Best Friend Insurance
Last week was National Best Friends day. In April, it was National Pet Day. Both “holidays” made me sentimental for the dogs I have had in my life. For many people, their pet is their best friend. There have been many studies on how a pet can be a positive influence on the health of the owner. This past weekend, the New York Times dedicated a special section on how living with a pet improves human health.
Studies have found that owning a pet impacts the following areas of health:
- Having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33%. Children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.
- Pet owners are more social, and social interactions have a positive effect on an individual’s well being. They are also less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
- Dog owners have a lower rate of obesity and other related diseases. Pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels — all of which can ultimately minimize their risk for having a heart attack. For those who have already experienced a heart attack, research also indicates that patients with a dog or a cat tend to have better recovery rates.
Today, there are 221 million pets in North America, and only 1.6 million insured with pet insurance. Pet insurance carriers offer accident and illness policies that help protect the pet. These policies also allow the pet parent to afford the treatment and care necessary for a long, healthy life. According to NAPHIA, dog owners with pet insurance spend 29% more on veterinary treatments than those without pet insurance; cat owners 81%.
Pet insurance can be purchased online, and is often advertised in the vet’s office. A growing distribution channel for pet insurance is through voluntary workplace benefits. Over 5,000 companies today offer this as a benefit at work. By offering pet insurance as a benefit, many employers hope to increase productivity among the workforce. Through pet insurance coverage, workers will have greater resources to take care of their pets. This will allow for fewer lost days of work, and healthier, happier employees. The American Pet Products Association estimates that consumers will spend $17 billion on veterinary care for their pets, and almost $70 billion overall on their pets.
While the purpose of pet insurance is to protect the health and wellness of the animal, it is structured as if it were an auto policy. There are often deductibles and caps on claims over a given year and the lifetime of the animal. Most policies purchased cover accident, illness and wellness. A small portion of policies owned cover accidents only. Pets are considered property, as owners are required to purchase a license for the pet. Pet insurance is offered through Property & Casualty companies, but many of the carriers do not think of the pet as property. The carrier’s primary focus is to improve the health of the pet, and the pet family relationship.
Your dog or cat or other pet cannot tell you when they are sick or in pain. As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to be proactive with their health. Regular wellness checkups, dental care and overall diligence in any physical changes in the animal is paramount when there is a pet in the family.
You insure your car, your home and your belongings. You and your family have health insurance. Possessions are replaceable. Good health should never be taken for granted. The love of a pet and the joy they bring is irreplaceable.
Why not insure your best friend?