One of the worst situations to find yourself in is the moment you realise an expensive vet bill is not covered by your insurance policy. To save you from surprise costs, here’s what you need to know about the ins and outs of pet insurance policies.
Why you need pet insurance
Before we get into the nitty-gritty and legal lingo of pet insurance policies, let’s first dig into the facts on why pet insurance matters.
Our pets are basically furry members of our families. And when they are injured or sick, you want to ensure they receive the best medical care possible. When your pet needs to see a vet, you don’t want to have the added stress of how you will afford the vet bills, on top of dealing with the emotional stress of a sick pet.
The costs of veterinary treatment can and will quickly start to add up. From vet visits to the more expensive and unexpected vet bills associated with illnesses and accidents, these bills can leave a rather nasty dent in your bank account, or worse – lead to debt.
Pet insurance is a simple and affordable way to give you peace of mind and reduce some of the financial burdens of medical care and treatment.
Now that you have a good understanding of the importance of pet insurance, it’s time to chat about the details of coverage.
What does pet insurance cover?
When it comes to choosing a pet insurance policy, ensure you do your due diligence. It’s important that you spend a fair amount of time investigating the types of coverage out there and choosing an insurer who offers you a plan that is not only within your budget but best suited to your pet’s healthcare needs.
Different policies will vary in their cover benefits, limits, and exclusions. Some policies are more comprehensive than others and might include vet visits and other day-to-day costs. Others tend to focus on hospital cover.
Here’s what this means:
- Accident cover – Accidents refer to events that happen unexpectedly such as dog bites, car accidents, or broken bones.
- Illness cover – This cover refers to unexpected disease or sickness in a normally healthy pet, such as an upset stomach or an infection.
- Day-to-day costs – This cover includes day-to-day costs and is typically included in addition to illness and accident cover. Included in day-to-day costs are typically vet visits (dental procedures, X-rays, medication, blood tests, etc.) and preventive care (vaccinations, sterilisations, deworming, flea control, etc.) The details of these forms of cover will be outlined in your policy wording document.
Choose an insurer that gives you options
Our advice would be to choose an insurer that gives you a range of plans to choose from and tailor to your needs. Oneplan, for example, has 4 different plans for you to choose from. And for some of these, you can add an extra Routine Care benefit and other extras such as their Excess Buster, which waives excess fees for hospital bills.
What does pet insurance not cover?
This will depend on your chosen plan and insurer. We can’t stress this next point enough…
READ THE FINE PRINT.
And yes, the capital letters were necessary.
We’ve lost count of the number of times policyholders have chosen a pet insurance plan based on price alone and have not read the fine print of their policies. It’s all fine and well to know what you are covered for, but what about the exclusions? What about the expensive veterinary bills you assumed you were covered for when, in actual fact, that specific event is excluded from your cover.
It helps to choose an insurer that goes out of their way to make insurance simple and hassle-free. An example of one such insurer is Oneplan Pet Insurance. Equipping their policyholders with easy and instant access to their cover details through their smartphone app and incorporating policy wording documents that are written for those of us who don’t quite have the time or the understanding of legal language.
Now that you understand the importance of reading the terms and conditions of your cover, let’s chat about the typical exclusions. One of the most commonly excluded issues is those of pre-existing health concerns.
Many providers do not cover pre-existing conditions. These are health conditions that first occurred before the inception date of your pet insurance policy.
Oneplan Pet Insurance is one of the few insurers who cover pre-existing conditions along with specified and expensive-to-treat conditions (i.e. cancer) after a waiting period of 12 months.
Other factors & exclusions to take note of:
- Age limits – Most insurers have specified age limits in place, meaning your pet can not be older than a certain age to be insured.
- Hereditary health concerns – These are typically excluded, although Oneplan also covers these after 12 months.
Pay attention to the details
It’s important that you pay attention to the fine print of your policy and make sure you know exactly what is covered, and what is not. If you have any concerns, then you should flag these with your potential insurer. There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to insurance.
Pet insurance is a vital form of financial protection that will go a long way in ensuring your pet never has to go without medical care.
Until next time,
The petinsurance.co.za Team