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Pets are an extension of one’s family and need health insurance just as a family member would. Pets may suffer accidents like any of us, in-breeding, especially in dogs, may cause various diseases; Cancers and organ failures are common too. This makes pet insurance cover a reasonable investment. Two policies are currently available to cover pet health, especially dogs. Feline owners, for now, are to wait.
Unlike livestock insurance offered by general insurance companies to make up for loss of livelihood for the owner of the livestock, pet insurance for dogs is structured around protecting their health. The cover is similar to the way human health insurance is packaged — terminal illness, surgery, treatment and pre-post hospitalization expenses. But it is different in one measure — these health insurance policies also act as life insurance policies providing a sum assured in case of death of your dog. However, the financial support to provide the right treatment should be the primary driver in purchasing this policy, while life cover provided should be viewed as an additional comfort factor.
Future Generali has recently launched FG Dog health cover, adding to the existing option from Bajaj Allianz’s Pet Dog Insurance. General insurers such as New India Insurance also offer products covering pet dogs, but are structured in the form of cattle insurance (coverage on death) and may be applicable for commercial operations rather than pet health covers.
The premiums would be dependent on age, breed and gender of the dog. Based on the weight of the pets, they are classified into regular (small, medium and large with weights of up to 40 kg) and giants (above 40 kg), which, in turn, influences the premiums paid and period of protection offered. In Future Generali, for instance, the giant breeds can enter insurance from six months to four years of age and must exit at six years, while the regular breeds can enter between six months to seven years of age and exit at 10 years. This implies that the protection offered does not cover older years of the pet, which should be noted as a negative before purchase. Future Generali’s policy starts from a premium of ₹323 per month, and will increase based on the age, breed and gender of the dog.
Policy coverage can begin with proper identification of the dog with pictures and authentic time-stamping (Bajaj Allianz asks for a current dated newspaper). Pure pedigree dogs with higher sum insured will need pedigree certificates. The same distinction is applicable to pre-medical tests as well. Following a vaccination schedule is essential for insurance covers and having an RFID chip for easy tracking and identification will lower the premium as well.
Bajaj Allianz pet dog insurance offers only surgery and hospitalization expenses as mandatory cover, while terminal illness (TI), death benefit, OPD (outpatient consulting) and third-party liability (TPL) are optional add-ons to be purchased. On being diagnosed with a terminal illness from amongst a list of diseases including cancer, kidney failure, hepatitis, among others, Bajaj Allianz offers a lumpsum payout of up to ₹50,000. TPL refers to damage caused to others’ assets by the pet dog, including liability expenses up to the sum assured. The death benefit add-on allows for claims on death of the pet as a form of life cover.
Future Generali, on the other hand, offers TI, death benefit, surgical expenses and related test expenses in the basic policy, while the add-ons include TPL, emergency pet minding (alternative care in case of emergencies), and OPD. Future Generali provides cover for treatment of pre-approved diseases up to the sum insured. Future Generali also provides for pre and post-hospitalization expenses for a period of 15 days on each leg which primarily relates to medical tests. Future Generali provides for burial expenses as well, as part of the death benefit, over and above the sum assured limit.
Outpatient consultation reimbursements are becoming popular in human health insurance as well and are covered under an optional add-on for both policies. On the pet dog being stolen, both the policies cover expenses for advertising locally to recover the dog.
The main restriction is the waiting period which is 12 months with Future Generali or based on a medical test for Bajaj Allianz. Other exclusions for policies, which might be of note include, overseas treatment, skin-related or cosmetic procedures, or treatments related to pregnancy or giving birth. Essentially, any surgery not initiated by accident or illness is excluded.
Protecting pet dogs
Cover similar to health health insurance
Premiums depend on dog’s age, breed and gender
The main restriction is waiting period
March 18, 2022