In this age of stress and anxiety, owning a pet is a rather welcome relief. There is (almost) nothing to beat coming home after a long tiring day in the office to the excited welcoming of your beloved pet. Not so much beloved, however, is the already exorbitant and ever rising costs of adequate veterinary care.
Depending on your local veterinarian, a simple spay of a single cat can cost a lot, not to mention the cost of de-worming, treating illnesses, vaccinations, and all important emergency care. Such rising costs have given life to a slew of pet health insurance products available in many developed nations.
Many insurance companies have jumped onto the pet insurance bandwagon, such as Pet Plan, Pets Best and Healthy Paws. The policies also differ drastically from company to company and sometimes even for pets, with most being limited to supporting the health of dogs and cats.
However, to be frank, pet insurance policies are rather more straightforward than health plans for us humans: as a norm they only cover emergency treatment, illnesses and regular health maintenance. So, how do you know which plan is best for you?
The points mentioned below will aid you in choosing the right insurance policy for your darling pet.
- Beware of age restrictions. Most pet insurance providers will only provide cover up till a certain age, which translates into you not saving any money on end-of-life issues, including euthanasia.
- Limitations on coverage of veterinary fees. Benefits are paid according to the Federal Guideline for Fees, that may not meet your actual vet related expenditure.
- It’s better to have your pets micro-chipped or tattooed as this may help serve as your pet’s medical aid card. The advantage of this is that you may be allowed to use any licensed veterinarian across the country.
- Generally there are three levels of care that you can get cover for: for accidents, illnesses, routine care or a combination of these. If your pet happens to fall prey to any recurring conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, it’s better to go for a lifetime cover, as you will then be able to claim for the same condition in the future as well.
- Keep in mind that you need to pay the fees to the vet first and then submit invoices to claim the amount from your insurer, meaning you may not be fully refunded.
- Exclusions: A few plans do pay for certain illnesses and emergency care, as well as preventative care, but they do not cover pre-existing, behavioural or congenital conditions as are elective procedures.
- Always do your research, and know that any insurance is actually peace of mind for you.
How much will you need to pay? Premiums for canines are slightly higher than for felines. However, the per-pet premium comes down for every pet added on.
In the end, it all boils down to this: how important the well being of your darling pet is to you.
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