We believe in Murphy’s Law ‘If you have it you won’t need it’. Veterinary care can be expensive and we never want to give your pet less than the best care. Insurance starts from around $1.00 per day, a broken leg at around $2000 plus.
Like all types of insurance you need to research and know what your policy will and will not cover for your pet.
Here are some insurance companies available in New Zealand:
10 Questions about pet insurance, answered.
1Will they cover this visit if I phone them today?
No – It is too late!
Most pre-existing conditions, including why you came to the vet today, will not be covered. There is usually a 14 to 21 day stand down for medical problems before the insurance company will cover. The good news is accidents are covered straight away.
2Are regular pet costs like flea treatment, worming, special food, dentals, de-sexing, vaccinations and annual check-ups covered?
Insurance is for the unexpected – not the regular running costs of owning a pet. However, some companies do give a rebate on annual renewal of premiums for some of the above.
3Are congenital and hereditary conditions covered?
We highly recommend, especially if you have a dog, only consider insurance that covers this. Some companies charge a higher premium and some have an extended stand down period before they will cover these conditions. Check out the list of hereditary conditions excluded for your breed and if you have a mixed breed it’s a double whammy. Not having full cover leads to exclusions for the most common reasons you may visit a vet. For moggies it may not be necessary but if you have a purebred make sure they are covered by checking with your consultant.
4Is your pet covered for life?
As long as you start prior to the age 8 years old (except for select breeds). Your pet will be covered for life but check if the premiums change or if the excess you pay differs as your pet gets older.
5Is every type of surgery covered?
YES, however with some plans certain common surgeries, such as canine cruciate repair, have an upper limit placed which leaves you paying the majority of the bill. This is not ideal.
6How often would I really use pet insurance as I have young healthy pets?
Pet insurance is about preparing for the unexpected and then being able to pay for it. One in 4 pet owners make an unscheduled visit to the vet annually. This means this will be the an insurance that you are likely to claim on annually. Typically pet’s need more vet care in the first few years and the last few years but at any time your pet could have an unexpected accident or illness. Be prepared.
7Are after hours vet clinics, veterinary specialists, diagnostics and other animal therapists covered?
Not always – and this is important.
Veterinary medicine has come a long way and we want the best for your pet. Ultrasound, CT, MRI and veterinary specialists are all available on a referral basis for top quality pet care. Veterinary physiotherapists and other services are also available for recuperation from serious or chronic illness or injuries and these costs add up. Make sure you have a policy that fully covers full diagnostics, veterinary specialists and physiotherapist fees.
8Can the vet clinic claim directly to the company if I can’t afford the vet bill?
Most clinics will do this if asked but it does need to be discussed with your vet and your pet insurance company before proceeding. Some companies will also give pre-approval for certain procedures.
9I’m on a tight budget at the moment so can I afford it?
If you can’t afford pet insurance then you can’t afford to own a pet. Basic policies start at $16/month for cats and $24/month for dogs where the more comprehensive cover may be up to $45/month. Pet insurance is not expensive and if you really love your pet and want the best care for it, like we do, then factor the cost in as part of good pet ownership.
10Which company should I choose?
Shop around. Make sure the person you talk to will be your consultant so you can develop a relationship and ask questions as you go. If they offer you a good deal make sure the premiums won’t be ramped up as your pet gets older. In the end, choose the cover you can both afford but will also give you the opportunity to make sure your pet gets the health care it deserves.