Pet Medical Aid in South Africa: Is It Necessary, and Who Provides It?

If you love your pet as much as we think you do, you’re likely to worry when they aren’t feeling well. Added to that worry is the usually high cost of vet visits and medicine. So, pet medical aid often makes a lot of sense.

However, since this is still quite a new concept, especially in South Africa, some people are unaware of the benefits of having insurance or medical aid for their pets. Even more people are still a little confused about how pet medical aid in South Africa works.

So, to help you out, here’s a detailed explanation as well as a short pet insurance comparison of South African providers.

mans best friend - pet insurance for dogs

What is Medical Aid For Pets?

The difference between people and dog medical aid is extremely small. Just like your own medical aid plan, pet medical aid is there to help pay the bills if your pet falls ill.

Pet medical aid will cost an amount each month – this will depend on the animal you want to cover, its age, size, and other details – and then will payout in the event of illness or emergency. Some pet medical aids offer routine checkups and dental fees as well, while others only cover your pet if it needs to stay at the vet overnight.

Thankfully, there are many options to choose from when selecting medical aid for your dogs, cats, or exotic pets. So you can choose the option that best suits your budget as well as your needs.

pets on medical aid, healthy and happy

What Does Pet Medical Aid Cover?

Pet insurance and medical aid have many different levels and options available. Depending on your provider and your plan, your pet insurance could cover any or all of the following:

  • Vet bills
  • Accidents
  • Cancer
  • Sterilisation
  • Hospitalisation
  • Vaccinations
  • Prescription medicines
  • Personal Liability costs (should your dog bite someone or another dog, this will cover any doctor fees for that person/dog)

Bonus benefits that some companies may offer include:

  • Emergency boarding (if you fall ill, this will cover the cost of a kennel for your pet)
  • Cremations
  • Behavioural training

cat sleeping in a pot plant

What Does Pet Medical Aid NOT Cover?

Some pet insurance providers will not cover:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Cancer
  • Vaccinations
  • Sterilisations
  • Hereditary illnesses
  • Personal liability
  • Cremations

Be sure to check whether you are covered for these, especially hereditary illnesses, as this can become costly for some breeds.

cost of pet insurance for a puppy

How Much Does Medical Aid for Pets Cost?

The cost of pet medical aid will also largely depend on the pet you are covering and the provider you choose. Some options will include a multi-pet discount, so if you have more than one pet you can save some money that way.

Pet insurance can be bought for a very affordable price, but it’s important to note that the lower your premiums are, the lower your benefits are likely to be.

Cats are usually a bit cheaper than dogs, and exotic pets can be quite a lot more expensive.

If your pet has any pre-existing conditions, or any breed-specific risks, you’re likely to pay more for your premiums.

kitten playing with flower

Which Pets Will Medical Aid Cover?

Dogs and cats are the most common pets to go on medical aid, but exotic pets are also covered by selected insurance providers. Exotic pets include:

  • Birds
  • Bunnies
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Rats
  • Hamsters
  • Mice

exotic pets insurance parrot

How to Get Animal Medical Aid in South Africa

You can get your dog medical aid in a few short steps.

  • Choose your provider
  • Give them your pet’s details
  • Fill out any forms sent to you
  • Pay your first premium

Some insurance providers will request that your pet is microchipped, while others won’t require this.

When to Get Medical Insurance for Your Pet

Most companies will not insure a pet who is older than 8 years of age. So, it’s best to put your animal on medical aid as soon as you adopt them. Once your puppy or kitten is on pet medical aid, they will be covered for the rest of their lives (or for as long as the premiums are paid).

puppy and mother dog on medical aid

Pet Insurance Reviews South Africa

As pet medical aid becomes more popular, and more people learn how important it is, so more providers come on board. Each one offering its own version of pet medical aid. Here are a few of the top choices in South Africa.

Paw Paw Pet Insurance

Paw Paw offers an affordable medical cover for your pet. Their pet medical aid includes hereditary illness, chronic illness, and any accident or illness* costs throughout your pet’s life.

They do not cover pre-existing conditions, annual checkups, or sterilisations.

*Paw Paw have two options: Illness & Injury, or Accident Only. Illness-related costs are not covered by the Accident Only plan.

Dotsure Pet Insurance

We think Dotsure is pretty jacked when it comes to pet insurance. Not only were they the very first providers to cater to exotic pets, but they’re also a bunch of animal lovers. So much so, that they actively support groups working against animal cruelty.

Dotsure has created a product offering complete flexibility. Allowing pet owners to add and remove benefits according to their budget. From a simple plan, just for the basics, to the Superior Plan, with all the frills and whistles.

Oneplan Pet Insurance

Here you’ll find a range of products that offer complete control when choosing pet insurance. Choose between an accidental plan, hospital plan, basic plan, or superior plan.

One Plan allows you to select insurance according to your budget, so your pet can be covered, even if just for accidents or hospital stays.

Hollard Pet Medical Aid

From Hollard, you can get pet medical aid that suits you best. Enjoy discounts when you sign up more than one pet, and tailor your benefits as you need.

Hollard also offers many optional benefits, such as emergency boarding, puppy training, and cremations. See their comparison brochure for more info.

happy healthy dog in owners arms

Final Thoughts On The Best Pet Insurance – South Africa

Our furry friends are a part of our family, and their medical care is important. It can also be quite expensive, though, and no one wants to be stuck in a situation where vet bills pile up and finances are low.

This is why pet medical aid makes so much sense. Even if your cocker spaniel is the healthiest from the litter, chances are there’s going to come a time when he needs to see the vet.

Don’t let surprising accidents and illnesses shock you – or your bank manager – rather get your pets medical insurance and be safe, not sorry!

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