You just insured the health of your pet, now what?
The expert's guide on what to do after purchasing a pet insurance plan. Unpacking 3 important things to know to get the most out of your new pet insurance policy.
If you are a pet parent and you have just recently purchased a pet insurance policy for your furry member of the family then kudos to you - you have done the right thing in looking after the health of your pet and the health of your bank account.
At this point, you have done the research, found an insurer you love and have officially signed on the dotted line. So, now what? In this blog, I unpack everything you need to know to ensure you get the most out of your new insurance policy.
While you’re here, you might want to read this: How to evaluate a pet insurance policy: 2 proven steps to help you make the right choice
When does my cover start and when can I claim?
The first thing you need to do is to check the terms and conditions of your policy. Of course, you should have a basic idea of waiting periods as this is an important feature to check before purchasing a pet insurance plan.
The same way that health insurance policies have waiting periods (the time that has to pass before you can claim), your pet’s health insurance policy is no different.
The moment your specific waiting periods are up, you can officially file a claim. Be warned that different events and benefits have different waiting periods. With some insurers, you will be covered for certain events such as accidents from the moment you purchase your plan.
To properly answer this question, I reached out to the guys at Oneplan. Here is how they structure their waiting periods:
- Accident cover: immediate
- Illness in hospital cover: 90 days
- Kennel cover: 90 days
- Vet visits: 30 days
- Routine care: 30 days
Every insurer will have their specified waiting periods that apply to events included in your policy. Make sure you know what these are so that you are aware of when you can claim for certain events.
What exclusions do I need to be aware of?
This one is a pretty serious factor to take into consideration BEFORE you decide to purchase a pet insurance plan.
The most common exclusions are those related to pre-existing conditions. These are medical conditions that your pet presented clinical signs of before the inception date of your policy or during the first 3 months of your new policy.
The majority of pet insurers will not include cover for pre-existing conditions. However, some will grant you cover after a specified waiting period. Oneplan, for example, covers pre-existing conditions after a waiting period of 12 months.
What events is my pet covered for and how much cover do I have?
I suggest you familiarise yourself with every possible detail of your policy that you can get your hands onto.
By now, you should have a basic idea of how much you can claim for certain events in order for you to proactively plan for gaps in coverage. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a situation where your cover limit has been reached and you are forced into having to pay for an expensive vet bill as an out of pocket expense. I.e - the bill is your responsibility to cover and yours alone.
How do I claim for events?
Get hold of your insurer and find out exactly what the process is that you have to follow for a claim to be processed. The typical process to follow is:
- Take your pet to your vet
- Ask your vet for a claim form and an invoice with your bill
- Ensure both these documents are stamped and signed by your vet
- Pay the vet bill and send your insurer the claim form and invoice
- Ensure the invoice is itemised and that it does not only show the total amount
- Submit your claim form to your insurer
Oneplan does things a little differently
One thing that Oneplan does differently (well, one of the many things)is how their clients claim for events.
Instead of having to pay for a vet visit upfront, you can have the funds pre-loaded. How Oneplan does this is by using a unique debit card known as their Onecard. When you become a Oneplan client, you will receive your very own Onecard. This card allows you to pre-load funds for routine care and vet visits using the Oneplan App. All you have to do is:
- Log into the Oneplan App on your phone
- Load your claim
- The money will be loaded onto your Onecard
- Swipe this card at your vet’s office to pay for the visit
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team