Many people consider their dogs members of the family. So it’s encouraging to hear that more employers are slowly but surely recognizing this and are offering pet insurance as a benefit to employees.
The Society for Human Resource Management surveyed employee benefits across the country this year and found that six percent of the 510 companies that responded offered pet insurance to employees. Some of these progressive companies are Chipotle Mexican Grill, Deloitte LLP, Delta Airlines, Edelman, Exelon Corp., Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, T-Mobile, UPS, Walgreen Co., and Xerox.
Veterinary Pet Insurance reports that one in every three Fortune 500 companies offers its product. Pet insurance is the fastest-growing voluntary employee benefit, according to a VPI spokesperson.
A voluntary benefit means the employee pays the pet insurance premium at a discounted group rate and the employer covers some administrative expenses. Certain companies go further and subsidize a percentage of their employee’s cost, and a few pay 100 percent of their employee’s pet insurance premiums.
But even if it’s a partial payment, every little bit helps. As with healthcare costs for humans, veterinary care costs can be expensive. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association estimates that pet owners will spend $15.25 billion on veterinary care in 2014.
Paying for pet insurance on your own ranges from $10 to more than $90 per month, according to Consumer Reports. The monthly premium depends on where you live, your dog’s breed and age, the deductible, and the coverage.
Consumer Reports cautions dog parents to look carefully at what a policy covers. For example, none of the pet insurance policies it analyzed covers pre-existing conditions, and few cover genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia. It also found that some insurers exclude a newly diagnosed ailment when a policy is renewed.
All in all, it makes sense for companies to recognize what’s important to their employees. With the job market improving, employers are looking for ways to attract and retain employees. Offering benefits such as pet insurance, which helps out employees and can be a low-cost benefit for employers to offer, just makes good business sense.
Does your employer offer pet insurance? Tell us in comments.
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About the author: Cathy Weselby is a purple-lovin’ ambivert who enjoys exploring new places and ideas, the arts, humorous memoirs, collecting old magazines, and making collages. She and her husband live with Sasha, a rescued Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.