What is pet insurance, how does it work, and is it right for you?
Many pet owners have heard that pet insurance is the most responsible thing that they can do to look after their pet, but most people are still unsure about what exactly animal health insurance is, how it works and what it covers.
In this blog, you’ll get to know the benefits of pet insurance and discover the key considerations to keep in mind when trying to decide if animal health insurance is really right for you and your pawsome pet.
What is pet insurance?
Animal medical insurance is the best way to ensure that you have all the healthcare needs of your pet covered. Essentially, pet insurance is an agreement between you and your insurance company that guarantees that they will compensate you for your pet’s healthcare-related expenses in return for a set monthly premium.
Without insurance, vet bills, hospital stays and medical treatments can skyrocket into the thousands. That’s why most pet parents choose to get on board with an affordable pet insurance plan that will help them avoid a financial crisis when it comes to getting the right care for their pet. This allows pet owners to make the best healthcare decision for their precious pet without any financial restraints dictating whether or not they are able to look after their pet.
What does pet insurance usually cover?
Well, that all comes down to the type of pet insurance plan that you sign up for with your chosen insurance provider.
Usually, a more comprehensive plan, such as Oneplan’s Pet Classic Plan, will cover vet bills, kennel fees, routine care visits and accident and illness related costs. However, a more affordable plan, such as an accident-only or Pet Hospital Plan, will only cover unexpected illnesses or accidents - which means that you’ll have to handle any day-to-day healthcare costs yourself.
One thing most insurers have in common is that they usually exclude pre-existing conditions. Those are the conditions that your pet had already developed before you took out your pet insurance plan. Keep in mind that certain congenital disorders which your pet may have had since birth might also not be covered - so it's important to check every insurer’s list of exclusions in their policy documents.
In my experience, most pet owners say that they find the legal jargon and financial lingo of pet insurance policies intimidating. A lot of the time, this can actually deter pet owners from taking out a policy as they don’t feel that they fully understand what they’re signing up for.
So, to help you become a pet insurance policy expert, I’ve compiled a basic breakdown of the most common terms you’ll find in your policy documents and what they really mean.
● Deductibles or excesses: this is the amount that you will have to personally cover for any of the claims you make. For example, if you take your pet to the vet for an annual checkup that costs around R350, your insurer may require you to pay a portion of that R350 before they front you with the money to cover the rest of the expense. The general rule is the lower the deductible, the higher the premium and vice versa. It’s also important to note that some insurers have an annual deductible while others have a per-incident deductible.
● Reimbursement: this is the amount of a bill that is paid to you by your insurance company for your pet’s healthcare expenses. Some insurers will pay the vet or hospital directly, while other insurers like Oneplan Pet Insurance will front you with the cash before you see the vet.
● Annual cover limits: this is the maximum amount of money an insurance company will pay out towards your claims per year. Most companies have a per-year limit or a per-category cover limit (for example, you can only claim up to a certain amount for an accident or for an illness in a year).
● Premiums: this is the monthly amount you’ll pay your insurer for your cover.
● Exclusions: these are the pre-existing conditions or hereditary conditions that your pet insurance provider won't cover based on the terms stated in your policy agreement.
Deciding if pet insurance is right for you
Do you really need pet insurance? Most pet owners have heard about the benefits of pet insurance but they are still unsure whether insuring the health of their canine companion is really necessary.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your unique financial situation and the individual healthcare needs of your furry playmate.
The cost of pet healthcare
While many people have debated whether pet insurance makes financial sense, when looking at the real costs of animal healthcare, it seems that animal health insurance might just be your budget’s best friend.
Emergency veterinary care alone can often deliver a much bigger blow to your budget than expected. I like to give my readers this pretty common example:
Say your precious pup starts acting sluggish and lethargic one day. You monitor his behaviour for a few days and nothing changes, so you take poor Buster to the vet and it turns out that he has Tick-Bite Fever. You end up having to pay up to R20 000 just to treat the issue.
The tests for determining if your pet has a healthcare issue alone can be really expensive. You can expect to pay R850 or more for standard blood tests to pick up any defects in kidney function, parasites in the blood, diabetes or even cancer.
The costs don't stop there though. Unexpected accidents can be just as expensive as unexpected illnesses. A painful fall or a car accident can cost around R9 500 to R10 000 just for the MRI to diagnose the injury.
So, it’s important to ask yourself, “Can I really afford a R10,000 vet bill unexpectedly?”. And, since it is estimated that four out of five pets will have a medical emergency in their lifetime, I’d say insurance is definitely a must-have.
So, how does pet insurance work?
When you sign up with an affordable pet insurance provider like Oneplan Pet Insurance, you save big on costs that you haven’t even encountered yet.
With Oneplan’s comprehensive animal health insurance plans, you get complete access to a team of pet insurance experts who are there to guide you through the insurance process and help you sign up easily online using the Oneplan website.
Once you've chosen your pawsome pet insurance plan, you’ll get your own unique Onecard which will be used to put money in your picket BEFORE you see the vet. Amazing right? All you have to do is log in, load your claim and the funds are transferred to your unique Onecard which you can then use to swipe at your vet’s rooms.
Not only that, but Oneplan offers one of the most streamlined and efficient claims processes using their Oneplan app. Skip the paperwork and drawn-out waiting periods. Their digital claims process is 100% paper-free and hassle-free.
So, why not sign up with Oneplan in just minutes and discover the benefits of a quality health insurance plan that is tailor-made for you and your fluffy best bud?
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team