Regulators warn pet health insurance isn’t really health insurance, it’s property insurance

Published: Aug 28, 2022 15:09:07

Updated: Aug 28, 2022 15:08:54

As dog owners in southern New Hampshire face a mysterious respiratory disease outbreak, the New Hampshire Department of Health is urging caution when purchasing pet health insurance.

“The regulatory framework around it is … pretty light. said.

The webinar was unrelated to the outbreak of respiratory illness in dogs, which has been the topic of weeks of online discussion by veterinarians and pet owners in New Hampshire. However, little is known about it, other than the fact that it is often more serious than “kennel cough” and other common dog infections.

Experts warn dog owners to limit swimming with other dogs, isolate their pets and call a veterinarian if they show signs of coughing, runny nose or difficulty breathing.

The New Hampshire Department of Insurance webinars are part of a program of monthly online discussions “focused on consumer topics or regulatory industry topics” that the agency has begun to announce, the agency said in a statement. Director Andrew Demers said.

Pet insurance was chosen due in part to its growing popularity. About 20 companies offer pet health insurance in New Hampshire. Nationally, one study estimated that 27% of pets in the U.S. (about 3.5 million) have insurance, totaling about $2 billion in premiums in 2020.

A big source of potential consumer confusion is that in New Hampshire, as in many places, the law considers pets to be property rather than individuals. As a result, pet insurance is “a property and casualty insurance product, not a health insurance product,” Bettancourt said.

This sounds like a small difference, but it means that insurance regulators have far less oversight of what they offer and how much they charge compared to health insurance. Pre-existing medical coverage, reimbursement, deductibles, and copayments are entirely up to the company.

General Insurance Director James Fox gave an example. “On a one-year contract. If a disease he is covered for one year, be careful whether he is covered for the next year.”

Consumers should be approached as if they were buying fire insurance for their home, the webinar emphasized.

“Please, please, please read your policy and understand your scope,” said Betencourt. I understand the natural human psychology of no.”

The webinar can be viewed online at

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