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Insurance Can Protect Pet Owner Investments
By Lani Jefcoat
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Health, life and property insurances are common purchases for Mississippians, but an additional option for pet coverage may appeal to people with significant investments in their animals.
Major illnesses, accidents or lost pets can result in significant financial or emotional stress for pet owners. The solution to these unexpected problems may lie in pet insurance policies.
Dr. Margaret Kern, associate professor at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said she knows of no pet insurance offered in Mississippi.
"Mississippians can purchase a pet insurance policy from companies in other states," Kern said.
With the medical treatments now available from veterinarians, pet owners are able to keep their pets healthier and help them live longer. But with the increase in available treatments is an increase in expenses.
New treatment options available for pets include chemotherapy, radiation, tumor removal, hip replacement, organ transplants and sophisticated diagnosis procedures. These are all expensive procedures and pet insurance can help pay for these treatments.
Companies offer various plans to cover different types of pets and certain needs of individual pets. Plans range from covering vaccinations and routine care to those that cover pets already sick with cancer or another illness.
A basic pet insurance policy for a healthy pet may cost from $9 to $12 per month. Discounts may be offered for enrolling multiple pets.
"Currently, most people who love their pets are willing to pay for medical services without insurance," Kern said.
However, pet insurance may be the answer for owners who make decisions for treatment based on cost. Instead of opting for less expensive treatment or euthanasia, owners may be able to provide their pet with what they need to live a long and healthy life.
"I believe that most pet owners would be interested in pet insurance if the policy covered a wellness program," Kern said.
A wellness plan is offered by some companies to cover vaccinations, flea control, heartworm testing, and spaying or neutering. Some plans do not cover wellness, but will cover hereditary and congenital problems if the animal was in good health when it was insured.
Some policies have restrictions and exclusions which limit the care a patient can receive. Various policies in the United States cover horses, cats and dogs and are mostly health insurance policies. There are a select few life insurance plans that will cover death by illness or accident.
Owners of show and breeding animals have higher costs to keep their animals in top condition and often are the ones most willing to provide expensive treatment for their animals.
Contact: Lani Jefcoat, (601) 325-1717