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Poll: Majority of Pet Owners Reject Pet Insurance Despite Soaring Cost of Veterinary Care

Confusion Over Best Individual Plans Abounds

 Angell Animal Medical Center Appoints Insurance Coordinator to Help Pet Owners Find Plan they can Trust and Afford

BOSTON, Sept. 29, 2023 – A survey of 1,000 pet owners released today by the MSPCA-Angell confirms what veterinarians at Angell Animal Medical Center have long suspected: the vast majority want to purchase pet insurance but struggle to navigate a complex landscape comprised of dozens of providers, wildly divergent price structures, and confusion over what—and what may not—be covered.

In response, Angell has appointed a new pet insurance coordinator to work on an individual basis with pet owners to ensure the insurance product(s) they buy are in line with their budget and their pet’s individual need.

“The cost of veterinary care, particularly specialty care, continues to rise and our number-one priority is to ensure pet owners feel confident that they can provide for their pet should the unthinkable—such as a sudden illness or a catastrophic injury—happen,” said Angell Animal Medical Center Chief of Staff Dr. Ann Marie Greenleaf.

Placing Pets and Owners First—and the Insurance Industry Second

Greenleaf, who conceived of the insurance coordinator role, believes the veterinary care model for pets will soon reflect a top priority in human medical care: insuring as many patients as possible, and she’s quick to stress that Angell’s guidance will not be influenced by the insurance industry.

“There are more than 30 [pet insurance] providers already in the market, and more are coming online every year,” she said.  “Rather than partner with any one provider, we’re putting patients and their families first by matching their needs with a provider who can best meet them.”

Survey: Confusion Keeps Pet Owners from Buying Insurance

The MSPCA’s survey of 1,000 pet owners found that less than a quarter (24%) of respondents have insurance for their dogs, and less than 10% have opted to insure their cats.

The reason why so many pet owners opt not to purchase insurance is possibly due to rampant mistrust of the insurance industry writ-large.  Less than 10% of respondents who currently have pet insurance trust that their provider will be there for their pet if needed.

The survey also found that the complex landscape of providers and plans also inhibits pet insurance purchase decisions with 82% admitting that they are only somewhat confident—or not confident at all—in their ability to select the right plan.

The full survey findings are available here.

The findings are no surprise to Harrison Stenson who has taken the reins as Angell’s first Licensed Insurance Advisor and whose singular goal is to ensure pet owners are adequately covered in case their pet gets injured or falls ill.

“The ability to confidently cover an unexpected veterinary bill is a top concern for the vast majority of pet owners, and I’m going to do all I can to ensure pet owners who come to Angell not only receive the world’s best veterinary care but the best insurance counsel available as well,” said Stenson.

Survey Methodology

The MSPCA-Angell survey was conducted via email from July 17– 21, 2023. The 1,048 responses were anonymous, but all were members of the MSPCA-Angell email list, which is composed almost entirely of Massachusetts and New England residents.