42% of pet owners can’t cover a surprise vet bill due to inflation – Forbes Advisor


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Consumer prices rose 8.5% from July 2021 to July 2022, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the largest 12-month increase since the benchmark period ending in November 1981, some four decades ago. Almost everyone experiences the pinch, including pet parents.

A new Forbes Advisor survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners found nearly two-thirds (63%) of pet owners said inflation had made it harder to pay a vet bill surprise. A vet bill of $999 or less would put 42% of pet owners in debt, while a vet bill of $499 or less would put 28% of pet owners in debt.

Which of the following vet bill amounts would put you in debt?

Most Pet Parents Use Their Credit Cards for Vet Bills

When hit with a vet bill, most pet owners pay with plastic. In the past year, 44% of pet owners said they used their credit card to pay their veterinary bills. While only 5% said they took out a loan to pay vet bills, 18% said they had to dip into their savings.

Gen Z (9%) were most likely to have taken out a loan to pay for pet healthcare in the past year, compared to 5% of Gen Y, 4% of Gen X and 1% of baby boomers.

Which of the following have you done in the past year? (Select all that apply)

Pet owners haven’t cut spending on fur babies despite inflation

While most pet owners said a surprise vet bill could land them in debt, that doesn’t necessarily mean pet owners have cut spending. Only 38% of pet owners said they have reduced the amount of money they spend on their pet each month due to inflation. Almost two-thirds (63%) said they had spent the same or more on their pets this year.

Has high inflation impacted the amount of money you spend each month on your dog or cat?

Nearly half (49%) of pet owners who only own one dog said they have reduced the amount they spend on their pet each month due to inflation. Only 20% of pet owners who own only one cat have reduced their monthly expenses for their pet. Almost a third (31%) of pet owners who own both a dog and a cat said they have reduced their monthly pet-related expenses.

Some Pet Parents Have Abandoned Their Pets Due To Inflation And Rising Rents

While the majority of pet owners kept their pets, 3% of pet owners said in the past year they gave their pet to an animal shelter, rescue organization for adoption, or to a friend or family member.

Of those who gave up their pet, 12% said inflation made it too expensive for day-to-day expenses such as pet food and veterinary care, while 7% said they couldn’t. not pay their pet’s medical bills.

Some pet owners (10%) cited increased rent and the need to move to a non-pet-friendly apartment as the reason they gave up their pet. A smaller percentage (5%) of pet owners said their owner’s pet deposit was too expensive and caused them to abandon their pet.

What is the main reason you sold or gave away your pet?

Many Pet Owners Don’t Have or Wouldn’t Consider Buying Pet Insurance

More than three-quarters (79%) of pet owners said they don’t have pet insurance. And many pet owners are unwilling to absorb pet insurance costs due to inflation.

Almost a third (30%) of pet owners said they were much less likely or somewhat less likely to pay for pet insurance amid inflation. This compares to 22% of pet owners who said they were much more likely or somewhat more likely to pay for pet insurance amid inflation.

Of the 79% who did not have pet insurance, 28% earned $80,000 or more.

Are you more or less likely to pay or continue to pay for pet insurance in the midst of inflation?

With 63% of pet owners saying inflation has made it difficult to pay a surprise vet bill, pet insurance can be an effective way to offset unexpected costs. problems like a torn ACL or cancer.

Related: What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance is more affordable than you think

Pet insurance costs an average of $35 per month for dogs and $28 per month for cats, according to a Forbes Advisor analysis of pet insurance rates. This includes $5,000 annual accident and sickness coverage, a $250 deductible, and a 90% reimbursement level.

Although pet insurance may seem like just another monthly expense, it can save you thousands of dollars if your pet suffers an unexpected accident or illness. Consider this scenario:

  • Premiums. Say you’ve been paying $35 a month for a dog for three years. That’s $1,260 in pet insurance premiums.
  • An unexpected vet bill. Then your dog tears his ACL while chasing a bullet, which ends up costing $4,000 in vet bills. If you have a deductible of $250 and a reimbursement level of 90%, your out-of-pocket for the incident would be $625 ($250 deductible + 10% of $3,750 = $625).
  • The result. Adding up the premiums for three years and the torn ACL incident, you paid $1,885. Without pet insurance, you would have paid $4,000 for the vet. With pet insurance, you saved $2,115.

Considering that 42% of pet owners said a vet bill of $999 or less would put them in debt, pet insurance can be a good way to avoid a tough decision: paying a big vet bill out of pocket or forgoing medical treatment for your pet. .

Related: Is pet insurance worth it?

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This online survey of 2,000 current and past owners of dogs and cats in the United States was commissioned by Forbes Advisor and conducted by market research firm OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s Code of Conduct ( MRS). Data was collected from July 29 to August 8, 2022. Margin of error is +/- 2.2 points with 95% confidence. This survey was overseen by the OnePoll research team, a member of the MRS and a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). For full survey methodology, including geographic and demographic sample sizes, contact [email protected].

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