Is Lemonade’s Pet Insurance Good? Here’s How It Stacks Up

Lemonade announced its launch of pet insurance today, saying approximately 70% of its existing renters and homeowner policyholders have pets. The new coverage starts at $12/month with a 10% discount available if pet owners bundle pet insurance with a Lemonade renters or homeowner policy.

With its announcement, Lemonade joins other major companies entering the U.S. pet insurance market. In the last year alone, MetLife acquired PetFirst Healthcare, NSM Insurance Group acquired Embrace Pet Insurance, Synchrony Financial acquired Pets Best Insurance to pair with its pet care financing subsidiary, Care Credit, and Zoetis launched Pumpkin Pet Insurance. Others, such as Bought By Many, which announced an investment of nearly $100M from venture capitalists and strategic partners this Spring, have their eyes on entering the U.S. pet insurance market soon.

What’s with all the buzz?

The U.S. pet insurance[1] market is still relatively new. A handful of pet insurance providers existed in the U.S. until the last decade, when new entrants began offering holistic accident and illness coverage in place of coverage that limited reimbursement for each type of veterinary procedure. In recent years, pet insurance has become much more consumer friendly: phone applications are used to file claims, waiting periods are waived for puppies and kittens, routine care is covered, and veterinarians are available on-demand for free consultations.

U.S. pet insurance executives and investors commonly draw comparisons between the U.K. and U.S. markets. In the U.K., there are approximately 85 pet insurance companies and over 25% of dogs are insured. In the U.S., there are only approximately 15 pet insurance companies[2] and only 2% of dogs are insured. The argument: if the U.S. pet insurance market grows in line with the U.K.’s market, another 30 million pets will be insured. That is the equivalent of over $15B in total available annual insurance revenue opportunity.

So why hasn’t growth happened yet?

Growth of the U.S. pet insurance market hinges on the product’s awareness and acceptance.

The awareness issue is readily being solved. Announcements such as Lemonade’s[3] increase the product’s visibility substantially. As new pet insurance offerings become available, companies such as Lemonade and Zoetis pour advertising dollars into their sale. Similarly, as pet owners hear their family, friends, breeders, adoption groups, and veterinarians discuss pet insurance[4] more, they develop a greater understanding of the product’s potential value in hedging financial risk[5].

Pet insurance acceptance is largely dependent on coverage quality and veterinary endorsement. Pet insurance companies are working hard to streamline digital enrollment experiences, improve customer support functions, and develop coverage options that align with consumer preferences. Marketplaces, like Pawlicy Advisor[6], also play a key role in collaborating with veterinarians to ensure the pet insurance market evolves in ways veterinarians approve.

vets recommending pet insurance

Simply put, the product acceptance issue is also readily being solved too and the U.S. market is at an inflection point, primed for significant growth.

Overview of Lemonade’s Coverage

New York State insurance filings provide a clearer picture of Lemonade’s new pet insurance[7] offering.

Similar to other companies, Lemonade offers an Accident & Illness policy with the option for wellness coverage for an additional fee:

  • The coverage appears industry standard, covering diagnostics, procedures, and medications for accidents and illnesses.
  • The wellness add-on policy covers a capped amount of the annual costs for wellness exams, heartworm tests, parasite tests, bloodwork, and up to three vaccines.
  • The reimbursement rates are 70-90% and deductibles are between $100 and $500 (which is industry standard).

An interesting point to note, Lemonade separates exam fees and physical therapy for accident and illness-related conditions as custom add-ons for an additional fee. These features are commonly included by other providers instead of being offered as an additional coverage option. For some pet owners, this customization may be a nice value-add, allowing them to trim down plans to their desired features.

The base price for Lemonade pet insurance in New York is closer to $25/mo than the $12/mo cited in Lemonade’s press release. It is common for insurance companies to modify pricing based on geographical location, which is related to regional pet health risks and veterinary treatment. This is something all U.S. pet insurance companies do. The $12/mo cited by Lemonade is likely available only in select locations. Most insurance providers charge a higher price in New York than in other states, and an even higher price for those pet owners living in the New York City area. Lemonade’s pricing is no different: insurance starts 50% higher—at $38/mo—for pets in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn (sorry, city dwellers).

Also similar to other pet insurance offerings, Lemonade’s pet insurance varies pricing by breed. For example, a Lemonade-insured French Bulldog is 63.7% more expensive than a Lemonade-insured Beagle. Price differences exist because many breeds have unique health risks[8].

What we like about Lemonade’s pet insurance coverage

Lemonade loops mixed breeds into generic buckets instead of listing specific mixed breeds independently. For example, if you have a Labrador Mix, you would enroll him or her in Lemonade pet insurance as either a Medium Mixed Breed or a Large Mixed Breed depending on weight. There is no “Labrador Mix” in the breed selection. From a pricing perspective, this should help owners of riskier mixes (typically larger breed animals) save money on their insurance. Its filings show Lemonade reduces its base insurance price by 17% for medium mixed breeds, for example. Since 60% of pets are mixed breed animals, a large number of pet owners could benefit.

Lemonade also follows an insurance industry trend, which is to bundle insurance products to reduce insurance premiums. Lemonade Renters and Homeowner’s policyholders are eligible for a 10% discount on their pet insurance. Many pet owners will likely take advantage of this opportunity. Other pet insurance providers offer discounts, but they are typically given to owners of multiple pets or allocated to strategic distribution partners.

Lastly, Lemonade features $50,000 and $100,000 annual coverage limit options. An annual coverage limit is the maximum amount of money an insurance company will pay out annually for veterinary treatment. Most pet insurance providers offer between $5,000 and $15,000 or Unlimited annual coverage options. Since even the largest insurance claims are typically under $100,000, these two new options help save pet owners on their insurance premiums while providing significant protection against the most expensive veterinary procedures.

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