The surge in adoption of pets, particularly dogs, since the Covid-19 outbreak and the rising costs of personal care, grooming and medical expenses involving them seem to be encouraging insurance companies to design a cover for them. For example, Future Generali India Insurance Company Ltd sold close to 25,000 pet insurance policies in the last three months.

Insurance companies offering pet insurance have been witnessing traction in demand with an increasingly large number of pet owners warming up to the product. While there are a few private and public sector insurance companies currently offering pet insurance, more are likely to join the fray soon.

Insurance companies in India have been offering cattle and livestock insurance for many years. There are an estimated 28-29 million pets in India and dogs usually make up a bulk of this number. Given that the annual routine expenses for animals have been on the rise, any medical emergency could cost a pet parent a big sum of money. For instance, vaccination, tick treatments and grooming could typically cost anywhere from ₹10,000 to ₹54,000 annually. So, a pet insurance policy comes in handy when one needs medical or legal assistance.

Most comprehensive policies usually provide protection against unforeseen illnesses, accidents suffered by domesticated pet dogs and also related coverages against surgery, hospitalization, mortality, terminal diseases, OPD admissions and third-party liability claims and theft or lost or straying.

The starting premium is as low as ₹300 and usually depends on the age, breed, and gender of the dog.

Sustainable trend

“Post-Covid, there has been a surge in pet adoption and this could be a sustainable trend moving forward,” Anup Rau, MD & CEO, Future Generali India told BusinessLine.  

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, which launched its pet dog insurance product in 2020, had the “most success” in some of India’s larger cities, both metro and Tier I, said TA Ramalingam, Chief Technical Officer.

“Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in the number of pets adopted. When it comes to household pets, dogs continue to dominate. The demand for our product, pet dog insurance, has increased significantly over the course of the preceding fiscal year (after the initial outbreak of the pandemic) resulting in substantial growth. A big reason for this is that pet owners are learning about the product and beginning to experience its benefits,” Ramalingam said.

According to Sanjay Datta, Chief, Underwriting, Reinsurance, Claims and Actuarial, ICICI Lombard GIC, the insurer is working on developing a product to cater to this segment.

“The demand for products in this category (pet insurance) is likely to grow further moving forward. We are looking to develop a product for this segment,” he said.