Pet Insurance in Singapore: The Nitty-Gritty

The majority of pet owners today would agree that their furkids are more than just common household animals. As is between parents and children, a unique bond exists between humans and their dogs and cats.

There’s just so much that you have already devoted to your furry friend – time, effort, emotions, and perhaps most of all, money. It can cost anything from $1,000 to bring a cat or dog home after purchasing the basic necessities and sending it for sterilisation and micro-chipping, and monthly expenses would be at least in the hundreds to cover food, grooming, training, and more.

But there’s something that you might have not prepped yourself for, even if you thought you’ve already gotten the budgeting for pet ownership down pat: a animal’s (or person’s) health is never guaranteed. So what better way to protect your pet  – and your wallet – from the unexpected, than purchasing an insurance policy for coverage?

Here are some factors you absolutely must consider before shelling out for a peace of mind.

The Cost of Loss

Depending on your choice of animal clinic, a trip to the vet can cost anything from $25 for consultation, to even thousands for treatments or surgery. Your pet’s medical needs are also certainly going to increase as the years pass.

Furthermore, in the case of an accident or illness that may lead to the demise (touchwood!) of your pet, euthanasia and cremation arrangements are just some of the costs you will have to bear in addition to the distress and emotional pain of losing a loved one.

Pet Insurance Policies in Singapore

The concept of pet insurance has long existed since the 1950s, but is still a relatively new offering in Singapore. Currently, there are only three providers of stand-alone pet insurance policies in the local market:

– Paw Safe (AIA, since 2006. Covers dogs only): Benefits include the accidental death of your dog, veterinary fees to due accidents, cremation or burial expenses due to death by accident, loss of your dog due to theft, and third-party liabilities. Premiums start from about $80* a year and protects most breeds of dogs between 3 months – 8 years old.

– PetCare (Liberty Insurance, since Feburary 2014. Covers dogs & cats): The first in Singapore to cover medical fees for animals, PetCare’s scope of coverage includes third-party liability, loss from theft and accident that lead to injury or death, as well as surgical and non-surgical veterinary treatment expenses.

Premiums begin from around $300 to $700* a year, depending on the grade of the plan.

Happy Tails (MSIC Insurance, since October 2014. Covers dogs & cats): Happy Tails provides surgical, clinical and post-surgical treatment benefits – and even covers the cost of chemotherapy treatments! Also covers ‘Final Expenses’ – the costs and expenses following the death of a pet, as well as ‘Room and Board’ expenses incurred at veterinarian clinics or hospitals by procedures such as surgery. Premiums range from around $250 to over $1,800* a year for dogs, and an about $200 to $400* for cats, depending on the policy purchased and your pet. Benefits do not cover third-party liability or non-surgical treatments, but covers certain hereditary and congenital conditions for pets enrolled before the age of 6.

* All figures are estimates only and are not guaranteed as accurate.

Worth it, or a Waste?

While deciding if pet insurance is right for you, it is important to note that most policies, depending on the plan you select, may have limited payouts due to co-payment agreements, caps and deductibles. Pre-existing, congenital and hereditary conditions are usually not covered, and it is always best to insure your dog or cat while it is still young, before any age-related conditions arise.

There’s no doubt that pet insurance can come in handy in unforeseen circumstances, such as cancer or conditions that may require urgent pet care. Take your time to do your research, plan out a budget, ask around and read between the lines for any policy that you might be considering before you decide that it’s best for you and your pet.

If you find that you still have trouble deciding or might not fancy committing to paying premiums for pet insurance in the long term, perhaps you should think about putting money aside on a regular basis for a pet emergency fund.

After all, it never hurts to save for a rainy day.

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