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Many pet owners can’t afford major veterinary bill

Faced with a $5,000 expense, only 1 in 5 could pay it while others would pursue financing or go without care.

Many pet owners can’t afford major veterinary bill

Half of the pet owners surveyed by pet health insurance broker Pawlicy Advisor couldn’t pay an unexpected $5,000 veterinary bill.

The finding, drawn from 20,000 people who showed interest in pet insurance, highlights “both the importance and the urgency of having pet insurance as COVID-19 pushes many into financial insecurity,” said company CEO and co-founder Woody Mawhinney.

The survey discovered that nearly 20% of pet owners could pay a $5,000 veterinary bill and that 30% “would seek financing options such as a loan, a credit card or a payment plan offered by the veterinarian.” The other half couldn’t cover the out-of-pocket expense.

The survey also found that 1 in 10 dog owners looking for insurance had a pet with a preexisting condition, which typically is not covered. The finding pointed to the importance of purchasing insurance when a pet is young, Pawlicy Advisor reported.

“Puppies are far less likely to develop health conditions than their older counterparts. It’s best not to wait until a condition arises,” the company stated. “Most pet insurance plans include a waiting period, and if your vet discovers an illness before your insurance kicks in, it is usually considered preexisting by the insurance company.”

Pawlicy Advisor sells insurance policies on behalf of five brands — ASPCA, Hartville, Petplan, Pets Best and PetFirst — through its website, Pawlicy.com. The company hopes to partner with “every major pet insurance company in the U.S.” by year’s end, a spokesperson said.


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