Dog, Cat

Pet Insurance 101: A Guide for new Pet-Parents

What is pet insurance?

According to recent surveys carried out by Animal Medicines Australia, nearly 70% of all Australian households own a pet! We have one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world and pets have become a part of our families. But it comes with no surprise that as much as they enrich our lives, they come with both big personal and financial commitments. Many pet parents don’t realise the high cost of unexpected veterinary bills and this can be assisted with pet insurance.

Pet insurance helps cover the costs of unexpected veterinary expenses, should your pet require them in instances of unexpected illness or injury. Pet insurance is designed for those unexpected events that are challenging to budget for. It can be useful to ask yourself the question “Would you be able to afford unplanned large veterinary expenses if your beloved pet becomes sick or injured?”. Pet insurance helps to give you the ability to consider all treatment options without being overwhelmed by the cost.

It’s like Car Insurance …

Another way to think about pet insurance is that it resembles car insurance in that the premium you pay correlates to your pet’s risk of incurring expenses such as age and breed of your dog. Another similarity is that pet insurance covers for unexpected veterinary expenses (like a car crash for car insurance) rather than routine, expected health maintenance such as vaccinations, health checks and parasite preventatives (just like routine servicing of your car which is not covered by car insurance).

Pre-existing conditions?

An important note is that pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. Subsequently any illness, injury or condition that occurred prior to purchasing the insurance policy or within an applicable exclusion period will not be covered for. Therefore, it is often recommended to get pet insurance for puppies and kittens before they have had the chance to acquire any conditions. The younger the pet is when you get pet insurance, the better the chance that you pet will have fewer pre-existing conditions!

Both puppies and kittens can be curious, accident and illness prone by eating things they shouldn’t or getting into places they shouldn’t and having pet insurance gives you peace of mind that you can afford what could be life saving treatment they may require. This can be especially beneficial if your pet then requires specialist treatment or surgeries, that can be in the thousands of dollars. Keep in mind that pet insurance does not cover everything and there are some conditions and exclusions, but still it would be very reassuring knowing you have cover for the unexpected big bills.

Use our quote tool to see what your monthly premiums would be.

How does pet insurance work?

You start by personalising the level of cover you need for your pet!

Annual limit (maximum payout): $10K, $17.5k or $30k for dogs and $2.5K, $5K or $10K for cats.
Benefit percentage: 70%, 80% or 90%;
Annual excess $0, $75 or $150;

Pet Circle Insurance has no sneaky sub-limits.

What does ‘no sneaky sub-limits’ mean?

The annual limit is the amount of money you can claim back each year in total, with no sub-limits.

If you have an annual limit of $30k (subject to any chosen annual excess) you can claim vet costs and treatment up to that limit each year. Lots of other insurers place additional cap or limit (so called sub-limits) on the amount you can claim for certain conditions or treatments like tick paralysis or hip replacements – not us!

A benefit percentage means the portion of the claim you will receive back from a claim.

For example, if your pet’s treatment comes to the cost of $1,000, you would pay your vet directly and then make a claim with the insurer. Say your annual excess is $150 and your benefit percentage is 80%, then if your claim is approved, you will receive [$1,000-$150 (excess)= $850] x80% = $680 reimbursed to you.

The annual excess is the amount that you (the pet owner) pays towards a claim. Once you have paid your annual excess, then any future claims during the same period of insurance (ie 12 months period) will not have the annual excess deducted. Lots of insurers have an excess for each claim or condition, but ours is a single annual amount for all claims and conditions.

How does the claims process work?

After treatment, we need to review the receipt as well as any medical history from your veterinarian in order to process a claim. You will then get reimbursed into your bank account when the claim is accepted.

You just log into our handy-dandy customer portal, where you can upload everything. If we need more information, we will follow up with your vet for you.

Written by Dr. Angie, the brilliant veterinary mind behind Pet Circle Insurance. With over 15 years of experience in the veterinary field and hands-on experience in handling insurance claims, Angie is a trusted and reliable source of truth when it comes to all things pet-related. Her passion for small animal medicine, nutrition, and the human-animal bond shines through in her work with the Pet Circle Veterinary Squad, where she provides top-notch advice and support to pet owners.

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