It is not uncommon for pet parents to be faced with difficult decisions. As much as we hope that every client can afford necessary and recommended treatments for their pets, this isn’t always the case. According to The Synchrony Lifetime of Care study, the estimated lifetime costs of caring for a dog for 15 years is $19,893 to $55,132, and the estimated lifetime costs of caring for a cat for 15 years is $15,055 to $45,790.¹ These are big commitments, not to mention decisions around money can stir up deep feelings.
Thankfully, a combination of a pet insurance plan and flexible financing can dissolve barriers and help pet parents manage the cost of necessary treatments that they might otherwise have to forego. Now, let’s talk about how to navigate conversations around financial planning and pet insurance with your clients.
How to Talk to Clients About Financial Planning
As always, when talking to your clients about high-stakes decisions, try to be as compassionate, collaborative, and helpful as possible.
1. Offer supportive materials
The past few years have been disruptive for everyone. From inflation to major job and economic interruptions to navigating the pandemic, most people are feeling some economic stress. Flexible, budget-friendly financial solutions, such as the CareCredit health and pet care credit card, can help pet parents get the care their pets need.
If you are a veterinary practice that accepts CareCredit, be sure to proactively communicate it to clients. Let them know they can learn about financing, see if they prequalify (with no impact to their credit bureau score), apply, and pay—all from their mobile device.
Remember, you can select the financing options you want to provide based on your practice and clients. Offer your client supportive educational materials or even direct them to the CareCredit FAQ to help them with their decision.
2. Offer non-judgement
After communicating the payment options you accept including CareCredit, allow your client time and space to come to a decision that is best for their pet and budget. Some people need time to process things and may ask questions about the cost of care and the options you provide. On average, CareCredit cardholders who opened their account at a veterinary hospital used their card more than 5 times for veterinary services. (Health & Wellness Analytics, 2021).
How to Talk to Clients About Insurance
Some pet owners are still skeptical about the value of pet insurance, but the industry saw a 28% growth rate from 2020 to 2021, and nearly 4 million pets are now insured in the United States (North American Pet Health Insurance Association Study). The Synchrony Lifetime of Care¹ study also found that a veterinary bill of $250 or more can cause financial stress for pet owners. It’s important to emphasize why insuring pets as early as possible could possibly save your clients thousands of dollars over the years.
1. Explain how it works
Remind your client that accepting an insurance policy for their pet won’t prevent them from continuing to see you, rather, it might allow them to see you more often for necessary treatments. Explain to them that after securing a plan, they will continue to pay you for their pet’s treatments upfront, but will submit their invoices to their insurance provider for reimbursement later.
2. Explain how to choose a plan
While you can’t choose the provider or plan for your client, you can share how pet insurance can benefit their pet by helping them cover the cost. With your expertise, you know what health issues their pet may or may not develop in their lifetime, especially with concern to breed-specific issues. Explain to your client that policy and provider options vary—plans can be general or specialized, include emergency and accident coverage, or even wellness add-ons.
3. Explain the benefit
Explain to your client how the combination of a pet and healthcare credit card and a comprehensive pet insurance plan, rather than just either/or, can benefit their pet medically and them financially. Remind them that most pets develop conditions later in life, sometimes costing hundreds and thousands of dollars. Having a sound insurance plan through a provider like Pets Best can be a smart option to avoid costly bills over time and the CareCredit healthcare credit card can help pet owners pay for the expenses that pet health insurance does not cover.
Whatever decision your client makes, be positive and supportive. The best you can do is provide your clients with information and encourage them to stay open to possibility. After all, just as you both want to provide the best care for their pet, being financially prepared can help make that possible.
Pet insurance is administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC and is underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company, a New York insurance company headquartered at 6100 4th Ave. S. Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98108. Please see www.americanpetinsurance.com to review all available pet health insurance products underwritten by APIC.
¹ Pet – Lifetime of Care Study, August 2021. www.petlifetimeofcare.com. Includes initial costs, spaying/neutering, technology cost, and end-of-life expense (high). Low end of range does not include health insurance, wellness plans, or other non-basic expenses. Amounts have been rounded.