have a golden retriever and I do have pet insurance. Is it a scam? Probably. Will I stop paying for it now she is a bit older?No. Because she will likely be covered since I signed up ages ago.

      In terms of

      Also, most insurance companies ask if the dog is de-sexed when getting a quote

      Just apply when she has been desexed. It depends on the bread but for smaller dogs, 6 months is about right. Double-check with the insurance though. Call up and ask. You might be able to send in proof of desexing and get a refund for the difference. I can't remember what I did with mine.

      I'm with Medibank but I was with them for PHI so I got a discount. I want to switch but since my girl is 7 I don't want to end up not being covered if something were to happen.

      You are possibly better off putting aside the premium each year as an emergency fund instead of insurance. Hope that helps.

      •  

        Thank you!

    • +3 votes

      If you don't have pet insurance, you should probably set money aside each week/month in case you do unfortunately have to come up with a sudden sum of money for vet bills/procedures etc. It will probably work out better in the long run than pet insurance.

      Having said that, pet insurance is worth it for your peace of mind. I do have pet insurance for my dog and I've had to use it a couple of times already which more than made up for the cost of the premium that year. I decided to get it as small dog breeds are prone to getting a luxating patella and if you get pet insurance before it's diagnosed then it doesn't count as an existing condition.

      I'm with Bow Wow Meow insurance, but also heard some good things with Woolworths Insurance too.

      •  

        Someone recommended Bow Wow Meow, but then I also heard some negative feedback about it. I haven't personally looked into this one yet, so thanks for reminding me to add this to my list of insurers. The thing that makes it so hard is that there will always be people who have a positive experience and some that don't.

        •  

          I've been through a few over the last 5 years of pet ownership - not because they were terrible - just that pricing changes and it was worth moving. I'm currently with Woolworths. If you look, most of them are underwritten by the same two or three insurers and are selling one of the underwriter's standard packages with only slight changes. Woolworths was close enough to the more expensive ones to make the lower price worth it.

    • +2 votes

      I would get it straight off the bat rather than waiting until they're de-sexed…depending on when that's going to be but I likely wouldn't do it until around 12 months old anyway.
      It's a puppy, they get up to mischief. The chances of them eating something they shouldn't or finding something in the garden they shouldn't be playing with can be high depending on your circumstances.

      At lot of people will say put the money aside or it's a scam or whatever. Join a few dog groups and see how many have actually claimed, what they've had covered and you'll see it can be worthwhile.

      Ours are with RAC.

      •  

        Good point, thank you!
        I will ask other owners when I take my girl to puppy school.

    •  

      Prob worth it only if you have one of those animal abuse dogs like French Bulldogs.

    • +2 votes

      I recommend pet insurance - my dog passed away recently but she was insured with RSPCA. Pet care can be very expensive, we probably made $20k of claims in the last few years. Never had any issues getting our 75% benefit paid out.

      I think whether or not you get it depends on your personal financial situation and what you are willing to do for your dog. Care for my dog in the couple of months before she passed totalled almost $10k. The feeling of being able to tell the vet to do whatever they need to do is great - I would feel horrible if we needed to do a procedure/test and couldn’t afford it.

      If you are sitting on a pile of money then you could feasibly not get insurance, saving the premium and essentially self insure.

      •  

        I am so sorry for for your loss. Also thank you for your advice.
        I did not realise RSPCA also offer insurance. I will look into this.

        • +1 vote

          RSPCA insurance is similar to others - they just give RSPCA a few percent for the use of their name. It's underwritten by the same people who do many of the others. I used to be with them but it actually made more sense to switch to a cheaper insurer and donate directly to the RSPCA.

  • +1 vote

    I've got Bow Wow Meow and they've forked out over $40k over the last 7 years for cancer treatment. Never asked me a question. The vet just sends them the invoice.

    Apparently my dog is longest living cancer patient they've had with this kind of mast cell tumour.

    The only problem is I chose the low $8k per year total benefit to keep the premium down. I need at least $12 or $15k to cover her fully.

    I've heard there is now a pet insurance company with no benefit cap.

  • +1 vote

    In a pet's 15~20yr lifespan, the end of life outcomes boils down to a few scenarios:

    i) die of old age naturally - we'd all like this to be the case but its not very likely, I'd say around 25%, and no benefit from insurance.
    ii) sudden death by accident or acute illness, lost - quite unlikely, and insurance payout benefit is very little compared to the cost
    iii) a chronic disease dragging out over several months, organ failure, etc. - unfortunately I believe this is the most likely outcome, but quite a bit of money claimed back. In my experience, any treatment that requires specialist medicine, tests & or procedures is going to set you back $500~$1K a visit and these chronic diseases will require revisits fortnightly to monthly. Vets can't work miracles with their diagnosis, and to find the problem it often plays out with a 'trial and eliminate' approach and you get the billed for each trial. (first a blood test, then a urine analysis, then a scan, and so on.)

    In my pet owning history of 30yrs, having had 1 dog and 3 cats, the third scenario happened 3 out of 4 times (to the cats, my dog died of old age). One was FIV, the other chronic kidney failure and my current cat is being treated for gastric lymphoma (cancer). The second and third treatments were in the region of $5K to $10K, I had insurance and it covered around 80%.

    My opinion is if you can religiously put away the equivalent of the premium from the 1st day you get your pet as a kitten/puppy, or can ringfence at least $5K, then you would probably come out ahead. For me, just having a monthly premium to pay is easier to budget into the expenses and it's good to say 'yes, pick the best option' to the vet without the mental cost of decision making. My takeaway is that the big bills are likely to happen. Whether you buy insurance or not is a question of how you choose to fund it that cost.

  •  
    Merged from Pet Insurance for Dog

    I adopted a dog and he is one year old, although he is healthy, I am thinking of taking out health insurance for him, but I did some research and found the amount too expensive.

    Does anyone have any tips or suggestions?

    Tks!

    • +3 votes

      Open a bank account called Dog. Put in a few bucks a week.

      •  

        And what happens if a $5k surgery bill comes up from an accident in the first year?

        • +2 votes

          Dogcount—;

        •  

          Chances are that won't happen. Animals don't usually need a lot of vet attention until they get old. All the routine stuff like vaccinations and desexing isn't covered by pet insurance.

          • +1 vote

            @Quantumcat: Of course. Insurance isn't about protecting against what is likely to happen, it's about protecting against the unlikely.

            • +1 vote

              @Keplaffintech: So more likely you'll end up paying way more with insurance, plus you have to fight with them to agree stuff is covered. I would rather be in control. And that's coming from someone who has spent about $6k on their 11 year old cats in the last few months. $600/year/cat = $6600 in premiums plus they would only have paid say 70% leading to a total cost of $8,400. And that's only if they covered everything, they probably would have fought back on a lot of it leading to hours spent on phones and stressed and unhappy on top of being worried about my pets.