Insuring Your Pets Health: A Guide to Choosing the Right Pet Insurance

Choosing the right pet insurance AREC Vet

In today’s world, most pets are considered to be part of the family. The bond we form with our pets is unique, offering us a kind of companionship that is different to any human relationships we have. Their unconditional love, loyalty and trust enriches our lives in unmeasurable ways.

The more serious side of being a pet owner is being responsible for their health. The cost of emergency treatment, advanced surgeries or other specialised care can be significant, potentially reaching many thousands of dollars. Unlike human healthcare systems, such as Medicare, there is no equivalent for pets, making financial planning for their health care an important consideration.

Pet insurance acts as a safeguard against these potential expenses, removing the financial quandary from decisions about essential health interventions. However, with many insurance options available, not all policies offer the same level of protection for your circumstances. This guide aims to assist you in identifying the important elements to look for when selecting a pet insurance policy.

Coverage Options: The extent of insurance coverage varies greatly from policy to policy. Check to see what the policies you are looking at actually cover and compare that to what cover you are seeking. Depending on the policy, options could include coverage for accidents, illnesses, wellness care, hereditary conditions and behavioural issues.

Exclusions: Examine the insurance coverage comprehensively. What does the policy exclude, including pre-existing conditions, breed-specific ailments, and specific treatments or procedures? For example, if your puppy saw a vet for diarrhoea before being insured, undesirable insurance policies to avoid could exclude any problems related to the stomach and intestines down the track.

Age and Breed Restrictions: Check for age or breed restrictions for coverage, as some policies may exclude older pets or specific breeds prone to certain health issues.

Reimbursement Percentage: Look into the percentage of vet bills the insurance reimburses, typically ranging from 70% to 90%.

Annual Limit: Check the annual cap on payouts ensuring it aligns with your expectations.

Limits for Specific Conditions: Many policies impose caps on some specific conditions, which should be carefully considered.


  • An entry-level policy with a $2,000 annual limit for any medical condition in a policy in which the total annual benefit limit is $10,000 may not offer good value for many pet owners. This is because it is more common to encounter one significant problem requiring a claim over a year rather than multiple smaller unrelated issues.
  • Many policies are capped at $1,000-1,200 for tick paralysis, and although this may seem like a lot of money, it is not in the context of tick paralysis treatment. Treatment for mild cases of tick paralysis often exceed this sum, leaving insufficient cover for patients that require more intensive care, which unfortunately is often required.
  • Cruciate rupture is a common orthopaedic condition in dogs requiring costly surgical repair. Limits on cruciate ligament surgery are common, so policies with higher limits should be considered for breeds at higher risk, such as (but not limited to) Labrador Retrievers, Shepherd breeds, Rottweilers, Boxers, Poodles (toy and miniature), Mastiffs, and large and giant breed dogs in general.


Routine Care Cover: Decide if you want insurance covering solely accidents and illnesses or also incorporating routine veterinary care and dental cover, which are not included in many policies.

Waiting Periods: Be mindful of any waiting periods before coverage commences for new policies or specific conditions.

Claim Process: Seek a straightforward and efficient claims process to streamline your experience.

Customer Reviews and Reputation: Investigate the insurance provider’s reputation, customer service quality, and reviews from fellow pet owners to assess their reliability.

Additional Benefits: Consider extras such as coverage for emergency boarding fees, physiotherapy, and alternative therapies to gauge their value to you.

By considering these factors, you can select a pet insurance policy that offers comprehensive coverage and peace of mind for both you and pet.

If you are not convinced of the value of pet insurance, refer to our blog on:

The Veterinarian’s Perspective: Why Pet Insurance Is a Must-Have

Disclaimer: Our support for pet insurance stems solely from our experience as veterinary professionals and our commitment to excellent animal care. AREC does not have any conflicts of interest with pet insurance providers and we do not receive any discounts or incentives from insurers.


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