More people are using pet insurance to cover their vet bills, increasingly popular particularly as more employers offer it as a voluntary benefit, according to Healthy Paws Pet Insurance’s 2018 statistics.
The Seattle-based carrier’s total enrollments rose by 20% last year, with Golden Retrievers being the most popular dog breed to be insured and Ragdoll cats the most popular kitty. Claims surged in 2018, increasing 31% to $173 million from a year earlier, with claims for cruciate ligament injuries spiking by 77%. Fortunately, there was a 7% drop in claims for mast cell carcinoma, the biggest decrease per claim type last year.
Most expensive 2018 claim
The most expensive claim was for Lupa, a German Shepherd that was diagnosed with tetanus toxin exposure. She stayed in the hospital for two weeks, surviving complications, and now goes through hydrotherapy to regain mobility. The total vet cost was $52,021, and Healthy Paws reimbursed $46,569 to Luca’s owners, based on a 90% reimbursement level and a $250 annual deductible.
Gastritis is the most common claim for both cats and dogs combined, with 29% of all claims being filed for cats, and 16% of all claims being filed for dogs.
“Gastritis is tummy upset, caused by eating something toxic or even by switching your pet’s regular food without warning,” Healthy Paws writes. “By visiting a vet, pet parents can usually curb this condition by sticking to a bland diet, withholding food altogether, or seeking further tests for infection.”
$18.3B paid in U.S. vet expenses in 2018
Overall, U.S. pet owners paid $18.3 billion in vet expenses in 2018, compared to $17.1 billion a year earlier, according to The American Pet Parents Association.
“Healthy Paws is looking forward to 2019 with hope and promise to help more pet parents, as well as assisting shelters and rescues around the country, too,” the carrier writes.
Whenever someone asks for a free quote for pet insurance, the nonprofit Healthy Paws Foundation donates to pet adoption organizations specifically for life-saving vaccines, spay/neuter surgeries and advanced medical treatments for homeless pets in their care, the carrier writes on its website.
As of December, the foundation has donated over $599,000 in grants to more than 225 non-profit organizations.