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Why you need to get your pet insured

With insurance, you also get an assessment of your pet’s health. And it reduces the financial burden in emergencies

There is a need for customised pet insurance policies.(iStockphoto)

By Dr Nameeta Nadkarni

LAST PUBLISHED 24.08.2023  |  01:56 PM IST

Accidents and illnesses can strike without warning and can necessitate expensive veterinarian treatment, including surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, hospitalisation and care, an emergency could cost a pet parent anywhere from Rs. 5,000 to over a lakh.

Pet insurance is a logical continuation of the rising need for comprehensive pet care that India’s expanding pet culture has sparked. It makes it possible to prioritise a pet’s health and reduce the financial burden associated with unanticipated accidents or diseases.

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Various companies like New India Assurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, United India Insurance, Oriental Insurance and Digit Insurance offer pet insurance. The options range from lifetime coverage, time-limited coverage, or money-limited coverage.

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The best option is a lifetime policy because it provides the longest-lasting protection against disease or injury. Money-limited insurance provides financial support to pet parents until the allotted amount of money is exhausted, whereas time-limited insurance can help you get through an illness in a fixed period of time.

In addition to serving as a solid support system during tough times, many insurers also provide coverage for stolen or missing pets. Considering pet insurance also has extra advantages. Your pet’s health can be assessed accurately with a thorough medical examination before purchasing insurance.

Some of the companies will also notify you when it’s time for yearly veterinary checkups and immunisations and will pay for out-patient costs. You can get insurance for a pet from the age of two months up to ten years old.

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The idea of pet insurance is intriguing, but it can be challenging to sort through all the options. Significant variables include things like coverage scope, exclusions, premium costs, claim procedures, and more. Every policy could have certain special benefits as well as some restrictions. The decision-making process can be made more difficult by pre-existing condition exclusions and waiting periods.

It is crucial to fully understand the scope of coverage. The majority of insurance companies pay for a variety of surgeries, however, they do not typically pay for elective or cosmetic procedures. Pet owners are frequently uninformed of what this entails and are disappointed to learn that a spay and neuter fee cannot be reimbursed. It is vital that you are aware of the policy’s exclusions and restrictions.

The majority of policies also contain waiting periods and may not cover pre-existing conditions. It makes sense to compare premium prices. While more extensive coverage may be available at higher premiums, it’s necessary to strike a balance that fits within your budgetary constraints.

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The claims procedure’s convenience can also have a big impact on the overall experience. Choosing an insurer with a simple and effective claims process might help you avoid needless stress. Some companies collaborate with particular veterinary hospitals.

The discrepancy in coverage options in India’s pet insurance sector is one of the major problems. Most products are primarily created with dogs in mind. Although some insurers now cover cats, owners of other animals, including birds, rabbits, and small mammals, still have limited choices. This disparity compromises the idea of inclusive pet care. Additionally, the sector underserves the need for customisation. Pets’ needs vary depending on their age, breed, and medical history, just like people’s needs do. The market’s future lies in developing customised pet insurance policies, ultimately delivering more precise and thorough coverage.

Although knowledge of pet insurance is rising, many pet parents in India are still unaware of its benefits. Pet insurance has the ability to offer our furry friends comprehensive treatment. It is an investment in the health and happiness of your pets for years to come.

Nameeta Nadkarni is a practising veterinary soft tissue surgeon and pet blogger from Mumbai. The Wizard of Paws is her fortnightly petcare column.