Insurance is something we buy to protect the things we love. This is why there are insurance policies for cars, houses, and health. But what about our pets? We love them, too. Don't they deserve to be protected the same way?
Pet insurance is a real thing you can get in many countries but unfortunately it didn't quite take flight in Malaysia. But what is it exactly? We drew on international examples to find out.
It Works a Bit Like Health Insurance, But For Your Pet
Your pet can be insured against things like injuries, illnesses, and other medical costs just like a human health insurance policy. But in some other ways, it works a bit like property insurance in that the owner of the pet is reimbursed after the pet has received care and the owner has submitted a claim to the insurance company.
Previously, most pet insurance plans did not pay for preventative care such as vaccinations or elective procedures such as neutering. Recently, however, some companies in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States offer routine-care coverage.
These include dental care, prescription drugs, and even alternative treatments like acupuncture. Talk about comprehensive coverage!
It Protects You If Your Pet Did Something Nasty
Yes, being the master of a creature with fangs and claws is definitely a liability. Ever had your pet unwittingly destroy a beloved heirloom, or cause injury to a neighbour's kid? Oof. No need to panic, some pet insurance plans offer protection against these liabilities.
This means that should your pet cause these types of accidents, the insurer will pay to rectify the damage for which the owner is responsible. No idea if the insurer can pay for the cost of your dog having eaten your homework, though.
It Also Protects Your Pet If Something Nasty Happened to You
Some insurance plans can even take into account what would happen to your pet if you get hospitalised. These plans include covering the boarding costs for your pet should they require some place to stay in your absence.
Speaking of absence, certain plans may also cover the costs of cancelling your travel arrangements if your pet is the one sick instead and you're forced to stay home.
An important reason to have pets is for companionship and being away can cause stress for both parties. So it's quite thoughtful that some pet insurance plans offer this.
It's Not Just For Cats And Dogs
We're sure that the entire time you're reading this, you've been thinking of insuring your adorable puffy furball nipping at your feet. Or protecting yourself from that fuzzy audacious one knocking the stationery off your desk. But pet insurance isn't just for cats and dogs, as it turns out.
You can insure a host of other different animals that people keep as pets, too. Horses and rabbits are among the kinds of pets you can get protected. Alongside birds, lizards, snakes, and yes, even hedgehogs. If they deserve to live in your house like family, they deserve to be insured like family, too.
Owning a pet is a huge responsibility and for those who have lived among pets all their lives, they know how important a family member their pets can be.
Pet insurance sounds like an awesome policy to have but can we take one out in Malaysia?
The Almost Non-existent History of Pet Insurance in Malaysia
We were sad about this when we found out: the only insurance company that used to offer pet insurance (Kurnia) stopped doing so a few years ago. We can only guess it's because not many people knew about it or used it enough for it to be profitable for the insurance company. Boo.
A quick call to Kurnia confirmed they no longer offer such a policy. Similarly, a company called PetNation once advertised the introduction of a new pet insurance policy but again, our hopes were dashed when we called them up and were told the plans were scrapped.
Considering a very recent report on how under-insured Malaysians are even for their own medical and life needs; it doesn't appear far-fetched that they would similarly lag behind in getting adequate insurance for their pets. Perhaps it is this lacklustre response that caused insurance companies to do away with their policies.
But is it a problem of demand or one of awareness?
Would YOU Buy Insurance For Your Pet?
We can continue the rhetoric til the cows come home (insured or not) but what really matters is if there is a big enough market for pet insurance or if a lack of awareness on the availability of policies hampered it's implementation.
If you have a pet, do you think you would be interested in such an insurance policy? If so, how much would you be willing to pay in premiums? Let us know in the comments.