Pets are members of your family. And just like everyone else in your family, they have healthcare needs too. And to cater to this rather new-age need, some insurance companies have started offering pet insurance policies in India. While cattle insurance has been there for a while now, pet insurance is emerging in India.
Pet insurance, like any other insurance, is a risk-mitigating product that covers unexpected expenses related to pets. From covering for veterinary bills for treatment/accidents–in–transit to loss or theft and death of pets, pet insurance takes care of all these expenses. It also covers the risk related to third-party liabilities in the event of damages caused to other people.
In India, pet insurance is available for dogs, cats, birds, sheep, goats, horses, rabbits, elephants etc. The list may vary from company to company. Some companies offer insurance specifically to a particular type of pet. For example, a company offering dog insurance.
Like any other insurance policy, there’s an age limit applicable for taking pet insurance. For example: for dogs and cats, the age bracket for buying insurance is between eight weeks and eight years. For cows, it is two and ten years, for goats/sheep, it’s between one and seven years.
You may have to provide a veterinary certificate for identification of a pet while taking insurance. It includes declaring identification mark, colour, sex, breed, age and other details pertaining to the pet.
Typically the insurance premium size ranges between 3% and 5% of the sum assured, but it may vary depending upon factors such as the age of the pet, size of the sum assured, breed, third-party liability coverage, accidental rider, death rider, accidental-death rider, disability rider, etc. When it comes to livestock insurance, the government provides subsidy of up to 50% on the premium price.
The thumb rule to minimise the premium size for any insurance product is to start early, at a stage when the pre-existing diseases are low in number.
A few things that you must keep in mind are whether the plan is IRDA approved or not, the sum assured, and the capping for specific risks. Check whether third-party liabilities risk is covered or not. Verify the list of ailments covered; the inclusions and exclusions associated. Most insurance companies may not include injuries/ diseases due to mal-handling/poor upkeep of pets or pre-existing illnesses for that matter. Loss or theft of pets due to conditions such as war, military attacks are excluded as well. Death due to rabies, Hepatitis, Enteritis, Leptospirosis are often left outside the ambit of pet insurance.
(The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com)