Age a roadblock for pet insurance
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.