Pet Insurance, Do I Need It?

When you think about insurance likely the first thing that comes to mind is home and auto insurance. But many consumers are thinking and talking about pet insurance these days. Pet Insurance is more affordable and comprehensive than it was when it first came to the market. In most cases, a pet insurance policy will cost less per month than some online monthly subscriptions we might subscribe to, especially if you obtain a policy when your pet is young.

A handful of pet policies to choose from

Typically, there are three to four types of policies a pet parent can choose from, Accident & Illness, Accident-Illness & Wellness, or simply Accident, or Wellness.  Some insurance companies offer coverage for birds, reptiles, rabbits, and other ‘exotic’ pets.  Some policies cover spaying and neutering, as well as the complement of vaccines, titers, and flea treatments.  The list goes on… This is another reason it is always best to visit a handful of websites for policy types and coverage.

Increase in Pets in Households

A record-breaking number of households that include pets tips the scales at 90.5 million American families (that’s 70% of our U.S. population owning pets). As a result, an uptick in the number of pet policies also grew. From 2016 to 2021 pet insurance in the US market has grown 23.4% according to The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) and is planned for a growth of 8.2% in 2022 according to IBISWorld (a worldwide market research company). If you have or had a pet, you will know that taking proper care of an animal takes time and money. If your pet requires planned emergency surgery, or procedures because of cancer, genetic health issues, or trauma, this can cost thousands of dollars.

So, Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

 A Resounding YES!

A routine canine or feline appointment can cost in the ballpark of $75 to $150 – and that won’t include routine tests or treatments. Insurance companies are letting their clients know that veterinarian fees are on the rise. If something unexpected arises your vet bills will quickly escalate. And if we are honest with ourselves, it will.  While not all plans will cover all costs every dollar back in your pocket is a bonus.

Having pet insurance will ease the rising and unexpected, or planned costs.

As an example, oftentimes dogs will grow benign lumps as they age. (Some can become the size of a tennis ball!) And although they are not averse to your dogs’ health, they could impact movement and become uncomfortable. For a pet parent, they are unsightly. Your veterinarian will tell you, ‘It’s cosmetic’ and to have it removed could cost you $1500 (for example). Most American households struggle to afford a $1500 emergency vet bill.  Without pet insurance, this is now a decision that requires a lot to ponder: A big hit to your wallet -or- tending to a recommended surgery or procedure.

Pet insurance offers peace of mind. Buying pet policies ensure that you’ll be able to care for your pets if they fall ill. There are no certainties for you to ‘hang your hat on’ when it comes to the health of your pet, no matter how diligent you are with their care, nutrition, and exercise.

Having pet insurance removes the financial barrier that prevents some pet owners from obtaining procedures necessary for the long life of their pet. According to a handful of reviewed studies, pet owners who purchase pet health insurance are more likely to bring their pets to their veterinarian than those that have no pet insurance.  Bear in mind: Premiums are generally low during pet adolescence and increase as your pet ages. One of the larger providers of pet health insurance in the US, in partnership with a veterinary analytics company, VetSuccess, conducted a study. The study looked at 10 million pets served by 2,000 veterinary practices, comparing pets with pet health insurance to pets that had no coverage.

According to the data,

Pet owners who had pet health insurance versus no pet health insurance did the following:

Opted for more Veterinary care

Veterinary appointments booked in 2020 grew by 4.5% and are still growing Year To Date by 6.5%.

Visited their veterinarians more often

For dogs, that’s 73% more often, resulting in 4.17 annual visits per insured dog, compared with 2.41 for uninsured dogs. For cats, yearly veterinary visits were 43% higher, with 2.54 visits per year for insured cats, compared with 1.77 for cats with no insurance.

The study revealed that pet parents approved surgical procedures more often

Insured dogs were 51% more likely to receive the surgical treatment necessary, and cats 20% more likely to receive surgical treatment.

This boils down to faster treatment for your pet and more options available for families having pets with healthcare needs.

Pet Insurance Could Result in Improved Care

Like human health insurance, pet insurance covers the cost of medical care, but more akin to ‘property insurance’, the services are reimbursed after a claim to the insurance company is submitted. Make contact for approval with the insurance company prior to a procedure or surgery.

Worth Asking …

  • After sign-up does the plan have a coverage Waiting Period?
  • ‘Add-Ons’ may be available (speak with your insurance representative)
  • How quickly are claims processed? This may differ from company to company.
  • Can you choose your deductible?
  • Minimum and Maximum ages for coverage?

According to Crum & Foster Pet Insurance Group™’s ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance website: “Founded in 1997, we’re one of the original pet insurance providers in the U.S. In 2006, as part of a strategic partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), we introduced our most recognizable and impactful brand, ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance. In the past 20 years, through our insurance underwriters, we’ve insured more than 600,000 dogs and cats, processing more than 2.2 million claims.”

Wagmo says they offer “The Fastest Reimbursement in the Pet Health Insurance Industry! Wagmo Pet Insurance and Pet Wellness Plans allow you the freedom to go to the licensed veterinarian or service provider of your choice via telemedicine, in-home or in-office.  The Wagmo waiting period reimburses you via Venmo, PayPal, and more within 24 hours of submitting your claim. Your pet bills made easy.” 

Lemonade answers “Why should I get pet health insurance?” “Because you love your cat or dog, and don’t want to bankrupt yourself to keep them healthy if they get hurt or sick! Not to freak you out, but vet bills and exam fees can creep up quickly after an illness or emergency. Having pet insurance ensures that you and your furry friend can rest a little bit easier, even when life gets tough.”

According to (North American Pet Health Insurance Association)

Total Insured Pets

Percentage Increase Year Over Year
and Combined Number of Pets (U.S.)
DogsCatsCombinedTotal Pets
2020+ 22.5%+ 26.7%23.2%3,101,956
2019+ 16%+ 20.4%+ 16.7%2,517,122
2018+ 17.6%+ 19.8%+ 18%2,156,448
2017+ 17.3%+ 18.7%+ 17.5%1,828,126

How to Buy Pet Insurance

Start by researching pet coverage and getting a pet insurance quote online. Also, speak to your veterinarian’s office. Most often they are recommending an insurance company that they work best with.  If you are working with a veterinary office that is still resistant to insurance, they may not know a lot of progress has been made in the pet insurance industry. They may have a reluctance due to concerns of coverage being denied or misunderstood, ‘stacks of administrative work’, and pet insurance dictating veterinary medicine. 

However, things have dramatically changed! Here is an article worthy of sharing with your veterinarian.  It’s time to get your practice PUMPED about the pet insurance of today


The following pet insurance companies have contributed to this article in collaboration with Walkin’ Pets

ASPCA Logo

Wagmo Logo

Lemonade Pet Insurance Logo

Closing

Pet insurance will typically not cover the cost of treating pre-existing conditions. Your pet’s pre-existing conditions are part of your pet’s documented medical history.  Wellness checks and medications are not part of a standard policy however, companies may offer “add-ons’ that would cover these costs.  As a pet parent, it is your decision as to which type of coverage works best.  If you have decided on pet insurance you likely have considered the health conditions of your pet’s breed, and your household’s ability to budget for the monthly premiums.  Your family budget will determine the monthly premium that makes the most sense for the pets in your family. 

For additional information on The Cost of Pet Care.

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