4 Simple ways you should be saving money on pet insurance
Pet insurance will save you money if and when something goes wrong, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to save by making smart, informed decisions about your policies and plans.
Pet-parents know the sentimental value of owning a pet - they become our family and our companions that we can’t put a price on. Except that, with the rising price tags that follow emergency surgeries, hospital stays and consults, it’s undeniable that having a pet is a huge financial responsibility. Pet insurance will save you money if and when something goes wrong, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to save by making smart, informed decisions about your policies and plans.
1. Start the year prepared
The start of the New Year is the prime time to look at how you’re going to go about insuring the health and wellbeing of your pet. Whether you’re planning on inviting a new member of the family into your home in the new year or your pet has been with you for a few years, there is always going to be something that suits you and avenues you can follow to save money. January is great for sitting down and deciding what your budget will and won’t allow for.
2. If you can, get ahead of the game
Insure your pets when they are young and healthy. You may not look at your doe-eyed boxer puppy and immediately think of the day when they may start to develop hip dysplasia or degenerative myelopathy fifteen years down the line, but you would be wise to.
Getting pet insurance in your pet's juvenile years means that your premiums will be lower because your pet doesn’t present any pre-existing conditions or high-risk factors (although young pets do have a higher chance of requiring an accident claim, we’ll get to that soon). Older pets may not be as energetic or rambunctious but once they start to age, the process is quick and they become prone to age-related complications. For that reason, your premiums will be lower for your puppy and will hopefully stay consistently low.
There are a fair few people who think that they have a few years before they need to consider pet insurance and that this will save them a few years on premiums. From what I know, this isn’t a foolproof plan. For animals, many long-term conditions start early on and getting ahead of them before they need to be declared as pre-existing conditions is ideal.
For example, your new pet may develop an allergy to their surroundings as a puppy - that means you have approximately 10 to 15 years of allergy medication and possible injections, on top of routine care. There is the possibility of heart conditions that can turn into massive debt. It simply isn’t worth the financial insecurity to bank on the fact that the puppy or kitten you have chosen is immune to all ailments.
As I mentioned earlier, younger pets are going to be a little more accident prone - they’ve got a whole big wide world to explore! Curiosity and excitement often cause younger pets to stick their noses where they don’t belong, and the result can be costly.
3. Choose a hospital plan
A hospital plan is designed with the unexpected in mind. In my experiences with the numerous shocked faces of friends and colleagues who have had to fork out tens of thousands of rands in the blink of an eye, they could have done with a hospital plan. This may seem like a glaringly obvious statement but hear me out: your pet is an animal. They want to run, play, explore and maybe get into a primal territory fight with the bigger dog down the road. Things happen so quickly and before you know it you’re having to decide between a hefty surgery and maxing out your credit card.
If you’re in the market for a recommendation, I’d like to offer my two cents. Oneplan has a fantastic hospital plan that covers all the bases for somebody looking for a comprehensive emergency-only plan. Hospital plans don’t cover vet visits for routine care - so if you’re comfortable with taking on the costs of your pets check-ups and rather focus on insuring yourself for when the really big bills come along, I think that’s a great idea.
What Oneplan’s Pet Hospital Plan starting from R139 pm, your benefits include Accident Cover up to R35 000 and Illness Cover up to R32000 - and those numbers are so high because that’s exactly how high your vet bill can be before you know. So, if that made your eyes pop a little I would suggest getting on the phone with one of their (exceptional) consultants.
Please note that these prices are reflective of the date that this article was written. For up to date pricing, please follow this link.
4. Put your pets on one policy
Having all your pets under one insurer is most likely going to save you money in the long run (if only they had the same policy for children and school fees). Not all insurers offer a multi-pet discount or even make it possible to have more than one pet per policy but when I chatted to Oneplan, they had some interesting offers on the table.
Oneplan offers a ten percent discount for the second pet added to your policy and a five percent discount for the third. It doesn’t stop there, though. You can get discounted premiums for as many as eight animals on one policy. I don’t know about you but if you’re anything like me, the thought of having all my fur-babies protected together in one policy makes me feel relieved.
Get ahead of the game and save yourself some money whilst doing the responsible thing for your four-legged compadre.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team.