Pet insurance plans are finally available in the Philippines, and many pet parents are eager to get a plan for their furry companions. Since pet insurance is new in the country, everyone is asking how it works and if it is worth their money.
Being all too familiar with veterinary bill shock, I excitedly checked out the latest offerings in the market such as the pet care insurance offered by Malayan, Standard Insurance, and several others. Both essentially allow pet owners to reimburse their veterinary expenses at any veterinary clinic, subject to conditions and limits set by the insurer.
While I wholeheartedly support getting pet insurance for your dog or cat, I also advocate knowing what it is you’re getting. You would want to get a pet insurance plan that will help you prepare for future veterinary needs, and find the one that you feel is best for your needs.
Skimming through the ads of one pet insurer in the Philippines, I realized that the plan will only cover accident-related cases. Another gave the impression that every illness is covered, when apparently, this was not the case. One offered death benefits, but apparently, this would only apply to accident-related deaths.
From my experience with health insurance (for humans), I know that details, especially exclusions, are very important. These exclusions, which are often in the fine print of the insurance plan, determine which of your expenses will be accepted for reimbursement, and which ones will be rejected. For this reason, I am most curious to know the exclusions in the plans that are now in the market. That’s because I wouldn’t want to purchase an insurance plan, only to find out later on, at the point of need, that it is not as comprehensive as I thought it would be. (Let me liken this to getting your car submerged in a flood and thinking that your insurance would cover your repair expenses, only to be told that flood damage is not part of your plan.)
If you’re looking at buying pet insurance, here are some questions that you can ask your prospective insurer:
- Are routine vaccinations, deworming, and wellness check-ups reimbursable? I consider this an important question since this is something I spend on year after year.
- Are infectious diseases such as parvo, distemper, leptospirosis covered? I’ve seen too many vaccinated dogs still come down with these infectious diseases. Since vaccination is a requirement for the coverage, will it cover such breakthrough expenses?
- For chronic diseases such as kidney issues, stones, and heart problems, is there a limit to the number of laboratory requests and confinement days in a single period? If your dog has these issues, you will be going back for numerous visits, and you would definitely want to know if your insurance will cover these visits.
- Are congenital diseases covered, assuming that these not known to the owner at the time of the purchase of the plan? For instance, cataracts and liver shunts are congenital, but it is possible that they are not immediately discovered. How are these supposed to be treated then?
- Are treatments not related to accidents covered by the plan?
- Are whelping expenses, or those related to pregnancy, included?
- Is spaying and neutering covered?
- Are dental procedures included? Several dogs end up with inflamed gums and dental problems which necessitate surgery.
- Are skin diseases such as hot spots, allergies, dermatitis, and the like covered?
- Are wound treatments covered?
You can also ask your prospective insurer examples of what are covered by the plan you are looking at so that you can envisage the actual benefits of the plan.
Since pet insurance is still very new in the Philippines, I would expect that there would be a steep learning curve for pet owners, veterinary clinics, and the insurance firms. Just the same, I take heart in knowing that there are now real options for us pet owners who want to be proactive about our furry friends’ health. There’s nothing like being financially prepared during emergencies, especially if it concerns your pet’s health.