Pet insurance beginning to mimic policies for people

by Satoshi Toi


Early this year, a woman had her rabbit treated for a stomach ailment in a pet hospital for a week, costing her around ¥80,000. But the financial hit didn’t pose a problem for the Osaka store clerk because she had pet insurance.

“I was shaken by the sudden illness of my beloved pet, but since I had insurance, I didn’t have to worry about the hospital costs,” the woman said.

In Japan, around 10 companies, including Anicom Insurance Inc., offer pet insurance, mainly for cats and dogs.

The insurance typically covers part of the costs for treating disease and injuries, with the level dependent on premiums paid. Coverage may be denied, depending on a pet’s age and medical history.

Some products also cover owners for injury or property damage caused by their pets.

Japan Animal-Club provides insurance for a wide variety of pets, including small animals like rabbits, ferrets, birds and reptiles.

Pet insurance is usually renewable each year, with premiums that rise with age. But Japan Animal-Club usually charges a fixed premium regardless of age.

For a small dog, for example, the monthly premium is ¥3,340 for a plan that provides up to ¥12,000 for each day a pet is hospitalized and up to ¥6,000 for each hospital visit.

Kyoei Fire and Marine Insurance Co. offers a combined car and pet insurance plan that not only covers the owner in case of an accident, but also offers up to ¥50,000 in coverage for any pets injured.

If the pet is killed, up to ¥100,000 is provided for funeral costs.

If an injured policyholder is confined to a hospital, up to ¥100,000 is provided to cover the costs of a “pet hotel.” The annual premium for the rider is ¥800.

Many people purchase pet insurance when they select an animal from a pet shop. But Hiroyuki Nozaki, an analyst at Nomura Research Institute, said owners should think twice before signing up for insurance.

It is important for pet owners to “carefully compare different products while taking into consideration their own lifestyles and financial conditions,” he said.

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