Aetna, the health insurance giant, may soon be insuring Fluffy the kitty or Fido your pooch. Pets Best Insurance is the new pet insurance company under the Aetna banner. They began underwriting policies last week in six states, and plan to sell in all 50 states before long.
Aetna intends to trade on its market visibility and sell Pets Best policies through the 40,000-plus veterinarians in the United States. Aetna is also counting on this for a new source of income, which will help them weather the economic downturn. Pet insurance sales have been growing at more than 20% a year since the late 1990s.
The policies will also be offered through the company website. Policy premiums will range between $300 and $500 per year per pet, based upon the chosen coverage.
The policies will pay 80% of costs, subject to a deductible, for each illness. Routine checkups, lab tests, prescriptions emergency room visits and other services are covered.
Pet Best’s policies are comparable to those that have been on the market since about 1998. Some insurers exclude hereditary and chronic conditions, others don’t.
Should you buy Pet Insurance?
About 60 percent of American households have a pet and spend over $10 billion a year on veterinary care.
If a pet lives an average of ten years, you could shell out between $3,000 and $5,000 on premiums for each pet. Without insurance, you might not ever spend that much on medical treatment. But if you are the kind of person who will do anything to take care of your pet, then medical insurance for your pet might make sense.
One of the things you might consider next time you’re shopping for a pet…remember that dogs are in veterinary offices twice as often as cats. So, if you’re a person on a budget who can’t stand the thought of life without a pet, consider a cat. Also, do some reading about the health problems inherent in the cat or dog breed you want to own.