Embrace pet insurance is a good pick for those who want to thoroughly customize their plan, reviewers say. Customer service wins praise, and congenital or hereditary problems are covered. The price might be higher than other options, however, and there are strict age limits. Prescriptions are covered only through an add-on plan, and some reviewers say their claims are wrongly denied under pre-existing condition rules.
Best for younger pets. Embrace's customizable plan offers accident and illness coverage for dogs and cats after a 14-day waiting period. For more than accident-only coverage, mixed-breed dogs must be 8 or younger and purebreds must be 6 or younger. Mixed-breed cats must be 10 or younger and purebred cats must be 8 or younger. The plan covers genetic and breed-specific conditions including hip dysplasia, cancer treatments, diagnostic tests and imaging, surgery, hospitalization, nursing care, emergency room and specialist care, and veterinary exam fees. Prescriptions and routine care are covered only under add-on plans.
Incurable pre-existing conditions aren't covered, and curable pre-existing conditions are excluded from at least a year from the date of the last occurrence. Other exclusions include prosthetics, cremation and burial, cosmetic procedures, organ transplants, and teeth or gum illnesses.
Several options for custom coverage. While experts say there may be cheaper plans available, plan prices depend on several customizable options. Pet owners can choose from a $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 annual maximum. Embrace also offers five annual deductibles ranging from $100 to $1,000 and three reimbursement levels of 65, 80 and 80 percent per visit. The company will reduce a customer's deductible by $50 every year it doesn't receive a claim.
Discounts include price cuts for spayed and neutered pets, multi-pet policies, active service members and customers who pay in full annually. Premiums are subject to increases based on a pet's age, rising veterinary fees and health trends in overall pet populations.
Customer service wins raves, but claims get mixed reviews. Embrace accepts claims via fax or mail. It offers direct deposit for reimbursements, and a pre-certification process is available for customers to double-check whether something will be covered. Most reviewers are satisfied with claims, saying the process is relatively painless and reimbursements are quick. However, several complain that the company wrongly denies legitimate claims by branding them pre-existing conditions even when there's little evidence of such.
Customer service receives strong reviews across the board, and experts like the easy-to-understand website, clear coverage explanations and thorough quote generator.
1. Canine Journal
Embrace is named runner-up to the best pet insurance carrier here. The company is known for customer service and satisfactory reimbursements, as well as very customizable plans. However, age restrictions on illness coverage keep it from taking first place.
Review: Pet Insurance Comparison, Amy B., July 15, 2013
Embrace ranks first in this list of the eight best pet insurers, with editors praising the clarity of coverage information, easy-to-use website and quote generator, competitive costs, diminishing deductible and strong customer service. They also like the customizable plans.
Review: Pet Insurance, Editors of TopConsumerReviews.com, Not dated
Here Embrace is named third out of 10 pet insurance companies based on its good BBB rating, positive editorial reviews, ease of use and comprehensive coverage. Age limitations and add-on prescription coverage are negatives.
Review: Embrace Pet Insurance Review, Editors of ConsumersAdvocate.org, Not dated
4. Pet Insurance University
Wilkerson calls Embrace a "strong underwriter" that allows the use of any licensed veterinarian. Its annual maximums are some of the most generous, but prescriptions are covered only as an add-on, and cancer coverage can be iffy because of pre-existing condition rules.
Review: A Vet's Review of Embrace Pet Insurance, Frances Wilkerson, Not dated
Embrace gets an overall rating of 9.1 out of 10 from more than 2,500 customers. Many say they have fast, low-hassle claims and speedy reimbursements. While others praise customer service, some complain that the company finds loopholes not to cover legitimate expenses, including wrongly branding things as pre-existing conditions.
Review: Embrace Pet Insurance, Contributors to PetInsuranceReview.com, As of August 2013
Site editors like Embrace's highly customizable plans, which they say allow customers to tailor their co-pays, deductibles and maximums as well as add prescription or dental coverage. They don't note any cons, but compare the company to Pet Assure and QuickCare.
Review: Vet Pet Insurance Reviews, Editors of Organic Pet Digest, Not dated
7. Veterinary Team Brief
Nash highlights findings from the eBook "Pet Insurance Buyer's Guide," which praises Embrace for covering all diagnostic tests whether they're for congenital or hereditary problems. However, chronic conditions that cost more than 25 percent of the policy maximum won't be covered.
Review: All-in-One Guide: Help Clients Ferret Out the Best Pet Insurance, Meg Nash, Not dated
About 125 pet owners give Embrace scores of 4.9 out of 5 for customer service, 4.2 for price and 4.7 for coverage. Editors say the company offers easily understandable plans and good service, but note that cheaper options are available.
Review: Embrace Pet Insurance, Editors, contributors to PetInsuranceRatings.com, As of August 2013
Embrace gets an average rating of 3.7 stars out of 5 from about 25 pet owners. Customers say they have fast, low-hassle claims and speedy reimbursements, and others praise customer service. However, some complain that the company finds loopholes not to cover legitimate expenses, including wrongly branding things as pre-existing conditions.
Review: Embrace Pet Insurance, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2013