More people are purchasing health insurance – for their pets
In 2014, pet owners spent more than $15 billion ($15 billion!) on veterinary care for their pets.
That’s up nearly $1 billion from 2013 – from $14.37 billion to $15.25 billion.
The rising cost of veterinary care is apparently leading more people to purchase health insurance plans for their pooches (and kitties), according to a recent article by Bloomberg.
The pet insurance industry has grown an average 13 percent each year since 2009, according to Bloomberg. In 2013, the number of insured pets rose 14.6 percent to more than 1 million animals, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.
According to the Bloomberg article, the country’s largest pet insurer, Veterinary Pet Insurance (which is owned by Nationwide) now administers 525,000 policies – more than double the number of policies a decade ago.
According to the pet insurance association, the average annual premium for a single accident and illness policy is $457 for a dog and $290 for a cat.
Certain breeds, such as large-breed dogs, may have higher premiums, and aging animals may cost more to insure than kittens and puppies, according to Bloomberg.
Like human health policies, pet insurance policies tend to offer lower premiums for higher deductibles. But a pet policy may have different strings attached to a deductible, such as separate deductibles for different conditions, and, unlike human policies, insurance providers don’t have to cover pre-existing conditions, according to Bloomberg.
All of this got me curious, so I followed a link in the Bloomberg article to PetInsuranceReview.com, where different companies offer quotes to insure your pets.
I entered information for my dog – a 3-year-old spayed Belgian Malinois – and my zip code and email address. Within minutes, my inbox had quotes from five pet insurers.
Here’s what I got (without going into too much detail):
-Veterinary Pet Insurance: $25.06 per month with $250 annual deductible and $7,000 maximum annual benefit.
-Petplan: $37.10 per month ($10,000 annual coverage); $40.12 per month ($14,000 annual coverage); $43.64 per month ($22,000 annual coverage). All quotes are based on $200 deductible and 80 percent reimbursement.
-Pets Best: $22.73 per month ($5,000 annual coverage); $35.59 per month ($10,000 annual coverage); $40.93 per month ($20,000 annual coverage). All quotes are based on $200 deductible and 80 percent reimbursement.
-Healthy Paws: $31.80 per month with $250 annual deductible and 80 percent reimbursement.
-Embrace: $39.09 per month ($5,000 annual coverage); $46.54 per month ($10,000 annual coverage). Both quotes based on $200 annual deductible and 80 percent reimbursement.
I didn’t look too much into the fine print – which policies cover hip dysplasia, which ones pay for imaging, which ones allow me to pick my vet – but I saw enough to know the policies can be nearly as complicated for pets as they are for people.
But for as little as $275 a year (and a $200 deductible) I can insure my healthy, young dog for $5,000 worth of medical care. I can see why that’s enticing for people worried about hefty vet bills, particularly if they’ve been handed big bills in the past.
Do your pets have insurance? Is it something you’ve considered purchasing?