Kiwis claim $4.5m in pet insurance payouts


More than $4.5 million was paid out on pet insurance in 2016 after at least 16,000 animals had to see a vet for a variety of reasons.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance (SCPI) have released their claims history for the last year which shows dogs still haven't caught onto the fact they can't eat just anything (even though they do) and cats these days are making full use of their nine lives.

The figures released show the biggest pay-out for a dog last year was more than $9975 for a tumour, while the most expensive bill for a cat was $6300 for a fracture.

Among the reported incidents, dogs ate anything from cockroach poison, electric hedge cutters and seal carcasses to even the entire contents of a chilly bin.

Cats, on the other hand, were a little tamer but still accident-prone, getting themselves caught or injured in sliding doors, garage doors and hot water cupboards (which is understandable during winter.) 

With more than a third of pet owners struggling to pay for expensive pet bills, SCPI Head Anthony McPhail says insurance has been useful for them.

"While often you'll hear about the strange and bizarre ways pets can get injured, the reality is that a lot of people are shocked at veterinary bills for relatively common treatments," he says.

"Things like skin conditions, which can be congenital, as well as bites, wounds and tendon problems can often cost much more than most pet owners would expect  and require more than one trip to the vet."

Common vet visits included ear infections, skin disorders, flesh wounds, conjunctivitis and lameness.

Mr McPhail urges pet owners to take on responsibility for their health and safety.

"You owe it to your pet to provide them with medical care when they need it," he says.

"Our research in previous years showed that a lot of pet owners would do almost anything to keep their pets healthy, but often the financial reality when your pet is injured or unwell is quite different. This is why we encourage all owners to either set aside money for your pet's health, or look into pet insurance."