Is pet insurance only for sick pets?
When is the right time to insure the health of your pet? Let’s find out.
For the majority of pet owners, the first time they hear the words ‘pet insurance’ is when they are at the vet. You might receive a brochure for a specific insurer along with your pet’s healthcare bill. This is sort of like your vet saying “Sorry this bill had to come out of your own pocket, if you had pet insurance this wouldn’t be the case.” But here’s the thing about pet insurance, it isn’t something that you purchase AFTER your pet has been in an accident or gotten sick. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
How pet insurance works
Pet medical insurance cannot act as a form of retroactive cover for your cat or dog. Insurance is a form of risk management. The cost of your monthly premium is seen as a safety net IN CASE something goes wrong. And in the case of pet medical insurance, this typically works out for pet owners.
The same way that we as humans purchase health insurance or medical aid to help prevent us from footing a bill amounting to thousands of rands should something go wrong with our health. Or how we purchase home or car insurance in case something gets damaged or is stolen. It’s this kind of thinking that needs to be applied to pet insurance.
A safety net
Pet insurance can be as cheap as R60 a month. Take Oneplan’s Accident-Only Plan for example. For only R60 a month your pet is covered for R8 000 in vet bills every year. So that means that if Buster escapes the yard and gets hit by a car, Oneplan will help cover up to R8 000 in pet medical bills related to your pet’s accident. Of course, this will also depend on your limits available and a few other terms and conditions.
Please note that these prices are reflective of the date that this article was written. For up to date pricing, please follow this link.
Now let’s do some quick math to figure out if your premium of R60 a month is worth it.
Let’s say that you had to save R60 a month and put this money into a pet savings account for Buster in case something goes wrong. This would mean you would have to save for 134 months to reach R8 000! That’s over 11 years of saving just to reach R8 000. Of course, this isn’t taking interest into account, but you get the point.
With pet insurance being as affordable as R60 a month and some advanced veterinary procedures costing upwards of R10 000, it starts to become clear as to why pet insurance makes financial sense.
What if I never end up using my pet insurance?
There are a number of pet owners who think that pet insurance is not worth the monthly premium because they feel they will never use it and will end up putting more money into their policy than they will end up getting out. But this is the wrong way to think about pet healthcare cover.
Pet insurance isn’t like a savings account that you can cash in when you need some extra money. It’s about planning for the unpredictable events in life and creating a safety net that you HOPE you never have to use.
Our pets get sick the way we as humans do. In fact, dogs have a 25% chance of developing a tumour during their life. And 10% of cats will suffer from Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. Both of which are incredibly expensive to treat and can be fatal when left untreated.
Pet insurance for sick pets
Now, with all of this information in mind, you might be thinking that if your pet is already sick it’s too late to purchase a pet insurance plan. And whilst in some cases this kind of thinking might be true as many pet insurers will not include cover for pre-existing conditions, there are some insurance companies who do cover these sorts of conditions, Oneplan being one of them.
Coverage for pre-existing conditions
Oneplan Pet Insurance is one of the few insurance providers who will cover pre-existing conditions (a health condition your pet was diagnosed with or showed clinical symptoms of before purchasing a pet insurance policy or during the first 3 months from the inception date of your policy) after a 12 month waiting period. And whilst this might initially come across as a long time to wait for your cover to kick in, the wait is well worth it considering the costs of veterinary healthcare, especially those for chronic conditions.
And during this waiting period, you can still claim for other vet bills that are unrelated to your pet’s pre-existing condition.
An insurer that does things differently
What’s great about Oneplan is that this insurer has a range of pet insurance plans for you to choose from, each boasting its own unique range of benefits. Starting from a basic accident coverage plan and working your way up to a more comprehensive pet insurance plan that includes cover for routine care and vet visits.
The advantage of having benefits for day-to-day vet bills is that they can promote responsible pet healthcare in knowing that your pet’s annual check-up at the vet is covered, plus you are also covered for costs such as tick and flea control, dental care, vaccinations, sterilization and even scripted medication. The costs of which tend to quickly add up, which is why having cover like this in place will not only ensure your pet is always in his or her best health, but your bank account doesn’t have to take a hit as a result.
The best time to buy pet insurance
The best time to insure the health of your pet is when your pet is still young and healthy. As your pet gets older, your pet insurance is likely to gradually become more expensive. But if the cost of pet insurance is something that concerns you, consider this: vet bills are increasing as medical advances take place. As well as this, the cost to run a vet’s practice will increase as the cost of living does too. An unexpected trip to the vet can set you back as little as R500 and go as high as R50 000 for a major event.
When you purchase a pet insurance plan when your pet is still young, the small monthly payment of pet insurance helps mitigate the costs of vet bills and seems like a small price to pay to help save your pet’s life, not to mention your bank account.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Teama