Banfield: Is it Really Insurance?

Lea Jaratz

Banfield Insurance

We love embracing new pets, but it’s a bittersweet feeling when the family is a convert after a bad experience with a different company. It’s especially sad when we learn that pet parents incurred a bill that they thought would be covered by a different program but wasn’t. Unfortunately, we hear it all the time.

You may have seen Banfield Pet Hospitals advertised in your local chain pet store, offering enrollment programs for wellness care that make vaccinations and wellness convenient for their program members. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Wellness care is the foundation of veterinary medicine. The issue comes when pet parents don’t realize that the program offered by Banfield is not true insurance.

A few months ago, a friend texted me, with lots of sad and scared emojis, because her Poodle-mix Millie was having pain in her eye. Her local Banfield fit her in to take a look, but immediately referred her to an eye specialist at another clinic. There was nothing Banfield could do for the suffering pup.

The specialist clinic took the dog in on an emergency basis, but my friend was in for another shock. Her Banfield plan does not cover non-Banfield facilities, even in these emergency referral cases. The surgery to remove the eye was estimated at $1,200, and her Banfield plan was of no use here.

This story has a fairly happy ending. The specialty clinic was able to save the dog’s eye and, consequently, spare the owner a hefty debt. This experience was just enough to help her understand that her Banfield program was not true insurance. She was paying a membership fee to cover basic wellness and minimal illness care at Banfield facilities.

“Banfield’s plan has saved me a bit of money on vet visits,” says Millie’s mom. “But in the end, that's how much I would have paid for the visits anyway. I got it when Millie needed her teeth removed. They said sign up for it, it will save you tons. It did, but only for that.“

She’s covered by Embrace now, and she’s encouraging her friends to do the same. It was a harsh wakeup call realizing that, for a little more money per month, she could have had 100% wellness reimbursement at any clinic, plus real insurance for these emergencies.

Hopefully this article will bring some clarity for pet parents across the web. We hear from an awful lot of folks who learn the hard way that true insurance is the way to go. At least Millie’s story has a happy ending all around.

While you can't predict when your pet is going to get sick or injured, you can protect yourself from expensive veterinary bills. Embrace Pet Insurance gives you the freedom to do what’s best for your pet without stressing over the cost. Easily personalize your coverage to fit your budget and your pet’s needs, then visit any vet for nose-to-tail coverage. Check out what the Embrace plan covers or compare pet insurance providers to learn more.