But that’s not all, because those who have a dog or cat know well how expensive veterinary treatments can be, especially in the case of surgery or long-term care.Today many insurance companies offer protection packages also for this important aspect and joining can be advantageous, in the unfortunate but not uncommon case in which our friend needs the veterinary specialist.
However, in Italy these four-legged policies are not yet widespread, even if the trend is increasing, as revealed by a survey recently conducted by mUp Research: in 2018, over 1.7 million Italians insured their pet (especially dogs), with a 25% growth over the previous year.
However, considering that in our country there are about 7 million dogs registered in the specific registry and even more cats, moreover perceived by the owners as harbingers of lower risks, it is clear that the potential market is much wider.
Since we believe that making sure on this front is part of the duties of those who love dogs and cats, in homage to the concept of “responsible possession”, we have investigated, by consulting some insurance companies of primary importance, to provide some useful suggestions to whom, and we hope they are more and more, he is thinking of insuring his friend.
Protect us from the damage that our friend can cause and serenely face veterinary expenses, these are the very valid reasons to insure dogs and cats: let’s find out more.
1. Legal and commercial reasons
– Legal reasons
The first valid reason to insure your dog or cat is a legal one.
legislation, as well as that of the whole civilized world, makes the consequences of the actions of your pet fall on the owner.
A bite, a deep scratch, a fall, a car accident … are events that we would not like to happen but, unfortunately, sometimes they occur and if it is our dog or cat that causes them, the legal and economic consequences fall on us .
Not surprisingly, the partial extension of the coverage of the so-called “Civil liability” it is not a recent thing for the four-legged members of families: several years ago, several insurance companies envisaged this possibility in the context of policies dedicated, for example, to the home.
But today the offer has expanded and has become much more targeted, also on the wave of a decidedly strong evolutionary trend coming from the two leading countries in the world of services related to pets, namely the United States and Great Britain, where the spread of specific policies is very broad and the offer diversified and complete.
In addition to the legal obligations, which have existed for several years, the market offer is also guided by a very significant figure.
The pet sector represents a rapidly growing market: Italy is the first country in terms of number of pets compared to the population; according to Assalco Zoomark report 2019, about 39% of Italians (about 20.3 million) have a dog and / or cat in the family, for a total of about 14.5 million dogs and domestic cats.
Therefore, the strong interest of insurance companies in this sector is clear. But it’s not just about numbers.
The Marketing and Communication Department of Groupama Insurance, notes that the need to cover pets was already known for several years.
This is because whoever owns a pet considers it in all respects a member of the family.
2. What does the RC refer to dogs and cats
Anyone with a license knows the abbreviation RC, which stands for “Civil liability”, and it is mandatory to be insured in this sense to drive any motor vehicle.
But the term has a broader meaning and indicates that one is responsible for one’s actions in relation to the provisions of the Civil Code.
Specifically, those that regulate the compensation for damage caused to others by our actions, and not only on the road: for example, if a vase falls from our balcony and breaks through the windshield of a car parked below, we are required to pay the damages.
In the case of dogs and cats, the concept is basically the same. If our animal causes harm to a person or another animal, we are liable for it economically.
We are, in fact, civilly responsible for the actions of our dogs and cats. It should not be forgotten that, sometimes, things end up before a judge, and in this case a lawyer is needed.
This is why motor liability insurance policies include, with or without a surcharge, legal protection, with spending limits. The same also happens for some RCs dedicated to pets. The cost? The average for a dog is around 65 euros per year for a basic RC policy.
But some breeds of large size or considered more “aggressive” (criterion that is not ethological but in any case not negotiable in this context) are considered more at risk by some companies, in which case the cost rises.
Cats are cheaper: on average, 40-45 euros a year is enough for RC, provided that the cat does not cross the boundaries of the home, otherwise the cost can go up, especially in consideration of the fact that a cat is free to move around. outside can cause traffic accidents.
3. For their health
The most innovative and in many respects decidedly advantageous aspects of the new policies designed for dogs and cats concerns another cornerstone of our life with them: health.
Veterinary care is essential for our friends but, we know it well, when going beyond normal procedures such as vaccinations or treatments for minor problems, the costs are high and many owners have had to, in spite of themselves, cut costs.
In fact, the vet generally goes from once to twice a year (63.4% of the owners declare it), but there is almost 1/5 of the owners (19.4%) who declare that they go over three times a year, even with significant costs.
Among the various items relating to veterinary expenses, those on which, according to veterinarians, more cuts have been made are treatments, expensive surgical interventions (49.3%) and periodic medical checks (48%).
Here because UniSalute has thought of entering this sector with a low cost policy, called DoctorPet, dedicated to the health of pets, with many advantages: first of all a saving of up to 30% compared to the normal rates for all veterinary services at the network of veterinarians affiliated with the company itself.
Saving on the costs of veterinary services by investing substantially modest amounts for ad hoc insurance is therefore a smart precaution.
Affordable investments – Very interesting modularity
One of the attractive characteristics of the policies to protect the health of dogs and cats is the modularity of many proposals, which allows to cover both health and civil liability needs.
For example, he explains Groupama Insurance, “Casa Senza Confini – PET is the insurance solution designed to offer protection to pets, therefore dogs and cats, and those close to them. When subscribing to the agency, starting from just € 9 a month, you can also choose between the Basic or Complete formula and add to the initial guarantees – Assistance, Veterinary Expenses, Diagnostic Examination Expenses and Traveling Veterinary Expenses – other optional guarantees such as Legal Protection and RC “.
There are also proposals that offer veterinary services without geographical boundaries. This is the case with the policy AllianzPetCarc launched last June 2019, which guarantees the reimbursement, valid worldwide, of veterinary expenses in case of accident or illness.
Also in this case, modularity and affordable cost are reasons of great interest: there are in fact different packages with increasing but always reasonable costs that allow you to choose between four different proposals ranging from a policy that reimburses veterinary expenses and any intervention or admission to a full protection policy that also protects against damage to third parties caused by the dog or cat.
And the specific RC coverage of AllianzPetCare applies everywhere, with the exception of the United States and Canada.
4. Different services, “deductible” and “overdraft”
– Different services – Deepen case by case
Although most of the policies dedicated to the health of dogs and cats substantially cover the main non-routine needs (thus excluding vaccines, check-ups and other routine procedures), the offers are not all the same.
The vastness of the proposals on the market obviously makes it impossible to go into specific detail, so it is essential to read with the utmost attention the insurance prospects that each company makes available, on the net or in the agency.
In any case, generally speaking, there are some parameters common to most offers.
For example, coverage is generally available for dogs and cats who are at least 3 months old (but there are those who do not grant it up to 6 months) and do not exceed 9-10 years.
The covered surgical operations do not include those of an aesthetic nature, such as the cutting of ears and tail (also prohibited by law), and sterilizations, while those resulting from accidents are included but, usually, not if caused by sports or hunting activities .
Orthopedic problems that require the surgeon’s work, such as hip or elbow dysplasia and patellar dislocation, unfortunately very common in dogs, do not always fall under coverage. It is interesting to know that many policies of the main companies cover not only the work of the surgical team, the operating room and so on, but also any hospitalization and post-operative treatments, for example physiotherapy.
And there are those who go further: Institution it also includes osteopathy and acupuncture among the available services. In short, the panorama of the insurance possibilities dedicated to our friends has definitely expanded compared to the recent past and we are sure that it will continue to do so in the future too, because loving them also means protecting them.
– “Deductible” and “discovered”: what they are and how to value them
Many insurance policies, in this and other sectors, include “franchise” is “discovered”For some performances.
The “franchise“Indicates a part of the damage, expressed in cash, which remains the responsibility of the insured and is not reimbursed. It is predetermined in the policy, so we can know it in advance and evaluate it: if it is high and related to probable events … perhaps the offer is not so convenient.
Lo “discovered“is similar to the deductible but is not predetermined except in percentage and is calculated on the amount to be reimbursed. Let’s assume that a surgical operation has a cost of 2,000 euros: if the expected overdraft is 10%, the insurance will reimburse 1,800 euros.
Conventions and technology. Other factors to consider
There are companies that make use of agreements with veterinary networks, thus being able to offer attractive discounts compared to the usual rates applied for the various procedures.
This has obvious economic values but it is important to evaluate whether our trusted veterinarian is part of the network or not and to understand if, if this is not the case, we are willing to change doctors to take advantage of the agreed rates.
On another front, there are policies that also cover the research costs in case of loss of the dog or cat, in some cases provided that the insured equips his or her pets with a GPS locator at the collar: technology has made its entrance here too, as had already happened in the automotive sector, with policies for theft at reduced cost in the event of the installation of a localization system on the vehicle.
5. How they work – The procedures
Insurance is an expense that we would all like to be … with a non-refundable fund, especially for our dogs and cats.
But in the unfortunate event that it is necessary to resort to the services purchased with the policy, it is important to know how to move.
Compared to, for example, RC car insurance, the procedures are a bit more complex and different depending on the type of policy and performance. Let’s start from damage to third parties:
– Damage to third parties
If, for example, our dog causes the accidental fall of a passerby or bites another dog, with subsequent medical treatment, the general procedure is as follows:
- reporting the event to the insurance company (usually within a few days, the deadline is in the contract) indicating precisely the place, date, time, circumstances, people, things or animals involved, and of course the policy data;
- if the injured person acts against us in civil or criminal matters, immediately inform the insurance company and follow the instructions of those who assist us;
- do not accept any type of transaction or acknowledge any liability without insurance authorization.
It is important to remember that the policies always provide for civil liability ceilings, i.e. a maximum amount to cover damages to third parties, which are not necessarily sufficient to pay the damages caused. It is therefore advisable to check the amount of the ceilings before signing a policy.
In this case, the approaches are basically of two types: either the treatments are provided through the network of veterinarians who have agreed with reassurance, or the expenses are reimbursed later if the treatments are provided by doctors who are not members of the affiliated network.
In both cases, it is possible that the expense will not be fully covered by the insurance. It is therefore necessary to check this aspect in advance. In any case, the procedure is basically this:
- for urgent care and insurance with an affiliated veterinary network, contact the insurance company (which generally has an active service 24 hours a day) which will provide the contact details of the nearest adequate structure;
- if the insurance does not make use of an affiliated network, we can contact the veterinary structure that we prefer to obtain reimbursement, in whole or in part, of the services;
- in the latter case it is necessary to provide, within a period of time specified in the contract, “report” of the services, indicating the causes and sending all the veterinary documentation, complete with paid receipts.
Remember that in the case of treatments provided by professionals who are not affiliated with the insurance, the latter has the right to carry out veterinary checks on our animal to verify that the treatments for which we request reimbursement are
were actually loaned, and for valid reasons.
Attention to the rules – Mistakes that cost dear
Insuring your dog or cat does not mean protection from our mistakes too … In other words, respecting the rules governing the possession of dogs and cats is essential in order to take advantage of insurance coverage.
For example, if our dog is free from the leash and without a muzzle in a public park and, for any reason, bites a runner, the insurance could legitimately refuse to intervene because the legislation requires that, in a public place, the dog is led on a leash no more than one and a half meters long or, if free, wearing a muzzle.