Considering Pet Insurance? 8 Important Questions To Ask Before You Buy
There are a lot of pet insurers out there to choose from - from plan options, benefits, prices, limits and exclusions, it can be overwhelming to know which one to go with. Before you make the final decision, read this…
Pet insurance is a great product to have in place when it comes to affording pet healthcare.
Vet bills for check-ups and routine care can quickly start to add up. And emergency pet care can easily set you back R10 000 or more.
The point is that veterinary care, just like our own healthcare, is an expense we can prepare for. Which is where pet medical insurance comes into play.
If you are in the process of researching which pet insurance to choose, it can be rather overwhelming to find the right one. Here are the top 5 questions to ask…
1. What kind of pet insurance plan am I looking for?
Do you want a pet healthcare plan that covers accidents and emergencies only? Or do you want something more comprehensive that includes vet visits and routine care?
Figure out what you can afford and what is best for the health of your pet. Remember, some pets, such as pugs and other short-nosed dogs, have higher health risks than others. If this is the case, then you may want to consider a more comprehensive plan.
The same thinking applies for older pets, the older your pet, the higher their risk of developing health issues is.
2. Can I keep my vet?
Some pet insurers have a specified network of vets for you to choose from. If you go to a vet outside of this network, you cannot claim.
When researching information for this article, I found only one insurer that lets you go to any vet of your choice - Oneplan. Check them out and have a look at some of their plans.
3. What are the waiting periods?
A waiting period is an amount of time that has to pass before you can claim for certain events.
Chat to your potential insurer, and find out exactly what the waiting periods are and how long you have to wait until you can claim.
For example, accident cover typically does not have a waiting period, however, pre-existing conditions tend to have a waiting period of 12 months.
4. What is my pet not covered for?
Find out about the cover exclusions. These are things your pet insurer will not cover. It’s important for you to know exactly what these are.
5. Are vet visits and routine care included?
Vet visits typically include consultations and check-ups, routine care includes vaccinations and dental care.
If you want a plan that includes these benefits, then make sure you find out if you are covered for them.
6. What are pre-existing conditions?
These are issues that started before your cover began. If your pet was diagnosed with an issue or showed signs of a certain condition before signing your pet insurance contract, then this will be classified as a pre-existing condition.
The waiting period for these health concerns tends to be around 12 months.
Let’s look at an example...
If your dog was diagnosed (or showed symptoms of) cancer BEFORE your cover began, you will have to wait 12 months before you can claim for any costs relating to the treatment of this disease.
7. Are spaying and neutering covered?
Basic pet insurance plans do not cover spaying and neutering. So, if you pick a plan that is hospital or accident cover only, then you will not have cover for the costs associated with these procedures.
However, if you choose a plan that includes cover for routine care, then your insurer is likely to include spaying on neutering.
8. Does pet insurance cover the loss of my pet?
Although this is not something you want to think about now, the loss of a pet is a reality every pet owner has to face.
And this too can be a costly procedure. Have a look at some of the costs associated with the death of a pet in this article. Because of this, you need to find out if the insurer covers some of these costs.
Most insurers will include burial and cremation costs in their cover.
What it comes down to
Pet insurance is a great way to save money on vet bills and helps cover you for the things you can’t predict.
Because your pet is basically a furry member of the family, you need to choose an insurer who cares about your pet’s health and one who suits your budget.
Once you have narrowed your search down to a few options, do some research online to find out what their customer care is like.
You also need to make sure you read the fine print of the contract.
And most importantly, find an insurer who makes insurance easy to understand and easy to apply.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team