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      December 15, 2018

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Embrace vs ASPCA

Best Pet Insurance

To help you find the Best Pet Insurance, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Embrace and ASPCA.

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Who has the Best Pet Insurance? Medical care is rarely cheap - and the same goes for our four-legged friends. While pet owners are grateful for advances in technology and medicine that make it possible to keep their "fur kids" healthy, these procedures and prescriptions often come with a hefty price tag.

Without pet insurance, a simple blood test can cost well over $200. Even a standard yearly checkup can set you back by hundreds of dollars. How's your wallet feeling now? Chances are, you would do almost anything to take care of your beloved pet - but you might find yourself having to make difficult choices, especially if your dog or cat experiences a traumatic injury or life-threatening illness.

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Best Reviews

2018

Pet Insurance Reviews

4.5 stars
Embrace

EMBRACE Visit Site

Cost:

$25 enrollment fees

Plans starting at $6.94/month (plus $1/month billing fee on all policies)

Deductible is reduced every year no claims are made

Since 2006, Embrace has ensured more than 100,000 dogs and cats throughout the United States. At the time of our review, they had a strong reputation with the Better Business Bureau as an accredited, "A+" rated company.

Embrace's rates are fairly competitive with most providers of pet insurance. You can customize your pet insurance policy according to your desired annual deductible ($200 to $1000), annual reimbursement limit ($5000 to $30,000), and reimbursement percentage (70% to 90%). For our 7-year-old dog, the three main packages recommended by Embrace were a little higher than some of their competitors', but we were able to tweak our preferences for deductible and reimbursement to get a monthly premium we liked.

If your pet has already been spayed or neutered, you may save 5% on your policy. You can also request this discount later if your pet undergoes the procedure after you start your coverage.

Wellness/routine care options exist, but they are a "supplementary, non-insurance benefit". It works similarly to an HSA (Health Savings Account), where you pay every month towards your account and those funds can be used to reimburse you for vaccinations, routine visits, grooming, and so forth. You can choose annual limits of $250, $450, or $650. With each of these plans, if you maximize the benefit you'll spend approximately 86% of the value that you receive. In other words, for the $250 plan, you'll pay about $216 out of pocket, and see a savings of about $34.

A few other features we liked about Embrace pet insurance:

  • Embrace follows a "deductible then copay" reimbursement model in contrast to some other pet insurance companies that use a "copay then deductible" model. Embrace's reimbursement could mean saving an additional $50 on a $1,000 claim.
  • Embrace uses an annual deductible, while some competitors use a per-condition deductible. An annual deductible only needs to be met once per year, regardless of how many claims you make. Plans with a per-condition deductible require you to pay a new deductible every time you go to the vet for a new condition. If your pet has an unlucky year, your out-of-pocket costs could be higher by a few hundred dollars with a per-condition deductible.
  • Embrace offers a 24/7 pet help line. This provides you with instant, real-time access to veterinary experts and decision support for any questions you might have about your pet's behavioral changes, possible poisoning, emergencies, and more. This policyholder benefit is valued over $99 a year and is included with every policy at no extra cost.

Another way to save is through Embrace's Healthy Pet Deductible. With this feature, your annual deductible will automatically decrease by $50 after every year that you don't make a claim on your policy. So, if you start out with a deductible of $200 per year, it would drop to $150 in year 2, $100 in year 3, and so on. Once you make a claim, however, your deductible for the following year is reset to your original amount. This is included with every Embrace policy at no extra charge.

We were surprised to see a $1/month "Billing Fee", evidently to cover the cost of monthly payment processing. We're not aware of any other pet insurance company that charges for that. There was also an enrollment fee of $25. Neither of these charges amount to very much money, but are still something you should be aware of.

As with many pet insurance providers, Embrace gets its fair share of complaints about claims being denied as pre-existing conditions. If you have a good medical history for your pet - and possibly a clean orthopedic exam - you shouldn't have any issues. The happy customers we found said that they were treated with the utmost respect and care, and that their claims were approved and paid very quickly.

Embrace does a lot of things right. Starting with an excellent reputation and comprehensive pet insurance plans, they add features such as their 24 hour help line, wellness coverage, and a Healthy Pet Deductible that few competitors can match. For all these reasons, Embrace is an outstanding option when it comes to pet insurance plans.

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3.5 stars
ASPCA

ASPCA Visit Site

Cost:

Starting at $11.05 for cats and dogs

Unlimited annual coverage plans available

$2 per-payment fee on all plans not paid annually

No enrollment fee

Who doesn't know the ASPCA and their heartfelt please to care for animals in need? As an extension of their great care and concern for animal welfare, the ASPCA has partnered with a leading, longstanding insurance company to offer policies to cover pets, making veterinary care more affordable for owners around the nation.

ASPCA's plans start out more expensive than many of their competitors. While many other companies cover kittens and puppies for less than $10/month (even less than $5/month for kittens), ASPCA starts at over $11 per month for both kittens and puppies. When we looked at their pricing for our dog, a 7-year-old male, mixed breed dog, their rates were more competitive with other plans. On a policy that included a $5000 annual limit, 70% reimbursement, and a $500 annual deductible, we would pay $38/month. On the upper end of the spectrum - unlimited annual limit, 90% reimbursement, and $100 annual deductible - our premium would be $114.97/month.

You can customize your plan as you like. Available annual limits are $5000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 and unlimited. Reimbursement levels are 70%, 80%, and 90%. And, annual deductible options are $100, $250, and $500.

Once you've selected your plan, you can add preventive coverage if desired. ASPCA has two plans: Basic and Prime. For our pet, we were quoted $9.95/month for Basic and $24.95/month for Prime. Each wellness plan has annual benefits, such as $175 towards a dental cleaning (Prime only) or $20/$25 towards deworming. You'll want to add up the benefits to see if it would be worth your monthly premiums, since some benefits (such as a health certificate) may not be useful to you on a yearly basis, if ever.

ASPCA pet insurance policies all come with a $2 per-payment fee for all plans that are billed monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually. You can eliminate this fee if you opt to pay your premiums in full on a yearly basis. We like that ASPCA doesn't charge any enrollment or set-up fees.

The underwriter of ASPCA's pet insurance policies, Crum & Forster, is both accredited and "A+" rated by the Better Business Bureau. In over a thousand independently-verified customer reviews, ASPCA's average was a near-perfect five stars. We found compliments praising the ease of submitting claims through the ASPCA app and fast payments on claims.

On the other hand, we found quite a few customer reviews that said they had a very difficult time getting claims approved and paid by ASPCA. Several long-term customers observed that the service they received got worse over the years, with many more denials of "pre-existing conditions" along with much higher premiums. Some clients also said that when their policies renewed, it triggered another 6-month waiting period even though they had a continuous policy paid automatically every month. We didn't see responses from the ASPCA on those complaints, which isn't encouraging.

If you're specifically looking for an unlimited annual coverage plan, ASPCA is one of just a handful of providers that can meet your needs. However, expect that you may pay more, especially if you're covering a younger pet, than you'd spend on a competitor's policy.

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Continued from above

Just like their owners, pets can be protected with pet insurance plans that help ease the financial strain of medical care. Pet insurance has become very popular in the last few years, with dozens of companies offering to help you keep your pet healthy for a long time. But, every pet insurance plan is different with respect to deductibles and fees, covered services, and claims processing.

As you decide which pet insurance company is the best fit for you and your pet, keep in mind the following criteria:

  • Cost. What will you pay for your coverage? Is there a deductible, and is it annual or per incident? Will you pay any enrollment fees?
  • Coverage. What services and procedures are covered in the plan you have selected? Does it cover preventative measures like annual checkups? Are there any noteworthy exclusions? Does the company offer a variety of plans to meet your needs?
  • Reputation. Is the pet insurance provider rated by the Better Business Bureau? What do other customers say about their experience? Are claims paid quickly, or do you have to jump through a lot of hoops to file paperwork? Do many claims get denied? Are the company's customer service representatives knowledgeable and friendly?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Pet Insurance companies available today. We hope this information helps you find the best pet insurance plan for you and your animal companion!

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