Pet Insurance in South Africa Explained

There are numerous insurance products available in South Africa, the majority of which are aimed at content, people, and assets. […]

pet insurance

There are numerous insurance products available in South Africa, the majority of which are aimed at content, people, and assets. Pet insurance is one type of insurance that is gaining popularity in South Africa, and its demand has increased in recent years.

Pets have become an important part of most people’s lives, thus their well-being has become even more critical. Pet insurance has become prevalent as pets are treated similarly to humans. Having a sick or injured pet necessitates the payment of medical and other veterinarian services by the pet owner.

A pet insurance policy is a secure way to ensure that your pet is covered for veterinary and other expenses. Pet insurance covers a variety of incidents, which are listed and discussed further below. The insurance has a low premium and provides a better way to deal with emergencies for your pet.

Before delving deeper into the subject, we define pet insurance and discuss the state of pet insurance in South Africa.

What is Pet insurance? 

A pet insurance policy is an insurance policy purchased on behalf of a pet by a pet owner to cover some or all of the costs associated with the pet becoming injured, ill, or receiving vaccinations. Pet insurance can cover a wide range of occurrences, and with a comprehensive policy, a pet is protected against a slew of potential occurrences.

Pet insurance can be used in part as an accident plan to protect a pet from accidents. Other pet insurance companies allow pet owners to customise their coverage by purchasing add-ons. Optional add-ons allow pet owners to tailor their pet insurance policy to their specific needs.

Pet insurance is unlikely to cover the entire cost of an incident, so the pet owner can be required to pay for the difference. A pet insurance policy is likely to cover an incident up to a certain percentage. Pet owners can also get an excess insurance policy for their pets.

An excess insurance policy can provide coverage for the excess amount needed in covering an incident, up to a certain percentage. For example, an excess cover can pay out 7% of the excess payment up to R500.00. Excess cover can be obtained through the same or a different pet insurer.

Pet insurance covers different types of pets, we discuss the different types of pets covered under pet insurance in South Africa as follows. 

Which pets can be covered under Pet Insurance? 

Pet insurance provides a wide range of coverage for pets, with cats and dogs being the most commonly covered pets. Exotic pets, such as reptiles and birds, can also be covered by pet insurance. Horses have their own pet insurance, which has a higher premium because of the covered Pet’s commercial value.

These Pet Insurance products are discussed in detail below, including what they cover and don’t cover.

Dog and Cat Insurance

Dog and cat insurances are the most commonly offered pet insurance policies in South Africa. There are various plans that cover dogs and cats, and each insurer has a different name for dog and cat insurance plans. The available covers range from the most comprehensive to onerous covers that cover a specific incident.

Dog or cat insurance covers a variety of incidents, depending on the coverage chosen, and add-ons can also be accommodated on non-inclusive coverage. With add-ons and comprehensive coverage taken into account, what is common about cat and dog insurance is what is and what is not offered.

In South Africa, the following insurance plans are available:

  • Accident-related wounds and injuries.
  • Illness caused by a stomach upset, skin condition, cancer, diabetes, or any other preexisting condition.
  • Hip replacement surgery.
  • A veterinarian-recommended specialized diet to aid in the treatment of a medical condition.
  • An accident caused an operation.
  • Removal of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
  • Preventative treatments such as vaccinations, teeth cleaning, and other preventative treatments are covered.
  • In the event that an owner is unexpectedly hospitalized the plan cover kennels, catteries, or pet sitters.

There are a number of incidents that dog and cat insurance does not cover. Here are some examples of common incidents that dog and cat insurance does not cover:

  • Grooming.
  • Puppy delivery and pregnancy.
  • Behavioral issues.
  • Non-mandatory procedures, such as dew claw removal or skin fold resection.
  • Hereditary diseases include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and entropion.
  • Diseases that can be avoided, such as the flu or worms.
  • Dental procedures such as tooth extraction and gingivitis treatment.
  • Pre-existing conditions that manifested clinically before insurance was obtained.
  • Standard food.
  • Tick paralysis.

Exotic Pet Insurance

Exotic Pet insurance covers an exotic animal such as a bird, rodent, or bunny. This type of insurance typically protects an exotic pet against illness, surgery, and injury as a result of an accident. Because exotic pets require specialised treatments, the premiums for exotic pet insurance may be higher than those for dog or cat insurance.

An exotic pet can be insured against theft, which is a policy that allows a pet owner to file a claim if their exotic pet is stolen. Unique covers are available for various exotic pets depending on the insurance company, as some only specialise in specific exotic pets.

Horse Insurance

Horse insurance protects a horse owner financially if his or her horse becomes sick, injured, or ill. Insurers can also cover a horse for the rest of its life and receive a pay out if the horse dies. Horse insurance can thus include both medical and life insurance.


Pet insurance is one type of insurance that has grown in popularity, particularly in South Africa. The insurance product is now widely available from mainstream insurers, and there are also small insurers that offer it as a specialty product. When purchasing pet insurance, it is best to shop around for different pet insurance policies, especially if you want to tailor your pet insurance policy to your specific needs.