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Pet insurers emotionally manipulative: Consumer group

Posted On: Oct. 10, 2019 12:17 PM CST

Howling dogs

A consumer advocacy group is howling over pet insurers, giving the entire industry a “Shonky Award” for unfair practices, the Guardian reported Wednesday.

What sounds like a good idea — health insurance for one’s pet — is actually nothing but an “emotionally manipulative” ploy to get wary pet owners to fork over premiums for policies that are “riddled with exclusions,” said Choice, an Australian consumer group that awards business and industries with bad-faith and poor practices awards known to be shonky, slang for shoddy and unreliable.

The Guardian goes on to tell the treacherous tale of Rocky, the little mutt in Melbourne, Australia, who got into his mom’s chocolate brownies — poison to a dog. After his owner rushed him to a local animal hospital for treatment, an $800 bill and a sigh of relief followed — Rocky was OK and she had pet health insurance.

But when she submitted the claim and other paperwork, her claim was rejected on the basis of something found in the fine print: snake bites are covered, but nothing “household.” Fine print and long lists of exclusions were found in all 86 policies Choice reviewed for the dreaded Shonky Award, the group said.

“Pet insurance is the insurance a business sells when it wants to make money without providing any service at all,” Choice’s chief executive, Alan Kirkland, told the newspaper.