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Should You Get Pet Insurance After Adopting a Shelter Dog or Cat?


Jade Poole from I Write Words

Should You Get Pet

Exploring why pet insurance matters for your newly adopted pet and you.

If you have recently adopted a shelter cat or dog, then not only have you saved a life, but you have also brought a significant amount of unconditional love and happiness into your life. Adopting a shelter pet is not something many people do as they typically have a specific breed in mind when it comes to getting a new furry member of their family.

And although you might not always know your shelter pet’s history regarding their health and their backstory, adopting a shelter pet is a risk well worth taking. Because nothing compares to the memories, laughter and time spent together.

In this article, I break down the mechanics of pet insurance and the importance of pet healthcare cover for your pet’s health.

The reason for pet insurance

Veterinary care can be costly under any circumstances. Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets can now lead longer and healthier lives. But these innovations come with a cost. These days, our pets receive the medical same care and attention as humans, in the types of procedures and surgeries available to them.

Many pet owners are prepared for the expected costs that come with responsible pet ownership such as vaccines, spay and neuter costs and annual checkups. But then there are the medical expenses associated with unexpected pet healthcare. Whilst your pet might be in good health right now, there might come a time when you (and your wallet) are confronted with the unpredictable veterinary costs. What happens when your precious Bubbles escapes your yard and is hit by a car? Or when Whiskers is diagnosed with cancer?

While the concept of taking a loan for a vet bill might seem far off right now, the issue arises when you are faced with large vet bills and have to either go into debt or empty your savings to save your pet’s life.

The initial veterinary healthcare needed to treat an unexpected illness such as cancer can be anywhere between R2 000 and R6 000, this does not take any additional treatment or specialised surgery into account, in which case, emergency surgery can cost upwards of R7 000.

Oh, and when it comes to Bubbles getting hit by a car, surgery and treatment to save Bubble’s life can cost as much as R30 000. The chances of you having that sort of cash lying around are highly unlikely.

Pet health insurance gives you the financial backing and comfort you need for unexpected vet bills, and in some cases, if routine (wellness) coverage is included in your chosen plan, then expected vet bills are covered too. 

Pet insurance for shelter pets

Right then, so now that I have your attention and you have a good understanding as to why all, and I mean ALL, pet owners should have pet insurance, let’s get into why you need pet insurance for your shelter pet.

As I mentioned, adopting a dog or cat from a shelter means you don’t always know what their history, particularly their health records. Perhaps your new furry member of the family has a pre-existing condition you are not aware of, maybe he or she was involved in a fight with another animal or badly abused which has resulted in underlying joint problems which may only resurface later on in your pet’s life. Your new pet might be genetically predisposed to hereditary conditions (most of which are incredibly expensive to treat).

FYI, a pre-existing condition is a medical issue that exists before you purchase a pet insurance policy.

The point being that rescue animals, perhaps even more so than pedigree pets, need pet insurance to help save you from surprise costs later on down the line.

Shelter pets and pre-existing conditions

Now, I know what you are thinking “but, does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?” You’d be surprised as to how often I get asked that question. But the simple answer is - yes if you choose the right insurer.

Oneplan Pet Insurance is an example of an insurer that covers pre-existing conditions. They also front you with cash before you visit your vet of choice, but that’s a topic for another day. After a 12 month waiting period, which, in the grand scheme of things, is not too long to wait considering how much money your insurance policy will save you, you are then covered for these conditions. And here’s the thing - just because you are not covered for certain health conditions during this period of time, doesn’t mean you can’t claim for other unrelated events.

Not knowing your pet’s age

Then there is the issue of not knowing the exact age of your pet. If this is the case, then you have nothing to worry about. Simply get a professional examination in writing from your vet and send this to your insurer.

When should I get pet insurance?

As soon as possible. I can’t stress this point enough. And this is my honest-to-goodness opinion after extensive research and feedback from pet owners across South Africa, the sooner you insure the health of your pet, the better.

Here’s the way I see it, you can’t predict when things might go wrong, but you can prepare for when they do.

Protect the health of your wallet and your new pet with quality pet insurance.

Until next time,

The Pet Insurance Team

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