Pet Insurance vs Human Health Insurance: The key differences you need to know
The truth is that human and pet insurance definitely have similarities, but their differences are pretty significant. So let’s find out what they are!
If you have been following our blogs for a while now (fingers crossed), you would have noticed that we often compare pet insurance to human insurance. That is solely based on the fact that the two are pretty similar and also because if you already have health insurance, you will easily be able to navigate pet insurance. That being said, just because we compare the two doesn’t mean that they are the exact same thing at all.
Why you need to know the differences
Let’s just address the elephant in the room before we continue here: the most obvious difference between the two is that one is health insurance for a human being, and the other is for a pet. Now we know that you know this, but the issue is that for most people, this is where their knowledge of the two health insurance types starts and ends.
If you’re in the market for pet insurance, you need to shop confidently. Shopping with the assumption that human and pet insurance are the same is a costly mistake. It threatens your pet’s access to vital healthcare and wreaks havoc on your finances. Understanding the differences between the two will ensure your wallet and pet can win.
One of the most significant differences between human and pet insurance is that your pet is considered your legal property. That’s right, as much as you may consider them a valued member of your family, in the eyes of insurers, they are your property, and you own them.
This means that pet insurance is much more like home or car insurance as they all look to cover you from unexpected incidents. And so, when you think of the mechanisms involved in pet insurance, refer to your home or car policy, and you will see several key similarities.
As you might know, human health insurance often gives you a list of in-network providers. This means that you are given the names of certain medical professionals that you can see who are pre-approved by your insurer (something to note, health insurance with Oneplan lets you go to any provider, PLUS they give you access to upfront cash before your GP visit). Should you seek medical attention from anyone outside of this in-network list, then you are liable to cover those costs yourself.
That isn’t the case with pet insurance.
With pet insurance, you do not have to worry about “networks”. You can literally go to any licensed vet of your choosing. This means that you can claim and be reimbursed at any vet within the country! This gives you the freedom to go to someone that you trust, that is cost-effective and near your home.
You will notice that human insurance is significantly more expensive than that of pet insurance. Which, if you really think about it, makes more sense. Humans need to cover a lot more than our pets do. That being said, insurers have all followed this non-verbal agreement to keep pet premiums low. It is still a much-debated insurance type, which is why ensuring its affordability has been a must!
Regarding wellness cover, you will notice that very few (if any) human insurers include this add-on. And even those who do will tell you that this necessary benefits package definitely looks different when pets are involved. Wellness care is a great form of preventive care as it helps cover any potential illnesses before they become severe.
Unlike human insurance, wellness care for pets includes measures like flea/tick control, deworming, dental cleanings, and vaccinations. Remember that those types of coverage often come at an additional cost, but trust us when we say it is worth every cent.
It seems that most health insurance companies are scrambling to keep up with Oneplan’s offering of their Onecard, which allows for upfront payments for humans. But for the most part, you will note that human insurance works on a reimbursement structure. This means that you are expected to pay out-of-pocket, make a claim and then be reimbursed.
Pet insurance, however, works differently – again, under the mega influence of Oneplan. Because of their exclusive Onecard, you can request funds upfront before going to the vet. They will load the money onto your Onecard, and you can use it when you get to the vet. This means you have no pressure to find the money beforehand.
The bottom line
The reality is that, while there are key differences between pet and health insurance, one thing binds them: the need to protect your loved ones. In the same way that you actively protect your human family, you can share that protection and love with your pet.
Until next time,
The petinsurance.co.za Team