Pet lovers wild over insurance troubles

PET owners are becoming increasingly agitated over a lack of regulation for veterinary and pet insurance industries.

At present there is no avenue of recourse for pet owners who find themselves subject to pet insurance policy costs.

Pet owners are also subject to the pricing whims of veterinarians, who do not have set pricing schedules for veterinarian procedures.

Beaconsfield pet owner Trish Tolond said loving owners were being preyed upon by pet insurance companies who are able to change prices without recourse for consumers.

Ms Tolond has pet insurance for her two dogs - Zara the kelpie and Zeus the red heeler - with two different companies, and pays about $110 a month for both.

While pet insurance has saved Ms Tolond an extraordinary amount of money on vet bills over the years, including a recent saving of more than $2000 for Zara's arthritis and ligament damage, she said she was still concerned over the lack of regulation in the pet industry.

"All of a sudden they whacked the price up nearly double a month and there was no ombudsman or anybody that I could speak with to help with these issues," Ms Tolond said.

"I just pestered and pestered until I got it sorted but you shouldn't have to do that."

Ms Tolond is not alone in her concern.

Northern Tasmania dog owners discussed the issue on a group Facebook page.

One owner wrote that she had contacted the Financial Services Ombudsman on two different occasions to receive money owed by pet insurance companies, and waiting a year for reinbursement.

Another wrote that companies change the terms of policies to avoid paying customer claims. Despite the lack of regulation, the Australian Veterinary Association strongly recommends pet insurance. "Owning a pet is a privilege and providing health care is just one of the expenses you need to be prepared for, just like providing food," its website said.

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