Age a road­block for pet insurance

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­THONY KEANE

PET own­ers are be­ing urged to check how their an­i­mal’s age af­fects pet insurance pre­mi­ums. Health insurance gi­ants Bupa and Med­ibank are among 20- plus pet in­sur­ers in Aus­tralia, but there are big dif­fer­ences be­tween in­sur­ing your own health and that of your furry friends. Canstar re­search found pet pre­mi­ums rise as an­i­mals age, while pri­vate health cover for older peo­ple is cheaper due to big­ger tax re­bates. Com­pre­hen­sive cover for a large dog could cost 40 per cent more for a seven- year- old than a four- year- old — $ 1123 ver­sus $ 786 a year. “Most insurance is risk- rated, whether it’s your house or your life insurance or your pet insurance,” said Canstar group ex­ec­u­tive fi­nan­cial ser­vices Steve Mick­en­becker. “Peo­ple al­ways say is it worth­while? We think it’s worth­while. It’s a clas­sic insurance pol­icy — if you don’t claim you have wasted your money but you have a fit and healthy an­i­mal so you are a win­ner each way.” Vet bills to­day run into the thou­sands and Mr Mick­en­becker said RSPCA data showed an av­er­age claim for a com­mon in­testi­nal ob­struc­tion was $ 3932. He said pet in­sur­ers re­im­bursed about 80 per cent of treat­ment costs, with av­er­age an­nual ben­e­fit lim­its around $ 11,500. Court­ney Stephenson and daugh­ter Koopah Gaudry, 2, have pugs and col­lies. She said pet insurance was worth it. “You want peace of mind,” Ms Stephenson said. “You get car and home insurance, and pets are part of the fam­ily.” RSPCA statis­tics show the dog breeds with the most claims are mal­tese cross, stafford­shire bull ter­rier, labrador and golden re­triever – al­though this may be a re­sult of their pop­u­lar­ity.

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