A Quick Review of What is Available in South Africa
Escalating vet costs for our mutts, pups, nobles and masters have many pet parents, guardians and slaves considering medical insurance for their fur kids. Fortunately, we now have choice available to us that offer a range of different insurance options, from basic policies to comprehensive coverage. This means that you can now choose one that suites your budget and lifestyle.
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance can take care of the unexpected expenses that come with the unpredictable lives of our fur kids. However, it is not the same as our huuman medical plans. Pet insurance typically only covers up to a set percentage of the cost of eligible vet bills when your fur kids fall ill or is injured.
It is important to understand that most policies do not cover behavioral problems, elective procedures, food and diet, grooming, pregnancy and pre-existing conditions, so it is important that you read the fine print offered.
What is Covered?
Most Pet Insurance offerings in South Africa cover the cost of veterinary treatments required to appropriately treat illness or injuries that your fur kid(s) may suffer. These treatments covered typically include, but are not limited to, consultations, investigations, surgery and medication. In most instances, rehabilitation treatments, chemotherapies and radiotherapies are only covered subject to a detailed treatment plan being submitted and pre-approved by the Insurance firm. Several insurance firms allow you to purchase chronic treatment plans at an additional premium as a complement to their insurance offerings. In most instances, chronic treatment plans are subject to a maximum annual limit as defined through the Insurance companies’ terms and conditions. Best ensure that you read these terms and conditions in full before committing.
What is Typically Not Covered?
Below is a summary of all the NOT COVERED conditions from the various Insurance offerings available to you. Be sure to read your policy offer before committing.
- In most cases, any costs other than the costs of veterinary treatments for the pet listed on the firms’ policy are not covered;
- In most cases, the costs for the treatment of any illness within the first 30 days of joining the Insurance firm are not covered;
- In most cases, any invoices submitted more than 60 days after the date of treatment are not covered;
- In most cases, the costs for any treatments for injuries and illness incurred outside of the Republic of South Africa are not covered;
- In most cases, any non-emergency treatment undertaken without the prior approval of your Insurance company are not covered;
- In most cases, any injury caused by abuse or negligence are not covered;
- In most cases, the treatment of pre-existing conditions, including any condition that manifests during any waiting period are not covered;
- In most cases, any treatment that continues for longer than three months unless approved by your Insurance form and subject to clinical protocols are not covered;
- In most cases, any complementary treatments, experimental treatments or any treatments not forming part of mainstream veterinary science such as acupuncture, homoeopathy or chiropractic are not covered;
- In most cases, the treatment of behavioral disorders are not covered;
- In most cases, any routine care such as vaccinations, dental scale and polish, anal gland expression, de-worming, grooming, tick and flea control or any food costs are not covered;
- In most cases, any elective or cosmetic treatments are not covered;
- In most cases, any treatments in connection with pregnancy, birthing and fertility and breeding such as sterilization, artificial insemination and injuries resulting from breeding are not covered;
- In most cases, house calls, after-hours consultation or hospitalization unless a vet confirms it as necessary in terms of the pet’s health are not covered;
- In most cases, any surgical items that can be used more than once are not covered;
- In most cases, the costs of any prosthesis, implants or transplantation unless explicitly approved by your Insurance firm are not covered;
- In most cases, any costs after death, including post mortem examinations and cremation or burial are not covered;
- In most cases, any treatment by person(s) not registered with the South African Veterinary Council are not covered;
- In most cases, euthanasia unless recommended by a veterinarian and approved by your Insurance firm are not covered.
There are exceptions, and some firms allow:
- The costs of treatments for trauma resulting from accidental injury during the first 30 days of joining the Insurance firm can be covered;
Is there a Catch?
Having reviewed all the current insurance policy terms and conditions, you should be aware that for your fur kid(s) to qualify, the following conditions apply:
- Your fur kid(s) must be in sound health and free from injury, disability, disease, congenital or hereditary conditions. In most cases, if this is not the case, these conditions will be considered pre-existing and automatically excluded from cover offer;
- In most instances, over the age of 8 weeks;
- In most instances, vaccinated by a veterinarian within the last 12 months with booster vaccinations kept up to date;
- For mutts, pups and nobles, these vaccinations (canine vaccination) include: Parvovirus, Distemper, Adenovirus, Canine Coronavirus, Infectious Hepatitis & Rabies, Bordetella;- 2 weeks prior to your dog being boarded. Some firms also insist that Leptospirosis must be included on their next annual vaccination if not already vaccinated for.
- For kittens, masters and muggles, vaccinations (feline vaccination) include: Feline panleukopenia, Calicivirus, Chlamydia (Chlamydial conjunctivitis), Feline respiratory complex & Rabies. Some firms also insist that Feline Leukemia Virus must be included on their next annual vaccination if not already vaccinated for.
- In most instances, your fur kid(s) must be living with you, the sole provider / parent / guardian, at the risk address specified for the purpose of applying for cover.
Is it worth it?
Whether your fur kid(s) has an accident, is injured in a park incident or while jogging, or simply contracts an illness that requires multiple visits to your vet, pet insurance can ease the burden of those expenses in our current economic situation.
There are a large number of treatments that fall under standard pet insurance offerings, so it is can be an important part of being a pet parent – not just for your fur kid’s continued wellbeing, but also for your peace of mind as well.
Be mindful that depending on the number of kids to be covered, and the range of cover required, monthly costs can vary from R 77 per month for a single pet on accidental cover only, up towards R 7260 per month for a single pet on comprehensive medical expense plan.