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Insurance provider suddenly drops pet coverage for 100,000 owners

Insurance provider suddenly drops pet coverage for 100,000 owners

Nationwide will cancel coverage for about 100,000 pets across the country.

The nation’s biggest provider of pet insurance cited the escalating cost of veterinary care and other factors cutting into its profits as the reason for its decision, with the company saying it is part of its efforts to “maintain long-term viability and profitability.”

“Inflation in the cost of veterinary care and other factors have led to recent underwriting changes and the withdrawal of some products in some states — difficult actions that are necessary to ensure a financially sustainable future for our pet insurance line of business,” the company said.

The cancellations will not be based on a pet’s age, breed or prior claims, the company said in a statement. However, many of the policies cancelled are for older pets with pre-existing conditions that may not be insurable elsewhere, USA Today reported.

“No one else is going to take on old dogs with pre-existing conditions and even if they do they will exclude all of the pre-existing conditions. … I don’t know what I’m going to do,” 65-year-old freelance writer Christie Kieth told USA Today.

Keith, who lives in Davisburg, Michigan, has two older dogs who have both needed medical treatment recently. Ros, a 10-year-old Silken Windhound, has been hospitalized twice and continues to suffer from an undiagnosed illness, while Harper, an 8-year-old Scottish Deerhound, has been treated for a back injury.

The 65-year-old has been paying at least $600 a month for insurance for her dogs since November 2017. But now she fears she will not be able to afford vet bills for them as they age.

“I was willing to pay this very large amount to get this coverage because I love my dogs. They’re my family. They are not like a car, or even a house, or a thing that can be replaced or rebuilt, they are important to me,” Keith said.

About 24 per cent of Americans who own a cat or dog have pet insurance, according to NerdWallet, with policies growing in popularity.

Pet insurance policies can cover everything from heartworm treatments and teeth cleanings to behavioral issues and grooming. It can also cover treatment for accidents and illnesses, as well as medically necessary euthanasia.

More than half of pet owners surveyed for the NerdWallet report said they have pet insurance for “peace of mind.”

“When it is available, pet insurance can give pet owners much-needed peace of mind when it comes to protecting their finances from unexpected medical costs related to pets,” NerdWallet personal finance expert Kimberly Palmer said.

But insurance costs are rising, with Nationwide’s announcement coming as many Americans struggle to get various forms of insurance, including for homes and vehicles. Car insurance climbed 20.3 per cent for the 12 months ending in May, according to the latest government data.

“We certainly empathize with the disappointment many of our pet families feel and will fully stand by the protections for which they have paid through the end of their current term,” Nationwide’s statement said. “Our rates will continue to be fair and appropriately priced for the plan, pet, and breed. “

The cancelling of thousands of coverage plans will come into effect now, with affected policyholders being informed in writing by the company. The cancellations will continue into the summer of 2025.


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