Pet health insurance could be money saver for furry friends

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Three years ago, Perla Zepeda’s family lost a beloved family member. Their dog, Sandy, had swallowed an unknown object, causing internal damage. She was rushed to an emergency veterinary hospital in Yakima, but doctors couldn’t save her.

“We grieved for about three months,” Zepeda said.

They also faced more than $1,000 in veterinary bills.

Shortly after their dog died, Farmers Insurance began offering pet insurance plans that could have defrayed the cost.

Farmers joined forces with Pets Best to offer savings to those looking for health insurance for their cats and dogs in September 2014.

The company recognized about 50 percent of the households in the United States are pet owners, and that the pet health insurance has grown into a $774 million industry since TV collie Lassie received the first pet insurance policy in the early 1980s.

“A growing number of American pet owners are recognizing the financial and emotional benefits of insuring their four-legged family members,” said Jack Stephens, founder of Pets Best.

Today, the pet insurance market has more than twelve companies offering plans, and many also market and underwrite co-branded products.

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Jessica Hoefer

Jessica Hoefer

Jessica Hoefer is a freelance writer based in Prosser and a contributor to numerous print and online publications. When she’s not working on a news story, she can be found on the soccer field, at her local library or holed up in her office working on her next Young Adult novel.

View all posts by Jessica Hoefer