JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Americans love their pets and are willing to spend good money to keep them healthy. One company headquartered in Southern Indiana that is growing because of that love.
PetFirst was co-founded ten years ago by Brent Hinton. He had a pet who needed surgery. That would cost $3,000. He started looking into pet insurance options and quickly discovered only a few options were available.
Those options were confusing and did not meet the needs of most customers. So Hinton approached his friend and fellow entrepreneur with a plan. The two men quickly decided to move ahead with their business. PetFirst signed its first policy on July 14, 2004.
The company that began with two employees now has 42 workers at its offices just off Highway 62 in Jeffersonville across from City Hall.
PetFirst sells its insurance plans in every state in the country.
"Just like people, pets are going to get sick and have accidents," said PetFirst Vice President for Sales and Marketing Clint Lawrence, "and pet insurance is a great way to plan for that financially.
Amy Wisotsky would agree. She and her family have three dogs, one of which had to have surgery for a torn ligament.
Medical bills can be expensive, so she thinks pet insurance is a great idea.
"It's definitely worth it for many reasons," said Wisotsky. "We love our dogs and they are part of our family, so we want the best coverage for them."
Her family pays $147 a month for pet insurance.
"You don't know what it's going to cost in terms of an illness or injury," she said, "so this really helps in terms of budgeting and making sure the care is available when you need it."
Charlie Mattingly of the Better Business Bureau says if you are thinking about buying pet insurance, make sure you know what kind of policy you are buying.
"It's a legitimate product, it can reduce people's financial risks," said Mattingly. "But make sure you read the fine print; as with anything the fine, print is the most important part to read. It's the hardest part to read, but, particularly with insurance policies, understanding the fine print is very important."
Animal hospital and veterinary costs continue to rise as care becomes more sophisticated.
"I think people are becoming more aware of pet insurance as pet health care is catching up with human health care and vet bills are more expensive," said Lawrence.
PetFirst says it offers all kinds of plans to meet a wide variety of family incomes.