More people are starting to buy pet insurance. Right now, about half of household pet owners in Great Britain or Sweden purchase insurance for their animals. Just 1 to 2 percent of Americans purchase this insurance. And yet, people spend thousands of dollars on surgeries and other medical bills to keep their animals healthy.

Is pet insurance for you? That depends on how much you would be willing to spend to keep your pet healthy. Only you can answer that.

If you are interested in shopping around for pet insurance, be sure to follow all the same things if you were shopping for your own medical insurance. Be sure to ask about the types of ailments that are included. Insurance coverage typically pays a percentage of the costs for procedures, office visits, etc. Ask what pre-existing conditions are covered (many will make your pet ineligible for coverage). Finally, ask what the annual deductible is and what levels of coverage are available.

Finally, if you have several pets, ask if you can purchase a combined policy. If not, think about whether you’re willing to shell out for insurance for each animal.

Here are some pet insurance companies that were recently listed in the New York Times. These are just suggestions on places to go for quotes and estimates. There is no endorsement by Ilyce Glink or Think Glink, Inc., implied or otherwise, of these companies.

Premier Pet Insurance
(877) 774-2273

Veterinary Pet Insurance
(800) 872-7387

Healthy Pet Insurance
(800) 994-9442

Pet Care Insurance
(866) 373-7387

© 2001 by Think Glink, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: This topic was discussed on the Clark Howard Show, WSB Radio, on July 23, 2001.