Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: January 25, 2023 by Crystal Uys


I could have ended the headline for this post at the question mark, but since I’m not a fan of click bait headlines, and since I’m a firm believer that every cat guardian should at least look into getting pet insurance, I decided to give you my bottom line right from the start.

Could you afford an unexpected $1000 or $2000 for a medical emergency, or even more for a chronic serious illness?

If your answer to this question is no, you owe it to yourself and your cats to look into pet insurance.

Myths about pet insurance

There’s a lot of false information out there about pet insurance, much of it from people who may have looked into it several years ago, and never took another look. At this point, there truly is a plan for everyone out there, and even older cats or cats with pre-existing conditions can obtain some coverage. Another argument I often hear is that pet insurance won’t let you choose your own vet. Nothing could be further from the truth. I debunk five of the most common pet insurance myths here.

The following questions can help you choose a pet insurance provider

There are a lot of options in the pet insurance marketplace, and it will require quite a bit of homework on your part. Ask these questions when evaluating a provider:

  • Is the company licensed in your state?
  • Does the company have a good reputation?
  • How long have they been around?
  • Is the policy information easy to understand?
  • Does the company offer customer service during business hours?
  • Can you see any veterinarian you want?
  • How much have premiums increased over the last few years?
  • Will premiums increase as your pet gets older?
  • What is covered and what is excluded from coverage?
  • What is the company’s policy on pre-existing conditions?
  • Does the company cover benefits for wellness visits and preventive care?
  • Does the company cover holistic care?
  • Is there a waiting period before coverage becomes active?
  • Is there a maximum age for enrolling your cat?
  • Are there reimbursement limits per case, per year, per lifetime?
  • Is a physical exam required prior to enrollment?

Why I’m glad I have Embrace Pet Insurance for Allegra and Ruby

I got pet insurance for Allegra and Ruby two years ago. After looking at a number of different plans, I chose Embrace Pet Insurance. They’ve been around for twelve years. They have a solid reputation in the veterinary community. And most importantly, I personally know Laura Bennett, Embrace’s co-founder and former CEO. I have chatted with Laura at several conferences, and have been impressed with both her business knowledge and her energy (something that, while elusive, is critically important to me when it comes to making decisions about anything.)

I chose a plan that covers illness and accidents only with an $8,000 annual maximum, $500 deductible, and 70% reimbursement.  I chose not to get a wellness plan. Allegra and Ruby are seven and six years old, and the premium to cover both girls is about $40 a month. I’d say that’s well worth the price of peace of mind, and it’s already paid off in a big way for us. When Allegra had to have several teeth removed due to resorptive disease, Embrace covered a big portion of the $1,800 bill. When Ruby had to have all her teeth extracted earlier this year due to the same disease, Embrace covered almost half of the $3,500 bill. (The reason they didn’t cover more was because gingivitis was a pre-existing condition for both girls.)

Choose a plan that works for you and your cats

If you decide to get pet insurance for your cats, do your research. Look at a lot of different plans, then choose the plan that is right for you and your cats.

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16 Comments on Is Pet Insurance Worth It? Absolutely!

  1. I have had embrace for a few years, I notice the premium has gone up quite a bit, but probably worth it. chip is getting older (12) so may be needed in the future, so far he has not had any major issue to seek a reimbursement from insurance

    • My premium has increased quite a bit, too, Sepo. I think partially that’s due to my cats getting older, but probably also partially due to Embrace being bought out by a larger company.

  2. After paying a bill for almost $2,000 for a cat that eventually had to be euthanized (kidney failure, although one month ago his blood tested fine!), I’m looking into pet insurance for my other 4 cats. Do most companies ask for a clean exam and records from a vet before covering your cat? I’m worried that I’ll run into the gingivitus thing, or other more minor problems, since my cats are over 10. Ingrid, does Embrace ask for that first? Has anyone found a company that does not require that?

    • Every company’s rules are slightly different, but most will exclude pre-existing conditions. Embrace does.

  3. A friend recommended that I ask my agent if they could do a rider on my homeowner’s insurance for pet insurance. Unfortunately, CSAA doesn’t, but the agent said they are getting a lot of calls asking for it. Maybe someday?

  4. Last year I switched coverage from Trupanion to Embrace. Trupanion was not paying for my pets’ dental claims and their customer service had greatly deteriorated. Their rates kept rising as well.

    I truly regret switching to Embrace. They are not paying for any of my claims. For example, vomiting is a symptom of different illnesses. Since my cat vomited due to lymphoma (now in remission), he cannot be covered for pancreatitis. Vomiting is considered a pre-existing condition.
    Also, since lymphoma is a cancer, he won’t be covered for any other cancers should they occur.
    I feel that the readers of this forum should be informed that Embrace does not embrace your pet’s claims. In hind site, I should have stayed with Trupanion.

    • I’m sorry you’re unhappy with Embrace, but in all fairness to both Embrace and Trupanion, what you’re experiencing is probably a prime example that with any type of insurance, pet or otherwise, it’s always important to “read the small print.” My guess is that your Trupanion policy did not include preventive dental care. All pet insurance policies will have some sort of clause about pre-existing conditions, but definitions may vary widely from one insurer to the next.

  5. I really wish this article had included an unbiased comparison of various carriers. Instead, she is promoting an insurance company that pays her if you buy. I am sorry, but that does diminish the recommendation to some degree. 🙁

    For what it is worth, the contracted vet we use at the feline shelter where I volunteer recommends TruPanion at her private practice and says it covers the most for her clients.

    • I’m not sure where carriers come in, Beth? I intentionally fully disclose my relationship with Embrace so each reader can decide for themselves. There are many great pet insurance companies out there, Trupanion being one of them.

    • In the post a few years ago where I first saw this column recommend pet insurance, Ingrid mentioned both Trupanion and Embrace. I checked out both companies and thought Embrace offered a better deal in my area, anyway.

    • TruPanion is the one that is recommended by our vet. Another idea—use a low-interest credit card (make sure you make payments afterwards). Actually, some vets are now requesting your credit card first BEFORE they look at your cat! Guess people have stiffed them one time too many.

  6. I can’t recommend Embrace enough. I got a similar plan to yours for my two cats, who are now 4 and 5 years old. Jimmy has had two operations this period totaling about $5000 and they paid 80%. I am so grateful I first read about your recommendation 2 years ago! Thanks, Ingrid!

  7. Has anyone found a good insurance co. that will give you a discount if you have more than 2 cats? (in California)

  8. Completely agree – pet insurance is a great idea. You never know when you might need it and it would be so awful to be faced with a huge vet bill on top of an illness to your beloved cat. Definitely something worth considering.

  9. In some ways I wish I had gotten insurance when Pono was younger. His vet bills got very high and we almost lost him a few times. But now we know how to control is illnesses.

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