Trupanion vs. Embrace
When looking into medical insurance for your pet, it's very important to get the facts and read the fine print. What are the top reasons to choose Trupanion over Embrace?
WE DON'T RESTRICT COVERAGE WITH LONG WAITING PERIODS
Embrace has a 6 month waiting period for any treatment associated with any orthopedic issue, which can include hip dysplasia, cruciate ruptures, and luxating patellas. Trupanion doesn’t restrict coverage with excessive waiting periods. Read more >
WE HAVE NO LIMITS
At most, Embrace will cover up to $30,000 a year in eligible veterinary costs. If a pet is unlucky and has a few really big bills, a pet owner may find they are paying out of pocket pretty quickly. Trupanion has absolutely no payout limits. Read more >
WE'RE HERE 24/7
Embrace is only available M-F, 8:30am –8pm, and Saturday 9am–1pm ET. That's means they're open less than 37% of the week. Whether you call in the evening, on a holiday, or any time at all, we'll be available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Read more >
WE DON'T COVER WELLNESS
Embrace offers wellness coverage that’s more like a savings account, where they are the middleman handling your money for you — it’s not insurance. Trupanion believes medical insurance for pets should focus on providing coverage for costly injuries and illnesses — the coverage that gives the pet owner the most value. Read more >
You’re a responsible, loving pet owner interested in getting “pet insurance”. You’ve talked to your veterinarian, or maybe a friend or family member mentioned it. You have car insurance and your own health insurance…so this must work just like that, right? Well, not quite.
Trupanion is medical insurance for cats and dogs — we’re NOT pet insurance. The difference is huge, and this classification distinguishes us from other companies. Simply put, Trupanion was built by veterinarians for responsible, loving pet owners, just like you.
Now that our pets have access to many of the same advanced treatments available for human healthcare and with the rising costs associated with these treatments, “unexpected” veterinary care can be quite costly, often more than most pet owners can pay out of pocket. With medical insurance, financial barriers to care can be dissolved and you and your veterinarian can provide the best care for your pet based on the best medical decisions — not money.
We’re committed to helping all pets get the best medical care. We’re committed to being the best value proposition for responsible, loving pet owners. And we’re committed to doing what we say, changing the industry for the better, and focusing on what’s best for pets, pet owners, and veterinarians.
And, not only that, but Trupanion was built for your pet’s entire life. Not for a year. Not just until your policy becomes a burden for us. But for your pet’s entire life, through every tail wag, every kiss, every claim.
So, how does Embrace's “pet insurance” stack up to Trupanion’s medical insurance?
We don't punish unlucky pets
There’s an interesting restriction that Embrace has in their coverage, and many pet owners might not realize it’s an issue as it’s not actually in the policy. In some states, if your pet has been diagnosed with or shown symptoms of diabetes, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, feline leukemia virus, or feline immunodeficiency virus before enrolling with Embrace, you will not receive the full coverage for any new illnesses and injuries, instead you are only entitled to Embrace’s "Accident Only" plan, that just covers future injuries. That means no new illnesses your pet may need treatment for will be covered.
The importance of this restriction is paramount. If your pet has diabetes, that doesn’t mean that they may not be diagnosed with another unrelated illness, like allergies or arthritis. And unfortunately, you won’t have any coverage for that. Why should your pet be penalized with restricted coverage just because they are unlucky?
Trupanion doesn’t penalize you or your pet for any pre-existing signs or symptoms or conditions they may have had. We don’t cover pre-existing conditions, no insurance company offers coverage for them, but we do not completely restrict coverage for ANY new illnesses because of a pre-existing condition. The Trupanion policy allows you to enroll your pet anytime from birth until their 14th birthday, for lifelong coverage. Simple and fair.
We don't restrict coverage with long waiting periods
Like all companies, Embrace has waiting periods for injuries and illnesses following enrollment, this is completely normal, and Trupanion has them too. However, what most pet owners may not know is that there is a 6 month waiting period for any treatment associated with any orthopedic issue, which can include hip dysplasia, cruciate ruptures, and luxating patellas.
Six months may not seem like a long time to wait, but we’ve found that both cruciate ruptures and luxating patellas are two of Trupanion’s most commonly claimed conditions and some of the most costly to treat. A Labrador Retriever that is between the ages of 2 and 7 years old, for instance, is 80% more likely than the average dog to experience a cruciate rupture, and treatment will likely cost the pet owner nearly $4,000.
And hip dysplasia can be extremely costly to treat once diagnosed, and is most often diagnosed at a young age. A Golden Retriever, for instance, is 3.4x more likely than the average dog to be diagnosed with hip dysplasia before they are a year old, and treatment will likely cost the pet owner nearly $2,000. If hip dysplasia is not diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, it can lead to the need for total hip replacement, which on average can cost nearly $5,000.
See this in Embrace's own policy wording:
Embrace, Pet Health Insurance Policy, Page 3, Part II – Conditions, 8. Screenshot taken 5/17/2016.
You can have the 6 month waiting period reduced, however, but in order to do so you must visit your veterinarian after enrollment and get a special examination (determined by Embrace) that documents that your pet doesn’t have any pre-existing conditions related to orthopedic issues. This is just one more restriction that costs you time and money. And if you miss the opportunity to waive this restriction or if your pet has had any limping or any knee issue in the past (even unrelated to these conditions), unfortunately, you could find yourself in a tough spot.
Is it worth it to have coverage that restricts your pet’s care in case the unexpected happens, in addition to limiting your payouts? Especially if it’s a condition that is likely to happen to your pet?
See this in Embrace's own policy wording:
Embrace, Pet Health Insurance Policy, Page 3, Part II – Conditions, 8. Screenshot taken 5/17/2016.
We have no limits
You never want your cat or dog to get sick or injured, but sometimes unexpected things happen — that’s where medical insurance can help. But if you’re limited by what your coverage can actually help you pay for, you may find yourself in a tough situation. With Trupanion, we have no payout limits, meaning no matter how high the bill or how many claims we have to pay for your pet, you never have to worry about running out of coverage.
Other companies often have annual limits, so if your pet is unlucky and has a few really big bills, you may find yourself paying out of pocket pretty quickly. If your pet is experiencing a health issue, the last thing you want to worry about is if your pet’s medical insurance policy will actually be able to cover what you need it to cover.
At most, Embrace will cover 90% of the veterinary bill up to $30,000 a year. That might seem like enough, but just in the past year, Trupanion has paid out over 2.3 million in single claims that are $10,000 or more, including a payout for a single claim for over $49,000. And what seems like a reasonable limit today may be very limiting in a few years’ time — you’re purchasing medical insurance for the life of your pet, you have to think about what your coverage may be like three, five, ten years from now, not just what it will cover this year.
You just never know what might happen, that’s why you have medical insurance for your cat or dog. Why limit yourself and why limit your pet’s care?
We're here for you 24/7
Our call center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays. We know that pets can get sick or hurt at any time, and if you need us at 3am on a Sunday because you have a question about the policy or you’re stressing about a treatment — we’re just a phone call away.
Embrace is only available M-F, 8:30am – 8pm, and Saturday 9am – 1pm ET, that means they’re open less than 37% of the week, as opposed to Trupanion being open 100% of the week. Try calling them at 3am on Sunday, and all you’ll get is an automated robot. Trupanion remains committed to our members whenever they need us.
We offer financial flexibility
Embrace does have several deductible options available to you, $200, $300, $500, $750, and $1,000. But even with five options, choices are pretty limited to ensure that you can fit coverage into your monthly budget.
With Trupanion you can pick what you pay, because you can choose your deductible, anywhere from $0 to $1,000, and you can change it at any time quickly and easily. Pretty neat, huh? Medical insurance doesn’t have to be out of your budget!
And let’s talk about deductibles for a minute. Trupanion has a lifetime per condition deductible — so there’s no need to pay your deductible over and over again every year when you’ve already met it for that condition or a related condition.
A lifetime per condition deductible does not mean you must pay a deductible every time you file a claim, instead your chosen deductible only applies when your pet is diagnosed with a NEW condition. This is great when your pet suffers from allergies, or develops a chronic ailment. So, if your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, for instance, and you have a $250 deductible, once you meet the $250 deductible with Trupanion, you’ll never have to pay a deductible for claims relating to your pet’s diabetes or any conditions relating to the diabetes (cataracts or a kidney infection, for instance) that may occur ever again. For the entire life of your pet.
Now, for a very unlucky pet that experiences several different, unrelated conditions in a single year, say diabetes and a broken leg, the per condition deductible may prove to be a bit less effective. But we’ve found that most pets only suffer a few different, unrelated conditions in their whole lifetime. And pet owners that are concerned about paying a lifetime per condition deductible can choose to not have a deductible at all when they enroll with Trupanion, which is not an option with Embrace.
In this example, with a lifetime per condition deductible, if your pet suffered from both allergies and diabetes, you would need to pay your $250 deductible twice, once for each condition, or a total of $500. With annual deductible plans you would have to pay the $250 every year, here we are estimating your pet maintains their insurance for 10 years so you would pay $250 ten times, or a total of $2,500. If you purchase a policy with an annual per condition deductible, you would have even higher deductible payments as shown.
We don't cover wellness
Some pet medical insurance companies offer wellness coverage, but Trupanion does not. Why? Because we believe that we should focus on providing the coverage that gives you, the pet owner, the most value — and that lies in covering those conditions that are often the most costly to treat, injuries and illnesses.
We also believe that insurance companies should never manage or dictate the pet owner’s relationship with their veterinarian. Your veterinarian is the expert on your pet’s health, and they can and should choose which preventive care programs or what treatments are best for your pet. Trupanion believes that the best treatment plan for your pet is the one decided upon by you and your veterinarian, not an insurance company.
Plus, it just makes more sense for pet owners to pay their veterinarian directly for expected costs than to pay through an insurance company “middleman”. What’s more, the insurance company most likely has a one-size-fits-all “bundle” of preventive care services that may or may not include the best care options for a specific pet. Why pay year after year for spay and neuter services, when a pet will only need this one time?
Embrace offers what is essentially a flexible spending account for their wellness coverage. Where a pet owner has to put in a set amount of money every month (as part of their monthly premium), and will get that money “paid back” when the pet receives routine veterinary care. This is not insurance coverage.
Basically, a pet owner is using Embrace as a “savings account” in order to have this money ready to utilize for particular wellness treatments. In return, Embrace offers a very small discount for those that sign up.
At most, a pet owner will save about $50 a year, but that’s only if you choose the $650 wellness plan and you spend all $650 of it on wellness. This plan adds an additional $50 to your premium a month, so you are putting in $600 of your own money. Again, this is not insurance — this is your own money being paid back to you.
And if you don’t use all $650 of the wellness plan? You lose the money you put in. The money you’ve put in does not roll over every year, and the likelihood of using all that money to the exact amount on wellness care is pretty slim.
When you adopt a pet from a shelter or breeder, you already know there will be some expenses — regular checkups, vaccines, pet food, a leash, and toys. Lots of toys. Medical insurance should not be purchased to cover these things, just as you don’t use insurance to buy new furniture for your home or an oil change for your car. Medical insurance is to here for you to help if you must face the unexpected with your pet. Let us do what we do best, providing coverage for the best veterinary care for your pet for their entire life.
We can pay your veterinarian directly
We mentioned this before. But we think it’s worth repeating.
Rather than the traditional insurance reimbursement model, Trupanion has changed the game and created a process that, once again, puts our members first. We can pay your veterinarian directly, before you even leave their hospital. No more filing paperwork, no more waiting for a check — just peace of mind that you are covered.
We don’t want you to pay out of pocket and we think you probably don’t either. We don’t want to waste your time, and we don’t want you to have to worry about what’s going to get covered. In many cases, our direct pay option requires no paperwork and no phone calls from the pet owner.
Ask your hospital if they have the ability to accept direct payment from Trupanion. If they don’t, ask them to contact us so we can work with them to help ensure you’ll have the best experience possible.