KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 1 When Lola ate chocolate cake,James and Lori Carlson cleaned up quite a mess. After all, Lola is a dog, andchocolate can be quite poisonous for dogs. The Carlsons realized that Lolaneeded medical attention.
X-rays, several tests and an overnight stay for observation gave Lola aclean bill of health but a bill of more than $1,000.
The Carlsons, though, breathed easier. They have pet insurance so all buta small percentage of Lola's care was covered.
"Paying the premiums every month allows us not to worry if any of our pets(they also have two cats) get sick or hurt," says James Carlson. "And wecertainly didn't want to make a tough decision when the time came."
The Carlsons are typical, loving pet owners. But they aren't typical intheir decision to buy insurance. Less than 2 percent of pet owners in Canadaand the United States are covered by pet insurance.
Pet insurance in North America, though, is growing at a rapid pace,doubling in the past five years to $248 million in 2007. And the industry ison track to generate more than $1 billion by 2012.
Such growth has led four leading companies to launch the North AmericanPet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) to dispel misconceptions, educatepet owners and set standards.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that pet insurance is an investment.
"Insurance shouldn't be bought for a return," says Darryl Rawlings, NAPHIApresident. "If you want a return, buy a T-bill or CD," he says. "Instead,people who can't afford to pay for a $5,000 or $10,000 surgery or treatmentreally need to weigh the risk of not having their pets covered.
"Today, the likelihood of people having the funds available to care fortheir pets has been dramatically reduced," Rawlings says.
All NAPHIA members are committed to set pet health insurance standards inorder to maintain universal and professional values for terminology, bestpractices, quality, and ethics. To view NAPHIA standards in full detail visithttp://www.naphia.org.
Rawlings encourages pet owners to speak with veterinarians, friends andother pet owners for recommendations.
In the end, choosing the right pet insurance provides financial securityand peace of mind. Just ask the Carlsons.Contact: Germinder & Associates 816-822-0192 Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA [email protected]