Ratification Date: 03 Dec 2015
Pet insurance has the potential to contribute to optimal health and welfare outcomes for Australian pets.
Veterinarians play a critical role in promoting and increasing the uptake of pet insurance.
For equitable and effective cover, pet insurance companies should ensure the following conditions apply:
- Specific exclusions must be communicated to an owner at the time of policy uptake. Any new exclusion during the life of the policy should be conveyed to the policy holder immediately.
- Exclusions should not be applied to entire body systems based on previous or pre-existing conditions which are unrelated.
- Disputed claims should always be reviewed by a veterinarian registered in Australia.
- Pet owners should be able to find out in advance whether their policy provides cover for particular treatments and diagnostic tests.
- Veterinarians should have access to online claiming and communication systems.
Owners with pet health insurance are often in a better position to afford complex procedures and emergency treatments; they also tend to be more engaged in their pet’s veterinary care on a day-to-day basis. They are more likely to opt for preventive care which is better for their pets in the long-term. Insurance is a well-established tool that consumers can use to manage their financial risk.
The cost of veterinary services can be of concern for many clients. Insurance against veterinary treatment costs for illness and accident may provide a means for some clients to finance veterinary fees. This may result in more appropriate and comprehensive veterinary care for patients.
People contemplating pet insurance should read all terms and conditions to understand the scope of the coverage: pre-existing conditions, vaccinations and desexing are often not covered.
The AVA has developed pet insurance guidelines to help veterinarians understand their legal obligations when promoting pet insurance and maximize the benefits of pet insurance in their practices.
Pet insurance companies should develop insurance plans to cover commonly kept “pocket pets” and exotic species such as rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and reptiles.
Date of ratification by AVA Board: 3 December 2015