First it was automobile policies. Today, a pet insurance company wants to raise its rates by more than 50%. [Boss Insurance]

First It Was Automobile Policies.  Today, A Pet Insurance Company Wants To Raise Its Rates By More Than 50%.

Get ready, animal lovers.

Dozens of auto insurance companies asked New Jersey to approve double-digit rate increases earlier this month. Now, pet owners could be the next group on the verge of taking a big insurance hit.

At least one pet insurance company has asked the state to approve a steep rate hike, according to a notification sent to policyholders.

Metropolitan General Insurance Company, commonly referred to as MetGen, filed with the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance for a 56% rate increase for its pet coverage policies on June 13, according to the notification.

“Under the proposed filing, the average policy will see a rate change of 32%,” he said. “The impact of the deposit on your rates can vary significantly, depending on the terms of your policy and your personal circumstances.”

MetGen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Data on which other companies have asked the state for increases was not immediately available from the Department of Banking and Insurance.

Like just about everything else, inflation has hit the pet care industry.

The average annual cost of a policy that covers both accident and dog illness was $640.04 in 2022, up from an average of $599.03 the previous year, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. . The average premium for the same type of policy for cats was $387.01, down from $341.35 in 2021, he said.

Plans that cover preventative care such as vaccines and other routine care, commonly referred to as “wellness plans,” have seen the highest rate increases in recent years, the data shows. Annual premiums for cat wellness plans were $613.67 in 2022, up 35.9% from 2018. Dog wellness plans grew 39.7% during that time , up to $1,134.29 in 2022.

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The group said nearly five million pets nationwide are covered by policies, a 22% increase from the previous year.

New Jersey had the fifth-highest number of policies purchased by animal lovers in 2022, he said, with 4.6% of pets covered by insurance.

The state was home to the cat with the biggest claim that year, for a Sphynx, whose care cost $40,057, the group said.

MetGen’s hike request comes as drivers await the state’s response to dozens of auto insurance companies that have requested double-digit premium increases. GEICO was the latest, requesting a 26% raise earlier this month, joining more than two dozen companies that have requested increases so far this year.

To reduce pet insurance premiums, MetGen suggested people consider increasing deductibles, reducing policy limits or changing coverage.

“The rate increase requested in this case is necessary to keep pace with rising veterinary costs and to help us continue to provide the high quality coverage and peace of mind that our pet parents love it,” the company told policyholders in the notice.

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Katie Kausch can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @Katie Kaush.

Karin Price Mueller can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @KPMueller.