September is Pet Insurance Awareness Month
Highlighting the importance of pet protection
New research from Fortune Business Insights reveals that the global pet insurance market is projected to reach $11.25 billion by 2026. With the market size standing at $6.05 billion in 2018, that’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8%. One of the most significant drivers in this exponential growth is a global uptake in pet adoptions. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats were parented in the US in 2018 – and that number is only rising, both in the US and globally.
While statistics closer to home aren’t as concrete, David Roache, Managing Director of dotsure.co.za, explains that this growing market trend is reflected in South Africa, with 64% of households having dogs with over 100 000 pets in the country currently insured with dotsure.co.za.
As lockdown restrictions continue to ease and pet adoptions are once again open, animal shelters like the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) are reporting an increase in enquiries and adoptions. They say this is likely because many people are still working from home and socialising less on the weekends. We know pets make fantastic companions and, in times of stress and uncertainty, are a calming constant in their pet parents’ lives.
The excitement of adopting a pet can often overshadow the costs that come with bringing a new pet into your home, which is one of the main reasons why September is dedicated to raising awareness about pet insurance and the value and peace of mind it brings pet parents.
Just like with medical aid, pet parents pay a monthly premium factoring in the age and health of their pet. Following a vet visit, pet parents will then submit an insurance claim and are reimbursed for a portion, or the full amount, of the visit (depending on their specific policy). While a standard check-up generally costs around R400, these costs can skyrocket into the thousands for injured pets or those who develop conditions such as feline leukaemia, parvo, uterine infection, or tick bite fever. Carren Nickloes from the AACL says they’ve seen first-hand the devastation of what not being able to afford vet care can result in, particularly during the pandemic, as many pet parents surrender their pets over to animal shelters.
While South African pet parents have become more attentive in opting for products and services that treat their pets as part of the family, education around pet insurance is still needed. “You wouldn’t think twice about paying for a comprehensive medical aid plan for you and your family, so why should providing for our furry family members be any different?” asks Roache.
“We know we’re just starting to see the local market begin to trust and understand this type of cover. Our campaigns have been designed around educating South Africans that pet insurance exists and works. Remember, until recently, this was a relatively unknown offering with very few affordable options available.
Most pet insurance plans cover accidents, illnesses, and wellness checks, and in dotsure.co.za’s case, third party liability and hereditary treatment too. Over the past three years, dotsure.co.za has paid out over 45 000 claims – equalling to millions of Rands worth of vet bills
When considering an insurance plan for your pet, Roache provides the following tips on what to consider:
Pet types that can be insured. Dogs and cats are the most commonly covered pets, and dotsure.co.za is the first and only insurance provider in South Africa to insure exotic pets.
Breeds with genetic markers for serious conditions may be charged a premium.
Cost of treatment for common ailments or conditions.
Excluded items such as pre-existing conditions, pregnancy, etc.
Waiting period before your pet is covered.
Premiums, co-payments, and ageing cost increases.
As pet parents, we don’t like to think of our pets getting sick or injured but, like everything in life, the future is impossible to predict. While ongoing advances in the veterinary profession mean there are more options than ever for a sick or injured pet, these treatments all come at a cost.
“We know pet parents have higher expectations for their pet’s health care and standard of living and the key is for your pet to receive treatment early and quickly enough, and for you to have the financial means to cover the cost of care. Pet insurance gives you peace of mind that if, and when, something happens to your fur baby, you don’t have to choose between your pet’s life and your finances,” concludes Roache.
Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.