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Pet Insurance – What to think about

Kiwis are a nation of pet lovers and a recent Canstar Blue survey has revealed that six out of ten owners think of their pet as one of the family. But what do we do if our wee fur babies become ill or have an accident? Do you risk having to stump up for a vet’s bill or do you spread the cost and risk by taking out pet insurance?

“Having a pet can be extremely rewarding but ultimately pretty expensive,” comments Canstar Blue’s Emma Quantrill. “There’s no ACC or public funded services for animals so their health costs sit in your pocket.”

According to the recent survey, 52% of the owners questioned took out pet insurance because it gave them the peace of mind they could afford treatment for their animal if it was needed, although worryingly only 43% knew what their policy actually covered.

“Pet Insurance definitely has its place for owners as it can protect from the worry of getting hit with a huge vet’s bill. But it is only valuable if you know what you are paying for.” continues Quantrill. “Where injuries caused by accidents will most likely be covered, some of the more common problems that animals can suffer from, such as ear, skin or eye infections, may be excluded if there is a history of them occurring before you took out your policy, or it is considered a congenital condition of the breed of animal you have.”

A few costs to consider

As mentioned above, ear, skin and eye infections are relatively common in both cats and dogs, the most popular types of pets in New Zealand, and without insurance, a trip to the vet and the prescriptions your pet would need for these types of complaints could cost you in the region of $200. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of your pet needing surgery – either for accident or illness – your bill could run in to thousands.

What to consider when taking out pet insurance

Like veterinary costs, the cost of pet insurance can vary hugely, depending on the size and type of animal you have, so a few things to bear in mind when considering pet insurance are:

• The size and age, of your pet
• The temperament of your dog (if it has a history of being aggressive, injuries received through fighting will not be covered)
• The breed of your pet as any congenital conditions will not be covered
• Any pre-existing conditions that occurred before you took out the policy, or with a prescribed ‘stand-down’ period at the start of the policy, will not be covered
• Do you plan to use your pet for breeding? If yes, this will invalidate your insurance.
Pet Insurance can be a great way to manage the veterinary costs and give you the peace of mind that if anything does happen to your beloved pet, you can afford to give them the best care. But as with all purchases, read the small print to make sure you chose a policy that is right for you.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance

For the first time, Canstar Blue recently surveyed pet owners to find out their attitudes towards their pet insurance providers and we are pleased to announce Southern Cross Pet Insurance as the inaugural winners of the Canstar Blue Customer Satisfaction Award.

Accepting the award, Southern Cross Pet Insurance General Manager Anthony McPhail said it was testament to the business’ focus on putting customers and their pets first.

“It’s no mean feat to lead the industry in customer satisfaction and I would like to take the opportunity to thank the team for their dedication. It’s clear that our customers are getting a high-quality experience and I believe that has been a key reason for our success - over the past year the number of pets we insure has grown by 28% to more than 27,000.”

For further information regarding this survey, please click here.

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