How do I choose pet insurance? Top 3 tips for choosing the right pet insurance for you & your pet
If you are unsure as to how to pick a pet insurance policy, then this simple advice should provide some clarity in making your decision
Deciding to become a paw parent can be a daunting decision as it is: what will you name your new furry friend? What breed are you thinking about getting? How much does it cost to look after and care for him or her?
And lastly, the final question and quite possibly the trickiest of them all, is should you get pet insurance? And is pet insurance really worth it? And, if you decide it is, then perhaps you are now trying to figure out what kind of pet cover you need and what pet insurer to go with…
Even if you already own a pet and are now thinking about getting pet insurance, it can be an overwhelming process to sift through the various insurers out there, their various plans and what is included in these.
Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief because this article was written to ensure you make the right decision when choosing a healthcare plan for your pet.
1. Get cover when your pet is still young and healthy
I recently wrote an article on the benefits of pet cover when your pet is still young. Click here if you want to have a read over it. Long story short, the earlier you get the health of your pet insured, the better.
Taking out cover early in your pet’s life will mean that you don’t have to sit through waiting periods and can claim for crucial treatment as and when you need it.
For example, if your pet is diagnosed with cancer (which older dogs are prone to developing), and only after this diagnosis do you decide to take out a pet insurance policy, the cancer is then classified as a pre-existing condition and you will have to wait 12 months (this will vary depending on the insurer) before you can claim for any medical costs relating to the cancer.
Another reason why getting cover earlier on is the better options is that some insurers have age limits. This means that if your pet is over a certain age, you cannot insure them. This age is limit is typically 9 years. Meaning, your pet cannot be older than 9 years of age for you to qualify for pet insurance.
Expert tip - your cover is assessed annually. The older your pet gets, the more expensive he or she will become to insure, which is reflected in your monthly premium.
2. Read the fine print for restrictions and exclusions
I cannot stress the importance of reading your policy enough. READ THE FINE PRINT.
Some insurers make is exceptionally difficult for you to understand their policies.
However, Oneplan Pet Insurance has this great little benefit where they include an ‘easy to read’ version of their policy document for pet cover. Click here and have a look at what I mean. This is great because it allows anyone to simply understand and know what they are covered for and more importantly, what they are not.
There are a number of reasons as to why your pet insurance claim might be denied, in most of these cases, it can be avoided if you are aware of the below:
A limit is the maximum amount of money your insurer will pay you for a claim. Your policy will have a general limit on the rand value of claims you can make per year and once you have reached this limit, you cannot claim again that year.
These are treatments you cannot claim for. For example, your chosen policy may not include cover for behavioural issues.
3. Make sure you know exactly how much money is covered per claim
Your insurer should clearly state how much cover you have for what.
One of the worst things to happen (apart from your pet needing medical attention) is for you to think you are covered for a vet visit or treatment, when in fact, you are not due to a limit, exclusion or another reason stipulated in your contract.
An excess is the portion of the claim you need to pay. This will be specified in your policy schedule.
Some pet insurers will offer a neat little benefit that can cover the Excess costs in the event of a claim. Oneplan calls this their Excess Buster. For an additional small fee every month, your excess costs will be covered.
So, which pet plan is best for me?
I suggest you do a little digging and research into the various pet providers out there. My personal favourite is Oneplan. Their cover includes visits to the vet and they even pay you before you see the vet, which means no more waiting until payday to take your pet to the vet.
But the trick is to find an insurer you are comfortable with and one that is honest and upfront about their cover, limits and exclusions.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team