Pet insurance is perhaps one of the hidden success stories that emerged from the Covid 19 pandemic. As more people stayed home, and working from home became the norm than the exception for two years, many folks began to get pets. A recent report pointed out a leap in pet adoption numbers and the rise of a nascent pet care industry in its wake. It argues the rise of urban living, and nuclear families with the pandemic have acted as a catalyst driving the trend.
In the last few years, the perception of pets from ownership to being part of family life has seen an increase. The need for companionship, emotional support, and happiness during the pandemic meant pets transformed from domestic animals to companions. Another recent report estimates that the pet care industry will touch the Rs 10,000 crore mark by 2025, with consumer durable brands also looking at making forays into the sector.
As pets become family and a swathe of facilities have opened up for them, including spas, care centers, and so on, it would appear that pet insurance is also seeing an upward trajectory. Estimates suggest more than 20 million pets have insurance in India and the overall pet care industry is valued at a whopping Rs 500 crore. As pet parents look for the best solutions for their ‘pet children’, this sector is estimated to witness a lot of growth potential.
What does pet insurance entail?
Owning a pet is an expensive proposition, though it may not appear so. One has to account for pet-specific food with enough nutrition for good health, purchase accessories, get vaccinations done on time, and so on. Moreover, much like humans, a medical emergency involving a pet is likely to set back the pet parents by a considerable amount.
Much like humans, pets require extensive healthcare; especially in the first 18 months such as vaccination shots, infections, and senior care beyond 10 years. Most pet healthcare is centered on private clinics and vets. If in a financial crunch, pet parents will not be able to afford modern clinics with the best support to treat their pets, especially in case of an emergency. The high treatment costs involved in pet medical treatments play an important part. This can change with the rapid adoption of pet insurance by pet owners.
As pet adoption numbers go up, taking a pet insurance policy makes financial sense for pet parents. It aids in financially securing the overall health and well-being of your pets by tackling the treatment costs. Much like humans, they would offer payment options for pet treatment if they sustain injuries or suffer from ailments and require medical intervention. It often covers veterinary services as well, including general consultations, nutritional counselling, medical and surgical interventions, emergency care, and includes protection from theft or accidents of the pet as well.
Pet owners can also opt for wellness check-ups and behavioral consultation of their furry friend via telemedicine. Also, since the COVID-19 pandemic is resurfacing, telemedicine for pets might see growth in popularity, as many pet owners will avoid making unneeded trips to the vet. Telemedicine is an evolving field, especially for pets, and has the potential to save healthcare costs, boost convenience for pet owners, and increase access to veterinarian treatment.
It eliminates the risks of high expenditure for medical treatment of the pet and protects its life by providing the best treatment at the right time. In addition, they often insure the policyholder against damage claimed by third parties – that is, people who may be affected by the pet’s actions.
Let’s understand the need for insurance for pets with numbers. Routine healthcare expenses such as vaccinations, deworming, and so on cost about Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000, a year, and additional expenses can bring that cost up to almost a lakh annually. Pet insurance will help reduce these costs significantly.
Pet insurance helps keep pet parents financially secure even when the pet is ill or facing complex medical conditions and emergencies. It will mean that you do not need to dip into the savings to ensure the safety of a furry companion. It offers pet parents the benefit of choosing in advance what works best for the pet’s health and well-being, and often plans include yearly checkups that are extensive and detailed. This will ensure illnesses can be detected early and treated on time. Insurance also helps pet parents with special coverage benefits if the pet is stolen, lost, or inadvertently causes harm to another person. Pet insurance is approved by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). Pet parents need to provide a health certificate from a veterinarian, vaccination records, and identification. In the case of older pets, diagnostic tests are prescribed to check for pre-existing diseases and geriatric conditions in older pets. Pet parents must identify the sum they would need to insure, understand the product coverages (mandatory and optional) and ensure that they understand the documentation process.
The rising cost of veterinary care, the increasing awareness of the importance of pet health and well-being, and the growing trend of pet ownership in India are the main reasons consumers are adopting pet insurance in India. Pet insurance can help pet owners protect their furry companions from unexpected veterinary expenses, making it more affordable for them to provide their pets with the best possible care.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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