Pet Insurance 101: How it works

Just like us, animals have a funny habit of getting into scrapes when you least expect it. Whether it's a misjudged leap off the couch or a surprise allergy — pet hiccups can often lead to vet visits, and those aren't always light on the wallet!

That's where pet insurance comes in. A safety net for your pet's health, pet insurance is there to help when vet bills look more terrifying than a vacuum cleaner to a cat. So, what is pet insurance and why should you consider it for your pet? Let's explore the ins and outs of pet insurance.

Understanding the basics: How pet insurance works

Pet insurance works similarly to human health insurance, in that it helps provide financial coverage for the cost of veterinary care.

Pet owners pay premiums (weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or annually), based on a policy that accounts for their pet’s age, breed, pre-existing conditions, and species (cat or dog). These payments are paid directly to the insurer, who in turn helps pay for eligible vet bills should an incident occur and upon you making a claim.

Reimbursement: Getting familiar with claim processes

Most pet insurance companies have their own processes for reimbursement, so it's important to familiarise yourself with the details of the policy you are interested in.

Generally, you'll be required to pay out-of-pocket upfront for any necessary vet care (or work out a payment plan with your veterinary provider) and then submit a claim form along with expenses and supporting documents to the insurer. 

Upon review of your application, the company will then reimburse you — usually in the form of a direct deposit — for the agreed-upon amount. The percentage of reimbursement will depend on your policy.

Answering common questions about pet insurance

Why get pet insurance?

Pet insurance can be a lifesaver when your pet requires medical attention. It helps protect you from the financial burden of unexpected vet bills while providing peace of mind in knowing that you're covered in case of an emergency.

How to choose a pet insurance policy?

When choosing a pet insurance policy, it's important to consider the types of coverage that are available and what works best for your budget and your pet.

Every policy will differ in coverage, cooling-off periods, and excess charges, so make sure to thoroughly read your policy details before signing up. 

What are the different types of pet insurance?

Broadly speaking, there are typically three types of pet insurance: accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive cover.

Accident-only plans cover unexpected medical expenses if your pet was in an accident. Accident and illness insurance covers your pet if it's in an accident or if it gets sick. While comprehensive plans can include coverage for illness, accidents, preventive care and some routine vet checks.

Each pet insurance provider may have differing plans and coverage options beyond these three types, so it’s best to spend time researching each one before making your final decision.

How much does pet insurance cost?

The cost of pet insurance will vary depending on a range of things such as the policy, and the age, breed of your pet, and more. 

For accurate premium information, you can obtain a quote from SPCA Pet Insurance or other providers you are interested in.

Is pet insurance worth it?

When it comes to your pet's health, it can help to be prepared. Having a pet insurance policy could help protect you (and your wallet) from unexpected vet bills and ensure your furry friends can always receive the best care when they need it.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you — if you are interested in learning more about the pet insurance options that SPCA Pet Insurance offers, you can get a free handy brochure with information you may find useful.  

Making a difference: SPCA's Partnership and Contribution

At SPCA Pet Insurance, we are committed to making a difference. Also, by purchasing a policy, you’re helping support the great work of SPCA. This contribution helps support SPCA’s animal welfare work and all the amazing effort that goes into providing care and finding forever homes for pets in need. SPCA Pet Insurance is also invested in the future of animal welfare, providing an annual grant to “Future Animal Carers” in Aotearoa. 

Taking out cover with SPCA Pet Insurance could give you added peace of mind by helping to cover eligible vet bills for your furry friends’ accidental injuries and illnesses.