Why pet insurance?
Most of you know that when you get a new furry baby, they become part of your family immediately. You can give them as much love and attention as you possibly can – but when the unexpected strikes, love won’t pay the bills.
What would you do if you were suddenly faced with a vet bill of R5000 or R10000 today? What if your beloved pet needed surgery costing R30000?
Illness and accidents can happen at any time, and when they do you want to do everything you can to make things better. That’s why it’s so important to get pet insurance, to put your heart at ease when you need it most, knowing your fur kid (and your wallet) are covered.
Great, but what should I look out for?
There are an increasing number of pet insurance products out there and choosing the best one for your pet can be tricky. It will take a fair bit of research and a very careful read of the fine print. To help you navigate these murky waters and to be sure you understand what you are buying, we have compiled the following list of helpful tips:
- Price is important. You definitely get what you pay for but at the end of the day, any insurance is better than none.
- Instead of looking at the monthly/yearly cost, think of it per day. Isn’t R3-R10/day worth it for the peace of mind?
- Read the “What is not covered” or “Exclusions” sections very carefully.
- Many policies exclude certain breeds and also hereditary conditions e.g. hip and elbow dysplasia, disc disease in Daschunds.
- Certain policies don’t cover pregnancy and breeding, behaviour problems, dental disease and preventative care such as vaccinations.
- Pay close attention to the ‘claims basis’ as this determines how your policy covers vets fees. The cover can apply per year, per condition or per condition per year. It’s best to always read the fine print to know exactly what you’re paying for so that you can get the best cover from your policy.
- Pay special attention to the presence of sub-limits or tariff limits. If these are present it means that although you may have R40000 of annual cover, that only certain amounts can be claimed for certain treatments e.g. R1300 for X-rays. This can cause shortfalls. The ideal is complete cover to be spent on the care required. But this is more expensive
- All policies have an excess meaning you’ll still have to fork out some money toward the bill
- No products cover pre-existing conditions and many don’t cover pets that are 8 years or older. It is therefore very important to take out the insurance when your pet is young and healthy, or else there could be exclusions on your policy.
- Your policy only covers your pet if you pay the premium, if you skip a payment they then give you at least 15 days to pay it until your insurance will automatically lapse.
- Vets generally require upfront payment, and ask clients to claim back from their insurance provider.
Great, but where can I get Pet insurance?
In South Africa, there are several pet insurance providers with the two main ones being:
Medipet is probably the most comprehensive and simplest product around. It is therefore slightly more expensive than the others.
Get a leaflet in your practice or visit their website for more information : www.medipetsa.co.za
Tel: 021 701 2023
Petsure administers several products/brands such as Hollard Pet Insurance, Paws 24, Pet 99, Rogz and Solver. These products offer a variety of options for you and your pet. It is important to note that while they are cheaper, they do contain more fine print. They are really geared toward covering accidents and other unforeseen, unknown illnesses and injuries but generally exclude breed specific, genetic and hereditary conditions.
Visit their website for more information : www.petsure.co.za
Tel: 0860 738 787
We hope this helps you become better prepared and informed so that when the unexpected strikes, you have reliable pet insurance and are comprehensively covered.
If you have any further questions, please speak to your local TAH practice. We’ll try our best to help you with whatever you need.
Whatever you do, take out a policy today!