Pets are family. That’s never been more true than the present, when a majority of American households own a pet. The increase has been steady over the past few decades — in the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association, 67% of U.S. households said they had a pet. That includes nearly 90 million pet dogs, 20 million pet birds, and a 9 million pet reptiles.
Narrow that down to Millennials, and 76% are pet parents. Of that group, 42% regard their pets as their kids.
With all of those pets, veterinary expenditures are also on the rise. Veterinary costs can be quite high, especially as veterinary treatments now routinely include human-grade tech and diagnostics. Kiplinger showcases the increase in cost with a cruciate ligament tear: five years ago, treatment cost $1200. Today, it’s treated in a more high-tech manner, and it costs $5000 to repair the same injury.
But while a $5000 bill for a human family member would most likely be at least partially covered by medical insurance, pet owners are still waking up to the benefits of pet insurance. And not a moment too soon. Pet insurance group Pawlicy Advisor found that nearly 50% of survey respondents wouldn’t be able to cover a $5000 veterinary expense, even with financing or credit cards to help.
Pet insurance can come in different shapes and sizes, just like pets themselves. Accident and illness plans cover both the potential for an accidental injury, like being hit by a car, as well as diagnostics and care for illnesses. Some owners opt for accident coverage only. And just like human insurance, pet insurance can come with preexisting condition caveats, so the sooner people get coverage for their new pets, the better. Pet insurance customers will also be looking out for deductibles and premiums they can afford or which apply to their pet’s special situation.
Should your company offer pet insurance? The high rate of pet ownership, pet expenditure, and costs of veterinary care all point to an ever-increasing market for pet insurance. It can give your company a boost in recruitment, aid in retention, and provide a useful benefit for your employees that could save them money — or even their pet — in the long run.
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