Top 6 Essential Factors Every Pet Owner Should Consider Before Comparing Pet Insurance Policies
The process of finding and committing to a pet insurer may seem impossible, but if you consider these 6 essential factors before looking at any pet insurance provider, you'll be a pet insurance policy expert in no time. Discover the small things that you can do to make finding a plan that's best for your pet quick, easy and completely hassle-free.
From contemplating pricey premiums to evaluating your pet’s health and wellness needs, there is a lot that goes into picking the right insurance provider.
In this blog, I’m going to dig into the most important aspects of every pet insurance policy and give you 6 essential questions to ask yourself so that you know exactly what you're looking for before you weigh up the pros and cons of each provider and their range of different pet insurance plans.
1. Do you really need pet insurance?
Pet insurance is a great safety net for any unexpected injuries or illnesses. Every pet owner needs to consider the likelihood of having to claim in the near future and how often these claims will occur each year. Factors such as the age of your pet or even the type of breed can come into play.
Even if you suspect that your pet is completely healthy, it may be better to have this extra fallback in the event that any unexpected emergencies arise. Claims can cost upwards of thousands of rands if your pet develops an on-going condition or is seriously injured unexpectedly. Most of the time, it turns out that the right insurance can end up saving you a lot of money and stress in the long run. If you're also not sure about whether they should get pet insurance for shelter dogs and cats, check out this blog.
Take it from a fellow pet fanatic, it makes a world of difference knowing that your plan has you covered, no matter the type of issue or emergency. I’ve found the security it provides to be an absolute necessity. When it comes to my pets, I consider them a member of the family and it helps me to know that they will always be well taken care of.
2. What kind of cover are you looking for?
There is a range of different types of pet insurance plans and it’s important to know the basics before you start looking at any insurer’s policy - such as the difference between accident-only and comprehensive cover plans. There are also different types of services covered within this range of plans. This includes:
● Vet visits cover
● Illness cover
● Accident cover
● Kennel fees
Consider whether you need any additional services since many insurers don't openly cover certain day-to-day expenses (like routine care) in standard animal pet insurance plans. Think about any specific services or benefits that you may be looking for over and above your chosen type of pet insurance plan. These cover options include treatments beyond basic illness and accident cover.
For example, if you want the benefits of routine care without paying for all the other services included in a more expensive plan, you might want to look for a provider that offers a routine care plus add-on that lets you include services like vaccinations, sterilization and deworming in your standard pet insurance plan. You might also want to opt to add on an excess buster per pet. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for an insurance policy that included vet visit cover in your plan too.
3. Can your pet be insured?
Most people don’t know that pet insurance is not limited to just cats and dogs. If your pet is what insurance providers classify as a “companion animal” other than a dog or cat, certain pet plans may also cover the medical costs for these animals. Be sure to look out for this term in any insurer’s policy documents. Companion animals can include a whole range of species such as horses, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs and even other small reptiles, fish or mammals.
Also, be sure to check that any pre-existing conditions or health-related issues your pet may already have do not prevent them from being eligible for pet insurance cover at your chosen provider. This is where it’s essential to read the fine print of each insurance policy.
5. Have you considered the health and age of your dog?
Sometimes, insurers can increase premiums due to something as simple as your pet’s age (the older they are, the more they are seen to be a risk in the eyes of most pet insurance providers). Make sure to look for an insurer who provides cover for animals of all ages. For example, Oneplan aims to cater to the needs of older pets too and provides different plan options for cats over the age of 9 than those offered for animals who fall under the age limit. This ensures that they are able to meet the specific needs of each age group.
The past and present health of your precious pet could also dramatically affect the price of your premiums each month. For example, to insure a pet that is frequently sick and has a sizable claims history is usually a lot more expensive than to insure a young pup or kitten who is strong and healthy. That’s why it's important to find an insurer who treats all animals the same across the board and won’t penalize you for valid claims you’ve made in the past.
4. How big is your budget?
Insurance for a dog usually costs about R150 per month on average and R120 for cats. But, it may become more expensive depending on the services you choose to add on to any basic insurance plan. Some insurers also increase premiums annually, so the costs can really start to stack up. It’s a good idea to sit down at the beginning of the month and set a budget for your pet care costs and your animal’s healthcare needs before you start comparing insurance policies. This will help you create a solid guideline as to how much you can afford to spend on insurance each month and give you a better idea about what type of pet plan you can afford. It’s also best to read through every pet insurer’s policies carefully and keep an eye out for any annual increases, additional administration fees or hidden costs.
My advice for any cost-conscious pet owners is to try a provider like Oneplan. Oneplan is a reliable insurance provider and a great option for customers who want the security of knowing exactly what kind of premiums they can expect each month. Oneplan’s also guarantees that your premiums will stay the same each month (and you’ll always be the first to know about any updates or policy changes).
6. What standard of customer service are you looking for?
Many pet insurance providers have great pricing, a comprehensive array of pet insurance plans to choose from and frequently prove appealing discounts or promotions. But it's important to take a deeper look into the services of each provider and consider factors beyond just considering the basic plans and promotions. It's essential to look at the ins-and-outs of the claims process. Does the insurer make the process one that is drawn-out and complicated? Will your insurer reject claims and make the claiming a process one that is full of frustration? Is there a lot of administration and excessive paperwork to wade through?
Even if the provider seems to be a big-name player in the insurance industry, it's still important to consider these things before you start to compare the specifics of different policies. Do your research, check out the reviews online and make sure that you choose a provider who will make the claims process as easy and stress-free as possible.
So, who do you choose?
The most important thing to ask yourself before considering any pet I insurer is, “Will they put policy before the health of my pet?” It’s essential that the insurer you choose can accommodate your pet’s specific needs and give you the security of knowing that they will always put their customers first.
My advice would be to try a reliable insurer like Oneplan. Oneplan offers a variety of affordable pet care plans with no hidden catches or strings attached. Oneplan shows a genuine interest in their customer’s satisfaction and that’s why they give their loyal customers special offers - like discounting the first month's premium by 100% and waiving the Onecard fee when you sign up online.
Oneplan even has weekly blog posts to give you as a pet owner the most up-to-date advice possible so that you can give your pet the care they deserve. I don't know about you, but I call that an insurer who really cares about their customers, their service and the health and wellbeing of your lovable pet.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team