The idea of pet insurance has been slow to get off the ground, but is becoming much more common.
At first, I thought it was a bad idea. And maybe you have the same worry–I was concerned that it would lead to the same disastrous mess that human medicine and medical insurance are in. But what has ravaged the human health industry is “managed” care. The original idea of a third-party payer (the pet insurer) is more like car insurance than human health insurance. You get veterinary care for your pet, pay the veterinarian, submit a claim for reimbursement to the pet insurance company, and they send you a check. It’s pretty simple! It’s clear that, done right, pet insurance is good for everyone.
A recent survey of veterinarians was conducted to assess their attitudes toward pet insurance. Eighty-three percent of veterinarians who began practice in 2000 or later would like to see more clients have pet health insurance. Naturally, older vets were more resistant to the idea, but 68% vets who graduated in the 1970s (a group that, by and large, thinks that declawing is great and vaccinates every pet for every disease every year!) still thinks pet insurance is a good idea.
If you have a young animal, especially a purebred, pet insurance is a reasonable investment; especially given the rising cost of even basic veterinary care. Depending on the policy, you will be covered for most common accidents and illnesses that can afflict a dog or cat over his lifetime. Each policy has restrictions and exclusions, so be sure you do your homework to find the best option for your companion. For example, many policies cover spay/neuter surgery, and vaccines; but exclude hereditary illnesses and tooth extractions.
Of course, insurance companies are in business to make a profit. All insurers seem to be great at taking your money, but not so great about giving it out. Claim processes may be cumbersome and time-consuming, and claims may be denied for little or no reason. However, there are huge differences among insurers. I have done a lot of research into the various companies, and have concluded that Embrace Pet Insurance is the fairest and most sensible. The reasons I recommend Embrace include:
1. Great reviews: 91% positive, and trending upward.
2. Customers report that the company is easy to work with; claims are processed quickly and paid promptly.
3. Embrace offers coverage for alternative health care, including:
- Veterinary orthopedic manipulation (VOM) and massage therapy
- Therapeutic Laser Treatment
4. They offer coverage for breed-specific conditions, cancer treatment, emergencies, specialists, prescriptions, and wellness care; and they even offer a sort of “medical savings plan” for your pet.
5. Their plans are flexible as opposed to set price. This means that there are no preset limits on how much of your routine care allowance you can spend toward any particular item. In plans with fixed amounts allocated per item, variations in cost among veterinarians mean that you will usually lose money through overpaying for some things and being reimbursed less for others. See this comparison for a detailed explanation.
6. Their plans and options are comparably priced to similar policies. But, of course, additions to the basic policy will cost extra.
Embrace, like all pet insurers, exclude pre-existing conditions that occur within a certain time period before you bought your policy; i.e., your cat is diagnosed with cancer, and then you buy insurance. The waiting period for Embrace is 12 months. Most companies will never cover any condition that existed prior to buying a policy. However, Embrace may reinstate coverage for subsequent episodes of pre-existing conditions that are considered curable, such as upper respiratory infections; urinary tract/bladder infections; and vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disorders.
For more information, to get a quote for coverage for your pet, or to apply for a policy, please visit Embrace Pet Insurance.