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Pet Insurance Scams? Are You Being Cheated?

Posted on: May 22nd, 2009 by

When it comes to my dog, I’m pretty devoted. I always want the best for him. But, like most people, I’m not an expert. I learn a lot by talking to various people; my vet, the dog trainer, other dog owners, etc.

The other day, in an online chat room for pet owners, I met a guy who was extremely upset. He had purchased a pet health insurance plan from a major pet insurance company (NOT Pets Best) and he felt he had been scammed.

What was the scam? When he first enrolled in the pet insurance plan, he knew that it would be renewed every year. What he did not know is that, once the insurance policy was renewed, any condition that existed during the previous year suddenly became a “preexisting condition!”

What does this mean? Consider the following hypothetical (but very frightening) scenario:

  • Let’s say your dog is diagnosed with a serious illness on a Monday. You schedule a costly, major surgery for Wednesday.
  • Your insurance plan is set for renewal on Tuesday.
  • The dog has surgery on Wednesday.
  • You submit your insurance claim for the surgery on Thursday, and the claim is denied: under the terms of the plan, the illness was a preexisting condition.

Any condition, he says, that existed even one day before the policy renewal will not be covered. Also, if your pet has a condition that lasts more than a year, it won’t be covered for the duration of the condition.

I was pretty happy to point out that this is not the case with Pets Best—all Pets Best plans include Lifetime Continuous Coverage, and won’t automatically disqualify claims as preexisting after the policy is renewed. This is extremely important when it comes to treating chronic problems like diabetes or cancer.

It just goes to show that you need to really understand the ins and outs of a policy before you make a decision.

A company might advertise the fact that their pet insurance policies reimburse you for 90% of your veterinary bills. Sounds good, right? Do some digging, though, and you could find so many exclusions it would take a contortionist to wiggle their way through them. Or a payment schedule that caps their reimbursements at a ridiculously low rate.

If you find that a specific company’s policy is confusing and hard to unravel, do what I do—go online and find out what other folks are saying about that company and their policies. Often, if the company’s customers feel like they’ve been scammed, they will want to help you so you won’t make the same mistake.

I definitely did my research, and most of the folks I talked to agreed that the Pets Best name says it all. They really are the best!

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4 Comments

  1. Keith E. Schanz says:

    Sunday January 9th we adopted a dog from petmatchmaker.com, which advertised 30 days free pet insurance. The shelter said I would receive the insurance via e-mail. That Tuesday I called the shelter as the dog was hacking since Monday and wheezing by night. The shelter said they would send me the info. Wednesday, Thursday,and Friday either called or left e-mails to the shelter, including an e-mail to the insurance company, ShelterCare on Friday. I received a very fast talking recording from ShelterCare just before 5 p.m. saying I only had 24 hours to take advantage of the free 30 day pet insurance. I e-mailed Shelter Care minutes later telling them I had not received their offer via e-mail. At 10:56 p.m. and 10:57 p.m. respectively Friday night I received the free offer from the insurance company and an inquiry from the shelter inquiring how the dog was doing. Ididn’t see these e-mails until approx. 8:30 p.m. the next evening, Saturday. The e-mail from ShelterCare said I had 72 hurs to claim the free offer. I clicked the link to open the free offer to find it ad already expired. I e-mailed the shelter to tel lthem the offer was already expired. The shelter said they would also send an e-mail to the insurance company. Monday afternoon I called ShelterCare and explained everything and they said they understood it was no fault of my own and were sorry but could only offer me an $8.95 credit on an extended policy since the offer was expired. They would not give me 30 days free. They finally let me leave a recording for their supervisor to which I have still not received a reply. I feel this is a blatant scam and the company has no intention of providing anyoe with 30 days free pet insurance as advertised. This experience has soured me on pet insurance and pet adoption.

  2. Jonathan says:

    ShelterCare screwed us over in exactly the same way.
    - Hour 0: Received email with confirmation link.
    - Hour 41: Clicked link, was told that gift had expired.
    - Hour 42: Registered complaint via online contact form, asking for a reply ASAP.
    - Hour 45: Received acknowledgement of message; representative had been assigned to the complaint, and would be in touch.
    - TWO WEEKS LATER: Received email saying that ‘since you never contacted our company directly within the 72 hour timeframe to advise us that you did not receive the email, it is void and no longer available.’

    I suspect that the 72 hours in question began as soon as we took the puppy home, and actually EXPIRED as soon as they sent us the original email. Total scam.

  3. Sunny Elliott says:

    Why has PetsBest suddenly charged me $970 renewal? I have two insured dogs and have submitted only one claim.

    • Chryssa @ Pets Best says:

      Hi Sunny, we recently reviewed actuarial data and adjusted our rates according to which pets are most likely to need veterinary care. For this reason, some customers with younger pets saw their rates decrease, and some customers with older pets (and certain breeds) saw prices increases. Our rates are never based on claims filing history.

      Our new plans offer a wide vareity of deductible and coverage levels, so you can continue to protect your pet at a price that fits your budget. Someone from Customer Care will contact you after January 1st to go over your plan options. You may also find this blog helpful: http://www.petsbest.com/blog/pet-insurance-for-older-pets/

      Thanks for being a Pets Best Insurance customer!

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