When it’s time...to Remove a Pet from your Pet Insurance Policy

When I read this post that Embracer Lea wrote, I had a heavy heart and a tear in my eye. I've known Lyger as long as I've known Lea and he's been a wonderful part of Embrace's history.

It's hard to think you would ever drop your pet insurance policy for your older dog. What do you think about Lea's decision below?


Back in 2006 when I started with Embrace as one of just two employees, we weren’t even selling policies yet--just getting ready to.  But when the big day rolled around come October, we all jumped up and celebrated, then set to selling each other our very first insurance policies. Lyger, then just a six year old nutball who would sneak into the board meetings of our office neighbors, was among the first to be “embraced”.  We set him up with the “$5,000 max/$200 deductible/80% reimbursed” plan.

Flash forward a few years and his policy looks quite different.  Until he hit his “tweens” he’d been mostly healthy, with the exception of some arthritis so I reduced his coverage to a more catastrophic $500 deductible and 90% reimbursement option.  And that policy continued to serve us well, reimbursing for his mast cell tumor removal in 2012 and acupuncture in 2012.  Then his renewal rolled around last week, a happy reminder of how many years we’ve been selling policies, but also a reminder of how frail Lyger’s become, and how much the cost of insurance goes up with the advanced age.

During his last vet visit the doctor and I discussed his overall quality of life and noted that his arthritis and a large benign tumor were starting to take their toll on him.  I realized that the cancer surgery he had last year had been very hard on him, a trauma that he hasn’t fully recovered from.  While that’s bought him an extra year, it’s not the sort of procedure I’d put him through again. 

Realizing that Lyger’s $500 deductible wouldn’t serve much use in a situation where we had switched to pallative care, I took a look at the cost benefit of our coverage. Ultimately, Lyger’s insurance reached about $55 per month for a catastrophic plan that wasn’t paying for any of his home pain medications. (I’d opted out of the prescription drug coverage, and stand by my decision to do so...but that’s a post for another day.)  I consulted with my long-time colleagues about my decision, but ultimately took Lyger off of our Embrace plan.

So, now it feels very final.  No going back. No coverage “just in case”, because we’ve sadly hit that point at which  the next major step will be euthanasia.  And honestly, making the decision to jump off of the policy was difficult, but I have come to a resting point at which I no longer need to “make good use” of our policy.  In the insurance industry, we talk about avoiding “financial euthanasia”, or putting an animal to rest because the care is unaffordable.  But, we’re now at a polar opposite...I’ll no longer feel like I should proceed with treatment, just because I can.  It’s almost like I’ve made an internal agreement with myself. No more extreme measures, just respite care.

And I’m ok with it.  For now. Until that hard day comes.  In the meantime, I’ll opt to spend the savings I would have spent on premium on a few trips to his favorite ice cream stand.

A few notes from your Embrace agent about adding/removing pets:

  • Pets can be removed from the policy at anytime, though age guidelines may apply for pets being added to a policy. 
  • Pre-existing conditions may also apply if adding or re-adding a pet to your policy.
  • Coverage changes can be made, but any increase to your coverage will result in pre-existing conditions being reset.
  • Euthanasia is covered by your Embrace plan so long as the decision is brought about due to a covered condition. Cremation and burial costs are not included at this time.
  • When a pet is removed, for any reason, the coverage ceases and the policyholder is issued a refund for the remaining portion of premium paid.

Lyger celebrating a dog birthday in the office Lyger celebrating a dog birthday in the office


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