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Goldens & Dressage 4ever
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I lost my puppy this last December. He was faced with grand mal seizures, developed swelling on his head and over his eyes, turned diabetic, and eventually his heart became weak and was barely beating. I didn't have insurance and I ended up spending $13,000 in just 9 days after fees for the ICU, internists, neurologists, cariologists, an MRI, muscle biopsy, and brain tap. I would have sold my house and all my belongings to save him if it were at all possible, but in the end there was no cure. I was lucky enough to have that money set aside.

I am getting another puppy this next month and I'm getting insurance this time. I called all the major pet insurance companies and thought I would share the information I found. Over half I found to be a rip off, especially if I am ever in the same situation again with another puppy.

The three most important coverages to me are: Cancer, hereditary conditions (such as hip and elbow dysplasia), and unexpected illnesses. A lot of insurance companies don't cover these.

My key questions for the insurance companies were:

1) Do you cover hereditary conditions and to what amount?
2) Is cancer covered and to what amount?
3) Do you use the actual vet bill or a predetermined value in which you think is fair?
4) Is there a single condition limit or a single incident limit?
-If so, what is the amount
-How do you treat this condition at time of yearly renewal? ie, would this now be considered a pre-existing condition and not be covered?
5) Are premiums raised if I make a claim?
6) What are the yearly coverage limits or lifetime limit?
7) Will you cover my dog for life? Do the premiums increase as my dog ages?
8) Do you cover prescription medications?
9) What is my deductable amount?
10) Do you offer a microchipping discount?
11) Can I use any vet? Does this include specialists and after hours emergency care?
12) How long does a claim take to process?

The pricing below is on a 10 week old female golden puppy in the state of Washington. I chose plans that cover cancer and hereditary conditions if available. I was not concerned with coverage for routine care, just unexpected things.

VPI: A superior plan is $46.95. They do not cover hereditary conditions and also has a single condition limit of $4,500, with a $14,000/year limit. (I ruled this company out because they do not cover hereidtary conditions and the guy on the phone was very rude. He knew I was shopping around and I think he gets commission).

PET PLAN: This company covers hereditary conditions, all medications, surgeries, and all diagnostics. You are allowed to visit any vet. There isn't a limit per condition, just a yearly limit. You are allowed to choose a yearly limit of $8k, $12k, or $20k with a $200 deductable. They offer a 10% microchipping discount. A bronze package with an $8k yearly limit and 80% reimbursement is $228.39 a year (less than $20 a month!). If you want 100% reimbursement it is $256.93 a year. A Gold package with a $20,000 year limit with 80% reimbursement is $285.48 a year. These prices do not include the microchipping discount. The only setback is if your dog has to see a specialist it is reduced to 70% reimbursement. The nice thing about this company is that if your dog is diagnosed with a condition while covered under the insurance, it will not be considered pre-existing at time of renewel and will be covered year after year.

EMBRACE: This company covers breed specific conditions. The every day plan covers unknown accidents or illnesses (including hereditary).There is no limit per condition. At time of renewel the following year, any illness from the previous year is considered a pre-existing condition and will be reduced to 25% coverage for that specific condition. The plan is $36.04 per month with $10,000 a year limit and a $200 deductable at 80% reimbursement. If you want to add precription medications and dental it is $48.96 per month.

TRUPANION: This company does not have a per incident limit nor a yearly limit, but a lifetime limit of $20,000. This covers hereditary conditions, but does not cover routine care. The Accident and Illness coverage covers medications and hereditary conditions with a 90% reimbursement at $40 a month (zero deductable) or $34.43 ($200 deductable). The catch here is that you have to pay the exam fee. Premiums do not raise as your dog gets older and you will not be dropped.

PETSBEST: This company states they cover hereditary conditions, but has a list of 8 things for a golden that are limited to $2500, instead of the 80% reimbursement. Hip dysplasia was included in theses 8 things. A basic plan has a low per incident amount of $2500 and is $14.99 a month with a $250 deductable and 80% reimbursement. The First plan has a $7,000 per incident limit and a $100,000 lifetime limit with no annual limit and a 80% reimbursement for $31.38 per month. The Premier plan can not be sold to me because I live in Washington state (Washington has some strange inurance laws!)

PETSFIRST: Had low per incident limits. I didn't even bother calling because I wanted more coverage.

PURINA CARE and ASPCA were not available in my state of Washington.

I thought this may help some of you. If anyone has used or is using any of these companies, I would love to hear about your experiences. I still haven't chose a company to insure with yet.
 

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I have Embrace for my two. Always remember that the premiums are different state to state. I pay a bit more because Vet fees and services are very high in CT.

Thank you for information!
 

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Goldens & Dressage 4ever
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117 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I'm leaning towards pet plan right now...my other option would be Trupanion, but the $20,000 lifetime seems low.
 

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Premium Member
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558 Posts
I chose Trupanion. Haven't needed to use it yet but I liked the fact that they do not raise their premium as my dog gets older. They also pay actual vet costs, not customary for the market.
 

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Captain JONAthan Toews
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I'm curious to which one you chose...I'm looking into insurance right now also because my puppy will be coming home in about 4 weeks...It's between PetPlan and Embrace....covering hereditary problems is a must for me...
 

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I'm also trying to choose between Embrace and PetPlan - my baby will be 2 on Sunday!

Wandering if anyone has any experience with seeing a "specialist" with PetPlan? My family lost one golden to cancer, which is the main reason I want to get insurance for Rylee. We are fortunate enough to live in the Philly area and thus take our dogs to UPenn Vet Hospital for major issues. My concern is that almost any doc we'd see at UPenn would be considered a specialist (particularly an oncologist) and thus all those costs would be subject to the reduced copayment (70%).

Knowing how costly cancer can be, I'm still leaning toward Pet Plan because the annual limit for existing conditions drops to $2500 in Yr 2 with Embrace. We all know dogs have great timing - I fear a diagnosis near the end of the policy year that would all but negate the advantages of the insurance.

Anyone have experience with cancer and either of these insurance companies?
 

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Embrace has a very public presence on Facebook. I really need to look over my policy again.
I'm really curious - hope you don't mind my asking. I don't have a facebook account - do you mean that in a good way or a bad way regarding Embrace? Do you have an Embrace policy?
 

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We have PetPlan here and after much extensive research found it to be the best bang for the buck.
 

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Correct - I believe you pay $149/yr with Embrace for the additional coverage but there is a $200 limit on claims.
 

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are shots and routine care and neutering covered under the veterinary fees portion?

No, but I purchased pet insurance for expensive procedures and illnesses, not routine care that I can afford to pay out of pocket when the need arises.
 

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I'm really curious - hope you don't mind my asking. I don't have a facebook account - do you mean that in a good way or a bad way regarding Embrace? Do you have an Embrace policy?
Good way. Embrace even contributed to Meggie's Cancer Survivor Run last year. Both of my guys are insured with Embrace, but I've never had to really make a claim. I bought it in case one ever gets cancer and pray I never have to use it. After reading the statement above, I need to read the policy again. My guys are going to be 8 this year. Embrace is pretty good about answering all questions in a timely manner, so I will ask them about the 2,500.00 mentioned above. I supposed if I get a bill for 5k, I will appreciated only having to come up with half. I have to think this through.

I think I may send (I think her name is Cindy) the link to this thread.
 

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Just another Golden Lover
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Wow, I am so sorry to hear about your previous Golden.

Princess Golden Jasmine. Unfortunately, we lost our first Golden to a benign tumor on her liver, however it was growing. May she rest in peace. She had a mass on her liver in a place that was inoperable. However, we did not know it was inoperable until we had surgery done on her at VCA of Seattle (in Lynnwood, WA). It ended up being exploratory and $10,000. Like you, we would have spent our last dime on her if it would have saved her life. Long story short, we had to lay her down a few months after the operation because she quit eating.

Samson & McKenzie. We ended up getting two puppies (littermates) 10 weeks old back in September; only a week after we laid our beautiful Jasmine to rest. We did our best to research the breeders. We found one that bred show dogs and she had held back three from her last litter to pick one for her to show. We ended up with the other two. Now they are 11 months old and as cute as can be. However, our little girl’s right elbow is showing the early signs of bone disease (FCP). We had radiographs and then a CT scan and are so saddened by this. Now we have some tough decisions ahead to figure out what is the best way to handle her condition. We are contemplating surgery to relieve any pain and then possibly seek some holistic advice to see if there are any natural remedies that can help her condition. One thing that we did do was get insurance and we chose Pet Plan. As specified by GoldenDreams, we were told the same info. So we will give our testimony on their services, I have submitted a smaller claim but it was so small it did not meet our deductible. However, I have a feeling this is going to cost us a bit more…we are at $1500 and counting.

We would be appreciative of any info, guidance and/or comments that anyone can provide.
Also, I would love any comments on the future of Innova since Proctor & Gamble has purchased them.
 

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Coley - my cuddle bug
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2,336 Posts
THANK YOU for starting this thread.

I've found after checking fairly extensively that PetPlan is the most affordable with the best coverage.

I even called them and gave them every one of Duke's scenarios. If and when we do another puppy - this is where I'm going.
 

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I have PetPlan and need to decide real quick if I want to renew it. The only thing I don't like about it is coverage is per incident or illness. So, for every new thing that happens your deductible is tallied separate.....
 
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