Although only around 1% of pet owners in the U.S. have pet insurance, fewer and fewer people are willing to leave care decisions up to their ‘ability to pay.” One possible solution is an Embrace Pet Insurance policy.
Embrace sets itself apart from competitors by adopting some features we typically find in other insurances. These include a ‘vanishing deductible’ feature made popular in auto insurance, access to pre-certification before you undertake a procedure or test, and alternative therapies that appeal to pet owners who apply the same to themselves.
Embrace grew out of a winning Wharton Business Plan Competition in 2003. Its first policy was sold in late 2006, and today the company covers over 110,000 cats and dogs nationwide, at any licensed veterinarian, specialist, or emergency hospital. Plans are underwritten by one of the insurance companies of American Modern Insurance Group (AMIG), a company rated by A.M. Best as A+ (Superior).
Embrace offers a straightforward range of plans:
The Embrace Plan: offers what it calls ‘nose-to-tail’ illness and accident coverage that includes Breed-Specific, Genetic, Congenital, and Chronic Conditions; Cancer; Exam Fees; Alternative Therapies and Rehabilitation; Behavioral Therapy; Diagnostic Testing; Prosthetic Limbs and Devices; Dental Illness; and more. Coverage is capped at $5,000-$15,000 per policy year, with no lifetime cap. Prescription Drug Coverage is included in most states and as an add-on in others.
Accident-Only Plan: available to pets over the maximum enrollment age for full illness and accident insurance (age 15) or to those with pre-existing conditions (diagnosed diabetes, FIV, FeLV, etc.) that make paying for full coverage uninteresting. The policy reimburses up to $5,000 annually, with a fixed $100 annual deductible and reimbursement of 90% of the vet bills.
Wellness Rewards Plan (as an add-on): covers Wellness Exams; Vaccinations and Titers; Flea, Tick and Heartworm Medications; Spay/Neuter Surgery; Fecal and Routine Blood Tests; Microchipping; Grooming; Routine Anal Gland Expression; Cremation or Burial; Chiropractics, Reiki, Massage Therapy and Acupuncture; Teeth Cleaning; and more. You can select a $250, $450, or $650 allowance per policy year and alter it yearly.
The Important Details
Vet Exams: Embrace requires a documented visit to the vet up to 12 months before buying the policy, but also recommends you request a free Medical History Review by Embrace after enrolling your pet. For dogs, you can also request an Orthopedic Exam Report Card. Both will identify what is deemed pre-existing. If completed within the 30-day money back guarantee, a full refund will be given if you choose to cancel. After that, prorated premiums will be refunded.
Co-Pays and Reimbursement: A co-pay is the part of the bill you pay, and the reimbursement is the part Embrace pays (70, 80, or 90%), based on actual cost.
Deductibles: Plans have one annual deductible (versus per-illness or per-injury), from $200 to $1,000. Embrace’s Healthy Pet Deductible lowers your deductible by $50 for each policy year you are claim-free.
Waiting Periods: Illness coverage is 14 days; accidents are 2 or 14 days, depending on where you live; some orthopedic conditions for dogs are 6 months.
Renewals: Upon automatic renewal, premiums could increase because your pet is older, or vet costs have increased, for example, but not because of claims you have submitted.
Pricing: Premiums can vary greatly as you build your custom policy. However, Embrace’s website quotes its Embrace plan for a 3-year-old domestic shorthair cat at $20-$25 per month and dogs aged 1-5 at $30-$55 per month.
What We Liked Most
Embrace’s website is logically structured and transparent about what is offered and what is not, including what it considers ‘curable vs. incurable’ under pre-existing conditions.
We liked Embrace’s $50-per-policy-year vanishing deductible for no-claim years. Also, its coverage of alternative medical treatments: those who prefer alternative medicine for themselves also want it for their pets.
Its list of available discounts, each of which could lower the Embrace plan premium by 5%, is generous. It includes spay and neuter, multi-pet, annual pay, military, and others.
What You May Not Like
Under Benefits in its Terms and Conditions, Embrace states that it will reimburse you for “Medically Necessary Treatment,” possibly a wiggle-room phrase when it comes to honoring or denying a claim. It defines “Medically Necessary” as “directly and materially related to a covered Illness or Injury, in our reasonable judgment.” We would have preferred “in the judgment of your licensed veterinarian.”