Pet Insurance Scams? Are You Being Cheated?

Posted on May 22, 2009 under Pet Insurance

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!