Protecting Man’s Best Friend – The Hindu
Whatsapp, especially the groups in it, gives you a never-before-seen insight into people’s lives and hobbies. Amid isolating COVID restrictions, these groups have been the gathering points where movie recommendations abound and cooking and yoga conversations regularly take place.
A conversation some time ago got me thinking. A friend had a sick pet dog and he suffered with it during his last losing battle with cancer. He found widespread support among the band members when he tearfully cremated him.
As pet owners will tell you, pets are part of the family. Pet ownership in India has increased over the past two years of incredible isolation, confinement and distress. And pets have been credited with boosting the mental health and safety of their human relatives. Pet maintenance facilities such as food, grooming and medical care are quite widespread and even pet spas and hotels are springing up in cities.
With the costs associated with maintaining a pet and, of course, the contingencies, pet insurance cannot be far behind and rightly so. Several general insurance companies offer comprehensive insurance coverage for your pet, usually for pet dogs and cats, while pet bird insurance is also available. Ranging from protection against theft and medical expenses, pet insurance policies offer intuitive coverages, including liability.
Different companies offer coverage for pets in different age ranges from weeks to years. The animal’s breed, size and age dictate the premium rate, as do its medical history, vaccinations, etc. You can choose Sum Insured (SI) for the policy and if you want to cover a purebred dog for its purchase or market value, you need a certificate from the Kennel Club of India.
Primary coverage covers hospitalization and surgery costs with typical exclusions. Terminal illness coverage is benefit coverage that pays out a lump sum if your pet contracts one of the listed terminal illnesses such as cancer or kidney failure. Death cover pays you the sum insured if your pet dies as a result of illness, accident or other specified causes. An indemnity for cremation/burial expenses may also form part of this guarantee.
Outpatient and long-term care coverage is also available, coverage that is currently unavailable or very difficult for humans to obtain.
Some companies offer supplemental coverages such as forfeiting entry fees for dog shows when the animal cannot attend due to injury or illness. A valuable cover, which will become mandatory in the future, is liability cover. Accidents involving your pet resulting in third party property damage, injury or death are covered by this insurance for SIs ranging from ₹5 to ₹10 lakh and above.
The policy only comes into effect when compensation is awarded through the court, but we have heard of victims suing pet owners and some of you may have experienced risky and mind-boggling situations in their own gated communities and apartment complexes.
And, since we’re talking about building societies and liability, remember that your residents’ association must insure against liability for their elevators and it’s a legal requirement in many states following tragic accidents.
All coverages come with prerequisite documentation and exclusions which you should read and understand in detail.
With that done, optimal pet insurance coverage is highly recommended to protect the welfare and upkeep of your best friend and, by extension, your own interests.
(The author is a business journalist specializing in insurance and corporate history)
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