Pet Insurance Growing In Popularity - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/7/02 - Tyler

Pet Insurance Growing In Popularity

 Suppose your pet is critically ill and the only path to recovery is an expensive surgery... thousands of dollars out of your pocket.

  For many East Texans, even the ones who consider their dog or cat family, that's an expense they simply can't afford. But, pet insurance claims to counter the cost.

  John Didriksen treats his dog, Heidi, like one of the family; taking her regularly for vet check-ups. That's a bill he can foot.

  But two years ago, John realized something that worried him about his four legged loved one.

  "I saw a surgery performed and I thought what am I going to do if something happens to my little dog," says John Didriksen.  "I need protection so i can take her right in and they can take care of her."

  John's talking about pet insurance, VPI in his case.  Veterinarian Mike Maris calls it an investment in peace of mind should the unthinkable happen.

  "It's part of their family. They would do anything to keep them comfortable keep them, healthy and to fix them if they're broken," says veterinarian Mike Maris. "And that's the person that's going to benefit from the insurance."

  Take John and Heidi, for instance.  He bought a $14,000 policy with $50. Premiums run him about $350 yearly, or $30 a month, but he gets back a third of that in Heidi's routine care.

  "Mr. Didriksen's policy does cover vaccination exams," says Maris.  "Dentistry, allergies, things like that are very common."

  But it's the catastrophic pet illness that pays for years of premiums in an instant. What's not covered are pre-existing conditions. And with any vet bill, you must pay, then be reimbursed.  John gladly accepts both knowing Heidi will be taken care of wherever she goes.

  "I have piece of mind if something happens to her, regardless of what it might be," says Didriksen.

  There are growing signs the era of health insurance for pets is catching on. The Veterinarian Pet Insurance company who dominates the market turned its first profit this year.  Still, fewer than one percent of the 60 million households with pets have pet insurance.

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