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Breed & Health Resources

Choose Your Own Adventure: Pet Insurance Edition

By Lea Jaratz


Remember those choose your own adventure books? The ones where you’d essentially live or die, win or lose based on a minor decision? Would you like to play a quick pet insurance version? Ok, here’s the start of your adventure, based off of my dog’s real-life claim story:

You adopt a lovely new dog from the local shelter. She’s thin, but appears otherwise sound, friendly, and in good temperament. You take her home, help her gain some weight, let her blossom into the best dog anyone could ask for.

But one day, she starts limping. You wait a day and it doesn’t improve, so you take your dog to the vet for x-rays and a work up. The vet slaps her x-ray films up on the light board and tells you she’s got hip dysplasia on one side, and has torn both of her ACLs. “I don’t know what they’re going to do for her” he sighs, and he hands you the business card for an orthopedic surgeon.

The orthopedic surgeon saves your dogs’ knees and prescribes pain management for the hip. But the bill comes to $3,500. Oof. You pay it. You put it on a credit card, get a small loan from mom and dad, or put off buying the home of your dreams, but somehow, you pay it.

Now, here is where the “choose your own adventure” part happens. Do you:

A. Have a new appreciation for how much veterinary emergencies cost and throw all of your extra money at just paying it off so that you can put this all behind you?

B. Set up your payment plan, but allow for a few dollars per month to be put towards a pet insurance policy, so you’re protected in case a new condition develops.

Spoiler alert: a lot of people pick A. And that often backfires.

If you picked A:

Your dog recovers from knee surgery and continues to heal and thrive. But about a year later your dog suddenly becomes lame, dragging her back end, and is now incontinent. This is a new nightmare. Your heart sinks as you realize you’re about to face yet another health crisis and more expense on top of what you already owe. You race your dog to an emergency vet where you learn she’s herniated a disc in her back, which will be a lifelong condition needing steroids, costly physical therapy, and possibly surgery.

I’ll let you use your imagination for the best or worst case scenario ending on this one.

But if you picked B:

Your dog recovers from knee surgery and continues to heal and thrive. But about a year later your dog suddenly becomes lame, dragging her back, end and is now incontinent. As you race your poor dog to the vet, you worry about her health and pray the vets can save her. But, now that you have insurance you’re thanking yourself for covering your butt against what’s sure to be a few grand in new medical bills.

It turns out your dog has herniated discs, which is a lifelong issue, but you have options. You get your dog the treatment she needs, including drugs, aqua therapy, acupuncture, and continued care for flare ups. You submit claims to your pet insurance company and get reimbursed. Your dog does well, and continues to live a comfortable life until her golden years.

This example is a painful reality for a large number of our new policyholders. Many people only think about pet insurance after the crisis has occurred. And many of them fail to realize that vet bills don’t work like jury duty-just because you’ve served your time doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for a few years.

I was lucky to have had insurance for the dog in this example well before any health issues popped up. In the 5 years I had Tahlula, the rescued Rottweiler (pictured), Embrace Pet Insurance paid out roughly $4,000 for surgery, therapy, and ongoing care.

If you’re ready to take charge of your destiny, now’s your time:

Step one: Contact an Embrace Pet Insurance Customer Care Rep by phone, or sign up for a policy for your pet online now. Because you can set your policy to a high-deductible plan, there are low-cost options for you even while you’re paying off old vet bills.

Step two: Ask your vet’s office to submit your pet’s veterinary records to our Claims department for review. We’ll take a look at them and let you know upfront how any prior health issues might affect coverage for future conditions.

If you get the review back and decide the policy just won’t be worth your money, you can cancel for a full refund within our 30-day money-back guarantee period.

Step three: Get a good night’s sleep knowing you’ve made an investment in your pet’s future healthy and wellbeing.

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.

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Pet health insurance is administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency, LLC and underwritten by one of the licensed insurers of American Modern Insurance Group, Inc., including American Modern Home Insurance Company d/b/a in CA as American Modern Insurance Company (Lic. No 2222-8), and American Southern Home Insurance Company. Coverage is subject to policy terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, underwriting review, and approval, and may not be available for all risks or in all states. Rates and discounts vary, are determined by many factors, and are subject to change. Wellness Rewards is offered as a supplementary, non-insurance benefit administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency in the United States. © 2016 American Modern Insurance Group, Inc.