Pet Insurance Q&A

Important note:

The following questions are to be used as a reference guide only and do not substitute or replace your insurance contract, the PDS or Certificate of Insurance.

How old does my pet have to be to get pet insurance?

You can insure your pet as soon as they’re eight weeks old. With our Premium and Standard Accidental Injury and Illness Cover, they also need to join before they turn nine, and before they turn sixteen for our Classic Accidental Injury and Illness Cover.

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Can I continue to insure my pet as it gets older?

Absolutely. Once your pet is insured with us we will guarantee to renew your pet’s policy for life, provided there is no break in your pet insurance cover.

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I already have a wonderful vet. Can my pet still visit them?

Absolutely! Our pet insurance helps to cover eligible vet bills from any vet licensed and currently registered to practice in Australia.

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Does my pet insurance have an excess?

No, Real Pet Insurance does not have a fixed excess. Depending on the plan you choose, we reimburse either up to 75% or up to 80% of all eligible veterinary expenses.

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I’d prefer not to vaccinate my pet – will you cover them anyway?

Yes, we’ll happily cover your special pet, even if they’re not vaccinated. But if they catch any diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination, we unfortunately cannot cover the cost of their treatment.

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My pet has a hereditary problem. Is that covered by pet insurance?

As long as there were no symptoms before your cover started or during any Waiting Periods, we happily cover treatments for hereditary and congenital defects (subject to our normal exclusions, which are set out in the relevant Policy Booklet).

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Are ongoing conditions covered for the life of the pet?

Yes – as long as you continue to renew your Real Pet Insurance policy each year with no break in your Cover, we will continue to provide your pet with cover for chronic, recurring or lifelong conditions such as cancer or arthritis. Benefits for these conditions are subject to the annual policy limits (like any other conditions) and exclude Pre-existing Conditions.

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How do you calculate my premium?

New policies

Your premium is calculated using a combination of factors about you and your pet. These factors can affect the premium amount up or down depending upon whether we believe it increases or decreases the risk to us, such as the cover you have chosen, the benefit percentage applicable to the cover you have chosen, the species, breed and age of your pet and other factors related to our cost of doing business.

Renewing policies

Factors that are taken into consideration for renewal premium calculation include your pet’s age and breed, as well as data relating to the health of pets that are of a similar age and breed. Each year we review premiums based on these factors to ensure we can accommodate the costs of possible treatment up to your annual benefit limit, in the event that your pet becomes injured or ill.

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Will my premium increase every year?

Yes, your premium will increase each year. This is for two main reasons:

Reason #1: Just like humans, the older our pets get, the more likely they are to have health hiccups. Cats and dogs age faster than we do, which means that their likely veterinary treatment costs go up rapidly each year too. As a result, the cost of insuring your pet will also increase as they get older.

Reason #2: Advancements in Veterinary Treatments

The overall cost of medical treatment for pets has increased in recent years due to the increased availability of medical treatments and technology-enabled services and ongoing demand for these services. The treatment options and advancements in technology are providing us with great opportunities to give our pets a great quality of life for longer.

While this is great news for the care of our pets, these treatments come at a significant cost. Year on year treatment costs increase, and this is factored into the cost of pet insurance.

Please see ‘How do you calculate my premium?’ for more information about calculation of premiums.

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Will my premium increase even if I don’t submit claims?

Every year, we review the cost of everyone’s insurance with regards to a combination of factors as well as claims inflation across all our insured pets. Increases in our claims costs due to increases in the range of available veterinary procedures, or due to an increased take-up of those services, impacts everyone’s premiums.

Your premium takes into account the average cost of care for pets like yours. To provide an example of this, a pet parent with a three-year-old French Bulldog will be affected by the trends we see in our data from hundreds of three-year-old French Bulldogs that we insure.

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Is my premium calculated the same way as my Private Health Insurance?

No. Pet insurance does not work like health insurance. Health insurance is ‘community rated’, which means that everyone pays the same premium for their health insurance regardless of their individual health status, age or claims history. This is not the case for pet insurance.

Health insurance providers are able to community rate health insurance because there are many other factors at play in the human health care system, such as Medicare and government rebates and subsidies, which is not the case with veterinary care and pet insurance.

Pet insurance claim reimbursements are paid for purely by the premiums received by those who insure their pets. In order for each person to pay a fair price for their pet insurance, premiums vary depending on your and your pet’s risk factors.

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How can I pay my pet insurance premiums?

You can pay your premiums either by credit card or direct debit. To make budgeting easy, you can choose to pay fortnightly, monthly or annually at no extra cost.

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How do I make a claim?

To make a claim, simply download our Pet Insurance Claim Form. Complete and sign this form, take it to your vet, and have them complete the applicable sections. Then mail your completed claim form and original receipts to:

Real Pet Insurance
Locked Bag 9021
Castle Hill, NSW 1765

Once we receive these documents, your claim will be processed without delay and payment will be made to you either by cheque or transferred directly into your nominated account.

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How much of the vet’s bill will be covered?

Depending on the plan you choose, Real Pet Insurance covers up to 80% of your pet’s treatment costs, up to your annual benefit limit. And there’s no excess to pay. There are a few treatments that aren’t covered; you can read all about them in the relevant Policy Booklet.

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Is there anything that isn’t covered?

We’ve tried to make Real Pet Insurance as comprehensive as we possibly can – but like most insurance policies, it does exclude some treatments to keep premiums within reach. They include pregnancy, elective procedures, grooming, behavioural problems (unless stated on your certificate of insurance), and any pre-existing conditions whose clinical signs were visible before you took out the insurance (or during the Waiting Period), among other things. You can find the details in the relevant Policy Booklet.

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When will my policy start and when can I claim?

Your pet insurance policy will commence at 11:59pm on the commencement date listed in your certificate of insurance. You can claim immediately for an accident occurring after your policy has started. You can claim for illness conditions that emerge 30 days after the start of the policy.

Please be aware that there is a six month waiting period for cruciate ligament claims unless we receive a letter from your veterinarian within 14 days of joining (at your own expense) certifying your pet has no history of latent cruciate ligament conditions.

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Why should I insure my pet?

Breakthroughs in veterinary medicine over the last few decades mean that your pet can now enjoy a longer and more contented life than ever before. But that higher standard of care comes at a cost. In fact, something as simple as a Urinary Tract Infection can cost up to $6,805.*

So, just as you take out private health insurance to ensure you can give the other members of your family the best medical care, it can make sense to insure your pet. That way, you can always decide on the best treatment for them, without worrying about the cost.

* Source: PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd highest Urinary Tract Infection claim 2011–2012.

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Who is the underwriter?

Real Pet Insurance is issued by:

The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (Hollard)
ABN 78 090 584 473
Level 12, 465 Victoria Ave,
Chatswood, NSW 2067

Hollard Australia is a member of the international Hollard Insurance Group, which includes businesses in Australia, throughout Africa, in the United States, the United Kingdom and South East Asia. Hollard provides a wide range of insurance products and services to more than 7.2 million policyholders worldwide.

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What if I have another question?

Simply email us at or call one of our Customer Service Specialists on 1300 665 965.

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