Can I Upgrade Or Downgrade My Pet Insurance Plan During The Year?
Did you know that most medical aid schemes in South Africa aren’t going to allow you to upgrade your medical aid plan during the course of the year (outside of the review period afforded to all scheme members). You can downgrade your plan whenever you like, but you can’t “buy-up” halfway through the year when you realize you are out of pocket and need additional benefits :) I was wondering what the deal was with pet insurance? Does it work like a medical aid scheme? I reached out to the guys at OnePlan who gave me the low-down on their pet plan upgrade and downgrade rules.
But before we get into the policy rules, why would it be important to know if your pet insurer allows you to move between plans?
I can think of 2 reasons:
Considering we are moving into some tough economic times, if you needed to trim back on your insurance spend each month, it would be handy to know if your pet insurer would accommodate a downgrade, wouldn’t it?
- Incorrect Plan Choice
You might have miscalculated the type of cover you needed when you originally took out your pet insurance policy. It’s a bit like a medical aid plan you choose for the first time. You have a fair idea of what you may need when you apply, but it’s only when you have been on the medical aid plan for a while, that it becomes obvious if you made the right choice or not. Luckily as a medical aid scheme member you have an opportunity every year to change plans.
Again, it would be handy if your pet insurer understood that perhaps you didn’t get the plan choice right the first time around and you might need some leeway to switch plans.
The good news is that if you take out a OnePlan pet policy you can change your plan type subject to one calendar months’ notice.
The following 4 conditions apply when amending your plan type:
- The maximum age of your pet cannot exceed eight years
- New waiting periods will apply for additional cover and increase in cover from the effective date of the amendment.
- You may only amend your policy every six months, especially if amending your policy to a plan that offers more cover.
- You may be requested to complete a new application and your policy may be re-underwritten, in order to assess the risk profile of your pet.
Let’s have a look at each one of these conditions in a little more detail:
- Pets that are older than eight years don’t qualify for cover under the OnePlan pet policy range, so it makes sense that if it’s a general condition exclusion it should be a plan change exclusion.
- It’s also fair that new waiting periods should apply to the new cover you will benefit from when you upgrade. If the insurer didn’t do that people would simply upgrade their policy knowing they need to claim and then downgrade again.
- The six-month rule for upgrades and downgrades also seems logical. Any period that is shorter than that would suggest that the policyholder is perhaps looking to take advantage of the upgrade / downgrade rules.
- I can’t see any problems with leaving the door open to ask for more underwriting if the insurer deems it to be necessary.
OnePlan are going to allow you to change your pet insurance plan if you give them one months’ notice. You can only change your plan every six months and waiting periods are going to apply for new cover benefits that you will be enjoying. At a push, OnePlan will also re-underwrite your pet.
Until next time.
The Pet Insurance Team