What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is like health insurance for your pet. If your pet unexpectedly gets sick or injured, the insurer can help you pay for veterinarian expenses you might otherwise struggle to pay yourself.

These policies typically cover unforeseen illnesses and accidental injuries — not routine or preventative care. Pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Most pet insurance products in Australia are only for dogs and cats.

How does pet insurance work?

Budget Direct Pet Insurance works like this:

  1. You buy a pet insurance policy and pay a monthly or yearly premium to maintain your pet’s cover.
  2. If your pet suffers a sickness or accidental injury, you take it to a veterinarian.
  3. The vet examines your pet, performs any necessary tests and treats the condition. 
  4. After treatment, you pay the vet’s invoice in full.
  5. You and your vet complete the claim form.
  6. You send the form and the full itemised invoice to us by email or post.
  7. Upon acceptance of your claim, we’ll reimburse up to 80% of your eligible vet bill (benefit limits and an excess apply).

Which types of pets do you insure?

Budget Direct Pet Insurance covers only dogs and cats.

There are certain types of dogs and cats we do not insure, namely:

  • breeding animals
  • certain working dogs (e.g. dogs used for racing, organised fighting, law enforcement, guarding or pig hunting); we do insure assistance dogs, such as guide dogs
  • banned or restricted breeds of dog
  • declared dangerous dogs.

Are there any breeds of dog you do not insure?

Yes — there are certain dogs we do not insure.

They include breeds or cross-breeds that are banned or restricted by your state or territory government, including:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasiliero
  • Perro de Presa Canario (or Presa Canario).

Are there age limits for pets you insure?

To be eligible for Budget Direct Pet Insurance your dog or cat must be aged over eight weeks old and under nine years old when you first take out this insurance.

If you continue to renew your policy each year, your pet can remain covered past nine years of age.

What is an 'illness'?

An ‘illness’ is a disease, sickness or infection suffered by your pet that:

What is an ‘accidental injury’?

An ‘accidental injury’ is physical harm or damage to your pet caused by an accident.

An accident is a single, specific, unexpected, unintended, unpredictable, not deliberate, external event or action that occurs at a particular time and place.

It is not caused by any other event, pre-existing condition, underlying, conformational, genetic, hereditary or developmental condition.

Does pet insurance cover regular checkups?

Like many pet insurers, Budget Direct covers only unforeseen illnesses and accidental injuries suffered by your pet.

We do not cover routine or preventative care, including:

  • regular checkups
  • vaccinations
  • nail trimming
  • teeth cleaning
  • desexing (i.e. spaying or castration)
  • parasite prevention (i.e. flea, worm and tick control).

(Some veterinary practice networks offer ‘wellness plans’ that can complement your pet’s insurance.)

Does pet insurance cover vaccinations?

Like many pet insurers, Budget Direct covers only unforeseen illnesses and accidental injuries suffered by your pet.

We do not cover routine or preventative care, including:

  • vaccinations
  • regular checkups
  • nail trimming
  • teeth cleaning
  • desexing (i.e. spaying or castration)
  • parasite prevention (i.e. flea, worm and tick control).

(Some veterinary practice networks offer ‘wellness plans’ that can complement your pet’s insurance.)

Does pet insurance cover medications?

Yes — Budget Direct Pet Insurance covers up to 80% of the cost of drugs or medication prescribed by a registered vet to treat your pet’s covered illness or accidental injury. (benefit limits and an excess apply)

Does pet insurance cover desexing?

Like most pet insurers, Budget Direct covers only unforeseen illnesses and accidental injuries suffered by your pet.

We do not cover routine or preventative care, including:

  • desexing (i.e. spaying or castration)
  • regular checkups
  • vaccinations
  • nail trimming
  • teeth cleaning
  • parasite prevention (i.e. flea, worm and tick control).

(Some veterinary practice networks offer ‘wellness plans’ that can complement your pet’s insurance.)

Does pet insurance cover x-rays and scans?

Yes — Budget Direct Pet Insurance covers up to 80% of the cost of diagnostic imaging (e.g. x-rays, CT, endoscopy, ultrasound, echo cardiogram and MRI scans) ordered by your vet to help diagnose and treat your pet’s covered illness or accidental injury. (benefit limits and an excess apply)

Does pet insurance cover surgery?

Budget Direct Pet Insurance covers up to 80% of the cost of surgery required to treat your pet’s covered illness or accidental injury. (benefit limits and an excess apply)

This cover does not include, for example:

  • routine or preventative surgery
  • elective or cosmetic surgery (e.g. tail docking, dew claw removal, stenotic nares correction, soft palate or skin fold resection)
  • dental surgery (unless the condition is due to an accidental injury)
  • surgery for a pre-existing or excluded condition.

For all the exclusions, please read the Product Disclosure Statement.

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Budget Direct Pet Insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions.

A pre-existing condition is any illness or injury that your pet showed any signs of symptoms of:

What is not covered by pet insurance?

There are certain things Budget Direct Pet Insurance does not cover (called ‘exclusions’).

The following list shows some of these exclusions:

For the full list of exclusions, please read the Product Disclosure Statement.

Can I take my pet to any vet?

Yes — Budget Direct Pet Insurance customers can take their pet to any qualified and registered vet in Australia.

Is there a waiting period for pet insurance?

Yes – after buying Budget Direct Pet Insurance for the first time, policyholders must serve a waiting period before they’re allowed to make certain types of claims.

The waiting periods — also known as no-claim periods — are as follows:

  • Accidental injury: 2 days
  • Illness: 30 days
  • Tick paralysis: 30 days
  • Cruciate ligament conditions: 6 months.

Any condition that occurs during the applicable waiting period will be considered a pre-existing condition.

Policyholders do not have to serve any waiting periods after their pet’s policy renews.

How much of my vet bill will be covered?

Budget Direct Pet Insurance covers up to 80% of the cost of your eligible vet bills — up to the overall annual benefit limit or sub-limit shown on your insurance certificate and less any applicable excess.

For example, if a car hits your dog and breaks its leg and you receive a surgery bill of $3,000, we’ll reimburse you as follows:

80% of the vet bill: $2,400

Minus the excess: $100

Total reimbursed to you: $2,300

Note that an annual benefit sub-limit of $4,000 applies to surgery for broken legs and other orthopaedic conditions.

Are there any limits to how much I can claim?

Yes — you can claim up to a maximum of $12,000 per 12-month period of cover for all your eligible vet bills.

Annual benefit sub-limits apply to certain conditions, namely:

  • Orthopaedic conditions: $4,000
  • Cruciate ligament conditions: $2,600
  • Tick paralysis: $1,500
  • Snake attacks: $1,200.

These limits are shown on your insurance certificate.

Each time you renew your annual policy, the overall limit and sub-limits will be reset. (They do not accumulate across policy periods.)

How do I make a pet insurance claim?

If I make a claim, will I have to pay an excess?

Yes — you will pay a $100 excess once for each unrelated condition during any one period of cover. For further treatments for a related condition during the same period of cover there is no excess.

For example, if your dog needs treatment for diabetes twice during the 12-month policy period, you’ll be required to pay the excess for the first claim for that condition, but not the second.

Similarly, if your dog develops a condition that’s related to one you’ve already made a claim for (e.g. diabetic retinopathy stemming from diabetes), you won’t have to pay another excess.

Each time you renew your annual policy, the excess will be reset (i.e. the next time you make a claim for a related illness or injury, you’ll be required to pay the excess).

How can I pay for my pet insurance?

You can pay for your Budget Direct Pet Insurance premium by direct debit from your bank account, credit card or debit card (Visa or Mastercard).

You can pay monthly or annually (the second option is the most economical).

Can I insure more than one pet?

Yes — with Budget Direct Pet Insurance, you can insure as many dogs and/or cats as you want.

If you insure more than one pet at the same time, you’ll receive a 5% discount for each of them.§

You can insure up to four pets online; if you want to insure more, please call us on 1800 931 664.

What is an orthopaedic condition?

An ‘orthopaedic condition’ is any condition of the bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and joints.  

Common orthopaedic illnesses in dogs and/or cats include:

  • hip dysplasia
  • intervertebral disc disease
  • patella luxation
  • elbow dysplasia.

Claims for orthopaedic conditions are subject to a waiting period of two days (accidental injury) and 30 days (illness) and an annual  benefit sub-limit of $4,000.

(The exception are cruciate ligament conditions, which have a waiting period of six months and an annual sub-limit of $2,600.)

What is a bilateral condition?

A bilateral condition is one that can happen on both sides of your pet’s body, for example one that affects its eyes, ears, or legs.

If your pet is diagnosed with a bilateral condition that is covered by us, we will also cover the condition if it occurs on the other side of its body.

If your pet develops a bilateral condition that is not covered by us, we will not cover the condition on either side of its body.

For example, if your pet has a pre-existing bilateral condition, the corresponding body part on the other side of its body will also be deemed a pre-existing condition — it won’t be covered.

So, if your dog has a pre-existing cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury in its left knee, say, the CCL in its right knee will not be covered.

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