Why Do I Need Pet Insurance? Is It Not Better To Save Monthly Premiums & Use These Savings To Pay For Vet Bills?
Does pet insurance make financial sense? Are you really saving money when it comes to insuring the health of your pet? We find out.
This is a commonly asked question among pet owners - is pet insurance worth the cost?
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that pet insurance is a form of protection against unexpected (accidents and emergencies) and expected (vet visits and checkups) vet bills.
Of course, the majority of pet insurance plans will protect you against unexpected costs and high vet bills associated with emergency pet healthcare.
Some insurers include cover for day-to-day costs such as vet visits and routine care as an additional cost, or (like Oneplan Pet), they will include vet visit cover in the cost of your monthly premium, based on your chosen plan.
But, does pet insurance make sense? Would it not be more beneficial to your budget to rather save the costs of a monthly premium in a savings account for your pet?
Have a look at this article on the pros and cons of pet insurance vs. a pet savings account.
The reason for pet insurance
Whether or not you think pet insurance is a good idea will largely depend on how important the health of your pet is to you. It will also depend on whether you can afford the unexpected medical costs associated with pet healthcare.
These factors will help you to determine whether you need pet insurance as a necessity or whether you are willing to leave it to chance - hoping that your pet does not get injured or ill.
The thing is, we don’t hesitate to insure our own health with health insurance or medical aid. This is because we are well aware of the financial impact that unexpected and incredibly expensive medical treatments have on our finances.
It’s advised that you extend this mindset to your pet’s health.
The growing cost of pet healthcare
As veterinary care advances, so do the costs of pet medical treatment. An advantage of these advancements is that our pets are able to lead longer and happier lives, the downside is that our budgets seem to dwindle as a result.
A basic consultation cost is anywhere between R300 and R600. This will depend on your vet and address. Keep in mind that adult pets need to go for a check-up once a year.
Spaying and neutering of cats are R750 for males and R1 350 for females. These costs for dogs are R1400 for males and R2 000 or more for females.
Blood tests can cost R850 or more to determine kidney function, diabetes, cancer or parasites in the blood.
Then there are costs of annual vaccinations. These will vary depending on your vet and the vaccine administered.
Now, these costs might not seem too bad. And in all honesty, they aren’t likely to make a big dent in your budget. But then there are the costs of unexpected pet medical care.
Costs of emergency treatment
We don’t want our pets to get sick or injured in an accident. But sometimes, regardless of what precautions we take, our pet can get sick and/or be involved in an accident. And these events always happen at the times when we least expect it. Because of this, we are left to face the expenses for our pet’s treatment, which, more often than not, is not included in our monthly budget.
The most common emergency treatments for pets are as follows…
Large dog breeds tend to suffer from hip dysplasia. To correct this, the costs are around R7 000 for surgery for a femur head and neck extension.
If a total hip replacement is needed, then this can cost R35 000 or more (not including the costs of rehabilitation).
If your pet is injured in an accident, the costs are incredibly unpredictable and high.
An MRI scan can cost between R9 500 to R10 000. An X-ray is roughly R3 000. The costs of specialist surgery on top of diagnostic tests are anywhere from R10 000 to R50 000 or more.
Putting your monthly premium into a savings account
Now let’s look at what would happen if you saved your monthly premium.
In looking at the average cost of a comprehensive pet insurance plan, the cost is roughly R350 a month (and this, in some cases, includes cover for routine care and accidents and illness).
If you put this money away every month for a year, you would have about (not taking interest into account) R4 200.
Let’s look at an example…
Bruno is hit by a car or falls from a height, the surgery costs amount to R35 000 to fix his broken bones. Which is nowhere near the amount you have saved. Your savings which just cover the consult and diagnostic tests (if only and X-ray is needed).
Pet insurance makes financial sense
The bottom line is that pet insurance not only saves you from spending thousands on medical bills for your pet, but it also promotes regular preventative care through the benefit of vet visit cover. Meaning that not only is your budget protected, but so is the health of your pet.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team