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More people have become pet owners since the COVID-19 pandemic started. We all wanted that fluffy animal to keep us company during lockdowns and quarantines. 

Pet stores have been repositioning to offer more goods and services to customers. Chewy,  (CHWY)  a pet food and pet product retailer based in Dania Beach, Fla., is one of the biggest pet product retailers in the U.S. It was acquired by PetSmart in 2017 for $3.35 billion but after a failed refinancing effort, the two companies split in 2020.

In 2018, Chewy introduced its online pharmacy and began carrying a large array of pet medicines. They have medications for dogs, cats, and even horses. In late 2020, the company launched Connect with a Vet to connect with licensed veterinarians and make telemedicine appointments. In September of last year, Chewy launched Practice Hub, which is a vet marketplace for vets at clinics to direct their clients to products and pharmaceuticals while Chewy handles all manufacturing, shipping, etc.

Chewy Launches Wellness and Insurance Plan

Chewy is now launching CarePlus, which is a wellness and insurance plan.

Chewy is promising high-quality pet care with these insurance plans. Benefits include 24/7 access to Chewy's customer care team for consumers needing education and information on insurance, access to Connect with a Vet, and 100% of costs may be covered for eligible prescription medication and certain types of pet food purchases on Chewy's website. 

Mita Malhotra, Chewy's vice president for health, said in a statement that "The launch of CarePlus is a significant step forward in our mission of making pet healthcare more affordable and accessible." The plans will also facilitate client-to-vet interactions to ensure that pets will be insured when they go visit vet hospitals or clinics that will accept CarePlus insurance. 

The wellness plans start at $20 per month to cover preventative care like annual exams and vaccines. Preventative care can cover flea, tick, and heart-worm medications. Other plans with more options for care start at $60 or $100 a month and are designed to help cover costs in cases like accidents, unexpected illness, and for surgeries. Other issues that can be covered include orthopedic issues, treatments for skin conditions, digestive problems, chronic conditions, and age-related illnesses or diseases. Customers can also choose a bundle package for complete protection which has CarePlus wellness and insurance plans together. 

The pet plans are available in 31 states but will expand nationwide later this year.

CarePlus' Competition

Other leading pet industry brands have already rolled out pet insurance plans. Petco  (WOOF)  offers pet insurance with very similar coverage options as CarePlus.

Many insurance companies offer pet insurance as well as the more common homeowner, car, renters and life insurance. 

Policies vary widely, depending on a pet's breed, age and pre-existing conditions, as well as what a policy covers, premiums and deductibles. In a recent study cited by Investopedia, 46% of pet owners said an unexpected emergency expense of $500 or less caused financial stress.