Japanese pet insurance market takes off due to high vet costs

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Veterinary bills are on the rise in Japan, sending dog and cat owners to buy policies to help cover expenses.

Considerable advances in veterinary care have helped dogs and cats to live longer, boosting the Japanese pet insurance market well beyond where it was only a handful of years ago.

Longer lives and improved veterinary care has sent the price of pet health care skyward.

Since veterinary care now comes with a higher expense, Japanese pet insurance policies have taken off. The reason is that dog and cat owners are looking for ways to make sure their pets get the best care. That said, they’re also looking for insurance policies that will help to pay for those rising costs so that they don’t need to choose between their pets’ care and their bank accounts.

This is a growing trend worldwide as pets start playing a more important role in family lives. As dogs and cats are seen as furry family members, the health care they receive becomes increasingly important. Pet insurance policies help to bring that kind of care within reach of owners.

The Japanese pet insurance market currently sees an annual growth rate of almost 20 percent.

The pet insurance market in Japan is currently worth about $450 million (49 billion yen), as of the end of March 2017, said a Kyodo News report, citing a private survey. As a result of the improved veterinary care and more widespread coverage, more pets are living longer. Veterinary hospitals are caring for a growing number of pets who are sick or who have been injured.

In 2017, there were 8.92 million pet dogs and 9.52 pet cats in Japan, according to data from the Japan Pet Food Association. This shows tremendous potential for growth in the pet insurance sector within the country.

“Considering their pets as part of the family, owners who seek proper treatment for their pets are increasing,” said an ipet Insurance Co. official. That insurer is based in Tokyo.

Japanese Pet Insurance - Man with Cat in JapanAs in most other countries, there isn’t a public Japanese pet insurance system. This leaves it up to pet owners to find a way to be able to afford veterinary care for their animals. As vet care increasingly relies on high tech scans, tests and treatments, including CT scans, computed tomography, blood transfusion and even chemotherapy, along with more advanced blood tests and diagnoses, pet insurance policies are sometimes the only way to make that care accessible.

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