How to plan for your pet's healthcare expenses in 2021
Planning for anything these days seems like an impossible task. There are, however, a couple of options at hand that you can use to financially prepare for your pet’s potential (and inevitable) healthcare expenses in 2021.
The one thing that has become glaringly obvious to me in my time as a pet insurance expert, is how very few people have grasped the importance of having proper plans in place to take care of their pet when the time calls. As new technology and medication become available in the animal healthcare sector, specialist and veterinary fees are incredibly expensive and far from affordable to a vast majority of South Africans. To put things into perspective (because it’s awful paying for things when you don’t know where your money is going) to open a single veterinary practice can cost roughly R1 00000 and R250 000 per month to operate.
We always want the best for our pets so of course, we want them to have access to the best care and facilities when an unexpected accident or illness comes about and even when they need routine and standard care. Now that you have an idea of why vet bills are so scary (although I agree it doesn’t make the blow any softer), we can get into how to prepare yourself for when they come your way.
The costs of caring for your pet
The two main expense brackets for your pet are wellness care and accidents or illness care. The former is an expected expense for any responsible pet parents and the latter is an expense that comes out of the blue but is not nearly as rare as people seem to think.
I have had friends and colleagues come to me in hysterics over a four-digit (verging on five-digit) vet bill that came (in January, no less) when Spike ate something he shouldn’t have. For most of us, that just isn’t a feasible number to pay unannounced. Here are a few of the estimated and possibly optimistic prices you can expect from your pets’ healthcare.
- Annual checkups: R350
- Vaccinations (at least once a year for healthy, adult pets): R520
- Ticks and Fleas: R130 once a month, every month. A bad case of tickbite fever can cost from R2000 to R10 000.
- Wound treatment: R4500 (R350 consult + R3 500 for surgery + R500 fot antibiotics + injections at about R80 each)
Okay, so what options are there to prepare for the relatively likely event that your pet does fall ill or become involved in an accident? That’s what I’m here for!
A Pet Savings Account
An option that some folks choose is opening a savings account specifically for your pet. What you would do is decide on a set amount to deposit each month and hope that you have the required amount when you need it.
I’ll be frank, I don’t think it’s the most effective route unless you are a champion saver and know that 1) the money won’t be used for anything else and 2) you are ready to start from the beginning again when you use all your funds in one go on an expensive surgery and hospitalization.
I wrote something more explanatory on the pros and cons between pet insurance and a pet savings account here.
Before you argue that spending money once a month is not the solution you’re after, let me tell you (in the most polite way possible) why you’re incorrect.
Pet insurance is, in my opinion, the safest and most effective way to financially protect yourself and the health of your pet. There are insurance brokers out there that offer incredibly comprehensive and affordable policies that take a whole lot of stress off your plate, knowing that for the years ahead you won’t have the financial burden of a pet health crisis on your shoulders.
Your monthly premiums will pale in comparison when you calculate how much you would be paying out of pocket if that is the route you choose. For example, Oneplan has four policies that are always comprehensive and always fitted to your needs and the needs of your four-legged friend, ranging from their Pet Accident Cover (R60pm per pet) which offers up o R8000 per annum for accidents to their Pet Super Plan (R387 pm per pet) which covers you up to R55 000 for accidents and R50 000 for illness, because bills really do get that high.
Disclaimer: Please note that these prices are reflective of the date that this article was written. For up to date pricing, please follow this link
Whether you decide to work independently to fund for your pets future and current healthcare needs or invest in their healthcare expenses through an insurance broker, I hope that your pet recovers speedily and that your vet bills are paid for easily! Whichever route you choose to go, you’re doing the right thing learning how to prepare for the wellbeing of your pet. Thank you for your time and we wish you and your animals a fantastic year ahead!
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team.