(NEW YORK) — A growing number of pet owners in North America are buying pet insurance, according to the American Pet Products Association. About 5 percent of dog owners — and about 3 percent of cat owners — now have insurance for their pets.
According to VPI, the first and largest pet insurance company in the United States, those most likely to get insurance for their animals are single people. A VPI survey also showed that people with pet insurance are likely to be between the ages of 18 and 44.
Bob Vetere, president and CEO of American Pet Products Association, said his research agrees that pet insurance policy holders are likely to be single people, but he believes they are generally older folks.
Regardless, the increasing number of pet insurance purchases seems to show how pets have become more central to families’ dynamics.
“It shows you people are really bonding with their pets,” VPI spokesman Adam Fell said. “Dogs have gone from the backyard to the porch and, now, they’re sleeping with their parents.”
Vetere says, “In a lot of cases, it is people who have turned to their pets as family members, whether their kids have moved out of the house or the kids are grown up or they didn’t have kids in the first place.”
Critics, however, say pet insurance isn’t necessarily a good bang for your buck because most policies don’t cover preexisting conditions or anything hereditary or congenital.
The policy holder also foots the bill and then gets reimbursed later, which isn’t ideal for a lot of people.
In a Consumer Reports look at several different pet insurance policies, they found that people could actually stand to lose up to $5,000 on a pet that had no major health problems in its lifetime. And if the pet did have major problems, the consumer could either get a net benefit of about $1,700 or lose up to about $1,900, depending on the plan.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio