#MoneyMonday – Is pet medical aid worth it?

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Pet insurance for your dogs & cats

Being a pet owner I’m often wondering whether pet insurance is really worth it. There’s certainly a great case to be made for it, but it’s also an extra expense and as with human medical aid, there are always exclusions, limits and special clauses.

I’ve written about it before in the post Finding the best pet medical aid in South Africa but to be honest I haven’t taken out any insurance for my cat yet. Am I being silly?

What are the pros and cons of pet medical aid?

Xena the princess warrior

So here’s Xena, the kitty of the family who doesn’t have medical aid. The rest of us do though so what makes us more special than her and what should I be consider whenever I reconsider my options?

Pros of pet medical aid

  • I’m covered for emergencies
  • I’m covered for most (if not all) routine visits to the vet
  • I can easily budget a fixed amount each month

Cons of pet medical aid

  • As with any insurance I’m paying for some event which may or may not happen
  • The exclusions and special clauses can be misunderstood and cost me more money
  • My monthly expenses will be higher

The actual calculations

I’ve had my cat for just over 2 years now so let’s do the calculations for 24 months.

Firstly, I have a set budget of R360 per month for Xena which covers food, cat litter, vet visits and flea control measures.

That’s R4,320 per year and my approximate annual costs are:

  • Food R1,200
  • Cat Litter R500 (litter box is outside so doesn’t need constant changing)
  • Vet R700
  • Flea control R700

Total: R3,100 which leaves about R1,200 left for other incidents.

I haven’t yet encountered any pet medical emergencies for my cat but I do have over R2,500 saved so long and I do have a sufficiently large emergency fund to cover things if something should happen.

After doing some research on costs though I’ve decided to increase my monthly pet budget to R450. This will boost my savings and help me cover most emergencies.

I would struggle if we encountered something that required multiple operations or a prolonged illness. That is currently a risk I’m willing to take but I do reevaluate such decisions every year or so and may change my mind.

So in closing

It’s all about the risk you’re willing to take and how much you have available should something suddenly happen.

Pet medical aid is probably a good thing and certainly something to be considered!

What do you think? Please leave a comment…

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