For many homeowners, protecting man's best friend and other pets is a top concern, and some companies are offering pet insurance to make sure that these friends can be treated like equal members of the family. A vet visit and medication for a dog, cat or bird can be expensive, and more people are turning to this type of insurance to help them pay for the costs.
Pittsburgh resident Bernie Newman told Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA that pets are more than just friends these days.
"I didn't understand this before, but I do now," Newman said. "They become like another child. They become a member of the family and you're going to do whatever is necessary."
This insurance coverage, much like homeowners insurance, can protect pets in case they are sick or hurt in an accident, but for California residents, coverage for pets is about to change.
California to regulate pet insurance
A new bill in California would regulate pet insurance coverage and set guidelines, according to the Sacramento Bee. The legislation was presented by assemblyman Matt Dababneh, D-Los Angeles, and has been vetoed before. The newest measure, however, was unanimously approved by the state assembly and is awaiting approval by the state Senate.
If passed, the new law will help manage pet insurance and give regulators the ability to approve plans. Policyholders would then be able to try the insurance out for 30 days for free to determine if it is something they will continue to buy. The common person would think pet insurance is more similar to health insurance, but it is actually akin to property insurance.
Stuart Waldman, a former assembly aide, said he has purchased pet insurance in the past, hasn't been impressed by what is offered and wishes that consumers had an easier time understanding what is and isn't covered. Waldman went on to say that this is the reason why he wouldn't purchase it in the future.
Dababneh said that California's Department of Insurance was getting many complaints about pet insurance, with numerous pet owners saying they were confused regarding what is covered. Should the legislation pass, it will be easier for consumers to understand what is covered.
"Consumers weren't confident in the product they were buying," Dababneh said. "There's obviously a big new opportunity for us here in California to once again lead the way."