The growing love and adoration for pets has led to an increase in demand for sophisticated medical pet care technologies. Treatments that were once reserved for humans are now available to pets such as kidney transplants and radiation therapy. Fatal animal conditions are now treatable by veterinarians in urbane scrubs and the costs for such treatments range from $1,000 to $5,000. Expensive and sophisticated medical tools and technologies such as MRIs inflate the costs of pet examinations, as well as detect conditions that might have otherwise gone undetected and untreated. Health care for pets today is no longer a negligible sum that the average person can shoulder even in times of emergency, but is as expensive as human healthcare and may even run a person into debt. Not all pet owners, however, are willing to spend so much for their pet to the extent of going bankrupt, but some pet owners are willing to make the sacrifice for their beloved pets. For these people, they may find consolation in getting pet insurance.
Who Should Get Pet Insurance?
For most people, pet insurance is an unnecessary expense since pet insurance coverage can cost from $2,000 to $6,000 over the life of the pet--an amount that you are unlikely to shell out for pet treatment. A better alternative is to put the money that you would have spent on premiums on a savings account. However, if you are the kind of person who would do anything to save your pet and spend any amount necessary to get your pet treated for an otherwise fatal disease or condition, then pet insurance may be a more practical solution than going into debt.
The Pet Insurance Market
In the Unites States, only an estimated 3% of the 71 million pet owners have pet insurance policies, but this is already a significant increase from less than 1% in 1995. Insurance companies have partnered with Petco Animal Supplies and the American Kennel Club to offer pet insurance. More than 1,600 companies in the U.S., including Google and Office Depot over pet coverage as an optional employee benefit. Veterinary Pet Insurance, a pioneer in providing pet insurance, has seen a 26.8% annual rate increase in revenues since 1998. It has a market share of more than 70% of the U.S. pet insurance and in 2007, had gross sales of $149 million.
Exclusions, Deductibles and Surcharges
Pet insurance is not the solution to all kinds of pet medical care expenses, however. Most pet policies usually have deductibles, co-pays and caps, which limit how much the pet insurance company will pay out on an annual basis. Genetic conditions are also normally excluded from the coverage. An example of a genetic condition that is typically excluded is hip dysplasia in German shepherds and retrievers. However, there are a few insurers who cover chronic and hereditary conditions. The older your pet, the more that you will have to pay in premiums; while some insurers do not cover pets that are older than nine years, those who do usually levy stiff surcharges.