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Furry Friends

More companies are offering health insurance for pets.
February 1, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/83022

As veterinary treatment becomes more sophisticated, the cost of medical care for pets is rising. Many people are purchasing pet insurance, and a growing number of companies are including it in their voluntary insurance offerings to employees.

Pet insurance covers the cost of animal care in much the same way that a major medical policy covers people's health-care costs. Bill Gorman, group sales manager for Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. in Brea, California, says VPI's basic policy has a $50 deductible, then pays 90 percent up to a specific schedule.

Gorman says an increasing number of pet owners are looking to their employers to provide this as a benefit available with a group discount, even though they pay the entire cost themselves. "In the surveys we've done, pet insurance was the third most requested product by employees," Gorman says.

To be eligible for group rates with VPI, you must have at least 100 employees. If you have fewer employees, you may still qualify for group discounts by participating in a plan through a professional service or association (either a payroll services company, employee leasing company or industry group to which you belong) that has an agreement with VPI. Check VPI's website for a list of participating organizations, or talk to the agent who handles your voluntary insurance products.

Jacquelyn Lynn is a freelance business writer in Orlando, Florida.