42% of Pet Owners Can’t Cover Unexpected Vet Bill Due to Inflation – Forbes Advisor

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From July 2021 to July 2022, consumer prices rose 8.5%, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the highest 12-month increase since the reporting period that ended in November 1981 — nearly four decades ago. Almost everyone experiences trouble, including pet parents.

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

Which of the following amounts of veterinary bills will result in you owing?

Most pet parents use their credit cards to pay for vet bills

After receiving the bill from the vet, most parents pay with plastic. Last year, 44% of pet owners said they used their credit cards to pay for vet bills. While only 5% said they took out a loan to pay their vet bills, 18% said they had to save.

Gen Z (9%) was the most likely to take out a loan to pay for a pet’s medical care in the past year, compared to 5% of millennials, 4% of Gen Xers and 1% of baby boomers.

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

Pet owners aren’t cutting back on fur babies despite inflation

While most pet owners say that an unexpected vet bill can put them in debt, that doesn’t necessarily mean that pet owners have cut back on spending. Only 38% of pet owners said they would reduce the amount of money they spend on their pet each month due to inflation. Almost two-thirds (63%) said they spent the same or more on their pets this year.

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

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

Some pet parents have given up on pets because of inflation and rising rents

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

Of those who gave up their pet, 12% said inflation made it too expensive for everyday expenses like pet food and veterinary care, while 7% said they couldn’t afford their pet’s medical bills. favorite

Some pet owners (10%) cited the increase in rent and the need to move to an apartment where animals are not accepted as reasons for giving up their pet. A smaller percentage (5%) of pet owners said their landlords’ pet deposit was too expensive and forced them to give up their pet.

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

Many pet owners do not have or do not plan to purchase insurance

More than three-quarters (79%) of pet owners said they did not have pet insurance. And many pet owners are reluctant to cover the cost of pet insurance due to inflation.

Almost one-third (30%) of pet owners said they would be less likely or somewhat less likely to pay for pet insurance in an inflationary environment. That’s compared to 22% of pet owners who said they were more likely or slightly more likely to pay more for pet insurance with inflation.

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

Will you pay more, less, or continue to pay more for pet insurance with inflation?

With 63% of pet owners saying inflation has made it harder to pay an unexpected vet bill, pet insurance can be an effective way to offset unexpected expenses. For example, a pet accident and illness insurance plan can help pay for surgeries and medications for a problem 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 a month for dogs and $28 a month for cats, according to an analysis of pet insurance rates by Forbes Advisor. This includes $5,000 in annual accident and sickness coverage, a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement.

While 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 the following scenario:

  • Awards. Let’s say you pay $35 a month for a dog for three years. That’s $1,260 in pet insurance premiums.
  • Unexpected vet bill. Then your dog tears his ACL chasing a ball, which ends up costing $4,000 in vet bills. If you have a $250 deductible and a 90% reimbursement rate, your out-of-pocket incident costs would be $625 ($250 deductible + 10% of $3,750 = $625).
  • Result. After adding in premiums for three years and an ACL tear, you paid $1,885. Without pet insurance, you would pay $4,000 for a vet. You saved $2,115 with pet insurance.

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 the tough decision of paying a big vet bill out of pocket or forgoing treatment for your pet.

related: Is pet insurance worth it?

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Methodology

This online survey of 2,000 current and former US dog and cat owners was commissioned by Forbes Advisor and conducted by research firm OnePoll in accordance with the Marketing Research Society (MRS) code of conduct. Data was collected from July 29 to August 8, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 points with a 95% probability. This poll was conducted by OnePoll Research Group, which is a member of MRS and a corporate member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). For complete survey methodology, including geographic and demographic sample sizes, contact [email protected]

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