Why Should I get Pet Insurance?

Google Maps location for Riverport Veterinary Hospital

Riverport Veterinary Hospital
1 Avoca Street
SA 5214

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08 8555 5690

Victor Central Veterinary Clinic
35 Crozier Road
Victor Harbor
SA 5211

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08 7522 4300

It’s a question we get asked all the time… “Should I get Pet Insurance”

            The answer is almost invariably YES and here’s why:

Firstly I should make it clear that we have no affiliation with any of the insurance companies and I am not personally recommending one over the other.  Like any type of insurance you, the pet owner, needs to do some research and decide which policy suits you and your dog or cat best.

Back to the reasons why you should consider pet insurance:

  1. Now the first reason is pretty obvious.  It’s going to help you A LOT if your pet happens to have a major issue.  It will help in 2 ways.  The first (again obvious) is that the insurance company will pay for the cost of the treatment minus your excess.  The second is that you will not be faced with a potentially heart-breaking decision based largely on money.  This is a very common scenario and is tough for us as well as you guys.  Imagine that your dog is run over and requires around $3000-4000 worth of treatment to fix, say, a broken leg.  Could you afford that at the drop of a hat?  If not, pet insurance is definitely for you.
  2. You don’t have to worry about the consultation fee associated with bringing your dog or cat in to see us.  Let’s say Fluffy has a minor issue and you aren’t sure if it will resolve by itself.  If Fluffy is insured it’s a no brainer; bring her in for a checkup (which will be covered by insurance minus any excess).  If she isn’t and you opt to wait and see for a couple of days, sometimes this is enough for the condition to worsen to the extent where it will cost a lot more to treat.  Early diagnosis and treatment is paramount and from my experience insured pets tend to be diagnosed quicker, often resulting in a better outcome.

So that’s why I always recommend pet insurance.  There are however, some things to know about insurance that often owners are unaware of:

  1. Dentistry is very rarely covered by Pet Insurance.  Some policies give a small amount each year towards preventative dentistry and some will cover dental trauma (for example a broken tooth from chomping something way too hard).  The periodontal disease (plaque, tartar, pus in the mouth kind of stuff) that we see every day in patients will simply not be covered as it is preventable.  Put simply, brush your pet’s teeth every day and have a professional clean once a year and they are very unlikely to develop significant periodontal disease.  We are passionate about preventing dental disease rather than treating painful mouths.  Check out our previous blogs here, here and here for more information.  There are some other things that will not be covered such as elective procedures, grooming and anything to do with breeding or pregnancy.
  2. There is usually a waiting period for cruciate ligament problems (the knee problem that we see so commonly in dogs and footballers).  Most insurers will waive the waiting period if a vet examines the dog and gives the knees a clean bill of health.
  3. Elderly patients can not be insured.  The cut-off is generally 7 or 8 years of age (which is pretty young if you ask me) and only pets that are already insured can continue their policies beyond this age.
  4. Some breeds can not be insured.  Some insurance companies will not insure certain breeds.  Let’s be honest, that’s because they know they will be paying out more than they get back in premiums.  At the risk of offending some pet owners here; Read between the lines and don’t consider buying a Pug, Bulldog, Boxer or other highly bred, high risk breed unless you can afford to give them the care and treatment they deserve.
  5. Got a big dogINSURE IT!  A lot of veterinary medications simply aren’t made for larger patients.  This means that quite often it will literally cost twice as much to treat a 60kg dog as it would to treat a 30kg dog (as we have to give twice as much medication).  So if you have or are planning on getting a Great Dane, Wolfhound, Newfoundland, St Bernard, Mastiff…..you get the picture…..insure it now.


One more thing.  We would love our patients to all be insured but please never ask us to backdate a claim or fudge any paperwork.  We know it might mean a significant difference for you in monetary terms but we simply can’t afford to put our veterinary licences on the line by doing this.

There it is.  Short, sweet and to the point and hopefully you now understand why we recommend insuring all cats and dogs.

Until Next Time…


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