Is pet insurance always necessary? We explore the top questions to ask yourself before purchasing a plan in this responsible pet parent’s guide to knowing when a pet insurance policy is a good idea, not only for your pet’s wellbeing, but for your finances too.
Veterinary medicine advances are on the rise. As vets and medical procedures allow our pets to lead longer and healthier lives, we are made increasingly aware of the costs of responsible pet ownership.
Whether these costs are associated with routine healthcare or the more serious and more expensive costs of emergency and unexpected pet care, there is no way around it – pet healthcare does not come cheap.
As pet owners start to question whether or not pet insurance is a good idea (not only for their pet’s health but for their budget’s health too), we thought an article on the instances that pet insurance makes financial sense would be a fitting read for pet owners in this predicament.
Why it pays to plan for the unexpected
Before we get into the instances in which pet insurance might be a viable option for you, let’s first discuss why planning for your pet healthcare needs is not an option, but a necessity.
The same way that we plan for our own medical expenses with medical aid or health insurance, we should apply this thinking to our pet’s healthcare. Just like human health, pet health can be unpredictable and unexpected medical expenses can occur at any time. Pet insurance can help alleviate the financial burden that comes with these unexpected expenses and allow pet owners to make decisions about their pet’s healthcare without worrying about the cost. By investing in pet insurance, pet owners can ensure that they are prepared for any unexpected medical expenses that may arise, and that their pet receives the best possible care.
In fact, have a look at this article we wrote on the differences between pet insurance or saving a monthly amount for emergencies.
Many pet parents only realise the need for pet insurance or a pet savings account when something goes wrong (i.e. their dog is involved in a fight, their kitten falls from a height, or their pet is diagnosed with a serious and chronic illness). Being faced with a vet bill of R10 000 or more is the wake-up call you need to realise why it pays to budget for the unexpected.
Granted, some pet owners have a pet insurance policy that is hardly used. And whilst this is ideal for your pet’s health as it means your furry family member is leading a happy and healthy life, it may not seem as ideal for your budget as your monthly premiums seem to become a grudge purchase.
The thing is, you can never predict when something might go wrong. And, as your pet gets older, there comes an increased risk of health concerns and expenses.
How to know when pet insurance is the right choice: 2 questions to ask yourself
We chatted to the team at Oneplan Pet Insurance to find out the top reasons why some of their clients have pet insurance.
1. Will I be able to afford unexpected medical expenses out of pocket?
One of the biggest reasons why pet owners decide to purchase pet insurance is to avoid out-of-pocket expenses associated with unexpected and potentially high-cost vet bills. With pet insurance, policyholders can have peace of mind knowing that they will be financially protected in case of an emergency or unexpected illness. This can help alleviate the stress and financial burden of unexpected vet bills, allowing pet owners to focus on the well-being of their furry companions.
Whilst you might not bat an eyelid at routine healthcare costs such as check-ups and vaccinations, you will get quite a shock when your vet gives you a bill of R30 000 for emergency surgery to save your pet’s life.
In fact, your pet swallowing something she shouldn’t have can set you back R5 000 to R11 000 for surgical or endoscopic removal. Never mind the costs of common issues such as hip dysplasia, which can cost upwards of R30 000.
2. Is your pet’s health at risk?
Although this is not always an easy question to answer as even indoor pets still run the risk of developing serious diseases or hurting themselves, certain pets such as working dogs are particularly prone to injury.
In fact, Oneplan sponsors a K9 wildlife crime-fighting unit, Project Rhino’s K9 Unit. This team of dogs constantly put their lives on the line, meaning healthcare cover such as pet insurance goes a long way in ensuring their vet bills are covered and their health is in the best possible hands.
Another way to look at this is by chatting with your vet about the particular health risks associated with your pet’s breed. Some breeds are prone to certain conditions and diseases. The same thinking applies to older pets. In the same way that humans are more likely to develop chronic health issues, our pets can suffer from the same growing health concerns and costs.
The final bark
There are a number of factors that play a role in your decision to purchase a pet health insurance plan. In the end, it’s entirely up to you.
Factors to consider include the age and breed of your pet, their overall health and medical history, your budget, and the level of coverage you are looking for. It’s important to weigh these factors carefully and to research different pet insurance plans to find one that best meets the needs of your pet and your family. Ultimately, the decision to purchase a pet health insurance plan is a personal one, and it is up to you to determine whether or not it is the right choice for you and your pet.
A word of caution if you are avoiding pet insurance in an effort to save money – think about the financial implications surprise vet bills can have on your monthly budget. When comparing the cumulative costs of monthly premiums with the costs of a pet emergency, you will start to realise just how much financial sense pet insurance makes, never mind the peace of mind it will give you.
Until next time,
The petinsurance.co.za Team