An investigation by CHOICE has found Australia’s second largest pet insurance provider Petplan, which is backed by Allianz, is forcing grief-stricken pet owners to continue to pay insurance premiums for up to 12 months after the death of a pet.
The news follows the decision earlier this year by Australia’s largest pet insurer, Petsure, to end the cruel practice.
“While we had a win earlier this year in helping to stamp out this heartless policy by the biggest pet insurer in the market, it seems others in the insurance industry haven’t got the message,” says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
“Insurers need to understand it’s not ok to profit from pet owners’ grief and we are calling on Petplan to change its policy which puts profit ahead of common sense and compassion.”
“We continue to receive complaints from distraught pet owners who have been forced to pay premiums for the remainder of their policy period, even in cases where they made a claim but their pet passed away.”
“Your family wouldn’t expect to pay your health insurance premiums if you passed away so why should pet owners be forced to pay premiums after the death of the family pet?”
CHOICE has launched a campaign to put pressure on Petplan to change its policy and amend clause nine from page 15 of the product disclosure statement, to read:
In the event that you cancel the Policy for whatever reason (other than the death of your Pet) after having made a claim, no premium refunds are payable and the remaining premium for that Period of Insurance must be paid.
“By simply adding the words ‘other than the death of your Pet’, Petplan would align its product disclosure statement with the leading pet insurance provider Petsure and alleviate a great deal of needless suffering among grieving pet owners.”
“When it comes to pet insurance clearly not all insurers are the same so it pays to do your research before committing to a pet insurance policy,” says Mr Godfrey.
“It’s also important to remember to choose your pet insurer wisely because once you have opted for a pet insurance provider, it is usually for the duration of the pet’s life.”
“We have found there is little scope for switching when it comes to pet insurance policies as any conditions your pet suffered from before the start of the new policy will be excluded, leading to more costly cover.”
- Always read the product disclosure statement (PDS) thoroughly
- The earlier you insure your pet, the better. There is a lower chance of them having pre-existing conditions
- Check if there is a co-payment policy, and if so, what percentage the insurer
- Bear in mind premiums are specific to species as well as the breed
- Check how much your premium will increase as your pet ages
- Limited cover for ongoing conditions was a major bugbear in CHOICE’s previous pet insurance review. However, most policies now cover chronic or recurring conditions, with the exception of Petplan Essential.
- Routine care can be seen as a form of ‘extras’ insurance for your pet, so treat it as a budget management tool to spread your expenditure over time. Have a look at the regular costs you would incur for your pet and weigh them against the potential benefits received versus the premiums you pay and decide if it’s