For most pet owners, cats and dogs are more than just animal companions, they are much-loved members of the family, and they deserve the best medical care we can provide.
Wanting to be able to provide the best health care for your pet is one thing, being able to afford it, is often another. The cost of veterinary treatment in Australia can be hugely expensive, but it is understandable when you consider modern advancements in veterinary medicine and technology.
A few decades ago, a pet diagnosed with cancer would have been routinely euthanised but with advances in veterinary science, pets can now receive life-saving chemotherapy and go on to live for many more years. These treatments come at a price though, and can run into thousands of dollars.
That’s why pet insurance is an important consideration. Whilst you can probably budget for routine care and annual wellness exams, if your pet becomes seriously ill or injured, you want the peace of mind that pet insurance can provide. With pet insurance you don’t have to choose a treatment plan based on cost alone, knowing that you can rely on receiving a percentage of what you’ve paid back through your pet insurance.
Here are the three biggest mistakes to avoid when buying pet insurance:
1. Delaying buying pet insurance
Pet owners happily meet all the other basic needs of their cat or dog, but when it comes to purchasing pet insurance they continually put it off or just don’t get around to it. It’s only when their pet becomes ill or is injured that they look seriously at pet insurance.
The best time to purchase pet insurance though, is when your pet is young and healthy, before they start to develop health issues or are showing signs of any pre-existing medical conditions.
The other reason to insure your cat or dog early is because young pets are more likely to have accidents or get into mischief that requires medical intervention. Kittens are known for swallowing string and puppies also like to eat non-food items like small rocks. Unfortunately, these common pet behaviours often result in intestinal blockages, which are a very real and dangerous health issue.
2. Thinking pet insurance is like a savings plan
People often misguidedly make a decision on pet insurance only based on the cost of premiums and likelihood of making a claim over the course of their cat or dog’s lifetime. But, while these things are important and must be considered, you can’t view pet insurance by asking, “What am I getting out of this?” Because the best answer really is “If you’re lucky, peace of mind.”
Pet insurance should be seen as a safety net, not a savings plan. Think of it as a risk management strategy in the event that your cat or dog should become ill or injured. Pet insurance helps you plan for the worst-case scenario and cover unexpected financial costs. For example, if your pet was to suffer from a gastric perforation, an owner could receive a vet bill over $9,500*, or if they needed treatment for liver failure then the average bill is almost $6,500*.
3. Not reading the policy or asking questions
When you sign up for a pet insurance policy, it’s important that you know what you’re buying, so take your time and do your research.
Nine times out of 10 the disgruntled pet owners who voice their disappointment with their pet insurance coverage are the same people who didn’t take the time to read about and understand their policy or ask specific questions about their cat or dog and their medical history.
We cannot stress enough the importance of making sure that you read the policy fine print and ask questions relevant to your situation so that you know what you’re purchasing and what your pet is covered for.
*Source – Real Pet Insurance Claims Statistics from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.
DISCLOSURE: We received a small fee from Real Insurance to write this article but we only ever share information we feel is relevant to our readers.