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      December 15, 2018

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Embrace vs Nationwide

Best Pet Insurance

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

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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 stars
Nationwide

NATIONWIDE Visit Site

Cost:

Plans starting at $16.51/month

Unlimited annual maximum on all plans

Annual deductibles of $100 or $250

Plans available for birds and exotic pets

$2 monthly transaction fee if not paying annually

No enrollment fee

"Nationwide is on your side" - and that includes your pets. Originally selling pet insurance under the Veterinary Pet Insurance brand in 1982, their very first customer was the famous TV collie, Lassie. Since then, Nationwide has covered thousands of pets throughout the US - including birds and exotic animals.

There are a few things you'll notice right away that are different with Nationwide. First, when getting a quote, you'll only be offered two plans: Major Medical and Whole Pet with Wellness. Unlike most companies that let you customize plans based on annual deductibles, coverage limits, and reimbursement percentages, Nationwide reduces your decision-making to whether you want wellness coverage or not. The Whole Pet program reimburses at 90%, while the Major Medical pays based on standard costs, not actual. With both programs, you can use any veterinarian you like.

For a kitten, you can expect to pay $16.51/month for Major Medical - almost four times as much as the lowest-priced competitor plan - or $46.60/month for Whole Pet with Wellness. But, both plans have an unlimited annual maximum, and with $250 and $100 annual deductibles, respectively, those prices are well worth the investment. Even looking at an older, more expensive pet to cover - our 7-year-old dog - we were pleasantly surprised by the rates: $57.66/month for Major Medical and $102.95 for Whole Pet with Wellness.

You'll be asked for fairly detailed medical history/information on your pet when you apply, so be prepared to document any past conditions, diagnoses, or treatments. You'll also be asked to identify your veterinarian - but it's not a problem if yours isn't in the list. (Ours was, along with dozens of others in our area.)

If you're paying for your plan on a monthly basis, you should expect transaction fees of $2/month. Also, your first payment will automatically be for two months of coverage, and your policy won't go into effect until at least 14 days after you apply and make that payment.

Does Nationwide measure up when it comes to pay out on claims? As much as we wanted to love this company for having simple-to-understand pricing with such broad coverage, we were disappointed when we looked at what other people had to say. Their comments were almost entirely negative; in fact, it was hard to find a customer who said that they had no issues at all with their policy. Many people felt they'd gotten a bait-and-switch with conditions and procedures they were told would be covered but in the end were denied. We also found a significant number of complaints saying that unless you provide detailed medical documentation from your veterinarian, Nationwide will deny your claim; some customers never received the request for that paperwork and didn't realize it until their claims were rejected.

Nationwide has a strong reputation for being a quality provider of insurance, across a wide range of policy types. It is largely due to this reputation and to their comprehensive pricing and plans that we give them a three-star rating. However, we advise you to be cautious and thorough with providing your pet's medical history, preferably during the application process - and that you follow up to make sure Nationwide received it before you make a claim, if possible.

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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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