Facts on the US Pet Insurance Market
There are multiple sources of data for much of the pet insurance market. We've collected
these together here with references so that you can draw your own conclusions.
How Big Is the US Pet Insurance Market?
Embrace estimates that at the end of 2006 there were around 520,000 pet insurance
policies in force with total direct written premium across the industry of $163 million1.
Written premiums grew at a compounded rate of 22% between 2000 and 2006.
Our calculated written premium figure is substantially lower than the $230.2 million that
the independent research firm Packaged Facts predicted in its 2005 report Pet Insurance
in North America: The Market and Trends in the US and Canada. The difference between
the numbers stems from us basing our estimate on more recent reported statutory or
regulatory data that Packaged Facts did not have access to at the time.
How Many Pets Are There in the US?
Embrace estimates there to be 147 million cats and dogs in the United States at the end of
2006. Read more about pet facts and figures.
How Many Pets Have Pet Insurance?
Embrace estimates that just 0.3% of the cat and dog population was insured in 2006. This
calculation is very simple to do - it is the number of policies in force at the end of the
year divided by the total cat and dog population. So 520,000 divided by 147 million gives
This figure is higher than the 3% of dogs and 1% of cats that others such as the American
Pet Products Manufacturers Association estimate2. Embrace believes that these numbers
are overstated by survey biases because passionate pet parents respond to surveys at a
higher rate than others surveyed.
At a high level though, it just isn't possible for 3% of the dog population and 1% of the
cat population to be insured as this would imply a pet insurance industry far larger than
reported data indicate.
How Fast Is the Pet Insurance Market Growing?
Historically, pet insurance has grown 22% compounded annually from 2000 to 2006
while Packaged Facts assumes 25% going forward. At a 25% growth rate the pet
insurance market will grow to around $400 million by 2010.
What Is the Market Share of Each Pet Insurance
We estimate the market share of the four largest pet insurance companies to be VPI
(80%), PetHealth Inc. (12%), The Hartville Group (5%), and Pets Best (2%). These
market shares are based on written premium, not policies in force.
How Many Companies Sell Pet Insurance?
Embrace knows of eight companies actively selling pet insurance in the US.
1. Embrace Pet Insurance (Mayfield Village, Ohio)
2. Hartville Group (Canton, Ohio)
3. PetFirst Healthcare (Jeffersonville, Ind.)
4. PetHealth Inc. (Toronto, Canada)
5. PetPartners (Raleigh, N. Carolina)
6. Petplan USA (Philadelphia, Penn.)
7. Pets Best Insurance (Boise, Idaho)
8. Veterinary Pet Insurance (Brea, Calif.)
How Quickly Are Veterinary Fees Increasing?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has collected monthly data on veterinary fee costs in
metropolitan areas for nearly a decade. Veterinary fees rose 64% from January 1998 to
December 2006. Over the last 5 years veterinary fee inflation has averaged 5.5% per
year, roughly double the consumer price index. At this rate veterinary fees will double
about every 13 years. That's faster than our salaries can catch up.
My Pet is always healthy – why should I buy pet insurance? [ click here ]
Even though your pet is healthy today, he may not be tomorrow. We have many calls each year
from pet owners who want to purchase pet insurance after the animal has become sick or hurt,
unfortunately by that time it is too late. Premiums are low and the benefits are high – preparation
today may allow you to avoid heartache tomorrow.
I love my dog but my friend told me that it may get hip dysplasia what should I do? [ click here ]
It is true that some breeds are more prone to hip dysplasia or other hereditary defects, PetCare
offers the MasterCare insurance programs that would cover your dog in the event that hip dysplasia
was diagnosed and needed treatment. You may enrol your pet from the age of 8 weeks and if you
are concerned you should enrol sooner rather than later – if a problem is diagnosed or symptomatic
prior to enrollment or during the 21 day waiting period for illness coverage it will be deemed a pre-
existing condition and will not be covered.
I spent thousands of dollars on my last pet’s cancer treatment I want to make sure that my new
puppy is covered to the max – what product should I buy? [ click here ]
The MasterCare family of products will provide your new puppy with $3,000, $5,000 or $7,000 of
coverage specifically for cancer.
How much money will I actually get back when I make a claim? [ click here ]
The amount of money that you will get back is determined by three things:
a) the amount of coverage that you have purchased for that specific accident or illness,
b) the deductible on the program that you have chosen and
c) the percentage coverage offered by your program choice.
Please go to Selecting the Right Coverage for examples of amount paid by program.
I want to buy pet insurance but I'm worried that I might not be able to afford it. [ click here ]
Don't be concerned, PetCare offers you choice and flexibility. Please call us at 1-877-897-7387 and
ask to speak to one of our sales representatives who will make sure that you make the decision
that's right for you.
What happens if I find I don't have enough coverage? [ click here ]
You can upgrade your policy at any time by calling one of our customer care representatives at 1-
Is there any restriction on which veterinarian that I can take my pet to? [ click here ]
No. You may go to any licensed veterinarian in North America, traditional veterinarians, alternative
therapists or specialists as long as the veterinarian is licensed.
Do your Programs cover the diagnosis as well as the treatment of accidents and illnesses? [ click
Yes our programs cover the diagnosis, testing and treatment of the covered accidents and
illnesses, including veterinary visits, laboratory tests, X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, hospitalization,
prescription food and prescription medications.
What kind of Discounts do you Offer? [ click here ]
There are a variety of discounts available on the PetCare Pet Insurance Programs including, multi-
pet discounts, microchipping discounts, group benefit discounts and more. When you enrol your pet
please make sure that you fill in all the required fields to ensure that you get the appropriate
Do I need EmergencyCare Insurance for my Pet? [ click here ]
Yes, we would advise it - EmergencyCare Insurance is a unique program that provides $3,000
coverage for life-saving treatment for your pet if it gets hurt or ill when it is lost. $19.95 per year is
all it costs to give emergency personnel the ability to save your lost pet’s life.
I live in Rental Accommodation and my landlord does not like pets – is there a program for me? [
click here ]
Yes – TenantCare will provide you with selected accident and illness coverage for your pet PLUS up
to $700 third party liability coverage to set your landlord’s mind at ease!
After signing up my pet, can I still see my regular veterinarian? [ click here ]
Yes. You can use the licensed veterinarian of your choice.
What are my payment options? [ click here ]
For monthly premiums, we accept Visa, MasterCard or Automatic Deductions from a Checking
Account. For annual premiums, we also accept Visa and MasterCard, as well as a check or money
What if I want to enrol more than one pet? [ click here ]
Each pet receives its own policy. You can use our online enrolment system to enrol all your pets in
one convenient process without having to fill out multiple application forms. If you enrol three or
more pets you are eligible for a 10% discount per policy. Maximum discount 10% per pet per policy.
If you are insuring two or more pets, and one of the pets enrolled is a cat, you will receive a 5%
discount on each premium. If your pet is registered as a 'Medical Service' pet, you will receive a
10% discount on each premium.
How do I make a claim? [ click here ]
Mail or fax in a completed one page claim form completed by yourself & your attending veterinarian
along with the detailed receipts. Fill out a claim form.
back to top
After doing my research, I picked PetCare Insurance for my dog, Hugo, because
not only do you offer many choices about costs and plans, you also offer an
automatic monthly payment that is debited from my credit card - payments I hardly
noticed! I also opted for the most extensive coverage; coverage I feel is not offered
by other pet insurance companies. A few months after enrolling, I found some
'lumps and bumps' on Hugo that needed surgery. There was blood work, operating
room expenses, lab fees and surgical fees. Following a report from my veterinarian,
which I submitted to PetCare Insurance, I was reimbursed for all expenses per my
policy and received this within a timely fashion. A few months after that, I had an
accident resulting in a torn hamstring muscle and I was admitted to the hospital.
Hugo was taken to a pet care facility and it was three weeks before I was able to
resume caring for him. The cost was several hundred dollars. Fortunately, I'd
chosen a plan with PetCare Insurance that reimbursed me for just this kind of
occurrence; a situation I could never imagine happening! By the way, Hugo has just
passed the national Delta Society qualifying test as a certified Therapy Dog.
PetCare Insurance has made it possible for Hugo to give something back to the
Client: Rose Klevansky, Philadelphia Pet: Hugo - Poodle - 8 years old Conditions: Mass
removal; boarding kennel fees
Claim Paid: $661.93
Facts About Pet Insurance
Myth: Pet insurance works the same as an HMO.
Fact: No, they actually work differently. With a VPI policy you can:
See any licensed veterinarian worldwide versus see certain doctors.
Pay at the time of service versus make a co-pay.
File a VPI claim for reimbursement versus using a medical card and number.
Myth: I should wait to purchase pet insurance until my family talks it
Fact: VPI offers a 10-day, money-back guarantee. This offers you the opportunity to
discuss it with your family without delaying the enrollment process.
Myth: Pet insurance is more expensive than my health insurance.
Fact: Pet insurance is much less expensive than human health insurance. Employers
typically pay 80% - 90% of an employee's health insurance. A government survey*
showed that small companies paid an average premium of $3,003.31 per employee
for health insurance coverage. However, the average contribution by an employee
was only $396.12. The average base VPI medical plan for a dog is between $22 and
$28 per month, and between $15 and $18 per month for a cat. Pet WellCare
Protection℠ rider is an additional monthly fee that varies by state based on
*Source: 2000 Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Survey
Myth: I should wait until my pet is older to purchase pet insurance.
Fact: Young pets are like babies and toddlers. They lack full coordination, so they
are more likely to fall. They aren't experienced in knowing which situations can hurt
them. And they are so small they don't know when they're in the way. It's always
better to enroll them when they're young and before pre-existing conditions develop,
or accidents and illness occurs.
VPI accepts applications for dogs and cats as young as six weeks old. Dogs and cats
10 years or older are not eligible for new enrollment.
More Facts About Pet Insurance
Myth: Pet insurance seems expensive.
Fact: Without VPI, you're looking at possibly thousands of dollars in unexpected bills
due to illness, accident and injury. In most cases, the average base VPI medical
policy for a dog is between $22 and $28 per month, and between $15 and $18 per
month for a cat.
Myth: An indoor pet won't have many health problems.
Fact: There is no such thing as a "pet-proofed" home. Potential hazards loom even
in the best protected homes. How many times has a pet been injured when they
have accidentally gotten out of the house? Additionally, many health problems are
hidden by your pet, which is why it’s important to visit your veterinarian for routine
checkups. Routine blood screening panels and urinalysis can detect hidden health
problems. It is always better to prepare for the unexpected.
Myth: Filing a claim is difficult.
Fact: It's easy to file a claim.
1. Take a copy of your personalized claim form to your next veterinarian visit
2. Have your veterinarian provide your pet's diagnosis.
3. Complete the claim form and submit it along with all supporting receipts and
4. Make copies of the completed claim form and itemized veterinary bill for your
Click here to download a blank claim form.
Completed claim forms can be submitted one of two ways:
FAX completed claim form, itemized receipt(s) or invoice(s) to 714-989-
MAIL completed claim form with itemized receipts or invoices to VPI Claims
Department, P.O. Box 2344, Brea, Calif., 92822-2344
If additional information is required to review a claim, VPI will send you a letter
listing the medical record dates, laboratory reports or any specific medical history
needed. As your pet's owner, you have the authority to request this information from
Myth: Instead of pet insurance, I can just start saving now for a pet
illness or emergency.
Fact: Good intentions are great, but how many of us carry through? Besides, if an
emergency occurs in the next few months and you've only saved a few dollars, you
won't have the money needed for treatments or surgery. Most pet families aren't
prepared to put aside that much money at one time for pet illnesses or accidents.
Myth: If pet insurance is important I would have already heard about
Fact: VPI has been protecting America's pets since 1982. Licensed in all 50 states
and the District of Columbia, our VPI family is growing every day because pet owners
like you want the best protection for their pets.
Myth: I can't afford to insure all of my pets.
Fact: We'll help. We offer a multiple pet discount. You can save 5% when you enroll
two or three pets, and 10% when you enroll four or more pets. VPI also offers a
convenient monthly payment plan.
Myth: Pet insurance is only for cats and dogs.
Fact: From chinchillas to parrots to guinea pigs to birds, we cover many other pets
with the VPI Avian & Exotic Pet Plan. The plan is available in all states and offers
affordable coverage for lab fees, treatment, prescriptions, X-rays, surgery and more.
Myth: I can only enroll if I use a credit card.
Fact: For your convenience, you may use a credit card, debit card or pay by check.
We also offer monthly and annual payment options.
Do you need pet insurance?
Advances in pet health care can leave owners with big vet bills
Some owners purchase pet insurance
Age, breed-specific ailments may limit coverage
Coverage for dogs costs more than cat insurance
By Joan Shim
(LifeWire) -- When David Quilty of Santa Monica, California, took his cat Damon to the vet for a checkup, he
didn't expect to spend $1,000 to get two of Damon's teeth pulled because of cavities.
"It was quite a shock," Quilty says. "It's the biggest expense we've ever had on him, and the cat is 13 years
Like Quilty, many pet owners are concerned by the rising cost of pet health care, which is partially the result
of advances in veterinary medicine. Some are looking to pet health care insurance as one way to cope.
"The medical treatments and technologies being used for humans are now being used for pets," says Laura
Bennett, chief executive officer and co-founder of Embrace Pet Insurance. Chemotherapy, heart surgery and
MRIs are becoming more common in the pet world. But advanced treatments and surgeries can cost
thousands of dollars.
Some pet owners facing an animal's serious illness or injury will choose to euthanize -- put the animal down
-- for financial reasons. Or they will decide on a less expensive treatment for an injured animal.
"If they have a fracture that they can't afford to get stabilized -- can't afford to go to the orthopedic surgeon to
plate it -- they might choose amputation rather than fix the fracture," says Dr. Lauren Adams of Emory
Such tough decisions are more likely in rural areas, Adams says, noting her clients in Decatur, Georgia,
usually are able to pay for any specialized treatments that their pets may need.
Statistics show that people are willing to foot the growing medical bills for their beloved pets. U.S. pet
owners spent $10.5 billion on vet care in 2005, compared to $7.2 billion in 2000, according to the Pet
Industry Strategic Outlook report from Dillon Media LLC, a marketing and research firm.
Statistics vary on the percentage of pet owners in the U.S. who insure their pets. A 2004 survey by the
American Animal Hospital Association estimated that three percent of pet owners carried insurance. That's
far lower than in Sweden, where nearly 50 percent of pet owners insure their animals, according to market
research publisher Packaged Facts.
Pet health insurance may be worth considering as a way to prepare for unexpected medical expenses.
What's not always clear is whether it is cost-effective. Regardless, some pet care practitioners say such
insurance may simply give owners peace of mind or help them make decisions about their pet's future that
are not influenced by financial considerations.
When pet insurance makes sense
After Quilty felt the pinch of Damon's vet bill, he started looking into pet insurance. But he decided not to
insure Damon when Quilty learned that most policies only offer full coverage to cats less than 9 years old.
An older feline like Damon would qualify only for accident coverage, and dental coverage is not included.
On the other hand, Norma Jean Kern of Hickory, North Carolina, is sure that purchasing insurance was the
right decision. Soon after she signed up to cover Storm, her Akita puppy, the policy paid off.
Storm was running along the fence in the yard when the neighbor's dog caught hold of his leg and tried
pulling him under the fence. Storm's leg was severely mangled, and he needed three operations and regular
X-rays. Embrace Pet Insurance has reimbursed Kern for most of her bills. She has a 20 percent deductible,
and so far the company has paid about $3,000.
Choosing a pet insurance policy
Companies selling pet insurance in the U.S. include Veterinary Pet Insurance, Pethealth Inc., The Hartville
Group, Pets Best Insurance, Embrace Pet Insurance, PetFirst Healthcare, PetPartners and Petplan USA.
These companies generally offer a few levels of policies ranging from $5 to $30 a month on average for a
healthy pet. The cost varies depending on the extent of coverage, benefit limits, deductibles and co-
payments. Dogs are generally more expensive to insure than cats.
Coverage varies according to company and plan as well. For example, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance's most
basic "safety plan" covers only treatment for injuries such as broken bones, bee stings and burns. At the
other end of the spectrum, Embrace Pet Insurance's policies, which can be customized, cover cancer
treatment and alternative therapy like acupuncture.
When shopping around for a policy, find out exactly what the policy covers and what the exclusions are.
Most policies exclude pre-existing conditions and many exclude hereditary conditions, which purebred cats
and dogs are more likely to have, or limit coverage for older animals.
Here are some additional questions to ask the insurance company:
• Are my claim payments based on my vet bill or the insurance company's benefit schedule?
• Are drug and dental coverage included?
• Will my premium go up over time, as I file claims, or my pet gets older?
• How will I be reimbursed? Do I pay the vet and then submit the bill, or will the vet handle billing?
• Does the plan cover chronic or recurring conditions?
• What are the financial limits of coverage? How are they applied?
If your pet is advanced in years, in poor health, or if you do not want to subject the animal to a major surgical
procedure, insurance may not be a worthwhile investment. Talk to your vet about your pet's health and
query insurance companies about the limits of coverage before purchasing a policy.
LifeWire provides original and syndicated lifestyle content to Web publishers. Joan Shim is a freelance writer and former editor at
Pet Product News.
Find this article at:
We have all seen the heart wrenching ads on TV with the injured pet clinging to life and
the family making the heartbreaking decision to let him go- because they can’t pay for
treatment. As much as pet health insurance may seem to be a viable option for pet
owners, there are certain myths and facts about it that should be dispelled. Ultimately, it
should be up to the owner to decide whether or not pet health insurance is right for them.
A widely misconceived myth about pet health insurance is that they work just like human
insurance policies. The fact is, unlike many common policies human individuals hold,
most pet insurance policies will cover any veterinary care at any clinic throughout the
nation. However, human and pet policies are alike in some ways. For example, they will
cover everything from emergencies to routine check ups and vaccinations. Depending on
the insurance provider you choose, you may pay a co-pay or you may not.
Many other individuals that are considering pet health insurance question whether or not
it is right for them. They think that their indoor cat or dog has little chance of breaking a
bone or contracting a serious disease. Unfortunately, no matter if your dog lives inside or
out, they have almost a completely similar chance of getting ill or in an accident. Pet
health insurance is not just for outdoor critters.
Pet owners often mistakenly wait until their pet ‘grows up’ before purchasing pet
insurance. A common myth is that puppies and kittens don’t need insurance. However,
young pets are just like babies and toddlers. They tend to lack coordination and can find
themselves in troubling situations just as easily as grown animals. Additionally, there is
often many upfront veterinary costs when you adopt a young animal. Remember that
emergency pet care can be just as costly as emergency care for humans.
In the unfortunate event that your beloved pet passes away, pet insurance can be helpful
in covering some of the costs of the death- just as if they were a loved human. As with
human insurance, some pet insurance companies will offer assistance in paying for the
cremation or burial of a pet. With so many Memorial Pet Urns and Pet Cremation urns
available, you are sure to be able to keep your sweet pet’s memory alive for all time.
Regardless of the superior health or financial stability of your family, it is important to
weigh all of the myths and facts about pet health insurance before deciding whether or
not it is right for you.
Natalie Aranda writes about family and pets. In the unfortunate event that your beloved
pet passes away, pet insurance can be helpful in covering some of the costs (cost of Pet
Cremation urns, for instance) of the death- just as if they were a loved human. As with
human insurance, some pet insurance companies will offer assistance in paying for the
cremation or burial of a pet. With so many Memorial Pet Urns and Pet Cremation urns
available, you are sure to be able to keep your sweet pet’s memory alive for all time.
"Jake, our miniature schnauzer, needed emergency surgery after the cord ruptured in his heart
valve. He has now received the okay from his cardiologist to resume his K-9 therapy duties. He is
feeling good, is full of personality and well worth the effort to save him. My husband and I sincerely
The History of Pet Insurance in the US
Pet insurance appeared in the United States in 1982 when Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)
sold its first pet health insurance policy to television's most famous dog, Lassie. VPI was
launched by a consortium of over 700 veterinarians headed up by veterinarian Dr. Jack
Stephens who wanted to reduce the amount of "economic euthanasia" as he coined it:
pets being put down because of the high cost of veterinary care.
For most of VPI's history, the company dominated the pet insurance industry by being the
only company to survive the early struggles of a product that came before its time. Other
companies saw the success of pet insurance in the UK and many business plans were
built around the potential of pet insurance in the US. When these companies began
selling policies though, they often closed down one or two years later from lack of sales.
These companies tried hard to connect with pet owners but pet owners were not inspired
by what they saw.
For example, Fireman's Fund closed down its pet insurance division in early 1994 after
having written only 7,000 policies in three years. Fireman's Fund claimed they closed due
to the difficulty in educating potential customers about pet insurance.
VPI itself faced many challenges over the years. Due to the difficulty reaching US pet
owners on a small marketing budget in a pre-internet world, VPI struggled to make a
profit, even with their founder's strong ties to veterinarians, and in 1991 the California
insurance commissioner seized the company for violating capital and surplus
Several VPI investors, such as Ralston Purina and Veterinary Centers of America, came
and went over the next few years. In 1998 Scottsdale Insurance stepped in with a major
investment and has remained a committed partner to VPI, becoming the company's
majority owner. Procter & Gamble has also invested in VPI through its Iams subsidiary
in 2003, showing the draw of pet insurance for companies successful in other areas of the
Towards the end of the 90s, two new companies finally managed to get a toehold in the
market. Pet Protect, founded by Rhona Sutter, an ex-Lloyd's broker from the UK,
launched in 1997 with a very straightforward product and a low key approach to
marketing. The Hartville Group, led by Russell Smith III, an investment banker, launched
at the end of 1997 under the Petshealth Care brand but pushed forward with more of a
splash, using the cartoon character Garfield in its marketing and advertising campaigns.
The Hartville Group also introduced routine care coverage such as vaccinations and
annual visits, something new to the US pet insurance market. Shortly thereafter, VPI
launched its own routine care add-on and the pet insurance market started to pick up. In
2001, PetHealth, founded by Mark Warren, another investment banker, launched in the
US under the PetCare, ShelterCare, and Union Plus brands.
Around the start of the millennium, the pet insurance market picked up speed to grow at
around 40 to 50% a year, although from a very small starting point, reaching written
premium of $120 million in 2004, up from just $15 million in 1998. Even with this
growth, all the companies had their ups and downs trying to balance claims payments and
expenses with revenue.
Pet Protect finally closed its doors in 2006 after not increasing its premiums since
inception. The Hartville Group and VPI both brought in new insurance-focused
management in 2004 and 2005 to reposition the companies and drive new growth.
PetHealth continued to draw on outside investment to continue operations.
In the last few years, several new companies have entered the market lured by a market
that is beginning to show some promise. Pet Partners arrived in 2003 under the AKC Pet
Healthcare Plan brand and Pet First and Pets Best (launched by Dr. Jack Stephens, VPI's
ex-CEO) launched in 2005. Subsequently, Petplan USA and Embrace Pet Insurance
entered the market by the end of 2006.
The Future of Pet Insurance
The current state of the market is heating up with the larger pet insurance companies
beginning to hit their stride. Most participants in the market agree that more pet insurance
companies will raise awareness of pet insurance among pet parents by virtue of their
combined marketing. The number of insured cats and dogs in the US (approximately
520,000 as of 2006), is still small compared to 140 million or more cats and dogs in the
US and there is room for all to grow.
You can expect to see more companies enter the market over the next few years and some
acquisitions by larger insurance companies interested in diversifying their revenues from
one of the fastest-growing personal lines in insurance.
How Many Pet Insurance Companies Have Gone
An enduring myth of the pet insurance industry is that over the years dozens of
companies have come into existence only to just as quickly go out of business. But in this
case the facts about the industry say otherwise.
Through careful research, we have identified the following pet insurance programs as
having launched and then shut up shop over the last 25 years:
1. Frontier Insurance (started 1982, closed 1988)
2. VMS (started 1985, closed 1988)
3. Medipet (started 1990, closed 1994)
4. Pet Protect (started 1997, closed 2006)
5. Premier Pet Insurance (started 1999, closed 2003)
6. Midwest Pet Insurance (started 2000, closed 2003)
7. BluePaws Pet Insurance (started 2000, closed 2001)
It is important to note that most pet insurance policies are sold today through agencies of
the underwriting insurance company. All the pet insurance companies on the market
today are actually pet insurance agencies. Several pet insurance agencies closed after
9/11 because the insurance companies that underwrote them were keen to exit businesses
that they didn't understand well. But the insurance companies themselves stayed in
business, they just chose to not sell pet insurance through these specialist agencies.
One area that could contribute to the impression that many pet insurance companies have
come and gone is the appearance of veterinary discount programs. Many pet discount
programs have risen only to disappear soon after, such as Hawaii Pet Care Alliance and
American Pet Health Plans. These discount plans typically offer pet parents a substantial
discount from a network of participating veterinarians in exchange for an annual fee;
however, pet owners have generally resisted programs that force them to go to particular
veterinarians, even for a discount, and veterinarians have been reluctant to sign up with
these groups. While pet discount programs may help manage veterinary costs, these
organizations do not offer insurance plans that protect pet owners against unexpected
risks and should not be pooled with pet insurance company statistics.
Eight Reasons You Need Pet Insurance
#1 - No Need to Decide Under Emotional Stress
If your pet suddenly falls sick or is injured, the last thing you want to worry about is
having to make a tradeoff between what you feel is right and what you can afford. Pet
insurance allows you to avoid life-or-money decisions like these.
#2 - Pets Can Get Sick Any Time
Young dogs eat stuff they shouldn't, indoor cats don't get enough exercise and can
become overweight and unhealthy, older pets get arthritis and high blood pressure. Stuff
like this happens, you can't really plan for it.
#3 - Do What Is Right, Not What You Can Afford
When you are discussing treatment options with your veterinarian, you want to focus on
doing the right thing, not the cost. Pet insurance helps you do that.
#4 - Seemingly Simple Things Can Cost Thousands
A simple fracture can cost $2,000 or $3,000 to repair. Could you pay this if it happened
#5 - You Have How Much Saved Up?
You keep saying you want to set aside an emergency fund for veterinary bills ... how
much have you saved up so far?
#6 - Vet Costs Rising Faster Than Your Wages
Veterinary care is expensive and continues to get more expensive as it becomes more
sophisticated. The statistics say that our wages are having trouble keeping up.
#7 - It's Not Expensive
Pet insurance that is designed properly can help you plan for life's unexpected turns and
be inexpensive too.
#8 - Because They Would Do It for You
The unconditional love your pet shows you every day tells you
Advanced Veterinary Care Can Be
Anyone who has taken her pet to the veterinarian recently knows that a visit there can
cost a small fortune. Not too long ago a pet with a serious illness or injury may have been
put down. Today, using advanced technology and techniques, veterinarians are able in
many cases to give many pets a second chance and a good shot at getting back to good
health and leading a normal life again.
Veterinary Medicine in the 21st Century
Veterinary medicine is advancing alongside human medicine at an amazing speed. Pet
parents are not only educating themselves on the different treatment options available for
their pets but are also demanding them too. Some of the advanced treatments that
veterinarians are able to offer today include:
Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and surgery for pets suffering
Advanced imaging with MRI, CT, and ultrasound scans
Minimally invasive or "keyhole" veterinary surgery
Advanced cardiac surgery
Veterinary drugs are also available that treat a wide range of conditions that would have
been unthinkable just a decade ago. For example, Deramaxx, Rimadyl, and Previcox are
advanced drugs offering relief to dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.
Veterinary Fees Headed Up
Although veterinary medicine can offer your pet the best treatment in the world, it can
come with a price tag that can easily reach thousands of dollars very quickly. Emergency
veterinary clinics can be particularly expensive because they are open 24 hours, have
specialized equipment, and often have specialist veterinarians on staff.
The veterinary industry has no pricing guidelines and faces no pressure from PPO/HMO
networks that try to keep prices down. The cost of veterinary care has been growing 6 to
7% each year for the last several years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
around twice as fast as your wages, making veterinary care increasingly more expensive.
Despite all of this, veterinarians are still less expensive than human doctors. It might not
feel that way though because you are totally exposed to paying the full veterinary bill
while with your own health care you have insurance to help pay.
Pets Living Longer Than Ever
Thanks to such things as the widespread use of vaccinations protecting against fatal
diseases like distemper, leash laws to prevent pets getting into accidents while outside the
home, and cheap antibiotics, pets are living longer than ever.
If pets are living longer, they are also showing their age. Older pets suffer from many of
the same diseases and conditions of old age that humans do: obesity due to a sedentary
lifestyle, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, Cushing's disease, and
cataracts, just to name a few.
And pet parents must pay out of pocket to treat these infirmities of their senior pets. Pet
insurance covers the cost of treating not just senior pets but pets of all ages.
Myths and Facts About Pet Insurance
Myth: You can't get pet insurance for an older pet.
Fact: Just because your pet isn't a puppy or kitten anymore doesn’t mean you can't insure
him. Pet insurance companies will usually issue a new policy to pets up to 8 or 10 years
old, sometimes older if your pet undergoes a medical. Your premium might be higher
than on a younger pet and some pre-existing conditions may be excluded. The best thing
is to enroll your pet when he's young and healthy and avoid pre-existing conditions. At
Embrace we definitely offer pet insurance to older pets and the good thing is once your
pet is insured you can keep him insured, you won't be kicked out because of your pet's
Myth: Since my pet is well now there's no point buying pet insurance.
Fact: Precisely because your pet has been well means that now is the best time to buy pet
insurance because your pet has no pre-existing conditions. Why wait until after your pet
becomes sick and you wish you had pet insurance? Why wait until your pet gets a pre-
existing condition that pet insurance won't cover? No matter how well your pet is today,
there is always a chance that your pet will get sick or injured. Wouldn't you want them to
have protection in that case?
Myth: I have to wait until my pet's current medical condition has resolved itself
before getting pet insurance.
Fact: Your pet's current condition may be considered a temporary pre-existing condition
but that doesn't mean you can't get pet insurance to cover everything else. For example, if
your pet recently cut its leg badly and is still undergoing treatment, conditions relating to
this cut - and this cut alone - may be excluded for your first year of insurance but if
everything resolves and clears up you will be eligible for full coverage again in the
second and subsequent years.
Myth: Pet insurance is only worthwhile if you have a very active pet or an older pet
that is likely to develop problems.
Fact: While it is true that an older pet is likely to require a greater level of medical
attention than a younger pet that doesn't mean that younger pets don't get sick or injured.
And just because a pet isn't highly active doesn't mean it can't get sick. Even indoor cats
benefit from pet insurance.
Myth: Pet insurance should pay for routine care coverage such as vaccinations and
Fact: Here at Embrace we do not believe that the best interests of our pet parents are
served by offering routine care coverage with pet insurance. To understand why we
believe this read more about what insurance is really for.
Myth: I don't need pet insurance because I can save a small amount each month to
pay for anything that might happen.
Fact: Setting aside a small amount each month as an alternative to pet insurance can
definitely help. But there are two downsides to consider: one is that many of us find it
hard to save something every month, the other is that you need to wait a long time before
you've built up enough savings to pay for a serious illness or accident. For example, if
you save $25 each month at 4% interest (paid monthly) after 5 years you will have saved
$1,657. But your cat or dog is not going to wait until you've got enough money saved up
to get sick! And a broken leg alone can cost $1,000 to $2,000 to fix.
Shouldn't I Wait Until My Puppy Or Kitten Is Older?
Insuring your puppy or kitten when they're young means that you can lock in
their rate until dogs turn 8 and cats are 12, saving money each month on their
Curious young dogs and cats have the highest risk of accidents because they are
so inquisitive by nature.
Puppies and kittens get into almost everything, and often swallow objects while
Because their immune systems are not fully developed, young pets are also more
prone to disease from viruses and bacteria.
Symptoms of some diseases, like kidney failure, take months or years to show
themselves. Since we are not able to cover pre-existing conditions, insuring your
pets at a young age helps guarantee that the majority of your pet's illnesses will
When Is A Dog Or Cat Too Old To Insure?
The older a pet gets, the greater chance it has of developing cancer, heart
disease, kidney failure, and other problems of aging that we all do.
The University of Missouri estimates that 60% of dogs over the age of 6 will be
diagnosed with some form of cancer. Cancer treatments commonly cost anywhere
from $2,000 to $10,000.
Senior pets often require more care than their younger counterparts. You can rest
easy knowing that every accident and illness that occurs after you sign up will be
Pets Best policyholders in their own words:
I recently had a claim for my cat, and it was processed faster than anything
I have ever seen! Thank you for helping pet owners like me with multiple pets. I am
enrolling another animal today. Great job!
L. Arndt, Phoenix, AZ
Thank you so much for making it possible for Gabriella to have her surgery. I received
my reimbursement almost immediately and find your customer service to be excellent.
What a relief it was to not have to worry when this tragedy occurred. L. Hannigan,
Las Vegas, NV
We only had Mia for 2 weeks when her front elbow was fractured. We immediately took
her to our veterinarian, received treatment and filed our claim. We thought it wasn't
going to be as easy as it was, but to our surprise we received our claim check within a
couple of days after filing. Thanks to Pet Best, Mia is back to normal and living a
healthy life. S. Dale, Rowlett, TX
Many people laughed at me for purchasing such ‘nonsense.' However, I quickly proved
them wrong when Pets Best came through for my little family and reimbursed 80% of the
cost of treating Maurice's horrible abscess. Pets Best was prompt, efficient, and very
courteous as well! Maurice is now walking around as though nothing had happened,
and I am able to rest a little from the monetary and emotional hardship we endured. C.
Falter, San Diego, CA
What a pleasure it has been being a policy holder with Pets Best! The courtesy and
quality of your customer service representatives and your responsiveness is
unsurpassed. My previous experience with pet insurance was not pleasant, so
having Pets Best as our carrier for our cat Josey has been most comforting. Keep
up the good work – you are the BEST! L. Backa, Dallas, TX
With as many as 5 dogs previously on a competitor's policies for more than 3 years, I had
an almost full-time employee working to analyze and figure out what they paid and didn't
pay, and we never understood how they got to the amount. Pets Best received the bill,
credited my deductible, and paid me 80%. I feel much better about the quality of care
my dogs receive as your insured. R. Lorsch, Beverly Hills, CA
Our family dog Basia, broke a bone in her elbow. The orthopedic surgery cost $1,700.
We had no way of planning for that expense. The first thing any pet owner should do
is get their pet insured. K. Parker, Villa Park, CA
One of our cats bit the other causing a badly infected leg. I had it treated, and sent the
form to you for reimbursement. I received your check just a few days later. What
service! I have been recommending you to all my friends with pets ever since.
M. Julien, San Angelo, TX
Quick Care testimonials
I decided to sign up for pet insurance with PetCare after a friend told me about it, and I realized it wasn't a bad
price, and that I could afford it! Only a few days after I signed up for PetCare coverage, my dog was hit by a car.
Chelsea dislocated her hip and had a broken pelvis. I was pleased to see that Petcare paid the claim, even though
I had only been signed up for a couple of days. She is doing really well now, and just today started running again. I
have been telling all my friends about PetCare!
Client: Kerrie Sanders
Pet: Chelsea, German Sheppard, age 5
Condition: Motor Vehicle Accident
Claim Paid: $1495.36
I found out about pet insurance through a friend in New Jersey. I decided to sign up my 2 Jack
Russell Terriers. One day when I was out, 2 year old Patch (who is a real live wire!), got into my
briefcase and managed to eat a bottle of Motrin. When I got home, Patch was shaking like a leaf.
We rushed him to Emergency, where he was put on intravenous and kept overnight, after that he
was kept for three more nights at his regular veterinarians. Thank goodness for our pet insurance.
Patch was treated right away and my claim was paid quickly too. Both my dogs are insured with
pet insurance and I am very pleased with the results. I continually tell friends and colleges about
pet insurance and all it has done for us.
Client: Margaret Mettimano, Pennsylvania
Pet: Patch, Jack Russell Terrier - 2 years old
Claim Submitted: $523.20
Claim Paid: $471.17
Our dogs love to run around our property, however sometimes they come home with cuts and
abrasions. It made us wonder what we would do if something more serious happened. We had
heard about pet insurance through our veterinarian and thought it sounded like a good idea...
Well it was a good idea! One day Abby came home vomiting. She had hives and trouble
breathing. We were terrified. We rushed her to the veterinarian, who said she must have eaten
some type of poison. She was treated immediately and now Abby is back to her happy self. It
helped knowing that any costs we were to incur were covered with our pet insurance.
Client: Rachel Mulvihill; Morrison, CO
Pet: Abby, Black Lab Mix, 3 years old
Condition: Poison Ingestion
Claim Submitted: $681.40
Claim Paid: $678.16
After adopting my dog Sake from a shelter, I purchased my pet insurance policy online. I've been
very happy with my pet insurance and very grateful that I took out the policy for Sake. She loves
to play outside and somehow one-day she injured her ACL. When I contacted my pet insurance
company, the representatives were very helpful and I received my check the week after I
submitted my claim. Taking out pet insurance was the greatest thing I have ever done. What an
Client: Maryann McGinn
Pet: Sake, Mixed Breed
Condition: Cruciate Ligament Injury
Claim Submitted: $2845.75
Claim Paid: $2795.75
I decided to sign up for pet insurance after a friend told me about it, and I realized it wasn't a bad
price, and that I could afford it! Only a few days after I signed up for pet insurance, my dog was
hit by a car. Chelsea dislocated her hip and had a broken pelvis. I was pleased to see that my pet
insurance company paid the claim, even though I had only been signed up for a couple of days.
She is doing really well now, and just today started running again. I have been telling all my
friends about pet insurance!
Client: Kerrie Sanders
Pet: Chelsea, German Sheppard, age 5
Condition: Motor Vehicle Accident
Claim Paid: $1495.36
I had never had pet health insurance before I took it out for my Norwegian Forest Cat, Sonshine
Superstar. He developed liver problems requiring expensive veterinary intervention. I received my
reimbursement check in the mail yesterday and I am very happy I decided to insure Soni with pet
Client: Lesa Marshall
Pet: Sonshine Superstar (Cat)
Age: 18 months
Condition: Liver Problems
Claim Paid: $2,329.00