Business Week had an all encompasing article on The Pet Economy this week talking about the spending trends of pet owners/companions/parents (insert your own label preference). They did mention pet insurance in the article, although they oddly picked a rather negative example to highlight [I added the bolding].
There's little doubt that human-quality care has helped to extend radically the life span of pets. Dogs routinely live 12 to 14 years now, a big jump from the average a few decades ago. John Payne, acting CEO of Banfield, the Pet Hospital, likes to boast that his cat, Gizmo, stayed perky until he died last November at the advanced age of 23 1/2.. More than 60% of new customers of his chain, which has more than 600 locations nationwide, enroll their pets in wellness plans. One reason is that standard pet insurance often doesn't cover preventive care. While pet insurance is still in its infancy, with 1% of owners having coverage, the number of clients is growing by double digits each year. Jamie Ward invested in a $25.77-a-month plan with Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) for her American Staffordshire terrier, Loki, only to discover that it didn't cover any of the $2,000 in expenses for a kneecap injury. (VPI says it abided by the terms of the contract.)
In fact, I'm not sure what point they were trying to make with the statement about pet insurance. I hazard a guess that the treatment for the kneecap injury might have been hereditary in nature and thus not covered by VPI, which might have been the original point that was never made. Who knows?
[Just to be clear, Embrace Pet Insurance covers hereditary conditions assuming you haven't seen any signs of any condition before you get your insurance.]
The stat regarding those with pet insurance is also interesting. "While pet insurance is still in its infancy, with 1% of owners having coverage,..." I'm not sure where that came from, certainly not the APPMA that is highly quoted elsewhere in the article (see my article about why the APPMA pet insurance numbers are too high). In actual fact, less than half a percent (0.5%) of all cats and dogs are insured. I haven't seen stats based on the number of pet owners since that number is even more difficult to pin down.
No matter what the reasons for the above discrepancies though, few dogs and cats are covered by pet insurance and that's a pity. Just look at the claims examples I've written about (see below) just to see the financial impact dog and cat health issues can have. Pet insurance is part of normal family financial planning for responsible pet parents.