I recently read an article that claims a rising number of HR departments have added the incentive of pet insurance to the recruiting toolbox.
When I first read it, I did a double take.
What will they think of next?
I’m a little behind the times, though, as I soon discovered it’s been happening for years. I found a blog post from 2008 that said pet insurance is helping employers keep their workers.
At the time, pet insurance was still a new concept, and here’s where it supposedly benefits the company:
“Because employees pay the full amount of the pet insurance benefit, offering pet insurance doesn’t cost job providers a single penny, unlike health insurance for humans where employers typically shoulder most of the cost,” the article says.
“Workers typically get a 5 percent or 10 percent discount if pet insurance policies are obtained through their places of work.”
I found evidence that staffing companies are also willing to insure Rover. According to RehabandTherapyJobs.com, some do offer pet insurance. There are recruiters who even go so far as to find the employees housing that accommodates pets, even if they’re quirky ones, like snakes.
But current employees aren’t taking much advantage. Veterinary Pet Insurance, the largest pet insurer in the U.S., found that less than 5 percent sign up for the benefit, even though it only costs between $10 and $40/month, depending on the age and species.
Here’s my hypothetical situation: I have a six-year-old Siberian husky. Let’s say I join a new company and the healthcare plan, though it provides pet insurance, has a $5,000 deductible.
Assuming I’m in fairly good health, I’m not going to reach that for quite awhile.
Employers don’t incur any of the pet insurance costs – the burden falls on the employees’ shoulders, as they must pay the full cost of the benefit.
My dog’s breed has a life expectancy of 12-15 years. I’m unlikely to meet the deductible in any of these years except maybe that last one, so I’ve missed out on at least $50,000.
What about snakes, mice or birds? A sick mouse can run you a $100 emergency vet bill (don’t laugh, this actually happened to me years ago).
It’s possible pet insurance could have covered that, as ridiculous as it sounds. But if there’s a deductible, it’s like a mouse dropping in the bucket.
Consumer Reports surmises that chronically ill animals are the ones who will benefit from pet insurance. Without it, policy holders might be paying through the snout for a lifetime of these chronically ill pets.
I also learned via a LinkedIn discussion that pets with a preexisting condition aren’t always covered, either.
My take? Unless you’re seriously racking up vet bills, this type of insurance probably isn’t much of a benefit.