Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Health Insurance for your dog?

By Jen Lynch

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — It’s a common remark for those devoted to their pooches: “I spend more on my dog’s health care than I do on my own!”

Dog owners can expect to pay a few hundred dollars a year for routine veterinary care, but a serious illness could send the bills soaring into the thousands.

One way to protect yourself is to buy pet health insurance.

It’s still not that common. Fewer than 1 percent of pets are insured in the U.S., according to Petplan USA — one of just 13 plans available in the U.S.

Most people don’t start looking for pet insurance until they face a big vet bill, said Michael Hemstreet, who runs Pet Insurance Review, a Web site for comparative shopping.

“But not one of the companies will cover a pre-existing condition,” he said. “It’s like if I don’t have car insurance and get in an accident, and then try to apply for auto insurance.”

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