FAQs

General

What is pet insurance cover?

Specialised, affordable insurance cover for dog and cat vet bills. We cover those unexpected, significant expenses you could not afford, giving you peace-of-mind that you will be able to give your pets the best vet care when they need it. We offer a full range of plans, from basic, limited cover to the most uniquely, comprehensive, genuine cover in South Africa.

What is MediPet?

MediPet is South Africa’s leading pet insurance broker. Our small Cape Town-based team of 18 pet-loving specialists partner individually and directly with members daily, representing them and their pets’ needs directly with the underwriters. We really do care, and take our member happiness, and pet health personally. Our team has stayed with us forever, and we keep growing, to better serve all our members. One of our unique benefits is our full-time vet and 2 vet nurses, who are able to apply their extensive expertise to better motivate and understand your claims, work with your vet, and ensure our cover continues to meet the needs of real pets – not houses or cars. As the only specialised pet insurance broker, we intuitively understand and care about your pets. Our team has been trusted by owners, and recommended by 98% of vets for more than 12 years.

What makes MediPet special?

There are several reasons members choose us:

  • We welcome all breeds, and cover common breed conditions, as well as hereditary and congenital conditions
  • Ongoing cover for pets that develop chronic medical conditions
  • Our plans cater to pets of all ages
  • The MediPet team is genuinely compassionate, and our cover, transparent
  • In-house vet expertise allows us to successfully refund over 93% of member claims
  • 99% of our members choose to stay with us every month

Are your premiums higher than other pet insurance companies?

MediPet offers 4 different plans to suit everyone’s budget. If premiums seem higher than others, it is not for the same cover elsewhere, which would cost the same, or more. Our most limited plan, Lite, is comparable to alternative limited insurer’s plans. At present, there is no cover to match our comprehensive Essential and Ultimate plans.

What are underwriters?

These are the administrators behind your insurance – they take on the risk of your pet having an future accident or illness, upfront. This is the behind-the-scenes work necessary for all insurance, as they set your premiums, add any special exclusions or endorsements (if necessary based on your individual pet history and wellness), and determine fullness of cover. We work with them daily, representing you, importantly, in processing your claims and refunds.

Who underwrites your pet insurance cover?

What is MediPet’s role, as broker?

We represent your needs to the underwriter, and vice versa, helping with assessing your pet history, making recommendations and assisting each step of the way using our unique vet expertise. Our relationships with most vet practices in South Africa helps greatly as we are able to communicate and work directly with your vet when necessary on your behalf, ensuring pets come first.

Do you offer any discounts?

Can I cancel my cover at any time?

Covid-19

What does Covid-19, or the Corona Virus mean for MediPet?

We are still here to provide you with essential peace-of-mind. Our HQ team continues to work hard for all our members, remotely but safely from home, or from the office when possible, in compliance with SA’s Covid-19 regulations. Pets can still join the family online, and other pets can be added to existing family member cover online. At times, we may not be able to take phone calls, but we can call you back if you send us an email or message. We will still process your claims, and answer your curious questions. We’re sure you understand that things might be a little slower though, as we navigate these challenging times, so please bear with us.

Premiums & Discounts

Do you offer a no-claim discount?

Pets on Essential and Ultimate plans are rewarded after 2 claim-free policy years with a discounted premium. (Top Pet routine care claims never affect claim status.) It’s important to note that this discount is applied to individual pets that qualify, not whole families on cover. We apply this discount to premiums every May at renewal time. Premiums will be adjusted back to a standard rate at any time during the year should you be on a no-claim discount and claim.

How can I pay my premiums?

We offer the convenience of both monthly debit order or annual EFT payment options to our members. Monthly payment members renew their cover every May. Annual payment members renew every year on the anniversary of their joining. All cover will automatically lapse after 15 days, in the event that your premium is not paid.

What is the vet fee?

This monthly fee is applied to whole pet families, not every pet. Through this fee, we are able to use vet-trained staff, an inhouse vet, and 2 vet nurses to actively help with everything else related to your pet cover. Specifically, they partner with vet practices, using trained expertise to motivate your technical, medical claims, presenting on your behalf directly to our underwriters, assisting with approvals, and speeding up refunds. They also help develop new cover plans, and know what is vital for pet ongoing health and wellbeing. At MediPet we pride ourselves on our unmatched over 93% claim success rate, which we attribute mostly to the unique skills and resources of our inhouse vet team, which is subsidised by the monthly vet fee.

What is a “policy year”?

If you are a monthly paying member, your policy year runs from May 1 till April 30, every year. And at May 1, your cover renews. Annual paying members renew on the anniversary date of their joining, which is also the beginning/end of their individual policy year.

Claims

Does a vet need to sign my claim form?

No, your vet does not need to sign your claim form.

Are there waiting periods?

Taking out insurance, is asking someone to take on the future financial risk upfront of something occurring down the road based on present, healthy circumstances. Waiting periods are important and standard across the industry because they protect all underwriters from conditions that either already occurred prior to cover, or become known within the short, joining period. They assist in preventing fraud, reduce unfair risk, and thereby keep premiums fair and affordable for everyone. Insurers that claim not to have waiting periods, or to cover pre-existing conditions will limit their risk by terms and conditions that may not be obvious from the start. If a condition becomes known during a waiting period, regardless of whether it is disclosed, treated or claimed for, it may be excluded from your cover, either temporarily or permanently. The good news is that there are no waiting periods for any claims related to an accident across all our plans, and of course, Accident plan has no waiting period for claims.

What are the waiting periods?

  • Accident plan has no waiting periods
  • All claims related to accidents across all plans are, of course, covered immediately
  • There is a 30-day no-claims period on Lite, Essential and Ultimate plans
  • This is followed by a 30-day 50% shared co-payment period on Essential and Ultimate plans
  • There is a 6-month waiting period on Essential and Ultimate plans for knee, hip, elbow & shoulder, eye, respiratory system and spinal treatments. If one of these conditions are diagnosed in this 6-month waiting period, the diagnostic cover will be limited to R5 000 and then the condition will be excluded going forward. Pets under 4 months of age may be considered for part or full cover of the above treatments, on a case-by-case basis
  • Prescription food and dental care benefits on Ultimate plan have a 4-month waiting period
  • The condolence contribution on Ultimate plan has a 6-month waiting period, and will not be covered if it is a result of any excluded or pre-existing conditions
  • Top Pet Routine Care Add-On claims have a 30-day waiting period

What is a pre-existing condition, and are they covered?

Anything that occurs before taking out cover, or during a waiting period is deemed “pre-existing” and excluded, either temporarily, after a waiting period has been applied or permanently, by the addition of an endorsement to your cover moving forward. This is standard practice in insurance. Alternative insurers that advertise not having waiting periods, or claim that they cover pre-existing conditions will place additional terms and conditions on your cover to limit this risk, and these are often hidden in the fine print or only declared at claim time.

How can my pet have a “pre-existing condition” if they only got sick or injured after joining?

Even though it may be shortly after joining, if it is still during a waiting period, the same rules of “pre-existing conditions” will apply – as if it had happened before joining. We won’t refuse membership or other cover to any pet should they get sick or develop symptoms during a waiting period, but, depending on the individual circumstances, it may affect the rest of your cover. Full disclosure by you is essential, as this allows us to provide the most genuine cover for your pet. Not doing so could compromise your cover, and lead to cancellation later. (Pets requiring medical attention must immediately be seen by a vet, even if it is during a waiting period. This is a condition of our cover.)

Do I need pre-approval for treatments?

Pre-approval is not required by us for treatments or claims, and we don’t pre-approve verbally over the phone. Should you wish to gain pre-approval, for your own peace-of-mind, we will provide this at your request, in writing.

Must I pay the vet upfront?

You do not have to. Most members do prefer to pay the vet themselves first, and then to be refunded later, but you can always ask us to pay your vet directly upfront.

How do I claim?

How much can I claim per year?

With Essential and Ultimate plans, your annual cover is R40 000 per pet per year. MediPet Lite has an annual risk cover of R35 000 per pet per year, and Accident plan allows for accident claims of up to R25 000 per pet per year.

What is the difference between limit per claim and a benefit limit?

MediPet does not limit traditional, standard or mainstream treatments such as x-rays, medication, vet visits etc. within the annual maximum of plans, unlike most insurers, who do have “sub-limits” on treatments in their plans. (Only some of our additional complementary benefits do have benefit limits – maximums for those additional benefits within the overall annual maximum of your plan. These include holistic wellness support, behavioural therapy, supplements and prescription food.) Lite is our only limited plan, similar to insurer limited plans, with a limit per claim and limit on number of claims – although it also does not limit specific treatments within these.

How are claims refunded?

Refunds are paid directly to you using the bank account details we have on file, that you provided on your initial member application, unless advised otherwise. Alternatively, refunds can be paid directly to your vet, if that has been arranged with us.

When will I receive my refund?

What is a claim excess?

Excess on claims are standard in insurance. This is a small amount, either a percent or a minimum amount, that you agree to contribute towards the cost of your claim.

Why do I have to pay an excess?

Applying excesses, the first part of your claim that you are responsible for, is standard practice to help reduce fraudulent claiming, and to help keep monthly premiums fair and affordable for all.

What are the claim excesses?

  • The excess for Accident plan claims is 10%, minimum of R150.
  • The excess for Lite claims is 15%, minimum of R250.
  • The general excess for Essential and Ultimate plans is 18%, minimum of R350 on claims. (All ongoing claims for the same condition on these 2 plans within a 30-day period will have an 18% excess only, once the initial R350 minimum has been met. Should a condition continue past 30 days, it will be treated as a new claim, with the R350 minimum again.)
  • Condition-specific excess of 25%, minimum of R500 will be applied to claims on Essential and Ultimate plans relating to diagnostics, treatment & surgery of:
    Gastro-intestinal conditions/diseases
    Lameness
    Skin conditions/diseases
    Ear & eye conditions
    Respiratory & spinal conditions
  • The excess you pay for dental care claims on Ultimate is 20%, minimum of R500.
  • Chronic care support and holistic wellness claims, including supplements, and emergency boarding fees on Essential and Ultimate plans have an excess of 18%.
  • You will not pay an excess on behavioural therapy and missing pet advertising claims on Essential and Ultimate, nor the condolence contribution and prescription food (on Ultimate plan).
  • You will not pay any excess on Top Pet Routine Care claims across all plans.

Does MediPet offer a “claim excess buster”?

We do not offer an excess buster. These may be available from some providers at an additional cost, but we advise members to read these offers carefully, as often the terms and conditions limit the cover, and this is not always clearly disclosed until claim time.

Is there a cut-off period after which I cannot make a claim?

Yes, we must receive your complete claim form and all relevant invoices within 60 days of the treatment date.

Cover

Is routine care covered by MediPet?

Yes, members can add routine care to their cover with Top Pet Routine Care Add-On. This is a value-added product we offer all our members, where we contribute up to R1 100 per year per pet towards routine, preventative care for R65 per month (or R780 per year) per pet. This includes vaccinations, any tick/flea & deworming treatment, microchipping and sterilisation. The benefit can be added to your existing cover, at any time, no matter what cover option you choose.

Can I cancel Top Pet Routine Care Add-on at any time?

If you decide to cancel Top Pet during the year, after having used some of the benefit in claims paid out to you, you will either need to pay the remainder of the premiums due until May when your cover renews, or pay back the refunds paid to you. If you’re an annual payment member, having paid all premiums upfront, the underwriters will claw back any claims paid out to you, and if there is a positive balance in premiums paid already for upcoming future months, after accounting for claims paid out, these will be returned to you.

Why is dental care, a benefit of Ultimate, important for all pets?

Poor dental hygiene can cause long-term pain and discomfort. Most owners are unaware because animals will not cry out in pain – they just tolerate it. Dental disease in an older animal can cause illnesses which the owner may mistakenly attribute to “getting old”. If there are infections in the mouth it can allow bacteria into the body via the blood stream and cause illness elsewhere. Kidney, heart, lung and liver infections can all be caused by poor oral health. Some experts agree, by the age of 2, as many as 80% of dogs, and 85% of cats 3 years and older already have some form of dental disease.

Who needs MediPet’s most basic cover, Accident & Lite?

MediPet Accident plan covers only the most basic of accident insurance – falls, car accidents, snake bites, accidental poisonings etc. MediPet Lite is comparable to other insurer’s affordable but limited cover, and like the others, it limits number of claims and amount per claim allowed, as well as treatments etc. It’s best to view these 2 lower forms of cover as your last resort, should your budget not afford the proper cover of Essential and Ultimate, or if your pet is older. The benefit of choosing MediPet though, no matter the plan you select, is that all members have the same teams partnering with them to provide the same best service, and trust in our transparency, passion and compassionate care.

Does Accident only cover in-hospital care?

Not only do we cover your pet whilst they are in hospital for the accidental event, but we will also cover all follow-up visits, post-surgery tests etc. up to the maximum of R25 000 per year.

How is MediPet Lite cover “limited”?

Lite allows you up to 4 vet visits per year, and up to R13 760 per claim, with an annual maximum cover of R35 000.

Can I choose claims for MediPet Lite?

You can choose your claims to use for your 4 claims per year including consultations, procedures, surgeries, medication or any illness treatment.

Can a member choose when to claim and when not to claim on all plans?

Absolutely yes! This is how insurance works (vs medical aid), and is what we call “smart claiming.” Save your claims for the bigger unforeseen incidents that you cannot afford on your own, and keep your premiums low.

When is a medical history required?

History may be requested from all vets that have treated your pet at any time, including before and after taking out cover, to determine if there will be any endorsements added to your cover. MediPet Lite and Accident cover usually only require a history at the time of your first claim for pets applying without pre-existing conditions.

What is an “endorsement”?

This is where underwriters adjust the general cover to account for your personal pre-existing condition. Endorsements can take the form of a temporary or permanent exclusion, or the addition of a waiting period, specific to your pet and their condition. You will need to accept all endorsements for your cover to become, or remain active.

What don’t you cover?

  • Pregnancy
  • Grooming
  • Elective procedures
  • Pre-existing conditions (from before joining, or those that occurred during a waiting period)
  • Unprescribed special foods & diets

(Please check your chosen cover, as benefits differ across all plans.)

Do you cover hereditary/congenital conditions?

Yes, these conditions are uniquely covered by all MediPet plans, except MediPet Accident. We also welcome all breeds, and cover breed common conditions.

Are rescue, re-homed or adopted pets welcome?

Of course! We actively support many shelters and pet rescue organisations in South Africa. Something to note for rescue pets on joining Essential or Ultimate plans: If you don’t have a vet history, your pet is over 6 months old, and you’ve had the pet for less than 6 months since adoption, you will be given a temporary limit of R3 000 for the first 6 months after joining. (This won’t apply to accident claims). Thereafter, full cover resumes.

Does MediPet cover ongoing conditions?

Treatments after 3 months (or longer) for the same condition no longer fall under short-term insurance cover. Should this happen to your pet, we will offer you the opportunity to change your cover, by adding a chronic care support plan in order to be able to continue claiming for it. Should you accept this, it will be added to your cover and there will be a customisation of your premium accordingly. You can then continue to apply a portion of your total annual cover towards this condition for as long as you need. Unfortunately, the way insurance works is that if your cover is not adjusted to include in a chronic care support plan (meaning you decline the addition of a chronic care support plan), this ongoing chronic condition will be excluded from your cover.

What benefits are exclusive to MediPet?

Chronic care support plans are not standard in insurance – the way we support and structure benefits to help furry families with sickly pets is exclusive to MediPet.

Is there a maximum age limit for new applications?

Both Accident and Lite plans have no maximum age limit. Essential and Ultimate plans do have a maximum age limit of under 9 years of age for dogs. (If your dog is between the age of 8 and 9 years old at the time of joining, you may apply for MediPet Essential or Ultimate plan – a complete vet history will be evaluated and based on this, cover can be offered. Cats that are 9 years or over on joining Essential and Ultimate plans will also need a complete vet history.) Importantly, unlike many alternative insurers, we don’t shift members onto lower cover, or increase the premiums of our pets as they age once they are covered by us. There is, however, a 12% difference in the premium of dogs when they join MediPet Essential or Ultimate plans at the age of 6 or over. This is due to the increased risk of taking out cover at “middle age.”

What does lifelong cover mean?

We will cover your pet for life, no matter how old they get, as long as you continue to pay your premiums. They will not be downgraded to lesser cover or be charged more as they age.

Is euthanasia covered?

Euthanasia is covered on all plans so long as the claim meets your individual plan rules.

Can I still apply if my pet’s vaccinations are not up to date?

Yes, but all vaccinatable diseases and related complications will be excluded from cover if these are not kept up-to-date.

Can I see any vet?

You can go to any registered vet of your choice in South Africa.

Does my pet have to have a microchip or tattoo?

It is always a good idea to ensure your pet is identifiable to assist if your pet gets lost and is taken to a vet, possibly with an injury, but we do not require this for cover. Our contributions towards Top Pet Routine Care (should you add this to your plan) can also be used to microchip your pet should you not have already done so.

What about “medical aid rates”?

This does not exist in SA. We will pay the full price of your approved vet bills (after your excess) and do not attempt to apply a supposed “South African Guideline of Approved Tariffs,” because this was done away with in 2013!

Need a quote? Get in touch today.