How Does Pet Insurance Work? The Simple Answers You Need.
Why pet insurance makes financial sense, the cost of pet healthcare and how pet insurance works. Here’s everything you need to know about pet insurance, plain and simple.
Chances are you have a pretty basic idea of what pet insurance is and how it works. But you might still be left with a few questions regarding the fine print of pet cover. This article is here to explain everything you need to know about pet insurance, how it works and how it benefits you as a pet parent.
What is pet insurance?
I’m glad you asked.
Pet insurance does for your pet what health insurance does for humans. But the great thing about pet insurance is that the policies are a little simpler compared to health insurance. Basically, you decide on a plan based on the level of cover you want for your pet and the price you can afford. You can choose from accident-only cover for emergency care, or you can go for something a little more comprehensive that includes cover for not only accidents but vet visits and routine care too.
A number of pet parents might choose accident-only cover as this is often the most affordable type of plan, but if you have a closer look at the range of benefits included in a more comprehensive plan, you will soon discover that these more inclusive pet plans can save you even more money when it comes to vet bills.
Does pet insurance really make financial sense?
This is one of the most common questions pet parents will ask. Because at the end of the day you want to ensure that your hard-earned money is not going to waste on an insurance policy you may never use.
A good way to look at the financial benefit of pet insurance is to picture a situation where your pet needs urgent medical attention and what the costs associated with this treatment would be.
Emergency pet care and the case for pet insurance
If your pet is involved in an accident such as a dog fight or gets hit by a car (and I truly hope this never happens, but as a responsible pet owner, you have to prepare for the unexpected and ensure you have the finances in place to help cover the costs of pet healthcare), you would then need to rush him or her to the vet.
Emergency vet care (especially after hours) is often more expensive as your vet might need to run a series of diagnostic tests such as an MRI (which can cost R9 500 or more). After diagnosing the extent of injury from the accident, your vet might need to perform surgery which can cost anywhere from R10 000 to R40 000 or more.
It’s difficult to give the exact figures of veterinary care as this will depend on the vet and treatment required. When surgery is needed, this will result in might higher vet bills.
Did you know that some animal hospitals charge as much as R2 000 a night?
The point of the matter is that vet bills are often unpredictable. Dealing with a pet healthcare emergency is stressful enough as it is, you don’t want to have to deal with the stress of finances on top of this a having to spend this kind of cash on your pet’s medical bills is bound to put some strain in your budget and your bank account.
What does pet insurance cover?
Pet insurance plans are all designed differently. Some include cover for accidents and emergencies only, these are similar to a hospital plan, and other include cover for day-to-day costs such as routine care and vet consults. Your cover and the cost of your chosen plan will depend on your chosen insurer.
Make sure you pay special attention to what your benefits and limits in your plan are.
Have a look at this article on what pet insurance covers.
Pet insurance saves you from both expected and unexpected vet bills
Here’s the great thing about pet insurance - in exchange for an affordable monthly premium you can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing the health of your pet is taken care of, and what’s more, your bank account does not have to suffer in order to get your pet the care he or she needs.
When you have a comprehensive pet insurance plan, not only will this protect you from unexpected vet bills associated with accidents and emergencies, but you are covered for day-to-day bills too such as dental care and check-ups.
A consult with your vet can cost R350 or more. This is not including scripted medication or any additional tests and treatment needed.
The bottom line? The small cost of pet insurance is well worth the benefits.
How does claiming work with pet insurance?
Keep in mind that no pet insurer is the same. Each one will have their own claims system in place and steps for you to follow when it comes time to claim.
When it comes to the question of claiming, I always like to use Oneplan Pet Insurance as an example of a pet insurer who makes claiming simple and hassle-free.
Oneplan created their own unique transactional card that allows you to get paid before you see the vet. When you sign up with Oneplan, you will get your own Onecard which you can use to swipe at your vet’s office.
All you have to do is log into the Oneplan App, preload your claim and the funds will be transferred onto your Onecard within seconds (keep in mind that this is only for pet parents who have chosen a comprehensive pet insurance plan that includes cover for vet visits).
Can I go to any vet of my choice?
With Oneplan, they allow you to go to any vet you like. Which, in my opinion, adds to their user-friendly experience associated with their pet insurance.
The fine print of your contract
Finally, you need to ensure you ALWAYS read the fine print of your contract. It’s important that you know exactly what your pet is covered for and what they are not.
This will prevent any situations where you claim only to find out you are not covered for this specific event.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team