CHOICE membership

Pet Insurance?


#1

Hi everyone,

We now have our new puppy and want to get pet insurance for him and would like your recommendations. He is 75% Poodle, 25% Shiatzu and 110% adorable.

I have looked at the Choice Pet Insurance Reviews without really getting a clear picture of who to choose, especially as those companies with Choice member reviews are less than inspiring.

On the Product Review website, the only companies to receive a 4-star rating are Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance based on some 1,438 reviews and Pet Insurance Australia based on some 893 reviews.


#2

We’ve included pet insurance on our home policy - much cheaper than the stand-alone pet policies, with similar coverage.


#3

Hi @fred123, for those who don’t have the reviews in the magazine, the online Choice review on Pet insurance can be found here (member content):

Choice has also prepared a guide to purchasing pet insurance as well:

Something to consider is it worth paying the same amount of the insurance premium to a saving account and using the accrued monies, when needed, for pet vet expenses. There are risks in doing this especially if your pet is one that needs a lot of future treatment and the costs exceeds that which has been saved.


#4

Most of them are products of Hollard Insurance (http://www.hollard.com.au/) as Underwriters. So you get a similar outcome regardless of who you choose. Again most pay 80% of the bill (after you have paid 100%) as a refund to the insured. There are many caveats to the policies that preclude many things that you would generally like covered. As @phb noted it may be worth saving the premium amount instead and using it when necessary.

We used to be holders of a policy but the benefits to us were negligible to nil and instead we now opt for the Greencross Healthy Pets Plus (http://www.greencrossvet.com.au/HealthyPetsPlus/Dog.aspx). Your needs may obviously differ and this product may not suit your needs and the Insurance may be the way to go for you.


#5

Can any pet lovers from our @Animal-Welfare campaign group offer a perspective?


#6

I’ve had pet insurance for years…I searched extensively to find less expensive products. I have one dog insured with Woolworths and the other one with Medibank (members get 10% discount). They are the same underwriters…Hollard Insurance…and quotes were very similar, and when you call them, you are dealing with the same people. Note…sometimes different cross breeds may cost different amounts to insure…eg a poodle cross may be cheaper to insure than a Shihtzu cross.

As your dog gets older, the premium will increase and generally, once your pet reaches 8yo, if you don’t already have pet insurance, you won’t be able to get it.

I’ve found the claiming process to be a bit subjective at times, especially if you have an excess, or you have multiple issues to claim. For future dogs, I would look for a policy with a nil excess, just because of these hassles.
The excess business is a bit complicated…most policies give you 80% back, less the excess. This excess is applied per condition and per year. For example…both of my dogs have had ongoing cruciate ligament issues with constant claims, but on the anniversary of my policy, they will reapply the excess to my first claim submitted for the policy year.

Another issue was when my dog had her toe amputated…this was the major reason for her vet visit and surgery, but…whilst having an anaesthetic, it made sense to remove a couple of lumps, which the vet charged at only $50 each. Try explaining that to the insurance company! They require all the vet/surgery notes but then it is often up to them how they attribute the costs. For this example, they ended up saying the cost of the toe amputation surgery was about $700, but the lump removal was $600…with each one attracting individual $100 excesses.
My 15yo Westie’s annual premium is now $866…covered for accident and general illness. She was admitted to weekend emergency care last year with gastro and that visit ended up with a $2600 bill.
Some people suggest putting the similar amount away in a savings account, but all vets/ staff I know individually, have pet insurance. My daughter’s Golden Retriever had both cruciate ligaments replaced at a cost of $5000 each surgery.
To sum up…I’ve been pretty happy with my companies and I would look at them again, but with no excess.
Note also…RACQ does offer full pet insurance, but they also have an intermediate type one that is just attached to your house/contents insurance. It is a relatively cheap option which does take the sting out of bills, especially if you have more than one pet.
“Pet cover Get up to $750 cover for up to two pets (dogs or cats only), for veterinary costs associated with accidental injury or illness. Please note that it doesn’t cover elective, routine or preventative care like vaccinations, spaying or heartworm testing.”
https://www.racq.com.au/insurance/get-insurance/home-and-contents-insurance/combined-home-and-contents-insurance#tab-options


#7

Thanks for your advice.

Unfortunately, we are with Suncorp who, for whatever reason, do not offer pet insurance.


#8

Thanks for your advice.

Your Westie is certainly doing well.

We bought a Westie in 1985 when our younger daughter was 2 years old but the dog was a basket case. She suffered from eczema and her paws would split and bleed.

We did have pet insurance for her but she got to the stage that she had to be carried out to the back lawn to relieve herself. In the end, we had no choice but to have her put down so as to end her suffering.

She was the second of 3 female puppies we bought in Brisbane. The first was an Old English Sheepdog and the third was a Miniature Poodle. All were pedigreed and all were duds.

Hopefully this time with a non-purebred male dog which did not come from Brisbane, we will be fourth time lucky.


#9

Thanks for your advice.

Based on the track record of the COO of Greencross and Petbarn, I would not deal with them even if they were the last veterinary and pet supply business on the planet.

When he was with Optus, he was involved in the screwing over of a great many dealers and franchisees.

He resurfaced at the Bank of Qld as the general manager of their franchising network during which time the problems with franchisees being screwed over resulted in one of them getting Mick Gatto to help in 2016.

However, the heroes at the BOQ, whilst happy to rip-off individual franchisees, were too cowardly to meet with Mick Gatto and the franchisee manager left BOQ.

He then resurfaced at Greencross as the COO, but it appears that he is now gone. I will be interested to find out if he jumped or was pushed and what dramas he created. He is now trying to find a job.


#10

My wife and I have three pomeranians (photos on request :wink:), one of whom suffered a broken neck when he was only a few months old while another needed leg surgery (congenital problem). We have never seriously considered getting pet insurance, because it looks to cost more than any benefit we may get from it.


#11

@postulative - Yes, let’s see them :dog:


#13

Due to popular (?) demand, I hereby present (from the viewer’s left to right) Rocket preparing to roll off the couch, Coffers looking fascinated, and - in her summer trim - Rosie (choosing to look incredibly bored):

*A previous version of this post has been deleted due to it containing (minimal) personal information.


#14

@postulative

Oustanding :smile:


#15

After coming across this Choice article the other day, we were keen to again explore pet insurance as our puppy has a Shit Tzu flat face.

However, the Choice Pet Insurance Reviews linked to the article were not helpful, as only a handful of products listed had any reader reviews at all, and these were single reviews and were all negative, and many products were not covered in the Choice article.

I then revisited Product Review where I had previously noted Pet Insurance Australia and Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance had the best user ratings.

Our private health insurance fund, Bupa, had reasonable ratings but well below the above 2 whilst RSPCA Pet Insurance had absolutely abysmal ratings.

We have now signed up with Pet Insurance Australia so hopefully it all works out OK.


#16

Many times regardless of what brand of Pet Insurance you buy the company behind it is Hollard Insurance and if you look beyond the first name Pet Insurance Australia the company behind it, RSPCA, Bow Wow Meow plus a list of others are all Hollard. The front end business are a retail business so I guess their personal staff behaviours may influence how someone finds them but the payment arm is Hollard and they apply the same rules regardless of what brand you may have.

http://www.hollard.com.au/insurance-partners/retail-brands-and-partners.aspx

http://www.hollard.com.au/about/hollard-insurance.aspx


#17

No longer have any pets… sadly … for several reasons. I did, however, look at insurance at one point but decided that it wasn’t the best option for me … at that time. The whole thing was a fairly new concept in those days so ,maybe, it’s a better proposition now. I simply used to pay regular, modest amounts into a dedicated online bank account. Generally, it worked quite well… usually enough cash there to cover most, run of the mill, vet bills… including surgery. Although, I copped a massive whammy on the expenditure front when my last, remaining pet got cancer. That involved MAJOR expense … so insurance may have been a help at that point


#18

Hi, Just to let you all know that we are working on an update for our pet insurance review. I’ve seen in some comments that you did not find our current review very helpful. So if you have any feedback on what information you would need from us to make the review more useful for you, that would be appreciated.

Also read with much interest your experiences with pet insurance, thanks for those, they were very interesting. Also feel free to contact me via email money@choice.com.au.

Uta


#19

A slight side-track from pet insurance, to the reason it is often needed.

Every time we visit our vet lately, he has something new to say about breeders. I think most people are aware that pugs are bred for flat noses and tend to develop breathing difficulties, and german shepherds are bred with bowed backs that can result in back and leg problems because they are unable to properly support their own body weight.

Our dogs similarly have health problems caused by poor breeding decisions.

These decisions are made by breeders because they want to win ribbons at dog shows. That suggests to me that judges at such shows need to be educated - and if necessary legislated - into fixing their rules so that they don’t encourage bad breeding. It is a question of animal welfare, that Choice may wish to consider as part of the broader question for consumers choosing a family member without being aware of the damage that has been inflicted upon it genetically.


#20

It’s also pushed by the consumer attitude of thinking flat faced dogs like pugs are cute. Personally I would never own a pug because I’d never want to support that level of neglecting the needs of the animal you’re effectively creating.


#21

An article regarding pet insurance including comments from Choice.