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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I just received my Yearly Increase from BUPA that is a price gouge of 20% since last year and a whopping 118% price hike in 5 years, since I moved from RSPCA to BUPA.
My dog just turned 12, I can’t seem to find a new insurer because he is over 9 years old, even though I have coverage I can’t just move it (how ridiculous), that means I am either stuck being ripped off, or I cancel it entirely meaning I’ve wasted thousands and thousands of dollars. Wish I had of known not to get it and just keep money aside. The Pet Insurance Industry is entirely fraudulent.
I rang BUPA to gain some understanding of what reason they can charge a customer, as I have touch-wood never made a claim, (both myself and my dog are insured by them), the man circled around my questions and kept giving me generalised answers, until I got frustrated by how patronising he was and I hung up.
Here is the list of price hikes from BUPA since 2017 price:
If laws were to be made to reduce insurance premiums below the level that insurers were prepared to deal with they would simply stop offering that kind of coverage. Calls for stricter laws in favour of the consumer are common here. Sometimes it is appropriate but not always.
If you don’t think it is value for money then self-insure, keep aside the premiums so that you have some cash if you need a big payout.
BUPA do not actually run the pet insurance. It is a Sth African business called Hollard. BUPA act as a promoter of PetSure which is a private company Australian arm of Hollard:
Bupa Pet Insurance is: • underwritten by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd . ABN 78 090 584 473 AFSL 241436 (“Hollard”); • administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923 AFSL 420183, and • promoted by Bupa Australia Pty Ltd ABN 81 000 057 590 Authorised Representative No 354269, as an authorised representative of PetSure.
What this means is that BUPA get a commission for on-selling the insurance product to a consumer. Administration beyond customer contact is undertaken by Hollard, Hollard decide the validity of claims and provide the 80% refund of the bill cost. BUPA just act as the middleman and it is probably their account system that forwards the refund to the customer account.
Many (most perhaps) of the Pet Insurance offers are at their core Hollard products. They are free to charge what the market will bear, a person has to weigh up if the term insurance is worth the cost to cover the risk. I don’t think the cost is worth it, as it is purely a yearly contract and does not have any value outside of that particular year.
Other comment has been made about Hollard in other topics previously.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it – if I could go back to 2012 when I first started getting it prior to the industry being exposed then I would never of signed up!!! Now I am trapped and have lost thousands & toushands of dollars that I could of kept in the bank for a rainy day. It is highway robbery for a company to increase insurance by 20% in one year – unless you work in the industry, everyday people are NOT aware that a company can or even would do this. And yes I am well aware of who the underwriter is and of all of these things. I am simply sharing my story so Choice can keep putting pressure on these dodgy insurance companies and so that others can make better decisions!!! I have complained to BUPA directly about how they have swindled a long term customer and that I will not only be cancelling my Pet Insurance but will also be cancelling my own membership – I am sure they will not care. I have also shared this story with EVERYONE I know who has a pet, even random at the dog parks. Cheers
We decided when we got our dog that we would look at Pet Insurance. However when I began investigating the coverage offered I was shocked. After the dog turned 8 almost no cover, only one cruciate ligament covered and the list went on. We decided to open a bank account and put the premiums in there as well as some extra moneys. Now she is well covered and her medical expenses come from it. As she is now 9 years old no company would insure her, but until it is made fairer why would anyone use it. Our previous dog got nasal cancer at about 11 or 12 years old. We spent about $12 000 keeping her alive and comfortable; this includes her cremation and end of life. Now this would be able to come from our current dog’s bank account.