Before you sign on the dotted line of your new pet insurance policy, there are a few things you need to keep in mind
When it comes to health cover for your furry member of the family, you want to ensure you get value for what you are paying, and, more importantly, you want to make sure you know exactly what you are covered for and what you are not.
The worst situation any pet parent can find themselves in is when your claim is rejected, and you are left with a bill of R5 000 or more. And trust us, this happens as a result of you not understanding how to use your benefits correctly.
In this blog, we’ll cover what you need to know to make sure you get a pet plan that you and your precious pet are happy with. We’ll also cover some things you should be wary of when considering pet insurance.
The ultimate pet insurance checklist
1. Decide on what type of plan you want
There are certain factors you need to take into account before choosing a plan. Think about things like your budget, the age of your pet (older pets might need a higher level of cover as they are more prone to diseases), your pet’s medical history, and your vet. Keep in mind that a number of insurers also have an age limit to their policies.
It’s also a good idea to chat with your vet about what kind of pet healthcare cover he or she thinks would suit your pet. Are you looking for accident-only cover? Or maybe something with all the bells and whistles such like Oneplan’s Pet Super Plan?
2. Do some research on your company of choice
Do some research on the company you are wanting to cover the health of your pet:
- Experience and knowledge in pet healthcare: how long have they been around?
- Network of vets: can you go to any vet of your choice or is there is a specified network you have to choose from?
- Benefits: what is your pet covered for under each benefit, are there sub limits?
- Wellness coverage: cover for routine care and vet visits.
- Waiting periods: how long do you have to wait for a certain benefit to kick in?
- Exclusions: these are the things they don’t cover.
- Policy transparency: how easy is it to understand their policy and what your cover entails?
- What extras do you get as a client: Do they have loyalty programs or savings on your monthly pet shopping?
That’s why we love Oneplan, because they let you go to any vet of your choice and include a number of routine care benefits and cover for day-to-day costs in their plans. Plus, their clients can qualify for up to 25% discount in the Onepet Premium Pet Store.
3. How does claiming work?
Find out exactly how the insurer’s claims system works. How long do they take to reimburse you after you have claimed? What kind of documents do you need to submit when submitting a claim? How easy is it to submit and process a claim? The last things you want to be dealing with when your pet is sick are paperwork and a complicated claims system.
Oneplan has the solution for this with their unique Onecard, which is a works the same as a debit card and it allows them to front you with the cash you need before you see the vet. All you have to do is preload your claim using the Oneplan App and the funds will be transferred to your Onecard within seconds.
4. Check your policy limits.
Your policy is likely to have more than one limit. The way pet insurance usually works is that each benefit has its own limit – for example, vet visits will have their own limit. A limit is the maximum amount of money your insurer will pay in the event of a claim. If you exceed your limit, then the bill will come out of your own pocket.
There is also an overall annual limit for each pet insurance plan, which is the maximum amount your insurer will pay for ALL your claims during the year. This includes health cover (vet visits and routine care) and hospital risk cover (accidents and illnesses).
Things to AVOID when choosing pet insurance
1. Choosing the cheapest plan
Cheaper never means better when it comes to pet insurance. Every insurer has its own pricing, and no insurance plan is the same. Which is why, although you need to ensure you stick to your budget, you also need to avoid picking a pet plan purely based on price and price alone. Make sure you read the fine print of your policy and raise any red flags or concerns you have with your insurer. Cheaper plans tend to have lower limits, which means you get less coverage.
2. Choosing a plan that does not cover day-to-day costs
This situation only applies to specific cases. As previously mentioned, if your pet is older or prone to certain health concerns due to their breed or medical history, then it’s NOT a good idea to choose an accident-only plan because you will find yourself in a whole heap of vet bills once this plan’s limits are reached. Look for a more comprehensive plan that includes cover for vet visits, routine care, and chronic conditions. Basically, do not underinsure your pet’s health.
3. Not knowing what your excess is
An excess is the amount of money you have to pay in when you claim. Different insurers have different excess amounts for claims. Make sure you know exactly what your excess is. Oneplan has this awesome add-on product called an Excess Buster. How this works is, for an additional R30 (Hospital Plan), R35 (Classic Plan) or R40 (Pet Super Plan) a month, they will ensure that all hospital excess amounts are waived. This means you DO NOT have to pay excess for in-hospital fees.
We hope this gave you some food for thought, and we wish you luck in choosing a pet insurance plan that works for your pet and your wallet!
Read this next: The Best Pet Insurance in South Africa | Comparison
Until next time,
The petinsurance.co.za Team