A new law within the state obliges insurers to explain their policy coverage very clearly to animal owners.
California has now become the first state in the country to create regulations with regards to disclosure within the pet insurance industry, which is primarily unregulated up until this point.
The bill was recently signed into law to ensure that consumers will know the coverage that they are buying.
Governor Jerry Brown recently signed bill AB2056, making it into a law that states that pet insurance companies must provide animal owners with a clear explanation of what their policies cover. This includes any preexisting conditions that would disqualify them from protection as well as annual limits to coverage. This also requires a clear explanation of the various limitations associated with the policy that have to do with waiting periods, coinsurance, annual or lifetime limits to the policy, and deductibles.
This new pet insurance law in California will go into effect as of July 2015.
According to the CEO of insurer Healthy Paws, Rob Jackson, this law is a “big step forward to legitimize pet health insurance.” The bill was created by Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Encino), in response to a considerable number of complaints that had been made by consumers who have found their policies to be misleading and confusing. Animal owners have reported that they have found themselves paying unexpected costs to their veterinarians after their claims have been denied.
The new insurance law also provides policyholders with a trial period of thirty days in which to try their coverage. The California Department of Insurance has the authority to fine insurers up to $10,000 if they violate the regulations of this legislation. A similar bill had previously been vetoed, in 2010, by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In support of this pet insurance bill were a number of animal welfare nonprofits in the state, such as Actors and Others for Animals. That group stated that it has experienced a rise in applications from animal owners with pet health policies who still required assistance in covering the cost of their vet bills when their injured or sick animals were treated to a degree that exceeded their benefits or in a way that was excluded from their coverage.