More Americans buying pet insurance
December 26, 2014  //  By:   //  US News  //  Comments are off

by Carol Thompson

As veterinarians perform more and more complex procedures on domestic animals, more and more Americans are turning to pet insurance polices to cover the sometimes exorbitant  cost of care.

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) State of the Industry Benchmarking Report 2014 | NAPHIA – North American Pet Health Insurance Association the 2014 State of the Industry Benchmarking Report shows a 14.6 percent increase in policies in force from 2012 to 2013.

“We’re seeing strong, stable, year-over-year growth,” says Dennis Rushovich, NAPHIA President. “It’s proof-positive that the pet health insurance is something people want and need.”

According to the report, there are currently more than 1 million pets insured in North America. In 2013, NAPHIA members insured 1,033,983 pets.  Of those, 876,441 of NAPHIA member policies insure dogs and 157,542 are for cats.

Among the policies in force, 95.6 percent cover accident and illness. Only 3.1 percent of the policies in force are for accidents only and 1.3 percent are insured with embedded wellness.

The average annual policy cost for a dog, according to the report, is $166.25 for accident only, $4556.98 for accident and illness and $1,178.13 for insurance with embedded wellness. 

Conversely, the average annual policy cost for a cat is $126.26 for accident only, $289.99 for accident and illness, and $743.11 for insurance with embedded wellness.

According to Kiplinger, preexisting conditions are never covered, which adds an incentive to purchase a policy before your pet has health issues. Hereditary disorders may not be covered, either.

It’s important to read the fine print to determine what is and ins’t covered. It’s also important to determine what deductible the company offers. Deductibles may be annual, per visit or per incident and a company may impose an annual maximum, a maximum per incident or a maximum over your pet’s lifetime.

Pet insurance will generally pay about 80-90 percent of the cost of medical care, dependent on the policy and the deductible selected.


Image: Flickr/Jack Pease Photography

About the Author :

Carol Thompson is a veteran investigative reporter residing in central New York. She spent 23 years with a local newspaper, The Valley News, before leaving for the Syracuse New Times, and now, VNN. Thompson has won dozens of first-place awards for investigative reporting and was the 2006 recipient of the Syracuse Press Club’s prestigious Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award. Thompson’s reporting has resulted in the arrest of public officials and has prompted policy changes. She uncovered two money laundering schemes that traveled the globe and resulted in the indictments of several developers.

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