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In order to ensure a fairer method of setting pet insurance premiums, Petsecure have moved away from what is known as “community rated” premiums where all pets pay the same premium no matter what risk profile they present. In Australia, Health Insurance premiums for humans are “community rated” as it would disadvantage older people significantly if they were rated on the risk.
For pet insurance, it wouldn’t be fair that the same premium applied for a Miniature Fox Terrier puppy and a 10 year old Great Dane. The veterinary risks and treatment costs will obviously differ significantly between these two extreme examples.
Petsecure Pet Insurance works like most other forms of insurance (except Health Insurance for humans), where the premium charged is calculated on “risk” factors associated with the insured risk (in the case of our policies, a pet). For example, motor insurance premiums are based on factors such as the make and type of vehicle, age and experience of the driver, where the vehicle is kept and so on. Life insurance premiums will be affected by factors such as age, gender, occupation and health history of the life insurance. It’s the same with pet insurance, where factors include the breed and age of the pet, location, and whether the pet is de-sexed or not, as these are risk factors. The following explains how the premium is calculated for new and renewing policies.
Your premium is calculated using a combination of factors about you and your pet. These factors can affect the premium amount up or down depending upon whether we believe it increases or decreases the risk to the underwriter, such as the cover you have chosen, the benefit percentage applicable to the cover you have chosen, where you and your pet permanently live, your age and the species, breed, gender of your pet, the current age of your pet, the age you first insured your pet, and other factors related to our cost of doing business.
Factors that are taken into consideration for renewal premium calculation include your pet’s age, breed, location, duration for which your pet has been insured, claims history, as well as data relating to the health of pets that are a similar age and breed. Each year we review premiums based on these factors to ensure we can accommodate the costs of possible treatment up to your annual benefit limit, in the event that your pet becomes injured or ill.
Will my premium increase every year?
Yes, your premium will increase each year. This is for two main reasons:
Reason #1: Just like humans, the older our pets get, the more likely they are to have health hiccups. Cats and dogs age faster than we do, which means that their likely veterinary treatment costs go up rapidly each year too. As a result, the cost of insuring your pet will also increase as they get older.
Reason #2: Advancements in Veterinary Treatments.
The overall cost of medical treatment for pets has increased in recent years due to the increased availability of medical treatments and technology-enabled services and ongoing demand for these services. The treatment options and advancements in technology are providing us with great opportunities to give our pets a great quality of life for longer.
While this is great news for the care of our pets, these treatments come at a significant cost. Year on year treatment costs increase, and this is factored into the cost of pet insurance.
Please see ‘How do you calculate my premium’ for more information about calculation of premiums.
Will my premium increase even if I don’t submit claims?
Every year, we review the cost of everyone’s insurance with regards to a combination of factors as well as claims inflation across all our insured pets. Increases in our claims costs due to increases in the range of available veterinary procedures, or due to an increased take-up of those services, impacts everyone’s premiums.
Your premium takes into account the average cost of care for pets like yours. To provide an example of this, a pet parent with a three-year-old French Bulldog will be affected by the trends we see in our data from hundreds of three-year-old French Bulldogs that we insure, as well as the specific claims history of their own pet.
Is my premium calculated the same way as my Private Health Insurance?
No. Pet insurance does not work like health insurance. Health insurance is ‘community rated’, which means that everyone pays the same premium for their health insurance regardless of their individual health status, age or claims history. This is not the case for pet insurance.
Health insurance providers are able to community rate health insurance because there are many other factors at play in the human health care system, such as Medicare and government rebates and subsidies, which is not the case with veterinary care and pet insurance.
Pet insurance claim reimbursements are paid for purely by the premiums received by those who insure their pets. In order for each person to pay a fair price for their pet insurance, premiums vary depending on your and your pet’s risk factors.
Q. Why is vet care so expensive?
A. There is no government support for your pet’s health care, it might seem that you are paying more for your pet’s treatment. Human patients have Medicare, which pays most of the cost of our medical treatment. Added to this there are many treatment options available today, and they are continually developing treatments for pets.
However, when you compare veterinary fees with other professional service fees, they are really not excessive.
It’s also important to remember that your veterinarian is not only your pet’s GP, but also their surgeon, radiologist, dermatologist, neurologist, oncologist and pharmacist as well.
Q. Why do veterinary fees and charges differ between practices?
A. Each veterinarian sets their fees based on the treatment being given as well as the expertise available and the cost of supplying the service. These prices cover all of the expenses that keep the veterinary practice running, such as salaries, overheads and equipment. Expenses can vary widely from place to place depending on their cost structures.
Q. Why can’t vets advise, diagnose or prescribe over the phone?
A. As with humans, it’s very difficult for a vet to come up with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan if they haven’t seen and examined the animal themselves.
It is also unethical and illegal to prescribe prescription medication for an animal that hasn’t been physically examined by a veterinarian.
Q. How do I know I am going to get the best vet service for my pet?
A. If you use a vet that is an AVA member they are committed to a Professional Code of Conduct which means high ethical standards for people and their pets. Members also take advantage of continuing education programs to keep up on the latest techniques and research, which is important for your pet’s health and treatment.
The AVA offers a community for vets to network and to share ideas, to find out who is offering breakthrough treatments or alternative options, and vets can use this information to better treat pets.
Q. Do I need pet insurance?
A. The decision to get pet insurance is up to individual owners, but it can be a good idea and save you money in the long run.
Some owners find that pet health insurance gives them peace of mind. It also helps you avoid unplanned expenses and helps with your family budgeting.
If your pet is involved in an accident or suffers a sudden illness it can give you the ability to consider all treatment options and not be restricted by cost.
Q. When is a pet too old for Petsecure pet insurance?
A. Never, there is no upper age limit to join our Accident Cover but your pet must be less than 9 years old to be accepted for our Accident & Illness Cover. Once Petsecure pet cover is in place you can keep it for life, provided there is no break in cover.
Q. Do you cover pets of any age?
A. You can start your policy as soon as your pet is 8 weeks old and there is no upper age limit to join our Accident Cover but your pet must be less than 9 years old to be accepted for our Accident & Illness Cover. Once Petsecure pet insurance is in place you can keep it for life, provided there is no break in cover.
Q. When is the best time to buy my pet insurance?
A. Puppies and kittens, just like children are more likely to develop an illness or injury than an adult pet because they are less coordinated and their immune system has not yet fully developed. So, we suggest insuring as soon as possible to avoid unexpected surprises that may result in a pre-existing exclusion on your policy, preventing your pet from getting full cover.
But just because your pet isn’t a puppy or kitten doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t get pet insurance as just like humans, as pets age they get sicker and have more and higher vet bills than when they were young. As soon as your pet is 8 weeks of age they can be covered by Petsecure.
Q. What does Petsecure Vet Expenses Insurance cover?
A. Petsecure covers vet costs for treatment and surgeries for accidents and illnesses ranging from minor problems like ear infections and bee stings to major issues such as broken bones, or chronic (recurring) conditions such as diabetes and cancer.
You can choose to cover your dog or cat for Accident only or Accident and Illness. You can choose a benefit payment option of either 75% or 85%. This means that, depending on the option you choose, we will pay either 75% or 85% of your eligible vet’s bills, up to the annual limit. Accident Cover will cover your pet for up to $8,000 per year for accidental injuries and Accident & Illness Cover will pay up to $12,000 per y ear for accidental injuries and illnesses. When you choose Accident and Illness Cover you can add Wellness Care as well. Wellness Care pays towards the cost of keeping your pet healthy by paying up to $145 for a range of treatments including vaccinations, de-sexing, micro-chipping, teeth cleaning, heartworm, flea, tick and worm control.
Q. Does Petsecure insure pets other than cats & dogs?
A. Petsecure pet insurance covers only cats and dogs at this point in time.
Q. What happens if my cat or dog gets a condition that doesn’t go away (chronic condition)?
A. As with other conditions covered by your policy, cover for these conditions, such as cancer, arthritis and diabetes will be covered up to the applicable annual benefit limit, as shown on your Certificate of Insurance, provided the policy is renewed annually without any break in cover and there is no change in the level of cover after age 9.
Q. What is defined as an accidental injury?
A. An accidental injury is an unforeseen event that results in visible, physical or bodily injuries to your pet. For example broken bones, dog and cat fight, or a motor vehicle accident.
Q. What is defined as an illness?
A. An illness means an unexpected sickness or disease or any change to your pet’s normal healthy state which is not caused by injury to your pet. For example upset stomach, skin conditions, ear infection, poisoning.
Q. What is a cruciate ligament?
A. There are two cruciate ligaments in the knee. They attach the thigh bone to the shin bone. They allow the knee to flex and extend and they stablilse the joint. It can just be a simple slip on uneven ground or slippery floor that can cause a cruciate rupture. Of the two ligaments, the one that most often gets damaged is the anterior cruciate ligament. If this happens the joint becomes unstable as a result there would be intense pain and inflamation would occur. Your vet will be able to diagnose a cruciate rupture, generally by touch, and advise the best treatment, often this means surgery. There is a limit on claims for cruciate ligament conditions of $2,600 per annum, but you may be eligible for a lhigher limit and if so this will be specified on your Certificate of Insurance.
Q. Is euthanasia covered?
A. Yes, euthanasia is covered if it is medically necessary.
Q. Do you cover hereditary and congenital conditions?
A. Yes, as long as they were not present or showed clinical signs prior to joining Petsecure Vet Expenses Insurance (ie a pre-existing condition). Petsecure does not exclude breed specific conditions.
Q. Do you provide cover for tick paralysis treatment?
A. Yes, when you select Accident & Illness Cover, your cover includes $500 benefit per year toward vet costs resulting from treatment for paralysis ticks.
Q. Can I cover my pet if I take it on holiday with me?
A. Yes, your pet is covered for eligible vet expenses incurred anywhere in Australia. Your pet will also be covered by their Petsecure policy whilst travelling in a country that does not require your pet to enter quarantine on re-entry to Australia.
Q. What’s not covered?
A. The intention of Petsecure Pet Insurance is to help cover unforeseen vet expenses associated with pet ownership which means not all expenses are covered, and like most insurance policies there are some exclusions which help keep your premiums low. These include: pregnancy, dental care, elective procedures, foods/diets, grooming, behavioural problems, day to day care and pre-existing conditions that showed clinical signs before taking out the pet insurance cover. Please refer to the Policy Terms & Conditions for a full list of exclusions.
To find out more about exclusions in pet insurance policies check out “Understanding exclusions in pet insurance” above.
Q. Can I get a pre-existing condition exclusion removed from my policy?
A. Yes after 18 months from your policy commencement date, you can apply to have a review of your Pre existing Condition exclusion provided that your vet certifies and provides (at your expense) vet records that certify your pet has been free of clinical signs, symptoms or recurrence of the Pre existing Condition up to the date of receipt of the the review form. Please contact us if you would like a Review Application Form.
Q. Are dogs and cats covered whilst in quarantine (being imported from another country)?
A. Unfortunately we cannot cover pets whilst in quarantine. The vet history from the country that the dog or cat is being imported from would be required when applying for dog insurance or cat insurance.
Q. How much can I claim each year?
A. With Petsecure there is no limit on individual claims. If you select Accident & Illness cover, you can claim up to $12,000 each year, and if you select Accident cover you can claim up to $8,000 each year. The amount you are paid for each eligible vet’s bill depends on the plan you choose. You can choose from the 85% plan which pays $85.00 out of every $100 of eligible vet’s bills claimed, or a 75% plan which pays $75.00 out of every $100 of eligible vet’s bills claimed. If you select the 75% plan, the premium is cheaper as the benefit paid for each claim is lower, but you can still claim up to $12,000 each year with Accident & Illness cover and $8,000 each year with Accident only cover.
Q. Are there any excess payments?
A. No. With Petsecure we will pay either 75% or 85% of eligible vet’s bills, up to the annual maximum amount payable ($8,000 for the Accident Cover option or $12,000 for the Accident & Illness Cover option.
Q. Are there any limits on payments?
A. With Petsecure there is an annual limit of $2,600 for cruciate ligament conditions, and $300 per year for consultations. For all other claims we pay either 75% or 85% of the vet’s bill – depending on the benefit level you have selected. There are no individual limits on claims.
Q. What if I don’t incur $12,000 worth of vet bills for Accident & Illness cover – do I get money back?
A. Petsecure is there to help with the unexpected, and whilst it may seem unimaginable that you could be faced with vet bills of $12,000 or more in one year, the reality is that even for a simple accident the costs can mount up to thousands of dollars. Remember there is no Medicare for pets, and with advancement in technology, we now have access to life saving treatments for our dogs and cats that was unheard of even 10 years ago. Unfortunately this means that veterinary costs can mount up, often into the thousands of dollars. Similar to insurance for your car or home & contents, you do not get anything back if you do not make a claim. But remember that it could only take one serious incident to get back what you may have paid in premium, and some more. Vet expenses insurance is an important measure to help give you the peace of mind of knowing that if you are faced with unexpected and costly vet bills, there will be insurance in place to help with the cost.
Q. How can I save money on my premiums?
A. To lower your premium you can select the 75% benefit payment option. With Petsecure you also have the flexibility of fortnightly or monthly payment options. With fortnightly and monthly payments there is a $1.00 collection fee, per collection, so you can also save money by paying annually.
Q. What are the payment options?
A. You have the option to pay your pet’s insurance premium fortnightly, monthly or annually via credit card or direct debit from your bank account. When you pay fortnightly or monthly, there is a $1.00 collection fee, per collection.
Q. Are there any special discounts?
A. Yes. You can qualify for a maximum 10% discount if you hold a Pension Card, have an assistance dog (such as a guide dog), or have got your pet through an affiliated rescue organisation.
Q. Is there is a discount if I insure more than one pet?
A. Yes. For those of us who have more than one pet, Petsecure offers a discount of 10% off the premium for the second and all subsequent pets. This can be multiple dogs or cats, or cats and dogs combined! A maximum 10% discount applies.
Your pets are individually insured, but you still get the benefit of the discount.
When you apply on-line, after you have put in the details of your first pet, you will be asked if you would like to insure a second pet.
Q. What happens if my pet dies? Will I get a refund of any premium paid in advance?
A. To make sure that we have all necessary details, please write to us to cancel your cover. We will refund any premium you have paid less any amount that covers the period insured as long as you have not made a claim.
Q. Why are there differences in pet insurance premium costs?
Pet insurance premiums will depend on the breed, age, and the amount and type of cover you want. You may find that lower cost policies also come with lower benefits! For example you can find policies that offer an annual benefit amount of $10,000 with a 75% which will most likely (and not surprisingly) cost less than Petsecure’s $12,000 benefit and 85% payout. Also cheaper options may include co-payments. It is important when you choose your policy to not just look at the premium – consider what you would be able to afford to payout in the event of a large claim. For example if your pet required an operation that cost $5,000 – would you be able to find the $1,500 if there was a 70% payout option, compared to Petsecure which would mean you’d pay half of that ($750.00). Some policies also have Per Condition Excess amounts. So if your per condition excess was $500, you would need to pay that for the condition before any insurance payment kicked in. Of course a policy like that could appear cost effective, but in the event of the need to claim, you may be disappointed.
Q. How do I make a claim?
A. Making a claim is easy. All claims are to be completed on a Petsecure claim form. You and your vet will need to complete the appropriate sections on the form. Then just send your completed claim form together with all original itemised invoices and payment receipts to:
Locked Bag 9021
Castle Hill, NSW 1765
Q. For ongoing treatment, do I need to wait until the treatment has finished before I can make a claim?
A. No, you don’t need to wait. You can make a claim at any time.
Q. What if I need to make a claim when I’m on holiday?
A. You can make a claim even on holiday. Just follow the normal claim request by downloading a claim form and mail all relevant original documents to us.
Q. How long do I have to wait before making a claim?
A. There is no waiting period for accident claims – you can claim as soon as your policy is effective. A 30-day waiting period applies for illness claims. A six month waiting period applies for cruciate conditions unless your vet certifies that no cruciate conditions exist on joining.
Q. What is the most I can claim?
A. If you choose Accident Cover you can claim up to $8,000 per year. If you choose Accident and Illness Cover you can claim up to $12,000 per year.
Q. Do you always need medical records to process my claims?
A. Yes, please attach only original itemised invoices and payment receipts. This will help us process your claim quickly and accurately.
Q. Are there any waiting periods?
A. Accidental Injury will be covered as soon as your policy is effective. If you select Accident & Illness Cover, illness will be covered 30 days after your policy effective date. A six month waiting period applies for cruciate ligament conditions unless your vet certifies that no cruciate ligament conditions exist on joining.
Q. Can I get the 6 month cruciate waiting period waived?
A. Yes. This waiting period can be waived by getting your vet to complete the cruciate exam form which is available in Forms and Downloads. This form must be received by us within 14 days of having your pet examined by the vet.
Q. Can I visit any vet?
A. Yes, you have the choice to use any licensed vet in Australia.
Q. If I purchase Accident pet cover, can I upgrade to a higher level of cover at a later time?
A. Yes, you can upgrade to a higher cover on your policy renewal date or at any time as long as you haven’t made a claim on your current cover.
Q. If I change my mind about Petsecure, can I cancel the pet cover?
A. You may cancel the policy within 21 days of the start of the cooling-off period and as long you have not made a claim, any premium you have paid will be refunded in full.
After 21 days you may cancel your policy by written notification. Cover ceases at the time Petsecure receives your written notification. If you have not made a claim under the policy and you have paid the annual premium in full, the portion of the premium that reflects the remainder of the policy period will be refunded to you. No refund is available where you have chosen the monthly or fortnightly payment options.
Q. How do I renew my pet insurance policy?
A. To make it simple for you, and to ensure you cover continues to be in place for you, your policy is automatically renewed, as long as premium payments are current and up-to-date.
Q. Can my pets be covered in Quarantine?
A. When pets arrive in Australia and enter quarantine, contact Petsecure to set up a policy/policies. Unfortunately we cannot cover pets whilst in quarantine, but as there is a 30 day waiting period for illness you can start the Policy 30 days before they are due to leave quarantine, which means they will be covered when they get home.
Q.What is the benefit of a Pet ID Tag?
A.We think that pets who have a tag attached are safer as their owners can be identified more easily, and the pets returned home. Our quality PET ID Tags are provided by petidtags.com.au . Also as part of our Pet Rescue initiative we provide ID tags to rescue organisations to help them keep their pets’ safe. If you want to purchase a PetID Tag, click here.
Q. How do I make a complaint?
The satisfaction of our customers is very important to us. Unfortunately from time to time there may be misunderstandings, you may feel less than satisfied with the products and services we provide or you may wish to dispute the outcome of a decision. If this is the case, it’s important that you let us know as soon as possible, so we can work with you to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible. These are the steps to take:
Call us on 1300 855 160 and explain the situation. In the first instance our team will try to work with you to resolve the issue. Please be sure to have your Policy details handy (if applicable).
If after speaking to our team, you are still not happy with the outcome, you can take the matter further by contacting our Internal Dispute Resolution Committee.
Locked Bag No. 9021
Castle Hill NSW 1765
Fax: (02) 9843 2644
Of course you can also call us again on 1300 855 160.
Please be sure to include your Name, your Policy Number and all the details relating to your complaint.
Your concerns will be investigated by the Committee and, provided that we have all the necessary information, we will inform you of the outcome within 15 working days of receiving your letter, email or phone call.
If we are unable to resolve this matter in 15 working days, we will let you know and will provide a final response no later than 45 days from the date we received your complaint.
In most cases we are able to sort out the problems brought to us by our customers. But if the Internal Dispute Resolution Committee does not resolve the matter to your satisfaction or does not provide you with an outcome within 45 days of receipt of your complaint, you may refer the matter to an external dispute resolution scheme. This is a free service to consumers to assist in resolving complaints.
Contact details for The Australian Financial Complaints Authority are shown below:
Mail: Australian Financial Complaints Authority, GPO Box 3, Melbourne VIC 3001
Phone: 1300 780 808 (A local call charge applies)