By Mark Wilson, BBC NewsA new law in New Zealand is making it more difficult for pet owners to pay for insurance on their pets.
The new law comes into effect on October 1 and requires owners of dogs and cats to get approval from a vet to pay.
But it will not affect people who are owners of other animals, such as chickens, pigs and horses.
A vet will decide if the dog or cat is a sick or injured animal and can pay.
The vets can then contact the owner to arrange a claim.
It is expected the bill will be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
But pet owners in New York, which is the only US state to allow pets to be covered by pet insurance, say the law will make it impossible for them to do so.
The New York law is part of a broader trend in the US to make it more expensive for pet insurance companies to collect premiums.
But animal welfare groups have criticised the legislation as unfair and will argue that it will lead to fewer people being able to afford insurance.
“The New Yorker law will likely result in fewer pet owners signing up for pet-insurance policies in New Jersey, New York and Illinois, which are among the states that have already passed similar legislation,” said the Humane Society of the United States.
“In other words, these states will be the ones to pay the higher premiums.”
The law was first proposed in New Mexico and is similar to what was passed in Missouri.
It has also been criticised by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
“Insurance companies are making a huge amount of money from their business, but they are still taking advantage of the vulnerable by charging the highest rates possible,” said Dr Michael Visser, president of the American Vets Association.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) says the law has already led to people not getting their pets covered.
“People have been told to just give up on their pet and move on to another animal,” AWI president and chief executive Officer Mark Taylor said.
“There’s been a big increase in pet deaths, which has led to some people having to move to other states.”
New Jersey has a very low pet population, with just 10,000 animals and about 30,000 pets per 100,000 people, according to AWI.
But AWI says the number of people paying for pet coverage has dropped by nearly half in the past 10 years, and now only about 10,600 people a year are paying for the policy.
“It’s a lot of people, especially people with very small pets,” said AWI director of communications David Tull.
“They are not getting the best care at all.”
Dr Taylor says the bill is a good step in the right direction.
“This is the best way to protect the health of pets and their owners,” he said.
The law will take effect on December 1 and is likely to cost pet owners more.
“A lot of these insurers will be paying out quite a bit of money because of the new requirement,” he added.
“But the new policy will save people money.”
A spokesperson for New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said the department was in discussions with insurance companies and was working with the vet community to see if they could work out how to adjust their policies to cover pet insurance.
A spokesperson from the insurance company that is currently running the New York policy, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New York said: “We are aware of the New Yorker legislation, and are working with our insurers to explore options to make the benefits and coverage of our policies easier to obtain.”
As this is an ongoing process, we are unable to share any further information.
“The spokesperson added: “The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is in discussions to provide a policy that covers our pet insurance plans in New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont.””
We have a number of insurance plans that cover our pets, including the BlueCross Blue Shield Pet Insurance Plan in New Brunswick, the New Jersey State Pet Insurance Policy, and the New Hampshire Pet Insurance plan.
“What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance covers a pet’s medical and other expenses, and generally covers them for a longer period of time than a person would pay for a car or other property.
But insurance companies have been reluctant to cover pets for years, with some arguing that pets can become aggressive.
What are the benefits of pet insurance for pets?
Pet owners often struggle to find out what their pet’s insurance covers.
The most important benefit for pet people is that the policy will cover their pet for up to six years, which means that if the pet becomes aggressive or ill, they could still be covered.
The second most important benefits is that pet owners have a guaranteed amount of income from their pet insurance policy.
A third important benefit is that a pet owner can keep their pet as a pet for the rest of their life.”
When a pet is