Pet insurance as a voluntary benefit: what you need to know

To combat rising health care costs and ensure the best possible care for their beloved animals, many pet owners now carry insurance for their pets. In fact, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) reports that nearly 1.8 million North American pets were insured in 2016, an increase of 11.5 percent over the previous year. Companies appear to be taking note.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) 2017 Employee Benefits Report, 1-in-10 firms polled now offer pet insurance as a voluntary benefit, up from nine percent in 2016 and 2015.

Pet insurance is now widely available, with Nationwide and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (via the United States Fire Insurance Company) among those offering policies. The ASPCA even has a quick, simple quote generator for coverage of cats and dogs.

The cost of treating pet illness and injury can be no small expense, which makes coverage a logical option as an expense-reducing mechanism.

For both cats and dogs, stomach issues were the most common ailment driving claims, according to Healthy Paws Pet Insurance's 2016 Cost of Care report. According to the insurer, an X-ray ranges from $150 to $400, with an endoscopy -- an in-stomach camera shot -- costing $800 to $1,000.

Generally, it costs more to insure a dog than a cat. According to NAPHIA, which surveyed 12 pet insurance agencies, the average annnual accident/illness premium for a dog was $517.63 in 2016, compared to $321.27 for a cat.

As Employee Benefit Adviser notes, U.S. veterinary care cost more than $15 billion in 2015, per a Harris poll estimate. As with student loan and credit card debt, pet expenses are very much a household reality for many Americans. With this in mind, pet insurance figures to be an employee benefit on the radar of more and more companies.

Contact Us

For additional information on pet insurance, as well as any other employee benefits matters affecting your employees, contact a Plexus client service team member at 847-307-6100 (Deer Park), 312-606-4800 (Chicago), 972-770-5010 (Dallas), or 405-840-3033 (Oklahoma City). You can also contact us via the Web. We're here to help -- and we are happy to help.