Get Insurance Cover for Your Pet’s Sake, and Your Own

Inflation has hit a ten-month high showing that goods and services are getting more expensive. Conventional logic tells us that when times are tough, having insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses can be a life-saver. The same reasoning applies to why pet-owners should consider taking out insurance for their pets.

 

This is according to Vera Nagtegaal, Executive Head of Hippo.co.za, who says that pet insurance ranges from emergency cover to pay-outs for a wide range of treatments, including preventative medication and sterilisation.

 

“Some pet insurers even throw in bonuses to sweeten the deal such as paying your annual kennel costs,” she explains.

 

Nagtegaal says that speaking to veterinarians about the average cost of common procedures will tell you that caring for a pet can be very expensive.

 

“It’s terrible to see an animal that’s sick or in pain, and a distraught owner without the funds to afford the necessary tests and treatment,” says Dr Deidre Kempis, a Johannesburg vet. 

 

To get an idea of the cost of owning a pet, she highlights some of the common procedures or treatments that she deals with at her office. In the first year, there are three rounds of vaccinations, deworming and sterilisation. Sterilisation can cost between R2 000 and R2 500, while each round of vaccinations is roughly R500. Tick and flea control could set you back another R500 for a three-month course, depending on the size of the dog (cats are smaller and therefore less expensive).

 

She says fixing a broken leg can cost between R5 000 and R15 000, depending on the severity of the injury, while torn cruciate ligaments – a common ailment in dogs – could rack up a bill of between R8 000 and R10 000. If a puppy swallows something that becomes an obstruction in its throat, the cost can be between R5 000 and R10 000 – and Dr Kempis says this happens relatively often. Some pets also need their teeth to be regularly cleaned and that can come in at between R2 000 and R5 000 twice a year, depending on the size of the dog.

 

Cataract surgery is around R20 000, while a heart specialist for an ECG and x-rays might be in the region of R6 000 per appointment.

 

As the pet grows older, its owner can prepare to spend between R5 000 and R10 000 or more each year on treatments and vet visits.

 

“Just like any other type of insurance, you only realise how much you need pet insurance when there is an emergency. But, in the case of pet insurance, it makes it possible for you to care for your pet, who is utterly dependent on you, when they need it the most,” says Nagtegaal.

 

“Money doesn’t have to be a question in the care you can afford to give,” adds Nagtegaal. 

 

According to Nicole Buchler, General Manager at Oneplan Insurance, the following examples give you an idea of the different types of pet insurance cover:

 

Option 1:

Up to R28 000 Hospital Cover for Accidental Injury

Up to R28 000 Hospital Cover for Illness*

Kennel Cover up to R1 240 per annum

 

Option 2:

Comprehensive Pet Cover – Vet Visits, Routine Care and Hospital Cover

Pay your Claim BEFORE you see the Vet

Voluntary Sterilization / Neutering, Vaccinations, Medication, Radiology, Blood Tests, X-Rays and more

 

Option 3:

Pays your claim before you see the vet 

Comprehensive Pet Cover – Vet Visits, Routine Care and Hospital Cover

Voluntary Sterilization / Neutering, Vaccinations, Medication, Radiology, Blood Tests, X-Rays and more

 

“We have paid out over R1, 3 million in pet claims to date for the 2018 claim cycle. Looking at the costs that pet owners have to fork out in the event of an incident, it really does pay to have pet insurance,” says Buchler.


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