Guide To Pet Costs and Pet Insurance in Singapore

Pet owners kissing their pet

A Singaporean Guide to the Costs of Owning a Pet, and Pet Insurance

Are you looking to adopt a pet? Worried about the unexpected vet bills that you might incur in case your pet falls ill? Read ahead to find out how enrolling in the best pet insurance plans will give you added peace of mind when you bring your fur baby home.

COVID-19 contributed largely to the growth of pet owners around the world in the past 2 years. As lockdowns were imposed almost everywhere, people turned to owning furry pets as a way to cope with the pandemic. Just locally, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) saw an increase in foster applications from 10 to 15 a month to 120 to 150 during the circuit breaker period in Singapore. 

The main reason was people feeling lonely due to isolation periods and work-from-home arrangements. Hence, many adopted pets for companionship and emotional support. In fact, research has shown that pets helped improve mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Average Cost of Owning A Pet in Singapore

For most pet owners, we embrace our furry companions as family members. Some costs come with raising a pet. From pet food to pet treats and chews, these costs quickly add up to one’s monthly expenses. Below, we break down the average annual cost of owning a pet in Singapore:

Expense

Annual Cost (Dog)

Annual Cost (Cat)

Routine Vaccines (1x every 3 years)

S$239

S$174

Heartworm Injections (annual)

S$100

N/A

Basic Medical & Dental (annual)

S$631

S$236

Grooming (Package; 4x per year)

S$274

S$312

Food

S$1,415 (Dry)

S$864 (Wet, Canned)

Misc. (Bed, Toys, Leash)

S$266

S$346

Annual Recurring Cost

S$3,221

S$1,932

 

Unfortunately, we also incur veterinary expenses if our fur babies fall sick. These unexpected vet bills can cause a financial burden on your family. Hence, you should guard against the cost of unforeseen vet bills with pet insurance for your precious dogs and cats in Singapore. But what is pet insurance all about? Read ahead to find out more.

What is Pet Insurance?

Simply put, pet insurance is similar to human health insurance. Pet insurance is an insurance policy that helps to reduce the overall cost of unexpected, hefty veterinary bills. It acts as a financial safety net for pet owners as it covers veterinary expenses either entirely or in part. There is usually an out-of-pocket deductible payment that you have to pay before the policy begins its coverage. After deductibles, most pet insurance policies reimburse up to 80% of costs.

You should compare and analyse different pet insurance plans, as cost and coverage are highly dependent on a myriad of factors.

What Does Pet Insurance Typically Cover?

In Singapore, pet insurance coverage ranges by insurance provider and plan. Usually, most pet insurance policies will cover:

  • Physical accidents (E.g. Poisoning, Cuts, Fractures)
  • Surgical treatment
  • Non-surgical treatments
  • Cancer treatments
  • Post-surgery treatment and care
  • Chemotherapy
  • Vaccinations
  • Third-party liability
  • Theft (If your dog goes missing due to theft)

Why Should You Buy Pet Insurance in Singapore?

1. To Have Peace of Mind

In Singapore, emergency surgery for your pet can set you back a few thousand dollars. These sudden and unexpected costs can cause financial stress on pet owners. However, with pet insurance, owners will be relieved of financial stress. You can also focus on finding the best care for your pet and ensure that it recovers quickly. Moreover, you do not want to be in a situation where you might have to euthanise your pet because you cannot afford the vet bills.

2. Making Claims Are Quick and Easy

Are you worried about the hassle you’ll have to go through should you need to make a claim? Fret not, as it is a simple process. Typically, you can make a claim in three simple steps.

  • Firstly, when you visit the vet, you pay them directly.
  • Secondly, you need to complete a pet insurance claim form.
  • Thirdly, you submit the completed form with the relevant supporting documents to the insurer for reimbursement.
  • With the advancement of technology, you can easily make your claim online through an app or a portal. Best of all, if there is a pre-approval agreement between your insurer and veterinarian, lodging a claim and reimbursement would be an even quicker process.

3. You Can Pick Your Own Veterinarian

When your pet falls ill, surely you would want to find the greatest care for them. Quality care is essential to nurture your pet back to pristine health. For most pet insurance providers, you can pick the veterinary clinic that you are comfortable with to provide the best treatment for your pet. After treatment, all you need to do is make a claim with your insurance company.

Drawbacks of Pet Insurance in Singapore

1. You Need to Buy Pet Insurance When Your Pet Is Young

Some pet insurers will not insure your pet if your pet has passed a certain age. For most insurers, the age limit for new policies is ten years old. Hence, you should enrol in pet insurance for your pet when it is still young. The best time to buy pet insurance is within your pet’s first year of its life. Purchasing insurance early also guarantees lower monthly premiums. After your pet crosses a certain age, you will have significantly fewer plans to choose from. Moreover, these plans are normally more expensive and do not cover pre-existing conditions.

2. Your Claim Might Be Denied

Unfortunately, there might be instances where your claim gets rejected. It could be due to terms and conditions that your claim does not meet. To avoid such frustrating situations, you should carefully go through the terms and conditions of any policy before purchasing one. Clarifying doubts with your insurer when you buy a new insurance policy for your dog or cat in Singapore will also help prevent such situations from arising.

Common Exclusions in Pet Health Insurance: 

  • Waiting Period (usually three months)
  • During this period, there is no coverage. Your insurer will only assess your claims three months after the policy commencement date. 
  • Pre-existing Medical Conditions
  • Spaying and neutering procedures
  • Complications and conditions related to breeding or pregnancy
  • Liability/illness arising from any intentional, neglectful or preventable act. 

Are There Any Dog and Cat Breeds That Are Not Insurable?

If you didn’t know, pet insurance only covers dogs and cats in Singapore. However, not all dog breeds are insurable, regardless of how well-behaved they are. These breeds are:

  • Mastiffs
  • Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Pit Bull
  • American Pit Bull
  • Argentina Dog
  • Canary Dog
  • American Bulldog
  • Wolfdogs
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd & related breeds (e.g. Belgian Shepherd)
  • Mixed Dogs of the above breeds

How to Determine if Pet Insurance Is for You

Unsure if pet insurance is right for you? To help in your decision-making process, we suggest that you:

  1. Consult your veterinarian. Ask your vet if there are any ailments your pet might develop later on in life. Do ask about the cost of these treatments too.
  2. Take out insurance early. As much as possible, try not to wait till your pet has developed pre-existing conditions before purchasing pet insurance for them.
  3. Compare quotes from different pet insurers. Comparing quotes will help you eliminate plans that do not cover your pet’s needs. For example, some insurers require you to microchip your dog.
  4. Read policy wordings carefully. Have an adequate understanding of the benefits and exclusions you might be responsible for when enrolling in pet insurance.
  5. Consider what you can afford to pay. It might be tempting to go for the cheapest option, but it might not be adequate for your pet.

Pet Insurance From PolicyPalFA

PolicyPalFA by Baoxianbaobao Pte Ltd distributes pet insurance underwritten by Liberty Insurance.  Liberty Insurance’s Pet Care plan has 3 different tiers of coverage at different premiums. Liberty’s PetCare plans have comprehensive pet insurance that includes everything from accident to illness to theft coverage. Furthermore, Liberty has inclusive eligibility requirements on the market, making it a good option for owners of very young pets or owners with breeds that are typically excluded from other policies (e.g. German Shepherds, Mastiffs). However, pet owners should be prepared to pay a hefty price for this type of coverage, as premiums for all three plans cost above the industry average.

Here are the benefits of the 3 tiers of pet insurance from Liberty Insurance:

 

Standard Plan

Enhanced Plan

Superior Plan

Annual Premium

S$350

S$450

S$750

Injury Deductible

S$50

S$50

S$50

Liability Deductible

S$500

S$500

S$500

Non-Surgical Illness Co-Pay

50%

50%

50%

Surgical Illness Co-Pay

30%

30%

30%

Accidental Death

S$1,000

S$2,000

S$3,000

Accidental Injury

S$500

S$750

S$3,000

Theft (Cats Excluded)

S$300

S$500

S$1,250

Illness (Non-Surgical)

S$500

S$750

S$3,000

Illness (Surgical)

S$1,500

S$2,000

S$10,000

There is a 50% co-insurance for non-surgical medical bills and 30% co-insurance for surgical bills.

Highlights of the PetCare plan From Liberty Insurance

While Liberty Insurance’s PetCare plan may be pricier than some of its competitors, there is some plan highlights that help justify its premium size.

Firstly, Liberty Insurance’s PetCare plans cover all dogs and cats breeds, while many of its competitors exclude certain breeds due to certain breeds being more susceptible to illnesses. 

All tiers of PetCare plans cover accidental death and injury, as well as surgical and non surgical medical expenses (no deductible, but there is co-insurance as stated above) but do not cover post-surgery fees.

Their plans are also one of the most extensive as they allow pets as young as 8 weeks old to as old as 9 years old to be insured. However, the coverage for the pet only lasts until it turns 13 years old, and they do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions

Protect Your Cherished Dogs and Cats With Pet Insurance in Singapore

Seeing your beloved pet fall ill is every paw-rent’s worst nightmare. Pet insurance coverage could save the life of your pet. You do not have to worry about unanticipated vet bills with comprehensive pet insurance. Having good coverage provides an added source of financial security should your pet unexpectedly fall sick or get injured. Get Pet insurance for your best fur-riend today and enjoy 5% cashback in PolicyPal credits when you purchase through PolicyPalFA!

Giveaway Special

From now till 30 June 2022, purchase a Superior Petcare plan* through PolicyPalFA and walk away with a Soycraft Cloud Pet Carrier worth S$180.

*T&Cs apply

pet-insurance-giveaway

Conclusion

Pet owners without budgetary constraints may find Liberty’s PetCare plans to be a good match as their pet insurance plans are considered one of the pricier ones on the market. However, they are also the only plans to offer both medical and accident coverage. Furthermore, all breeds of cats and dogs are covered, unlike some plans which may exclude certain breeds from coverage.

You can purchase this plan for pets as young as 8 weeks old (the youngest eligibility on the market), with coverage continuing until the pet turns 13 years old. In terms of coverage, all plans provide accidental death and injury, theft, and surgical/non-surgical medical coverage. 

The article All You Need to Know About Pet Insurance in Singapore originally appeared on ValueChampion.

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