Consumer group Choice reveals the pet insurance industry is in serious need of examination

“There’s a reason we’ve never recommended a pet insurance product, even though we regularly review the sector. What’s the issue? The pre-existing condition trap.”

The 14th Annual Choice Shonkys, published October 10 2019, has listed it’s “Winners” of products and companies taking advantage of Australian consumers — and you may be surprised by the results.

Choice Hall of Shame – Shonkys 2019

  • AMP superannuation (putting profit before customer returns)
  • Kogan (poor returns and refund process)
  • Freedom Foods XO Crunch (unhealthy health food)
  • Ikea (inefficient Nekyld fridge)
  • Medibank (cover that leaves you exposed)
  • Pet insurance (exclusion riddled policies)

It’s disappointing to see the pet insurance industry make the list, and in order to make pet insurance worthwhile, Choice recommends taking out a policy while your pet is still young. Although it may mean paying for cover that you don’t need to use for some time, it will make it easier to claim further down the track when you do need to make a claim. The reason being, many insurance policies have exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

Choice says, “you can’t wait until your pet has a problem to get insurance as you won’t be able to get cover for a pre-existing condition, and once it does have a problem for which you’ve made a claim, it’s impossible to switch providers. And if your pet is getting on in years but still healthy, most pet insurance policies still won’t cover your mature-aged pet for illness.”

And while you’re stuck with your chosen policy, the providers can make any changes they like when you renew your annual policy – like increasing the premiums, reducing the coverage and adding exclusions.

Although it is worrying that Choice was unable to recommend any of the 86 policies it reviewed, all is not lost. A small consolation is that they’ve compiled a list of policies, scored on features and value for money.

NOTE: A Choice subscription is required to view review details

The Choice website also has handy articles to help you decide if you need pet insurance and what to look for when comparing policies.