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Protect your wallet and your pet from the consequences of hereditary and breed-specific conditions

They say that hindsight is 20/20 vision.  New years’ day 2022 proved to be the poster child of that 20/20 vision for the Kok family and exemplified why pet insurance is a crucial cover for every animal lover and pet owner.

“Dashy Darling is our beloved chocolate dachshund and as much a part of our family as our human children are. Dash suffered a severe slipped disc, known as Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) on new years’ day.  I was aware of this breed-specific condition and the measures to prevent injury which we followed as far as humanly possible. The reality is that it’s one of those conditions with a high likelihood of occurring in your short-legged, long-back pooch at some stage of their lives.  What I was not prepared for was the astronomical vets bill to treat it,” explains Teresa Kok* doting human mom to Dashy Darling.

“On the morning of 1 January 2022, I heard Dash yelp and found her on the floor next to her bed. She was in distress and her back legs were completely lame. After a flurry of phone calls, we located an emergency vet that was open on a public holiday and had a specialist on standby who would be able to assess Dash immediately. Time was of the essence in getting the right treatment to avoid permanent loss of the use of her back legs. Dash was sent for an MRI and the prognosis was clear – she needed urgent spinal surgery to remove the herniated disc and remove the pressure on the spinal cord which was causing the lameness. Post-op, Dash would need 8 weeks of cage rest to keep her still and weekly physiotherapy sessions. There was no question that we were going to give Dash the best possible chance of full recovery. What I was not expecting was the R40k price tag!” she adds.

After paying a R20k deposit upfront, the final vet’s bill came in just shy of R39k which covered Dash’s surgery, MRI scan and a week’s stay in the hospital. Credit cards were maxed and savings were withdrawn.

“Was it worth it?  Without a doubt – Dash has fully recovered from her ordeal and retains her role as Queen of our household and hearts. Do I wish that I had pet insurance in place to foot the hefty bills?  Absolutely!  I am acutely aware that had we not had this money available in our savings, Dash would probably not be with us, and that many pet owners without pet insurance face this horrifying reality,” she adds.

Get Pet Insurance in place before things go wrong!

Carl Moodley, Chief Underwriting & Claims Officer of GENRIC Insurance Company Limited which offers the GENRIC Pet Insurance product, says that a case like an IVDD surgery demonstrates just how onerous these costs can be.

Recent claims paid by GENRIC to further illustrate the need for Pet Insurance  include a Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO) which is a procedure to treat a cruciate ligament rupture in the knee joints of dogs at a whopping cost of R43 400, a R15 600 claim to treat liver disease, and a claim of R16 725 to treat a severe ear infection which eventually required surgery.¹

“Pet insurance is an invaluable financial tool for pet owners to guard against unexpected veterinary costs, and to ensure that you will never have to decide between your finances and your pet’s health and wellbeing. This is especially important given the tough economic environment where most household budgets are already under massive pressure. Depending on the benefit option, pet insurance provides cover for costs associated with your pet’s routine checks, as well as the big, ugly bills that come with a serious and unexpected condition or illness,” explains Carl.

Based on the case study above, GENRIC Pet’sComprehensive Medical Expenses Only’ plan would have settled Dash’s vet bill of R38968 with a payment of R35071 after the deduction of the 10% excess on the claimed amount.  If you consider that this claim settled at R35k, this would be  equivalent to almost 10 years of premiums at R299pm for the ‘Comprehensive Medical Expenses Only’ plan, the case for pet insurance is very clear.  “For the peace of mind of a small monthly premium versus a huge and unexpected capital outlay, having pet insurance is a savvy way to ensure that you never have to make an unthinkable decision because you simply cannot afford the cost of your pet’s care and treatment,” adds Carl.

Just like in your life, a pet’s health crisis or injury and subsequent treatment costs can come at very unexpected times and hefty price tags. Having pet insurance is a lot like health insurance for people, protecting your finances from the unknowns and ensuring access to quality care and treatment. However, not all pet insurance benefits are the same, and there are many important terms and conditions that you need to consider- and understand before you take up the cover.

GENRIC provides some important factors to consider when evaluating your pet insurance options:

  • Check for payment caps and limits – Check if the policy places a cap on what they will pay for in respect of specific treatments and what the total cap is that they’ll pay in a year, per pet.
  • Can you choose your vet – Check if the policy allows you to choose to take your pet to any registered veterinarian – that way you can take your pet to your usual trusted vet, or if necessary, any specialist or emergency after hours practice if needed.
  • Check if you get discounted premium rates for multiple pets which really helps with those many vet visits, vaccinations and any unexpected treatment costs.
  • Check for age limits on the policies – With GENRIC Pet Insurance, there’s no age limit to the cover provided as long as cover is incepted before the maximum entry pet age of 9 years. Your pet gets to enjoy the best treatment and care, even in their golden years.
  • Check if the policy contains a specific exclusion for pre-existing conditions – a pre-existing condition means that it was a condition apparent in your pet before you took out the policy. In most instances policies will exclude pre-existing conditions from cover which is why it is so important to have cover in place while your pet is healthy.
  • Hereditary, breed, size or condition restrictions – check if the policy excludes hereditary conditions, breed, size or condition restrictions. For example, a policy may exclude cover for a back condition typical of Great Danes – which really defeats the point of having the cover. GENRIC Pet Insurance does not apply exclusions to any hereditary or breed-specific conditions, as long as these conditions do not exist at the time of the inception of the policy.
  • Understand exactly what you are covered for – for example, an accident-only plan will cover treatment of injuries after a mishap, such as a car accident or poisoning, but won’t provide any cover if your best pal takes ill or suffers an injury unrelated to an accident.

“Ideally you want a comprehensive and affordable pet insurance product that is simple to understand with minimum fine print and exclusions. Be especially wary of options that might seem to save you R100 in premiums in the short term but sacrifices 70% of the benefits and cover,” concludes Carl.

T’s and C’s apply. For more information visit https://genricpet.co.za/

References:

[1] These are some of the actual claims paid by GENRIC Insurance Company during Jun-Aug 2021.The GENRIC Pet Insurance product is underwritten and administered by GENRIC Insurance Company Limited (43638).  GENRIC Insurance Company Limited is an authorised Financial Services Provider and licensed non-life insurer.

* The testimonial provided by Teresa Kok does not constitute financial advice and no remuneration was paid for the testimonial. Teresa Kok works as an independent communications consultant to GENRIC Insurance Company.

 

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