Pet insurance on the rise, new AARP partnership offers member discounts
News from Houston Chronicle:

Insuring Fido or Fluffy is more popular than ever.

More people are buying pet insurance. And starting this month, AARP jumped into the industry by offering members a discount on insuring their four-legged friends.

AARP teamed up with Petplan for the offer. Chris Ashton, co-founder and co-CEO of Petplan, said the arrangement gives AARP members a 10 percent discount on premiums. It also gives them a $ 35 pet wellness card each year, which essentially pays for an annual checkup.

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the number of pet policies in force in North America increased 14.6 percent from 2012 to 2013. The pet insurance industry has experienced double-digit increases since 2009, with an average annual growth rate of 13.2 percent.

Sue Gochenour, a spokeswoman at the West Houston Veterinary Medical Associates, said she’s noticed an increased awareness of pet insurance among customers, largely through word of mouth. She hadn’t heard about this AARP deal but said anything that keeps pets around longer is a good thing.

“They take better care of their pets,” she said of customers with insurance. “They come in more often. They do more things that are recommended for them to do.”

Insurance isn’t the only segment seeing an increase. Pet owners are spending more on their animals overall.

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