Does Pet Insurance Cover Emergency Pet Care?
What happens when something goes wrong and you have to rush your pet to the vet? Are you covered for these costs if you have pet insurance? We find out.
We wish our pets could communicate with us when something is wrong, that would certainly make being a pet parent a whole lot easier. However, it is our responsibility to recognise when our pets need medical care. Because of this, it’s important to ensure you take your pet to the vet the moment you think something might be wrong. It’s better to be safe than sorry in situations such as these.
A number of emergency situations can be prevented through regular check-ups at the vet as this will allow your vet to detect and treat any underlying health concerns before they progress into something more serious and more expensive to treat.
When the unexpected happens
Whilst routine care is a great way to allow your pet to live a healthy and long life, there are often situations where unexpected emergency strikes. And what happens if this is out of your vet’s business hours? This is when you have to turn to a 24-hour animal hospital and speciality clinics.
Emergency pet care and pet insurance
It is both financially and emotionally difficult to deal with a pet medical emergency. Although we don’t like to think about it, a number of pet parents are faced with unexpected accidents or life-threatening illnesses at least once in their pets life.
The costs of emergency pet care are often higher compared to the costs of a regular vet visit. This is because the vet will have to pay overtime rates to his or her staff and to ensure the highest quality of care is given to your pet, the vet also needs to take the costs of advanced medical equipment and treatment into consideration.
The costs of emergency pet care
If your pet is hit by a car or involved in a fight with another animal and requires emergency vet care, these costs can start from R5 000 and go up to R40 000 or more. It’s difficult to give exact figures for situations such as these due to the varying factors that need to be taken into account. The extent of injury or the severity of the illness will dictate the costs.
So, how does one afford these costs? This is where pet insurance comes in to lend a helping paw.
If you have a look at Oneplan Pet Insurance, the limit for their accident cover on their Pet Super Plan is R50 000 and illness cover is R47 000.
Pet insurance coverage for emergency care
It’s often beneficial to view pet insurance as a form of financial risk management: pet cover will identify the common dangers associated with pet healthcare (such as accidents, injuries and illness) and it will act as a means of protection for your family from any financial burden that veterinary bills may bring.
Pet owners who may not have any disposable incomes to pay for emergency pet care are still able to choose the best option for veterinary treatment if they have the protection from a pet insurance policy in place.
Keep in mind that no pet insurance is created equal. This means that you need to ensure that you are covered for certain emergency costs before assuming the costs are taken care of. However, the majority of pet plans will include accident cover and pet hospital fees in their list of benefits.
The fine print of pet insurance
Keep in mind that whilst your insurer will want your pet to receive the best possible care needed to help nurse him or her back to health, pet insurance does not cover all ailments and issues related to pet healthcare. The same way that medical aid or health insurance excludes certain conditions, pet insurance works in a similar way.
This is why it’s so important for you to read the fine print of your contract to know exactly what you are covered for and what you are not.
Terminology to know
There are also specified waiting periods in place for various benefits in your pet insurance plan. For example, vet visits might have a waiting period of 30 days (the period of time that has to pass before you claim).
There are generally no waiting periods for accidents.
Then there is the matter of pre-existing conditions. These are conditions that existed before your cover began or started during the first 3 months of your policy (your vet might have diagnosed your pet with one of these health conditions or your pet might have displayed symptoms). Not all pet insurers will include cover for pre-existing conditions. And if they do, there will be a waiting period of 12 months that applies.
And don’t forget about the excess. This is the amount you have to pay in when you claim. Oneplan Pet Insurance includes an excess buster benefit for an additional R40 a month. With this, all hospital excess amounts are waived. This means you DO NOT have to pay excess for in-hospital fees. Which is a pretty great deal. If you ask me.
The bottom line is that not only does pet insurance save you from thousands of rands of vet bills, but it can allow your pet to receive the best possible care.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team