Our pets are often thought of as part of the family, so if you have family health insurance why wouldn't you also insure your furry friend?
Similar to health insurance, pet insurance can cover the health care costs for your four-legged family members, including medical treatment and overnight stays at the vet.
The 2010 Family Pooch Index from Australian financial institute Bankwest found that 96 per cent of pet-owning Australians consider their furry friend as a member of their family.
Over the average lifespan of a dog, families are spending more the $25,000 on their four-legged loved one, which is approximately $2,500 each year.
While food is the biggest expense at $1,200 annually, veterinary bills were also a significant cost at more than $450 each year.
"This is just for one dog, many people have more than one dog so they are paying even more," Bankwest Retail CEO Vittoria Shortt said.
Cats cost an average of $1,772 per year, while the expense of keeping a bird runs to $810 annually.
Animals can get themselves into all kinds of trouble, including eating things they shouldn't, getting stuck in places they can't escape from and fighting.
This means a trip to the veterinary clinic is almost an inevitable event in your pet's life.
Unfortunately, unlike the human patients in your family, the animals in your home do not have access to a Medicare system.
This means that the cost of any medical treatment will be a completely out-of-pocket expense.
If your pet is involved in an accident or suffers a sudden illness, you may find that the unexpected veterinary bills are beyond the means of your household budget.
The cost of taking your furry or feathery companion to the vet can result in a significant dent in your savings.
This is because a veterinarian is not only your pet's GP but also their surgeon, radiologist, oncologist and pharmacist.
If you would like some more information on finding the right insurance to cover your family's pet, speak with our general insurance advisor at HICA today.
HICA is a private health insurance broker who offers advice and guidance on most kinds of personal insurance, including cover for your pets.
We can offer an obligation-free pet, life or health insurance comparison to help you choose the right cover for your family, including the four-legged or feathered members.