Are Congenital & Hereditary conditions in pets covered by pet insurance?
Are expensive to treat chronic conditions in pets covered by pet insurance? The answer might surprise you.
Pet insurance was created to help protect you from the financial stress of unexpected (and in some cases, expected) vet bills. As any responsible pet owner knows, pet healthcare costs closely rival those of human healthcare. Although advances in veterinary medicine allow for our pets to lead longer and healthier lives, these innovations come at a cost, a cost that without pet insurance, is sure to leave a rather serious dent in your pocket.
Of course, not all veterinary care is pricey, but the bills can and will quickly start to add up. For example, preventive care and vet visits might only cost a few hundred rands here and there, but if you add up what you spend in a year on healthcare for your pet, you’d be surprised at what it amounts to.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article that breaks down the costs of pet healthcare.
What does pet insurance cover?
This will depend on your chosen insurer and the benefits and exclusions of your plan. For example, some plans might include day-to-day costs associated with routine care and vet visits as well as cover for accidents and illnesses. Some pet owners might choose a pet hospital plan which typically only covers the unexpected costs of accidents and illnesses, the sort of events you don’t see coming.
If you are in the market for purchasing a pet insurance policy, then it’s advised that you chat with your vet about the sort of cover level your pet might need. Your vet will know your pet’s health risks and medical history and will be able to point you in a good direction.
What about ‘expensive to treat’ chronic conditions?
Then there is the question of whether or not pet insurance includes cover for chronic conditions such as hereditary and congenital health issues.
Let’s first get the definitions out the way…
“Congenital” refers to a condition that existed when your pet was born or that developed during your pet’s first month of life.
“Hereditary” refers to a condition that has been passed down from your pet’s parents or due to a specific breed. Hereditary conditions might present clinical signs at any stage during your pet’s life.
Hereditary issues include:
● Hip Dysplasia
● Elbow Dysplasia
● Displacement Of The Patella
● Cherry Eye
How much do these conditions cost to treat?
The cost to treat conditions such as these will depend on your vet and the extent of the issue. A good example to look at would be that of Canine Hip Dysplasia - a common hereditary condition in pets.
Dysplasia develops when the ball and socket joint in your dog’s hips do not fit together properly, resulting in the loss of functioning in the joint leading to deterioration over time. Canine Hip Dysplasia typically presents clinical signs when dogs are 18 months old, but the condition can also develop later on in your dog’s life, usually in conjunction with the bone condition osteoarthritis.
If your dog is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia, then there will be a number of treatment costs for the following procedures:
● Physical therapy
● Surgical procedures such as total hip replacement
The expensive bills come in where surgery is needed. In 2019 in South Africa, the cost of replacing one hip is roughly R18 000 to R20 000 and approximately R35 000 for the replacement of both hips. As veterinary care continues to advance, these surgery costs will continue to rise.
Will pet insurance cover these costs?
Some pet medical insurers will not cover costs for chronic conditions such as these. However, there are a few insurers who include cover for these expensive procedures.
Oneplan is an example of one such insurer.
I chatted to the Oneplan Team and here’s what you need to know…
- Pet Hospital Plan
- Pet Classic Plan
- Pet Super Plan
The waiting period begins on the first day of the inception of your policy and is regardless of when the diagnosis is made. Now, if you think 12 months might be a long time to wait, think about the costs of treatment for these health issues. The cost of an affordable monthly premium is more than worth the wait considering the cover you will receive after the waiting period has passed.
Let’s look an example to put it into perspective:
If your dog is diagnosed with Entropion (an abnormality of the eyelids where the eyelid rolls inward), and you have had a Oneplan policy for 7 months (7 months of successful premiums), then this means that any costs incurred to treat the condition will be covered after another 5 months have passed (12 months of waiting in total). If your pet is diagnosed with a pre-existing, chronic, hereditary or specified condition and you have had a Oneplan policy for a year or more, then the costs are covered as your 12 month waiting period has already passed.
During this waiting period, Oneplan will cover any other costs incurred for events unrelated to the specified condition. Which means you can still claim when things go wrong.
Take a look at this blog on what a pet insurance plan looks like with Oneplan.
I suggest that before choosing any pet insurance policy, you spend some time researching what you are and are not covered for. In the case of Oneplan, their offerings of cash in your pocket before you see the vet, cover for expensive chronic conditions and day-to-day pet healthcare allow them to offer a pet insurance product that, in my opinion, is hard to compete with.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team