Pet Insurance

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Do I need pet insurance?

Nobody likes to think of their pet being unwell, but just like us, they can suffer all sorts of illnesses and injuries. It’s a fact, one in three pets will need unexpected treatment this year. Although it’s a cost every caring owner willingly pays, bills can run to hundreds and increasingly, thousands of dollars.

If my pet develops an ongoing condition, will my pet be covered?

The bad news is that most pet insurance companies handle chronic or recurring illnesses either by limiting your payout or by excluding them in subsequent years.

When a policy renews some pet insurance companies treat all the illnesses that occurred in the previous year as if they were pre-existing conditions. This will probably come as a shock as most people do not expect a health insurance policy to work this way.

When you compare pet insurance plans ask how a long-lasting condition would be handled, whether the reimbursement on the condition would be limited, and whether any chronic conditions could become pre-existing.

Embrace covers chronic conditions, but they also give you a choice – if you don’t think your pet will need this coverage you can opt not to take it and your premium will be lower.

If I apply for pet insurance, when does cover for my pet begin?

Most pet insurance companies have a waiting period of between 2 and 14 days for accidents and between 14 and 30 days for illnesses. The waiting period is there so that no one takes out insurance immediately after an accident or illness.

The waiting period only applies in your first policy year, after that there is no waiting period on your pet insurance.

Can I use Embrace Pet Insurance with any veterinarian?

Yes. Embrace Pet Insurance is indemnity insurance that reimburses you the same amount no matter which veterinarian you go to.

Why is Vet Care so expensive?

Veterinary medicine is advancing alongside human medicine at an amazing speed. Pet parents are not only educating themselves on the different treatment options available for their pets but are also demanding them too. Veterinary drugs are also available that treat a wide range of conditions that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. Like human health care, medical advancements in pet care come with a higher price.

Relatively speaking, veterinary care is still a great deal. The cost of veterinary care has actually risen very little during the last 20 to 30 years. When compared to the rising cost of human health care, pet care is not at all unreasonable.

Bear in mind that your veterinarian is not only your pet’s general physician, but also its surgeon, radiologist, dentist, dermatologist, neurologist, ophthalmologist, psychiatrist, ears/nose/throat doctor, and pharmacist.

Your veterinary bill is a reflection of the costs of maintaining suitable facilities, equipment, and support personnel to provide the level of care that is expected in animal medicine today. Remember too that the original cost of the animal has no bearing on the cost of services rendered.

What ages are eligible for pet insurance?

Embrace Pet Insurance issues new pet insurance policies to cats and dogs that are at least 8 weeks old. For accident-only policies you can enroll a cat or dog at any age.

To be eligible for illness coverage your pet must be between the following ages:

For dogs:

  • Mixed breed dogs: up to and including 8 years old
  • Purebreed dogs: up to and including 6 years old

For cats:

  • Mixed breed cats: up to and including 10 years old
  • Purebreed cats: up to and including 8 years old

What if I don’t know how old my pet is?

Use the age on your pet’s veterinary record or ask your veterinarian to give you her opinion.

Will my pet be kick off the plan as he ages even if he is older than the limits above?

Never. Once you have an Embrace policy, we will continue to cover your pet as he ages even if he is older than the limits above.

What do pet insurance plans cover?

Treatments that are covered by most pet insurance plans include:

  • Non-elective surgery
  • Anesthesia
  • Laboratory and diagnostic routines such as blood tests and ultrasound scans
  • Hospital stays
  • Initial and follow-up visits to the veterinarian
  • Medication administered by a veterinarian
  • Euthanasia for humane reasons

Many pet insurance companies don’t offer routine care coverage although some companies have plans that provide a fixed amount back for certain routine care items such as vaccinations or deworming treatment.

What treatments are not covered by pet insurance?

Conditions or treatments that may be covered partially or not at all include:

  • Genetic conditions
  • Cosmetic procedures such as tail docking
  • Routine care and regular visits to your veterinarian for vaccinations, deworming, and so on
  • Chronic illnesses lasting more than one year
  • Alternative and complementary therapies such as acupuncture
  • Dental diseases such as gingivitis
  • Genetic testing
  • Organ transplants

Many pet insurance companies consider genetic and congenital conditions to bepre-existing conditions and do not cover them.

Some pet insurance plans may not cover chronic conditions. This can cause gaps in your coverage so make sure you ask if they are covered.

Embrace Pet Insurance covers both genetic and chronic conditions.

How do pet insurance companies handle pre-existing conditions?

In general, pet insurance companies exclude any health issue that appeared before the start of your policy, even if the condition has not yet been clearly diagnosed or is in remission. These exclusions may be temporary or permanent and some companies allow coverage for the condition to start again after an incident-free period of time has passed.

But it gets more complicated. At renewal, some companies reset the pre-existing conditions and cut off coverage for chronic illnesses. This coverage is less expensive than policies that cover chronic conditions as long as you continue to pay your premiums but might not be what you expected from your pet insurance policy.

Embrace does not cover health conditions that occurred during the year before your policy first started or chronic conditions you already knew about when you signed up. They may remove exclusions if the condition has not reappeared for a year and also give you the option of choosing continuing care coverage so that your pet is always protected against chronic conditions.

How are premiums calculated?

Pet insurance premiums are based on risk factors associated with the likelihood that your pet will have injuries or illnesses requiring veterinary treatment and how much these treatments cost. The main factors that determine your pet insurance premium are:

  • Your location
  • Whether your pet is a cat or a dog
  • Your pet’s breed
  • Your pet’s sex
  • Your pet’s age
  • Whether your pet is spayed or neutered

What happens when my policy renews?

Some pet insurance companies treat your renewal policy as a completely new policy and they exclude health issues that occurred in the previous year as pre-existing conditions. This might come as a surprise to you as most people do not expect an insurance policy to work this way.

For example, if your dog had an ear infection during the first year you signed up, no matter whether the infection was fixed or not, ear infections would then be excluded when the policy renewed because the condition is now labeled pre-existing. It can be very frustrating making a claim under these circumstances.

Make sure you clarify with the pet insurance company how they will reimburse you for treatments or conditions that are expected to last more than a year.

Embrace gives you the option to include or exclude these types of conditions in your policy, helping you select a policy premium the way you want it.