By Renee DiNino
“When we’re kinder to animals, we’re kinder to people!” In addition to being my tagline, someone else who feels the same is Brian Jorgenson, the head of MetLife Pet Insurance. And even more exciting for many of us Gen Xers, Snoopy is back with MetLife to put the spotlight on the necessity for pet insurance.
“We absolutely need pet insurance in our world today. It has been around for a long time. It started back in the 70’s with Lassie. It is more popular in overseas countries. You find in Europe that they have a much higher penetration rate,” said Jorgenson. In 2020, the pet insurance division was a part of an acquisition MetLife made with a company that was concerned with animal advocacy, focused on helping pet parents, rescue groups and animal welfare organizations helping new pet parents get insurance to help with adoptions.
“It grew from there,” said Jorgenson. The cost of living and taking care of ourselves with food, housing, health insurance and more has risen, and so has the cost of taking care of our beloved pets. In fact, bills could force a family to choose between keeping their pet or giving it up. MetLife provides pet health insurance not only to dogs and cats based in the U.S., but to birds, rabbits, lizards, pot-bellied pigs and more. Jorgenson also revealed that MetLife Pet currently serves more than 140,000 U.S. pets and their pet parents, in all 50 states plus D.C. In fact, this is a growing industry as pets become more than just a “pet,” but a part of our families.
This is also the time of year with allergies. As we are getting out more across the country, snakes and other wildlife are an issue. In some instances, medical aid is needed, and pet insurance can help a pet parent with costs.
Be aware of your surroundings, know your pets and be sure to understand the relationship of your pets and other animals, children and visitors. Think about financial considerations. As a part of pet insurance, there is a 24/7 telehealth line you can call. There is also help with grieving. Look for coverage you feel comfortable with and what’s best for you and your family.
“Life happens, accidents happen; that’s why we want people to be prepared. That’s why we say it’s always important to be protected for the unexpected, both physically and financially. But the financial piece is really tough right now as you know in the world. Our research has shown that in many cases, we are seeing that pet parents are making decisions not to get a pet or an additional pet because they’re worried about the cost,” stated Jorgensen.
Pet insurance can cover unplanned vet visits, accidents, illnesses, surgeries and hospital stays, no matter breed or age. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association, annual expenses for surgical vet visits for dogs is $426 and $214 for cats. Keeping in mind that’s an average, there are other traumas, chronic conditions and more to take into consideration.
“For example, if your new puppy comes down with parvo, which it could cost $1,108.26 per visit to treat, 90 percent of those vet visit costs could be covered after paying your deductible,” explained Jorgenson.
You would need to check with the healthcare plan for your pet, but you should be able to choose your own vet and healthcare provider. “We do encourage folks to get pet insurance as soon as you get your pet, from a young age or as soon as you can,” said Jorgenson. “This is to ensure coverage of any incidents or medical conditions that may pop up.”
How does pet insurance come into play for end of life? “It’s really important that when selecting a coverage plan, select the plan that works best for you. Pets don’t live as long as humans and costs that come with end of life, like treatments, and euthanasia, that’s part of our coverage,” commented Jorgenson. Their coverage also covers emotional support for the humans in the family dealing with the trauma of the loss. “We recognize this is about the loss of a family member, not just a pet. We really need to be there for those folks in those key moments.”
Renee DiNino is an iHeartMedia radio and TV host, blogger, podcaster, and public speaker. Connect on Facebook @ReneeDiNinoCT, Instagram@reneedinino and Twitter @MyCTcommunity.