By Vanessa Papas: For many South Africans, the biggest cost of having a pet is not food or toys, but medical costs. Are you wondering if pet insurance is really worth it? Or, perhaps, you would just like to find out what the fuss about medical cover for your furball is all about. We chat to David Roache from dotsure.co.za – the first and only insurance provider in South Africa to insure cats, dogs and a range of exotic pets – on everything to do with pet insurance.
What is pet insurance? Pet insurance helps cover the cost of veterinary care when your pet becomes ill or injured. It is designed to make it affordable for any pet owner to provide their precious pet with the best possible health care. It’s no surprise to many pet owners that the rising costs of veterinary care can hit a family hard and, unfortunately, many families are faced with the daunting decision to euthanise their beloved pet because they cannot afford the treatment needed to save them. Pet insurance can save the life of your pet, without putting a hurting on your wallet.
What does pet insurance cover? While medical expenses for pets can run into the thousands, pet insurance can cost very little per month. There are several different pet insurance plans to choose from. Some just cover accidents, some cover illness, and some cover both plus routine care. Not all pet insurance providers offer the same cover options either. South Africa’s leading pet insurance provider, dotsure.co.za pet insurance, offers the following:
Accidental only cover: From just R73pm, you can have peace of mind that when accidents happen, you can get the best veterinary care for your four-legged bestie. In all medically required procedures, you are covered for consultation fees, prescribed medicine, X-rays, surgery, hospitalisation, blood tests, etc. and reimbursed up to and according to the limits provided for in your selected plan. Only a handful of insurers offer accidental cover for senior pets (dogs and cats older than eight years), so be careful to read the small print.
Accidental and Illness cover: Your pet might have a severe accident or illness, which can mean thousands of Rands out of your pocket to help them recover. Illnesses like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and kennel cough are becoming more prevalent in South Africa and medication costs are ever increasing. Parasites such as mosquitos, fleas and ticks can cause illnesses like heartworm, mange and undernutrition. Unfortunately, if left untreated these illnesses can cause permanent harm to your pets or possibly lead to death in younger pets. Veterinarian costs have skyrocketed (just like everything else), but from as little as R168pm, you can help protect your pet, and your wallet against these risks.
Wellness cover: Some pets require more maintenance than others. If your pampered pooch needs a little more attention, look for a pet insurance company that offer a superior range of wellness benefits, such as cover for microchipping, vaccinations, faecal tests, heartworm tests, flea control, nail trimming, elective sterilization or neutering, and more.
Third-party liability cover: Choose a provider that offers third-party liability cover to protect them against the risk and financial burden of their pet damaging someone else’s property, or even causing bodily harm to them or their pet, within the borders of South Africa.
Do I really need pet medical cover for my dog? We can try to keep our dogs safe from accidents and illnesses, but we’re only human and they’re only curious. While we wish we could put our fur kids in bubbles to protect them from the jaws of the jealous Jack Russel next door or to prevent a nasty bladder infection from arriving uninvited, we can’t foresee and control everything that happens to or around them. Pet insurance gives you peace of mind that if and when something happens to your pooch, you don’t have to choose between your pet’s life and your finances. Pet insurance isn’t just a “nice to have” but a necessity in today’s tough times. A vet bill can set you back upwards of R10 000 if emergency care is needed. Pet insurance protects you against these expensive vet bills.
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What should I keep in mind when choosing a pet policy? When it comes to pet cover for your beloved pet, choose a plan that fits in with your unique lifestyle at a price you can afford. Only a hand full of insurers tailor the cover to suit you and your pet so ensure you ask all questions upfront so there are no surprises later.