boom in health insurance for dogs and cats

11:35 on April 15, 2022

It’s gradually becoming a veterinary classic: When it comes to paying for dieting and deworming, ads for dog and cat insurance are slipping in. the principle? “An Animal Health Association”, sums up Jean-François Rousselot, veterinarian of Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine) and president of the French Association of Pet Veterinarians. Average price: 10 euros per month in the simple formula (accidents) and up to 100 in the premium formula (veterinary treatment, illness, even death).

Four-legged mutual companies were born in the early 2000s with Groupama, one of the first general insurance companies to enter the niche, then with Lyonnais SantéVet, the current head of ECA, both dedicated exclusively to animal insurance. . In recent times, they have expanded with the arrival of start-ups with a 100% digital offering which intends to shake up this booming sector.

10% of French dogs and cats are insured, compared to 40% of Britons

Gadget or not? “This choice makes sense from an economic point of view, thinks Jean-François Rousselot. For ten years, the treatments have become more sophisticated and end up reaching significant sums. » With MRI, scanners, ultrasound and increasingly specialized surgery, the bill can rise rapidly. Philippe knows something about it: his six-year-old dog, a cane crossover named Louna, has just cost him a small fortune: “She had phlegmon, an infection in her paw, which cost me 400 € in treatment, says Marseillais. So a tear of the cruciate ligaments on a hind leg, which required the installation of a titanium plate or chrome, I forgot … ” On the other hand, Philippe remembers the banknote well: 1,800 euros!

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According to an Ipsos survey conducted in 2020 for SantéVet, in the event of a health problem, dog owners pay an average of 620 euros a year (222 for a cat), a nice sum. To this must be added routine care (excluding accidents and illness) or 211 euros on average per year for a dog (166 for a cat). However, the French are still mixed: 10% of tricolor dogs and cats are insured, against 40% of the British and 80% of the Swedes. “With us, the sector has long suffered from a negative image because many formulas were expensive and ineffective, admits the Colombes veterinarian. Today it is more transparent. Repayments are easier and faster. »

Many insurance companies reject older animals

Any advice before subscribing? First ask yourself the right questions: is it a purebred animal (more fragile than the others), with access from the outside (an apartment cat is less exposed than a marktomcat)? If you decide, do so from the first months: “As the animals age, contracts become more expensive and care is less well paid”, says Jean-Francois Rousselot. For a first contract, many insurance companies reject animals that are too old (7 to 9 years old) when health problems begin. Also pay attention to the reimbursement ceilings (are they annual or limited by law?), To the duration (will a young animal be insured until the end, without a significant increase in monthly payments?), To deadlines for reimbursement, any deductibles, etc.

As with any insurance, it is advisable to read the contract carefully before signing. A tedious step, as some are complex, sometimes full of hidden exceptions: “We started because we found that traditional contracts were just too opaque, says Raphaël Sadaka, co-founder of Dalma, one of the latest start-ups in the sector, born in 2021. We focus on total transparency of what is covered or not, as well as on the excellent responsiveness of our teams, who refund 48 hours after sending a picture of the invoice. » Also with an online veterinary advice platform, this new player intends to play the troublemaker.

As an echo, the leader SantéVet highlights his experience: “After repaying our customers for more than eighteen years, we know the real care needs perfectly, and we make sure to meet them as well as possible thanks to our offer. » The war between mutual animals is raging, which is good news for the consumer, as the offer should be improved. In the meantime, you can also choose the good old savings, on a special account, in case of a hard blow. It will come back to haunt you if Minouche stays healthy. And that’s all we want for him.

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