When Jeff Foose welcomed Lucy, a Boston terrier, into his family in 2014, protecting her health was a big concern. His veterinarian recommended pet health insurance from a company called Trupanion, and Foose bought in. He appreciated that the company’s policy promised it would never raise his premiums by more than 20% a year.
That pledge didn’t last long. Trupanion has raised Lucy’s premiums by well over that limit in some years, his documents show, and Trupanion just told him that he and other pet owners in New Jersey could see their premiums rise 33.6% this year. Making matters worse, Foose said he can’t change insurance carriers because Lucy has a skin condition that a new insurer would likely not cover.
Seattle-based Trupanion, the leader in the pet insurance field, says it must raise premiums because vet costs are rising. Foose is unhappy. “It makes me crazy when someone sells me something and they make an embedded promise they don’t keep,” he told NBC News.
Since 2018, the number of insured pets in the U.S. has risen almost 23% a year, on average. Roughly 80% of insured pets are dogs, with cats making up the rest. As pet insurance has increased in popularity, consumer criticisms have risen as well. They fall into three main categories, veterinarians say — long waits for claims reimbursement, denial of claims for pre-existing conditions and premium increases.
Kevin Brasler, executive editor of Consumers’ Checkbook, an independent organization that helps consumers shop for the best prices on goods and services, said, “Pet insurance is a really expensive product. It seems inexpensive at first when you’re only paying $40 a month. But a lot of things have to go wrong with your pet to make pet insurance a good deal.”
Read the full story on NBCNews.com