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Claiming after a vet visit: what you need to know

Caring for the health and wellbeing of our precious pets is one of our main responsibilities, but too often owners struggle with the cost of unexpected veterinary bills. Pet insurance can give you peace of mind knowing you will be financially protected in the event your furry friend suffers a specified accidental injury or illness. Following these general guidelines about how to make a claim on your pet insurance policy after a vet visit, can help make the process much smoother.

Check your policy to see whether the treatment is covered by your pet insurance

Whether or not your pet’s treatment will be covered under your policy depends initially on the type of cover you have – this may be basic or standard cover for accidents and illnesses or comprehensive cover that can include some preventative care and routine veterinary checks. Also, be aware that all pet insurance policies have exclusions (such as pre-existing conditions) and limits on the amount of cover for some conditions, so it may be worth contacting your insurer to find out whether the treatment your pet received will be covered. A claim can always be submitted for consideration. Make sure you provide details of the condition your pet was treated for and the veterinary treatment cost.

Decide which method to claim

Most pet insurance providers allow you to make a claim by post, but this can be a slower process and requires you and your vet to complete and sign the claim form. Other options include submitting a claim online by asking your vet to submit an electronic pet insurance claim (eClaim) for reimbursement or you can submit the claim online yourself. Alternatively, if you’re an RSPCA Pet Insurance policyholder, you can also claim on the spot and only pay the gap at participating vets using GapOnlyTM.

If you submit your own claim you will need to provide the following documentation:

  • An itemised paid invoice
  • All veterinary consultation notes related to the claim. If your vet does not wish to provide you with these notes, keep the email address of your insurance provider handy so your vet can submit the consultation notes directly, including your name and policy number.
  • Your pet’s full medical history from all previous vets if this is your first claim

Submit your claim on time

Try to submit your claim as soon as possible as some insurance policy’s may have a maximum time limit for submitting claims.

Find out whether you can claim using GapOnlyTM

GapOnlyTM was introduced to simplify the claims process and gives pet owners the option to claim on the spot and only pay the gap between the pet insurance benefit and what your vet charges.

  • Check the GapOnlyTM website to make sure your insurance provider is listed. Alternatively, you can use the website to find a list of nearby vets who are GapOnlyTM enabled.
  • Contact your vet when booking your pet's appointment to let them know you would like to submit a GapOnlyTM claim, as this will help your vet prepare your claim ahead of time and minimise any possible delays.

Depending on the level of cover, pet insurance can cover a percentage of the cost of eligible veterinary expenses and pet owners can potentially claim thousands of dollars annually. This could help make veterinary treatment more affordable for those who would never have access to funds for an emergency.

The pet insurance market in Australia is growing and many pet lovers are seeing the benefit of insuring their cats and dogs. Before taking out a policy or making a claim, you should understand the terms and conditions of your pet insurance policy and knowing how to claim early on means you can focus on caring for your furry best friend.

Image of Dr Rosemary Elliot

Dr Rosemary Elliot 

Dr Rosemary studied veterinary science at the University of Sydney after having established her career as a clinical psychologist, and has qualifications of BVSc (Hons), MANZCVS (Animal Welfare), MPsych (Clin), BA (Hons) as well as previously establishing her career as a clinical psychologist. Her experiences during veterinary training fostered an ambition to focus directly on animal welfare and ethics, with a particular interest in animal sentience and the human-animal bond. Currently working in small animal practice, Dr Rosemary combines her psychology background and veterinary skills to contribute to and promote animal welfare, and regularly contributes quality content to RSPCA Pet Insurance's Pet Care blog.