Pet health insurance? Sensible or not?
In Germany, the number of pets covered by health insurance is increasing from year to year, and there's a reason for that. There is no mandatory insurance for pets, treatment options are getting better but also more costly. That's why more and more insurance companies are offering pet health insurance, which can protect you from unforeseen expenses. Treating a torn cruciate ligament costs an average of 2 for a dog.000€ and for a cat 1.500€. On average, veterinary costs for a dog's life amount to about 8.000€. A cat can devour also well and gladly similar veterinary costs in its life by the higher life expectancy. These are quite a lot and they often lead to pet owners taking out a loan for the treatment costs or even having to decide to euthanize the animal due to the high costs for a vital treatment. So it makes sense to take a closer look at this topic.
What is a pet health insurance?
We humans have mandatory health insurance in Germany – in doing so, we have the choice of choosing private health insurance or taking out statutory health insurance. There is no compulsory health insurance for pets, nor is there a legal standard for the minimum benefits that an insurance policy must include. So the question if you want to insure your pet or not and to what extent is up to you. Accordingly, there are many different offers for animal health insurance en, but in essence two elementary differences: Do I choose what's called "full coverage" or "surgery coverage"?? The name already suggests where the difference is hidden, but let's look closer.
What is the difference between a comprehensive insurance and a surgery policy??
Let's start with the OP protection:
The scope of coverage – that is, the scope of services covered by the policy and the coverage of costs – is limited to surgical procedures and related treatment expenses. This includes, for example, anesthesia and necessary accommodation costs that may be required as a result of a surgical procedure. Depending on the provider, the aftercare of this particular surgery is covered indefinitely. Without prejudice, it is worthwhile to take a closer look at the following points when choosing an insurer.
The alternative to the OP protection insurance is the full insurance:
In addition to the benefits mentioned in the OP cover, the full cover includes further inpatient and outpatient treatments. In some cases, preventive examinations and vaccinations are also included in the policy. This sounds like an all-round carefree package, but you should take a closer look at the so-called "benefit restrictions", annual limits and the GOT rates. Because everything that is excluded here, you have to pay yourself in the end.
A good consultation is therefore absolutely worthwhile and we will now go into the most important points in more detail.
What does GOT mean?
Veterinary surgeons account for their treatment according to the veterinary basic regulation (GOT). The GOT gives a fee range from single to triple rate (stepless), no fixed prices. The fee amount can vary depending on the situation of the case and is also z. B. in specialized clinics in the city usually higher than in simple practices in the countryside. Both medical reasons, time required or special circumstances (z. B. emergency services) justify a higher (up to triple) rate. The GOT describes the following circumstances that justify an assessment of the rate:
- the difficulty of the services,
- the amount of time,
- the time of rendering the services according to the sentence 4 (nights and holidays),
- the values of the animal and
- The local conditions
We give you the opportunity to get free and non-binding advice from insurance experts.
So what to look for in pet insurance??
Many insurers limit their obligation to pay benefits. So you cap the amount that is available annually for the treatment of certain procedures. Especially with surgical interventions you have to expect that the treatment costs will cost several hundred or even thousand Euros. So take a close look – especially if the basic premium seems very favorable at first glance. Depending on whether you decide for a surgery protection or a full insurance, the coverage limits are also divided among the different services.
Most insurers require you to wait a certain period of time during which no benefits will be covered. From the point of view of the insurer, this approach is certainly understandable in terms of risk assessment, but you still have to pay attention to it and be aware of it. Some insurers exclude unforeseen events such as accidents from this "waiting period", which we consider to be fair.
Some providers only accept animals up to a certain age in the insurance. Dogs older than 8 years will have a harder time to find an insurance company. In addition, the contribution is also measured, among other things, the age of entry of your favorite. So in any case it is not worth to ask too long if you want to insure your pet or not. Statistically, most costs occur in the second half of life.
Often you will be required to contribute to the covered costs even though you are insured. In many cases, this means that you have to pay 20% of the treatment costs out of your own pocket. Here, too, there are exceptions and you are exempt from a deductible up to the "coverage limit.
We have already covered the topic of GOT, but here you need to pay attention to the rate up to which your insurance also covers the total cost. As already mentioned regarding the deductible, the coverage limits and the included benefits: Everything that is not covered by the contract, you have to pay yourself.
It sounds almost self-evident, but it's not: "I go to my vet!"
Some insurances require you to visit certain doctors. This may be due to master agreements and thus bring you lower costs for the policy, but is still a major limitation. So pay attention to this kind of restriction when choosing an insurance company.
Also a popular difference is the insurance coverage abroad. Most pet health insurance policies also cover costs for treatment abroad. However, you should ask yourself what you think is necessary, and whether it is covered in your insurance policy. In most cases, it should be good enough for your vacation and excursion plans.
In our opinion, a health insurance for your darling is worthwhile in any case. Even if it sounds unimaginable, several animals are euthanized every year, even in Germany, because the money for the necessary treatment cannot be raised. But ask yourself the question, with what kind of insurance you feel more comfortable and take a close look at the mentioned points. Rarely you save with the lowest contribution in the end also the most money.