Regulators Warn Pet Health Insurance Isn’t Really Health Insurance, It’s Property Insurance

Published: 08/28/2022 15:09:07

Modified: 08/28/2022 15:08:54

As dog owners in Southern New Hampshire face a major outbreak of a mysterious respiratory disease, the New Hampshire Department of Insurance is reminding people to be careful when buying health insurance for their pets. pets.

“The regulatory framework around it…is quite light. Consumers need to keep that in mind,” Deputy Commissioner DJ Bettencourt said in a half-hour online discussion on pet insurance that was recently released by the department.

The webinar was not related to the outbreak of canine respiratory disease, which has been discussed online by New Hampshire veterinarians and pet owners for the past few weeks. In New Hampshire, the outbreak is mostly limited to Hillsborough County at the moment, but little is known about it, other than that it is often more serious than “kennel cough” and d other common infectious diseases in dogs.

Experts warn dog owners to limit mixing with other dogs and to isolate their pet and contact their veterinarian if there are signs of a cough, runny nose or difficulty breathing.

The New Hampshire Department of Insurance’s webinar is part of a program of monthly online discussions “focused on a consumer topic or an industry topic for regulatory entities” that the department has begun airing, Andrew said. Demers, department communications director.

Pet insurance was chosen partly because it is growing in popularity. About 20 companies offer health coverage for pets in New Hampshire. Nationally, one study estimated that 27% of pets in the United States had insurance — that’s about 3.5 million pets — and that in 2020, premiums totaled about $2 billion.

The big potential source of consumer confusion is that in New Hampshire, like many places, the law treats pets as property rather than individuals. As a result, pet insurance “is not a health product — it’s a P&C product,” Bettencourt said.

It sounds like a minor difference, but it means insurance regulators have much less control over what is offered and how much is charged, compared to health insurance. Items such as coverage for pre-existing conditions, reimbursement, deductibles and co-payments are entirely up to the company.

James Fox, director of property and casualty insurance, gave an example. “In a one-year contract; if a disease is covered one year, pay attention if it is covered the following year.

Consumers should approach it like buying fire insurance for their home, the webinar emphasized.

“Please, please read your policy and understand your coverage,” Bettencourt said. “We at the insurance department understand the natural human mentality that you don’t want to think about your insurance policy because it usually involves something bad.”

The webinar can be viewed online at:

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