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Pet Insurance vs Pet Savings Account: Which one is the better option?

   

Jade Poole from I Write Words

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It’s time to investigate which investment option works out better for your pet (and your wallet) in the long run. The pros and cons of both.

As a pet owner, you are already prepared for the expected routine care costs associated with having a cat or a dog. But, what will normally shock and surprise you are the unexpected costs of pet illnesses and emergencies.

Both pet insurance and a pet savings account can help with these costs, but which one is better?

The cost of emergency pet care can start from R10 000, and that’s for a basic procedure. More complicated issues mean a higher bill, which means you are left with the choice of going into debt or opting for euthanasia. Pet insurance was created to prevent pet parents from ever being in this situation.

What is pet insurance?

Like health insurance, pet insurance helps to cover the medical bills for your pet.

You choose a pet plan that best suits your needs and your budget and then make monthly payments to ensure you are covered for the expected and unexpected vet bills.

What does pet insurance cover?

Every pet insurer is different. Pet insurance companies will set their own rules of what their cover includes.

To properly answer this question, I reached out to the Oneplan Insurance team.

Oneplan has 4 different plans. Each plan has different cover benefits.

Their most comprehensive plans include cover for:

●        Vet visits

●        Scripted medication

●        Routine care

●        Accidents

●        Illness

●        Kennel fees

How much does pet insurance cost?

This will also depend on the insurer and plan you choose.

Insurers will structure their pricing according to the cover provided. So, the more you pay, the more cover you get (in theory).

Here are Oneplan’s prices:

●        Pet accident cover = R55 a month

●        Pet hospital plan = R142 a month

●        Pet classic plan = R278 a month

●        Pet super plan = R390 a month

What are the pros of pet insurance?

The two biggest benefits of pet insurance are that you are covered for unexpected emergencies and large vet bills and you are also covered for routine care and vet visits (depending on what plan you choose).

What are the cons of pet insurance?

Pet insurance has certain conditions it will not cover. There are also other factors to take into account such as waiting periods and exclusions.

A waiting period is the amount of time that has to pass before you can claim. This is only applicable to certain cases such as pre-existing conditions. For example, if your dog was diagnosed with cancer before your cover began, then you have to wait for 12 months until you can claim for any events relating to this issue.

Another issue many clients find with pet insurers is that in order to claim, they have to fill in pages upon pages of paperwork.

Oneplan, however, is the only insurer I have come across who pay you BEFORE you see the vet. Which saves you the time and hassle of paperwork.

What is a pet savings account?

A pet savings account is a bank savings account holding funds for your pet’s medical needs.

Opening a pet savings account is not something that many pet owners will consider, but it really should be one of the first things you do as a new paw parent.

You can make your savings account work the same way as pet insurance - by setting up a monthly debit order to deposit money into this account.

What can a pet savings account be used for?

You will use your pet savings account for your pet’s health needs. You can also cover other pet costs such as:

●        Pet treats

●        Pet accessories

●        Training

●        Pet toys

●        Water and food bowls

●        Grooming

What are the pros of a pet savings account?

One of the biggest benefits of a pet savings account is that you can use these funds for anything your pet requires. It is your account and it is your money. And you can access it as and when you please.

With pet insurance, there are certain things like behavioural issues or pregnancy-related problems that are not covered.

What are the cons of a pet savings account?

You can spend the money on anything you want

Although having access to the money is also an advantage, this easy access can also have its downsides as you might be tempted to dip into this account when you need something for your home or yourself.

There is nothing stopping you from taking money out to book that cruise you have always wanted to go on or buy that new TV for your house when your old one breaks.

It takes time to accumulate enough money for a large vet bill

One of the biggest cons of a pet savings account is that it will take a while to accumulate the right amount go money for the larger vet bills.

And if you have more than one pet, then this will mean double the bills.

Which one is better?

If we look at the biggest disadvantage to the two different investment options:

Insurance: Certain events are not covered

Savings: Takes time to accumulate enough money

In my personal opinion, I think that pet insurance is the way to go. You will have instant cover for accidents and emergencies which can cost tens of thousands of rands.

With a savings account, it could take years to have enough money to cover one medical bill, whereas pet insurance will ensure your bill covered according to your limits (maximum amount paid in the event of a claim) and chosen plan.

It also takes a strict approach to saving to have a successful pet savings account.

My advice is to do your research and go with what suits you, your pet and your budget.

The best of both

If you can afford it, why not have a pet savings account and pet insurance? This way you can access funds for things that pet insurance doesn’t cover like bedding and accessories and you have the peace of mind in knowing you are covered for the bigger medical bills as and when they arrive.

Until next time,

The Pet Insurance Team


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