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Insuring your pets

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December 9, 2004

Albany - When your pet gets hurt or sick, most of us will spare no expense to help them feel better. But, veterinarian bills can add up fast. Pet insure may be a good option for you.

Jake, my overweight and over-loved, cat ended up at the veterinarian this week after he swallowed a rubber band. With the costs of x-rays and tests piling up, I wondered if maybe I should have brought pet insurance.

"I know a small percentage of customers that do invest in pets insurance," said Dr. Rebecca Hall. Dr. Hall admits she doesn't know much about pet insurance because so few people have it.

On the east side of Albany, Dr. Fred Freeland often tells his patients that now is a good time to buy pet insurance. "You can buy policies that not only cover major medical and surgical needs, but also add coverage that includes you wellness. It could include heart worm prevention and flea control products," said Dr. Freeland.

Dr. Freeland suggests Veterinary Pet Insurance, one of the first companies of its kind. "From my view, pet insurance in certain policies is a great deal."

VPI policies start at about $19 a month for dogs and $12 for cats. Basic plans cover major medical procedures like surgery to remove a leg after a vehicle accident or foreign body removal, which Jake may need. Cost go up with the amount of coverage you want.

"You can't predict what needs your pets going to have," said Dr. Freeland. "But, you want to read enough of the fine print that you have some idea if the investment is good." It will be a good investment if something catastrophic happens to your favorite friend, if not it's money lost. But remember, "with our car and home owners insurance, we pay thousands of dollars throughout the years. But when we need it, we need it, and there is no other option," said Dr. Freeland.

For most of us, keeping our pets healthy and happy for a long, long time is one of the best investments we can make.

If you adopt a pet at the Humane Society, you can get "Shelter Care" insurance for around $10 a month.

Related sites:

www.sheltercare.com

www.petinsurance.com

Posted at 4:00PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com

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