• Only 2 percent of pet owners in
the U.S. have pet insurance.
• More than 1 million pets are
insured in North America.
• In North America, 91 percent
of policies cover accidents and
illnesses, 7 percent cover preven-tive/routine care (wellness) and
3 percent cover accidents only.
• 85 percent of policies are for dogs,
15 percent are for cats and less
than 1 percent are for exotic pets
like birds and reptiles.
• Average annual household spending
on veterinary services rose from $60
to $207 between 1998 and 2008.
The Costco Connection
Costco members can get many of
their pet prescriptions filled at Costco
“It is expensive,” says Hollow, a Costco
member. “Over the years, what we paid [out-
of-pocket for pet healthcare] was less money
than what we would have paid if we had
While she strongly believes pet insurance
is worth it, Lori Griffin McPherson, a Costco
member from Dallas with a rescued Shih Tzu
mix named Presley, says she wishes she had
secured coverage on day one instead of a year
after getting her pet, which resulted in denial
of coverage for several preexisting conditions.
“But we’ve had a couple of emergencies
[since adopting Presley] where I didn’t have
to worry because I knew it would be covered,”
says McPherson. “Accidents and sudden illness is where [insurance] helps out the most.
I have been very happy with our policy.”
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 57
The best candidates
The best candidates for pet insurance
may be owners with a pet that has a higher
risk of getting sick or hurt and owners with
less disposable income who might be less
able to afford expensive surgery and treatment. Others who should contemplate
coverage include “those who consider
their pet as part of the family, because they
can’t imagine having to make a financial
decision about their pet’s health,” Lynch says.
pets for your
The bottom line, says Sheri G. Morris, a
veterinarian from Keizer, Oregon, “is that pet
insurance is not about recouping veterinary
costs. It’s about risk management against
serious accidents and illnesses, and wise pet
owners should understand that.” C
Costco member Erik J. Martin is a Chicago-based writer.
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JUNE 2013 ;e Costco Connection 59