Types of pet insurance explained [Factsheet]

Welcoming a pet into your home often means opening your heart to unending love, but it also means being responsible for their health and well-being.

For many, pet insurance is an essential part of that responsibility, ensuring that our pets have access to the best possible medical care without causing financial strain.

Just as there are many types of pets, there are also various types of pet insurance policies to cater to different needs and budgets.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is a safety net, helping cover for veterinary expenses when your pet is unwell. Similar to health insurance for humans, it helps to cover the costs associated with treating illness and injury. The concept is simple—pay a premium (weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or yearly), and when your pet needs medical attention, the insurance provider generally reimburses a percentage of the covered costs.

What is covered under pet insurance?

Think of pet insurance as a comfy quilt that comes in different sizes and textures. There are three major types:

  • Accident only
  • Accident and illness
  • Comprehensive

Each plan has varying degrees of coverage, but generally, they include costs associated with accidents, illnesses, and surgeries. Some plans might also cover behavioural therapy, loss or theft, and emergency travel.

How does the reimbursement system work?

The reimbursement system for pet insurance can work similarly to other types of insurance. When your pet falls ill or injures itself, generally you will pay the vet directly and then submit a claim for reimbursement.

After submitting your claim, the insurance provider will review it and determine the amount that is eligible for reimbursement based on your coverage. This amount can then be reimbursed to you through direct deposit.

Is dental included?

Most pet insurance policies cover emergency dental treatments, like a tooth fracture from an injury. However, regular dental care like cleanings is usually not included.

Maintaining good dental hygiene for your pet can be an essential part of preventing hefty vet bills, so it’s a good idea to incorporate regular cleanings in your pet’s health rituals. To be clear, there are both veterinary dental cleanings or at-home maintenance rituals you can make use of. Find out more about animal dentistry, to make sure you give your pet the best care you can, for their situation. 

Is routine care included?

Routine care refers to everyday services that maintain your pet's health, like vaccinations and annual check-ups. While most pet insurance plans focus on unexpected or large expenses, some do offer coverage for routine care as an add-on benefit. The inclusions are something to keep in mind when deciding on what cover works best for you and your pets needs.

How does the claims process work?

The claims process will vary across insurance providers, but they all aim to ensure pet owners can quickly and efficiently recoup their expenses. When filing a claim, there are a few steps you can anticipate:

  • Keeping records: Ensure you have all necessary documentation from your vet, including invoices and diagnosis records.
  • Submitting claims: Most insurers allow you to submit claims online, via email, or through an app.
  • Waiting for reimbursement: After your claim is reviewed and approved, you'll typically receive reimbursement within a few weeks.

Although the process is straightforward, there are a few pitfalls to avoid — submitting claims within the specified time frame, making sure the treatment is covered, and providing all necessary documentation.

Common Frequently Asked Questions about pet insurance

Navigating the world of pet insurance can be complex, so we've prepared answers to some frequently asked questions to help you make an informed decision.

Is pet insurance worth it?

Pet insurance can be a lifeline when faced with unexpected veterinary costs. You may consider factors like your pet's breed, age, and overall health, as well as your financial situation, to determine the value of insurance for your situation.

When is the best time to get pet insurance?

The decision is up to you. By taking out pet insurance when your pet is young and healthy, it may reduce the risk of pre-existing conditions being excluded and may help you prepare for life's unpredictability.

What is excluded from coverage?

Exclusions can vary widely between plans, but generally, pre-existing conditions, hereditary conditions, and elective procedures like spaying and neutering are not covered.

Can I use any vet with pet insurance?

Most pet insurance plans allow you to visit any licensed veterinarian, giving you the freedom to choose the best care for your pet, but you will need to double check with your plan and insurance provider.

In conclusion, pet insurance isn't just for helping cover unforeseeable health scares, but can contribute to day-to-day peace of mind. It may help you provide optimal care for your pet with reduced financial strain. To learn more about what SPCA Pet Insurance could offer you and your pet, sign up for a free information pack with all you need to know.

Download our Pet Insurance Factsheet here

This is information only and it is not financial advice. Please consider the relevant Policy Document available here to ensure these products meet your needs. Terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions apply. Waiting periods and excesses may also apply. SPCA Pet Insurance is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (NZBN 9429 042 129 851, FSP 480747), distributed by Greenstone Financial Services NZ Limited (NZBN 9429 047 013 582, FSP 646129) and is administered and managed by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (NZBN 9429 049 378 085, NZFSL 8192554).