CHOICE membership

BUPA Pet Insurance gouging ageing dog premiums!

We are choice magazine subscribers and feel we are being gouged on our pet insurance annual increases by Bupa Pet Insurance over the 5 years we have insured our 10 year old Spoodle with them on their Ultimate cover option.

It started off at around $1000 and we expected increases to be in-line with CPI and cover our pet as he got older and developed any conditions.

He has only had mild gingivitis teeth cleaned whilst under and now they have jammed up our annual premium to $2004 as of Jan 2021.

The payments are automatically deducted so they’ve been robbing us blind as they put up premiums as follows:

$1671 last year

$1328.39 year before

$1148.16 year before that

Approx $1000 initially.

We think it’s outrageous they are allowed to do this and not made to comply with a health insurance plan similar to that for humans where to best of my knowledge they can’t do this.

We have already been charged for our recent policy renewal.

I have raised a dispute with them and today all they offered me was a two week refund or a premium $1 higher than last year but we were unaware it was so high either until now and still not happy. I said I want refund of everything over CPI since we joined 5 years ago so it was escalated and remains unresolved. I understand ASIC has ordered some refunds for other stealth charges from Pet plan but this is worse from what I can tell.

Please help us to warn others at least and if there is anything we can do please advise? Our complaint has been escalated buying them another ten days to respond and we are not hopeful of much joy at this stage. Hope someone can help.

Thank you

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Ouch! Much better off putting the money under the bed to cover vet bills.

We had our dog insured with our house insurance with a $1000 excess for something like $100 extra on our premium, but cancelled that last year and put the money away in a box instead.

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There are many who take the view that pet insurance is not value for money.

As for keeping a flat premium instead of increasing with age this happens with health insurance because of the government intervention as they want to provide lifetime cover and if premiums went up with age we would have the anomaly that when they became elderly and most needed support too many people would not be able to afford it. Good luck getting government intervention for pet insurance.

If there was a flat premium system the rate would start much higher than it does currently. Be careful what you wish for.

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My understanding is that Choice over the years has had serious problems with pet insurance. Whether it is worth it, and in particular exclusions, and I don’t recall Choice recomending any of them.

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There are a few topics on Pet Insurance but messy to consolidate because of chronological ordering and the related discussions.

The latest Choice update on Pet Insurance is from Jan 2021.

and

and a [member content] comparison

and lastly from the 2019 Shonkys

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Thanks for the useful responses. I thought it might help other pet insurance customers if I lodged a complaint with he Australian Financial Complaints Authority, AFCA. That’s already a story in itself because the complaint couldn’t go against Bupa’s good name, it had to be against the parent company, Petsure, not the reinsurer of almost all the pet insurance companies which is apparently Hollard. Still waiting for any suitable resolution and resisted the temptation to take about $2k in refund to walk away and have my old dog uninsured for his pre-existing minor gingivitis by any other insurer, surely it will become the one and only thing that he really needs cover for after 5 loyal years with Bupa and they will have successfully have been able to dodge covering any ailing dog in their final years of life. Hopefully AFCA will make them at least disclose their exponential fee structure for any particular breed of dog up front in future. Let’s see, it could be a long journey.

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Also these topics

Hollard underwrite a plethora of Insurances some which they own outright some are in partnership with other businesses.

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They all seem to run the same way. One of my dogs is 17yo and I cancelled her insurance last year (Woolworths) after the premiums jumped over $400.
June 2018 it was $866 pa, and June 2019 $1289…and not many claims that last year. With a couple of $100 excesses, I worked out I would have to spend $1860 at the vet to break even, and after vet discussions re her age and stage of life, it would only be palliative care now.
My daughter’s 11 yo Golden Retriever’s policy just jumped to about $2000 pa…different company, same underwriter…and with her excesses, she would have to spend $2600 to break even. Over two years, that’s $5200…so that money is now going to sit in her mortgage offset account instead.
My youngest dog is with Knose pet insurance…one of the few independent ones and you can choose % refunds and whether you want an excess or not.
My biggest stress with having pet insurance was if I would be up for yet another argument over their definition of whether each claim was a new illness…in which case they would take another $100 excess off. With Knose, I have zero excess…they are also an Aussie based company and my premiums for my 2yo Westie actually decreased from the first year.
I figure as a person, you are the type who likes to have insurance or not. I prefer to have it, so that if the unexpected comes up, I just don’t have that added financial decision.
The trap is with their age cut offs on the policies and the pre existing condition clauses…making it near impossible to switch companies at a later date. Choose wisely!

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I wonder if the insurers are increasing the premiums based on the likely of a claim being made. As a pet get older, the probability of going to a vet increases (as the life of the pet is usually years to a decade or two). Either way, a few years of not paying the premium would build up a nice nest-egg to be used should you pet need the vet.

It seems to mirror life insurance policies which start off relatively low when someone is young and gradually increase to totally unaffordable as they age.

Thankfully, the private health insurers are prevented from participating.

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When we got our current dog in 2013 I checked out pet insurance and decided it was a ripoff. Instead we put money into a bank account for her and so far everything she has had done has well and truly been covered by that. I didn’t like that when a dog reached 8 years old cover virtually disappeared. Our dog is a small breed. So far, apart from yearly vaccinations, all that has happened is that she was spayed and has had her teeth cleaned once. I think we are in front and the bank account confirms it.

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