PET INSURANCE FAQS
What’s HCF Pet Insurance?
HCF Pet Insurance can help to cover up to 80% of eligible vet expenses.
It’s important that you read the Combined Product Disclosure Statement and Financial Services Guide before you decide to buy or continue to hold this cover. You can also get a copy by calling 1800 631 681.
Why is pet insurance important?
You may be able to budget for the ongoing day-to-day costs of keeping your pet healthy (such as vaccinations, flea and worm treatments and regular check-ups). However, an unexpected health emergency can quickly end up with vet bills that can be difficult to pay. HCF Pet Insurance might be able to help you with covering for treatment if your pet suddenly has an injury or illness.
What does HCF Pet Insurance cover?
HCF Pet Insurance offers combined specified accidental injury and illness policies, which provide cover towards the costs associated with treating a range of illnesses, such as cancer treatments and other temporary and chronic conditions.
Please note that where applicable:
- no waiting period applies for specified accidental injuries
- a 30 day waiting period applies to illness conditions
- a 6 month waiting period applies to cruciate ligament conditions
- a 2 year waiting period applies to dental illness
- pre-existing conditions that appear prior to policy commencement or within the applicable waiting periods may not be covered
How much will I get back from a pet insurance claim?
HCF Pet Insurance pays back up to 80% of eligible vet bills, not including any excess you might have and any policy limits.
Our Policies are based on what’s called a ‘benefit percentage’ reimbursement. For example, an 80% benefit percentage means that if your eligible vet bill comes to $1,000, your pet insurance will give you back $800 and you’ll pay the other $200 (subject to any exclusions, excess or applicable limit).
What is routine care?
HCF encourages responsible pet ownership by providing a routine care option which can give you a helping hand towards certain preventative healthcare treatments for your pet. Routine care allows for a contribution towards some treatments like:
- Heartworm control
- Teeth cleaning
- Council registration fees
- Alternative therapies
- Prescription diets
- Dewclaw removal
- Vaccinations/health checks
- Heartworm test
- FeLv/Fiv test
- Flea/tick/worm control
The routine care limits for each item will be listed on your certificate of insurance.
Does HCF Pet Insurance cover dental illness?
You can add optional dental illness cover to our Pet Premium or Pet Premium Plus Routine Care. Dental illness cover provides cover for up to $2,000 per policy period for specified conditions like gingivitis. Please note that a 2-year waiting period applies to dental illness. You should read your Product Disclosure Statement to understand what is covered under this optional benefit.
What is a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition is a condition that existed or occurred prior to the commencement date of your first policy period or within any applicable waiting period.
It’s a condition that you or your vet were aware of, or a reasonable person in your circumstances would have been aware of. This is irrespective of whether the underlying or causative condition was diagnosed at the time.
Whether it’s a pre-existing condition will depend on the condition’s nature and experience. If your pet has a temporary condition that has not existed, occurred or shown noticeable signs, symptoms or an abnormality in the 18 month period immediately prior to your claim treatment date, it will no longer be excluded from your cover as a pre-existing condition. Chronic conditions and several other specified conditions can’t fall within this category.
Can I visit any vet?
Yes, you can visit any vet (other than yourself if you are a vet) that is registered to legally practice as a veterinarian in Australia.
Please note: On rare occasions, if the expenses of your pet’s treatment are significantly higher than what is reasonable and expected for that type of treatment for a pet in similar circumstances, then claim payments may be adjusted to reflect the reasonable and expected expenses.
If your pet requires treatment, you can seek a claim pre-approval from us and we’ll provide you with the details of your claim reimbursement. To request a pre-approval, simply call us on 1800 630 681.
Can I cancel my pet’s policy?
You may cancel your policy at any time. We understand circumstances can change and would like to see if we can help keep your cover active. Please call our customer service team on 1800 630 681 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss your options.
If you do decide to cancel, we will issue a pro-rata refund for the uninsured period where premiums are paid annually, less any applicable government or statutory charges. If you pay by instalments, we will not deduct any further premiums after the date of cancellation.
What exclusions apply?
As with most insurance products, there are certain situations where you will not be covered. There are some general exclusions such as pre-existing conditions, dental procedures, fractured teeth, routine or preventative treatments (unless you have Pet Premium plus Routine Care which provides a contribution up to the routine care limits), select elective treatments and procedures and breeding and obstetrics. There may also be specific exclusions that may apply to specific levels of cover. Read the Product Disclosure Statement to understand the specific exclusions in each level of cover.
How do I apply for a pre-existing condition review?
If your pet has had a temporary condition that was subject to the pre-existing condition exclusion, you can apply to have it reviewed.
Your vet will need to certify and provide veterinary records verifying that the condition remains a temporary condition and has not existed, occurred or shown noticeable signs, symptoms or an abnormality for a period of 18 months.
This can also be automatically reviewed when you submit your first claim.
The pre-existing condition exclusion(s) won’t be deemed to have been lifted unless agreed to by us in writing. You can download a copy of the Pre-existing Condition Review Form.
If your pet has a chronic condition that existed or occurred before the commencement date of your first policy period or during any applicable waiting period, that condition will always be excluded from your policy.
Can I seek pre-approval of my pet’s upcoming treatment?
Yes. If your pet requires treatment and you wish to seek pre-approval of those costs, you can provide us with the itemised estimate of costs from your vet, along with the treatment required and relevant clinical records and/or veterinary history, and we will respond to you in writing with the outcome.
Are full medical records needed to apply?
No, you don’t need to submit veterinary records when you apply. We may ask you a few simple questions about any illnesses and injuries your pet may have had before you apply. This information is important and forms part of your legal duty of disclosure when you apply for cover.
Can all types of pets be insured?
Only cats and dogs can be covered.
How old does my pet need to be to get HCF Pet Insurance?
You can apply for Pet Premium and Pet Premium plus Routine Care Cover if your dog or cat is older than 8 weeks and younger than 9 years old. Once your pet is covered with HCF Pet Insurance you can cover them for life as long as we continue to provide this product and you continue to hold the policy without a break, lapse or change in the level of coverage with cover subject to the applicable terms and conditions of the renewing policy. See details in your PDS.
What if I have more than one pet?
Each eligible pet has its own policy with its own individual choice of cover and excess option.
How can I pay my premiums?
You can pay by credit card or direct debit, either fortnightly, monthly or annually.
Are there any restrictions on the vet that I use for my pet?
No, there are no restrictions. You can use any vet other than yourself who’s registered to legally practice as a vet in Australia.
Are hereditary and congenital defects covered?
Yes, provided they have not shown any noticeable signs, symptoms or an abnormality at any time before the commencement date of the first policy period or during any applicable waiting period. This excludes any pre-existing conditions. For more information, refer to the Product Disclosure Statement.
Are there things that aren't covered by HCF Pet Insurance?
Yes, there are certain situations where you won’t be covered. There are some general exclusions such as pre-existing conditions, dental procedures, fractured teeth, routine or preventative treatments (unless you have Pet Premium plus Routine Care Cover which provides a contribution up to the Routine Care limits), some elective treatments and procedures and breeding and obstetrics. There may also be specific exclusions which may apply to specific levels of cover. Please read the Combined Product Disclosure Statement and Financial Services Guide for a comprehensive list and full explanation of policy exclusions and limits that apply.
Can I change the level of cover for my pet after they're insured?
Yes, so long as you haven't made a claim. If you have claimed, you can change it when you renew your policy. Please note that you may not be able to change your level of cover if your pet is over the age of 9 years.
How do I renew my HCF Pet Insurance policy?
We'll automatically renew your policy each year after sending you a renewal notice (unless you tell us otherwise). Your renewal notice will specify any changes to your cover and the premium.
Can I cancel my pet’s policy at any time?
Yes, you may cancel your policy by notifying the administrator of HCF Pet Insurance, PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (“PetSure”). You can do this by calling 1800 630 681, by email email@example.com or in writing at: HCF Pet Insurance, Locked Bag 9021, Castle Hill, NSW 1765.
Cancellation by you
If you choose to cancel your policy and have been paying your premiums annually, we will retain a portion of premium that relates to the period for which you have been insured. We will refund the residual premium for the unexpired period no later than 15 business days less any applicable government or statutory charges.
If you choose to cancel your policy and have been paying your premiums by instalments, there is no premium refund (including for any remaining days of a current instalment period). No further premium instalments will be deducted.
If you cancel your policy because your Pet has passed away, your policy will be cancelled and we will retain and/or refund any premium in the same way as set out above.
Cancellation by us
We may cancel your policy where the law allows us to do so. We will give you notice in writing prior to exercising any right to cancel your policy. If we cancel your policy, we will retain a portion of premium that relates to the period for which you have been insured. We will refund the residual for the unexpired period no later than 15 business days, less any non-refundable government or statutory charges.
How soon can I use my pet’s policy?
You can use the policy as soon as your application is accepted. The commencement time will be 11.59pm on the date when you took our cover for your pet, as shown on your Certificate of Insurance.
The following waiting periods apply:
- 0 days for specified accidental injuries.
- 30 days for illness conditions.
- Six months for cruciate ligament conditions (this can be waived on application – complete the Cruciate Ligament Exam Form).
- Two years for specified dental treatment if the dental illness cover is selected.
How do I make a claim?
Complete and submit an HCF Pet Insurance Claim Form. The vet must complete a small section of the claim form and sign it, so take along a printed claim form.
It’s important to note if you’re lodging your first claim you’ll need to attach a complete veterinary history for your pet. Once you’ve provided this information, there’s no need for you to submit it again.
Once we receive the documentation we need, your claim will be processed as soon as possible and any approved payment will be made to the policyholder by cheque or into a nominated account.
Want to know if you're covered prior to treatment?
Pre-approvals aren't mandatory but can provide you with additional reassurance. To find out if an upcoming or specific treatment for your pet will be covered, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
- policy number or policyholder and pet name
- name of the condition being treated and the proposed procedure
- name of your regular vet and the vet where the procedure will take place
- an itemised estimate of costs relating to the procedure (optional - if you have it).
Once we receive this information, you can expect to hear back from us within 2 business days.
Note: A pre-approval won't be deemed to be valid unless we have agreed to it in writing. The reimbursed amount may vary from the pre-approval if the treatment provided by your vet differs from the treatment request in the pre-approval.
Does HCF Pet Insurance provide cover for Third Party Liability?
No. HCF Pet Insurance doesn’t include cover for Third Party Liability. Domestic contents insurance may. We suggest you contact your contents insurer (if you have one) for details of the cover.
We hope that you never have reason to complain, but if you do we will do our best to work with you to resolve it. Our complaints resolution process has three steps. Please let us know if you require additional assistance to lodge a complaint.
1. IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
Usually when you have a concern, we can resolve it immediately on the phone. If we can’t immediately resolve your concern we will treat it as a complaint and take steps to resolve your complaint as soon as possible. We will acknowledge your complaint within one business day of receiving it.
Please contact us using on the of following means:
Phone: 1800 630 681 (Weekdays between 8.30am and 5pm AEST – except public holidays)
Writing: HCF Pet Insurance, Customer Service Complaints, Locked Bag 9021 Castle Hill NSW 1765
Please supply your policy number, if applicable, to enable the complaint or enquiry to be dealt with promptly. Your complaint or enquiry will be dealt with by someone with appropriate authority.
2. INTERNAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION
If we haven’t resolved your complaint to your satisfaction, at your request (refer to contact details provided for ‘1. IMMEDIATE RESPONSE’), we will escalate your complaint for review by our Internal Dispute Resolution team. All escalated complaints will be acknowledged within one business days of being escalated. The Internal Dispute Resolution team will review your matter and any supporting evidence. After full consideration of the complaint a written final response will be provided that will outline the decision reached and the reasons for the decision.
3. EXTERNAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION
In the event that your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, or a final written response has not been provided within 30 days, you can refer your complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), provided your complaint is within the scope of AFCA Rules.
AFCA is an independent dispute resolution service provided free of charge.
You may contact AFCA at:
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 excess selected, the benefit percentage applicable to the cover you have chosen, where you and your pet permanently live, your age and the species, breed, gender of your pet, the current age of your pet, the age you first insured 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, breed, location, duration for which your pet has been insured, claims history, as well as data relating to the health of pets that are 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.
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.
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 3-year-old French Bulldog will be affected by the trends we see in our data from hundreds of 3-year-old French Bulldogs that we insure, as well as the specific claims history of their own pet.
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.
I am experiencing financial difficulties, how can I contact you?
We want to support our members who are struggling financially. We've got your back in good times and bad, so please don't hesitate to make contact and we can talk through your options.
Here's how to get in touch with us: