ASPCA Pet Insurance | No Animal Cruelty

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a great company that does so much good. What many people do not know is that ASPCA also offers pet insurance products (ASPCA Pet Insurance) that you can take advantage of. Before I go into more details about their insurance offerings I would like to say that one of the reasons I would consider this insurance company is simple because of the brand and the cause that this company is fighting for. Cruelty to animals should not exist and therefore I find their cause very noble.

ASPCA Pet Insurance

Now as far as their pet insurance they have created a website especially for this and it can be found at www.aspcapetinsurance.com. The first thing that you will find when you enter their site is that they provide you with two instant options. First option is to get a free pet insurance quote in an easy and quick way. All you’ll have to do is provide them with 4 simple answers.

Well, it is not exactly 4 answers but merely 4 categories of questions that you will need to answer. But they are still provided in a way that is easy to understand.

Pet Insurance Application

If you feel that this is too difficult you still have the option to call their support staff at 1-866-861-9092. They’ll ask you the same questions and fill out an application for you.

When you have more than one pet you need insurance coverage for they give you an additional 10% discount. Many insurance companies will give you discounts if you add more than one pet but that ASPCA Pet Insurance does it as well is still a plus.

The Insurance Coverage Plan for You

Now the second option that you are confronted with on the front page is a guide to find the right insurance coverage plan for you. They offer increasing levels of coverage and the prices will naturally increase as well. By taking this guide you will be able to find out what coverage you can get for the amount that you are willing to spend on your pet insurance. This varies from person to person and some pets are far more expensive to insure than others.

As I said earlier there are many other companies that offer this kind of service and one of the best features that ASPCA has is their main company’s mission to avoid cruelty to animals. An ASPCA Pet Insurance might not be the right solution for you but I think that you should at least give them a few minutes to see what they have to offer.

Update:
When we wrote this brief ASPCA pet insurance review we were not aware of all the time where ASPCA had treated customers poorly. After the overwhelming amount of comments (see below), it seems like there are a lot of people that have been far from satisfied with their service. Many have really great points and cases and we hope that everyone reading this article will spend some time reading trough all the comments. Now we will still say that no matter if you have an ASPCA pet health insurance or any other insurance with other companies there will always be customers that are not satisfied.

Very often the problem has two sides. One is that the company is obviously created as a business and businesses need to make a profit to exist. If they don’t they will have to close down. What this means is that the customer will pay more in fees (on average) than he/she will receive from the company. That part is pure logic.

The other side of the problem is that most people don’t know how to and/or will not spend the time to read through insurance policies. They’ll just sign the agreement and hope that they’ll never have troubles. That isn’t the smart way to do it but it is definitely the most common way. ASPCA pets are insured according to some legal stuff like with any other insurance company. Our best advice is that you should start by reading the agreement before you sign and to highlight anything that you do not understand. Then call the customer service department (and record the conversation) and ask about everything that you do not understand. They will answer your questions for free because you’re a potential customer.

When you search online you will find some ASPCA pet insurance reviews that are biased. This is most likely either because they make money from selling the insurance or because the sites may be owned by the company itself.

But when all this is said we still believe that there are some positive things to say about the company. We are especially positive about the ASPCA pet adoption possibility. We believe that every animal should have the right to a loving and caring owner and a service/solution like this is right up my alley.

If you have positive or negative experiences with ASPCA please write a comment about it below.

211 comments to ASPCA Pet Insurance | No Animal Cruelty

  • T. E. Mueller

    I wouldn’t recommend the SPCA Pet Insurnace to anyone. They are a typical insurance company, promising great things, collecting premiums, cluttering your e-mail box with their propaganda. They are also typical when it comes time to reimburse the client – the payment is usually about 15% of the bill becasue they find methods of disallowing most charges. I’d advise everyone to buy from a reputable company, not SPCA.

  • Mikael

    Hi T.E. First of all I would like to thank you for your comment and welcome you to the blog.

    Sure SPCA is a typical insurance company but aren’t they all? I’m sure that you will find that every single insurance company outthere will have had complaining customers. I’m not saying that you aren’t right complaining but it does happen that some people are actually wrong and the company is right.

    The problem is that people are then left with the bill and that makes them want to complain. Right or wrong…

  • Chris

    Check out Trupanion, you have to enrol your pet when they are a puppy or kitten but they have great coverage over the lifetime….

  • Mikael

    Hi Chris, welcome to you also. Is trupanion a new insurance company? I don’t believe that I have ever heard of them before. Could you tell us a little bit more about them if you are using them for your pet? Thanks.

    Mikael

  • Carpe Diem

    Great advice about doing your homework before getting any insurance for your pet. Why should it be different then looking for auto insurance! My wife and I recently got a 9 month old Lab mix pup from our local shelter. Did my due diligence in researching insurance products and decided on a new company, Trupanion(www.trupanion.com). They specialize in lifetime coverage for puppies and kittens 8 weeks old up to one year. You get $20K to use for all accidents, illnesses, surgeries, meds and diagnostic tests,with no per incident minimum. Zero deductible and premiums won’t go up with pets aging or claims history. They’ll even cover hereditary and congenital diseases. Exclusions are pre-existing conditions and wellness/preventive care. I know coverage for wellness care is a big issue for some people, be having pets before, we have budgeted for that expense. Trupanion won’t be for everyone since they don’t cover older pets, but for us, they were the right choice because of their simple plan and extensive coverage. We’ll be sure to comment in the future “when” we have to submit a claim and can talk on the subject.

  • Mikael

    Hi Carpe Diem. That sounds absolutely fantastic. We’ll love to hear about your experiences with Trupanion. I’m actually thinking of writing a post about the sometime soon. Maybe you could comment on that as well. That would be great!

  • Keith Jackson

    I have twice requested pamplets on dangerous things around the home for your pets. I have been promised twice that I would recieve 50 of these pamplets for my dog club the Norwegian Elkhound Club of Northern California. I have recieved nothing. Can anyone help me?

  • Mikael

    Hi Keith, thank you for your post. How did you request the pamplets? Did you send them an email, did you call them or did you actually show up in person?

    It seems strange that aren’t more than willing to give away promotional items. That is every company’s dream to have customers ask for commercials 🙂

  • Karen - Marie

    Hej jeg er fra danmark jeg hader også dyreplagerri de skulle havde nogle støre straffe. jeg ser meget Anemal

    Venlig Hilsen Karen – Marie Due

  • Rob Oaks

    I WANT TO LET EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT A SERIOUS AND UNCONSCIONABLE FLAW IN THE ASPCA PET HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS.

    With ASPCA, you renew your plan on a yearly basis. This yearly renewal is inconvenient but not, in itself, a problem.

    Here’s the very serious problem.

    ANY CONDITION THAT EXISTED DURING THE PRIOR PLAN PERIOD IS CONSIDERED A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION!

    What are the implications? Consider the following situation:
    * Your dog is diagnosed with a serious cancer on a Monday and you schedule your dog for costly, major surgery on Thursday.
    * You submit the ASPCA insurance claim on Tuesday.
    * Your ASPCA plan is set for renewal on Wednesday.
    * Your dog undergoes surgery on Thursday.
    * You submit the ASPCA insurance claim for the surgery on Friday.

    Guess what? YOUR CLAIM WILL BE DENIED!

    Please let this sink in.

    ANY CONDITION, NO MATTER HOW SERIOUS, THAT EXISTED EVEN 1 DAY PRIOR TO RENEWAL WILL NOT BE COVERED. This also implies that any condition that lasts, in any form, more than a year, will not be covered for the condition’s duration.

    I talked to a customer service supervisor about this (their customer service is generally very good, BTW) and they acknowledged that it’s a real problem, citing examples of major, heartbreaking claims that were not covered because they spanned the renewal date.

    What ASPCA will tell you is that they have a plan, the Sterling Plan, that covers “long-term” conditions (now remember, according to the example above, LONG TERM COULD ACTUALLY BE 4 DAYS). What they won’t emphasize is the following:
    * The Sterling Plan is by far their most expensive plan. It is almost 50% more than their next most expensive plan, the Premier Plan, which is what I have.
    * The Sterling Plan has a maximum PER INCIDENT (NOT per visit) benefit of $2500, which is HALF of the maximum incident benefit for the Premier Plan. This means that any condition, NO MATTER HOW SERIOUS, will not be covered past $2500. So, if you thought you could sign up for the Sterling Plan to deal with a catastrophic care situation—think again: $2,500 doesn’t go very far when it comes to things like cancer.

    Now I understand the basic principles of insurance and actuarial science. With any insurance plan, there will be net winners and net losers. But what I’m telling you is that I do not believe that the majority of ASPCA Pet Health Insurance subscribers will save money over the life of their pet. That’s the bottom line.

    For more information or to contact ASPCA Pet Health Insurance and tell them what you think, see http://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/pet-insurance-default.aspx.

  • Mikael

    Hi Rob, thank you for stopping by and for sharing your excellent research with us. I agree with everything you state but just to expand on your last comment:

    “…I do not believe that the majority of ASPCA Pet Health Insurance subscribers will save money over the life of their pet. That’s the bottom line.”

    This is true for EVERY SINGLE INSURANCE COMPANY. If the net result was that people received more than they had paid the company would go bankrupt… It is not MEANT to give people the net benefit. It is no different than a casino.

  • Bill S.

    I completely agree with Rob. I took my cat, Taz, in for a visit on 7/14/08. He was referred to a specialist. He saw the specialist on 8/4/08 & 8/7/08. ASPCA insurance had an auto renewal on 7/15/08. Therefore, those claims for 8/4/08 & 8/7/08 were considered a pre existing condition, and the claims were refused. I saw the 180 day caveat for pre existing conditions when I signed up for the insurance, but I foolishly assumed it was for the implementation of the policy, not for every single renewal. I guarantee you, no one at the ASPCA insurance company will mention this when you sign up.
    This goes beyond typical insurance company behavior. This smacks of trickery in its truest form. I will NEVER again make a cash contribution to the ASPCA until this problem with there insurance carrier is rectified.

  • JDR

    I was looking at the ASPCA website for insurance for my two German Sheperd mix dogs. I see lots of people having problems with diseases or hereditary conditions. I am just looking at the Accident Plan to cover snake bites, broken legs, eaten bad objects. Is there any problems that anyone knows about with this if its NOT concerning cancer or any diseases of the sort? Thank you.

  • Bill S.

    JDR, this is how it could work…

    Lets say your dog suffered a broken leg on June 15th. On July 1st, your policy expires, so you renew it. The care for your dog’s broken leg would no longer be covered, as it occured in a “previous plan year”.
    Believe me, they won’t tell you this when you buy the insurance, but IT IS thier policy!!

  • Colleen

    Hello –

    I have a two year old mix and I’ve been going through website after website.. Can anyone point me in a direction of a good basic insurance for my dog? Everyone bashes these insurances, but never gives an alternative… Please help!

  • Pamela

    We have two Persian kittens that required eye surgery at an early age. ASPCA insurance refused any kind of payment as they “decided” this was a pre-existing/hereditary condition. Even with documentation from the surgeons at Cornell (who did the surgery), the supervisors at ASPCA pet insurance have denied the claim again, and again. Our cat’s bills have been paid, but this insurance BS has to stop!!! Too many pet owner’s are being taken for a money ride. Maybe it is time to get a lawyer or two into this.

  • Barbara Niro

    I wish I would have checked this site BEFORE I signed up for ASPCA Pet Insurance. I’m just now finding out how difficult it is to get a claim paid! Years ago I had VIP Pet Insurance in Calif and they were terrific. I had one claim within the first policy period and they paid with no hassle.
    ASPCA Pet Insurance has denied my claim for my dog, based on “pre-existing” condition and “waiting period”. I guess they are covering all bases?
    I’m appealing it, but looks like this may be a losing battle.
    I signed up for this insurance because it was ” ASPCA” and I am a long time supporter, but I guess the insurance is a huge mistake!
    I agree with Pamela’s comment of 10-31-08!

  • Nix

    I was pretty close to signing up for ASPCA until I read most of your experiences, I need an insurance plan through a company I can trust….basically “just in case” insurance for my 4y/o pit & 4y/o tabby….**If anyone could offer advice and your experience I would appreciate it!**

  • lauraborealis

    I wish I’d found this site, too! I stopped contributing to the ASPCA after 10 years because of the way ASPCA pet insurance has handled EVERY SINGLE CLAIM I’ve had. I currently have a cat battling Vaccine-associated sarcoma. He had a leg amputated in August. A tumor appeared on the incision, so he just finished radiation and surgery for that.

    They consider that all one incident, hence eligible for a grand total of $1500. Plus, despite the fact that I take him to a vet school, which has proven to be the cheapest option in my area (and I’ve tried quite a few vets and specialists), they, without fail, knock something off every charge as “costs above reasonable”)… sometimes even $1 on a prescription.

    I feel that they lure customers in with their association to the ASPCA… the whole “protect and love animals” thing… and proceed to ream them.

  • Heather

    I, too, have had problems with the ASPCA rejecting payment on claims that are for “pre-existing conditions.” I took my 12 yo tabby to the vet in November ’08 for vomiting. The vet ran various tests to rule out other problems and then ended up diagnosing and treating him for gastroenteritis. But, my cat was treated for the exact same thing in the previous year, so the ASPCA would not cover it. But, there was no way to know what the problem was (especially in a senior cat) without running all of those tests. So, what kills me is that now if he ends up getting this problem again and again, none of the tests or drugs will cover it. Seems like a colossal waste of money to me to continue the insurance. My problem is, I now feel like something tragic will happen to him if and when I decide to cancel the coverage.

  • Judy

    I had one claim with ASPCA for my dog and they paid about half of my costs. It was not that bad as long as you follow their insurance policy.

  • Deborah Allen

    I was really wanting some good advice as to which company to go with. So far all I see are folks unhappy with ASPCA. Can anyone let us all know which one is grrrreat? Or at least good? Thanks

  • Frank Fernino

    I am just starting research on Pet Insurance for my 1 year old lab. I understand the comments about ASPSA insurance not covering pre-existing conditions from one plan year to the next. Now they seem to have an option on each plan, called “Continuing care” that will cover an incident in one plan year that spills over to the next. Is this a new option, or did you folks not get that option in your coverage?

  • Judy

    I was not aware of this option. Has anyone purchased it? On the other hand, it looks like a pre-exiting condition will be covered if 180 days have passed since cure and last treatment.

  • Frank Fernino

    I learned a bit more about this option. On the “Primary” plan, it allows a max of $1000 (with a $2500 lifetime max) to apply to claims that were made in a prior plan year that require treatment in the current plan year. So, if 11 months into a plan year, your dog breaks a leg, The claim is made and treatment begins. The plan year ends and a new plan year starts. The dog still needs follow-up treatment for the injury. The “Continuing Care” would apply, with the $1000 limit. I think there is also a separate deductable. Sounds pretty convoluted.

  • Abbie

    I just started with ASPCA and they are terrible. They didn’t cover a thing as promised with my puppies new health insurance. I followed every guideline including ages, breeds, etc. and they covered NOTHING. I wasted a lot of money. DO NOT go through this company.

  • achamblee

    I got pet insurance through ASPCA – thinking it came through a reputable organization. Just a few months later my cat got injured when he thought he was trapped, and he pulled out all his own claws on a grate-like gate. The insurance knee-jerk reaction was that anything related to claws was “cosmetic grooming” and denied the claim even though the veterinarian and anti-bacterials were required and the bill was about $500. When I appealed, they paid $10. When I cancelled, the bills kept coming on my credit card. When I won the credit card appeal, they just added the total to the next billing cycle.
    It was a disaster of time and money. Self-insure and just put money aside as if it’s an insurance premium.

  • Judy

    That was not acceptable ! Now I need to reconsider if I should continue my insurance with ASPCA. Self-insurance is probably the best way.

  • Mike

    Wow, this really makes it tuff. I insured with VPI for 2 days then read a bunch of bad things about them on another forum. Then I got a quote from ASPCA on name recognition ( I also contribute monthly), and after reading these posts I wouldn’t even consider them. Boy is there a good company anywhere?

  • Barbara Niro

    I have an update to my initial post in December of 2008:
    When I first filed my claim with ASPCA Pet Insurance, it was denied because THEY decided it was a pre-existing condition. I decided to fight it and got letters from my vet. I knew my dog’s condition was NOT pre-existing. They eventually paid the claim, since they really had no choice, however, they reduced it due to
    “reasonable and customary” charges that they determined.
    It’s just too bad that you have to fight with the insurance company at the same time you are trying to care for a sick pet.

  • Patty

    I just hung up with the ASPCA’s claims dept. My story gioes like this…I signed up for insurance through them in Feb 2007 for my 2 Vizslas. At the end of November (2 months before end of policy) one of my boys was diagnosed with Diabetes. As we’ve all read here, after I signed up for the new policy they deemed the condition preexisting and have not covered a thing related to his treatment since. I pulled my initial “welcome” letter from 2007 which mentions nothing about the preexisting condition policy. It’s buried many pages into the policy and at best is veiled. I noticed the new letter for 2009 mentions it IN the welcoming letter so clearly they have had issues with this. Back to today…In November of 2008 I had cataract surgery performed on the same dog. He’s a senior and cataracts are not unusual. Well you guessed it, they tie the cataracts directly to his “preexisting” (as if Diabestes will ever go away) condition and will not pay a dime toward any of his diagnostic, surgical or follow up. I too signed up for this plan based on research and the ASPCA name and legacy. It’s dissappointing, diheartening and disgracecful. My vet is even astounded at the policy. None of the other policies he works with have this caviat. I’m not done with them yet. Mr. ASPCA CEO will be hearing from me. As will a few other choice forums. So much for the voice of the animals. My boys have been left out in the cold.

  • Victoria

    Patty, I know! My vet said he has never dealt with such a rotten insurance company as ASPCA, either!
    My story is long and complicated, but my advice is not to believe what ASPCA’s agents tell you on the phone. I was told that both accident and illness would be covered 30days after signing up for this insurance and when i asked whether everything would be covered then, after 30 days, she told me “correct.” I was sent the audio tape which verified what i’d been told. Three month after switching from VPI to ASPCA (because it was endorsed by the ASPCA!), my dog tore her CCL and ASPCA insurance told me there was a 12-month exclusion…long story short, i’m fighting them to the hilt–i even have an appt. with an atty. next week. I’ll come armed with a transcript of that taped conversation.
    My dog has been going through hell because of this pet insurance. I only wish i’d stayed with VPI.
    As for their Sterling Plan, as Rob Oaks mentioned, it has an incident limit of $2,500. Keep in mind, they don’t have to renew anyone’s policy. With my dog, after filing claims for just one incident they won’t let me renew my policy saying she’s “high risk.”
    I wrote to the president of the ASPCA complaining of their endorsement. Everyone, please do the same and save someone else from making the same mistake. Here is where and to whom you should write:
    Mr. Edwyn Sayres
    ASPCA
    424 East 92nd Street
    New York, NY 10128-6804

  • Mikael

    I just got this email from Patty:

    Thanks for the contact info. My letter is written I just needed an address. I also received an unsolicited call yesterday from an ASPCA customer service manager. I guess the girl who was helping me (she really was quite nice) told her how upset I was and that I planned on contacting the NY Times and ASPCA. I’m calling them later. I’ve thought about the lawyer route myself. How is your dog doing? It’s so awful to be put in this situation, for us and them.
    P

  • Dr. Jan

    Wow! So many complaints re ASPCA Pet Health Ins.

    I’ve had it with them too! Their pre-existing clause is construed in such a way it still screws folks who tried to do their homework prior to selecting a pet ins. co.

    It nailed me too and I work in the med-legal field…

    Time for a giant TORT, a class action law suit!

    Guess what I found out? Rep at the co. informed me that they DO NOT have vets looking at these claims. They use vet techs with maybe three years of training.

    This is like having a high schooler review claims.

    Please, everyone with a complaint should file a formal report with your state’s ins. board, complain to the CEO of ASPCA (they need to stop using their name on this very poor ins. product), get the media involved (I’ve worked in media and appeared on shows like Oprah, CNN,” if it bleeds it leads”… We are in a horrible recession and now, this rotten co. is causing more grief for people already struggling to make ends meet! Try something like this when you phone media folks).

    So, who out there also wants to join in a law suit?

  • Victoria

    I’ve already been hunting down a good lawyer—one who specializes in animal-related cases. I think I’ve found one, but we’ve been playing phone tag so far.
    I’ve also already written to the pres. and CEO of the ASPCA (see name and address in my post above) complaining of their choice of insurance company, AND I’ve filed a complaint with my state’s office of commissioner of insurance. I’ve DONE all of these things already. I really don’t know what else to do and yet I still do not feel compensated for all that my furry companion and I have been through because of this insurance company.
    I would GLADLY add my name to a class-action law suit. Post the details please!

  • Victoria

    P.S.
    Thanks for the inquiry into my dog’s health, Mikael. I think she is doing better. This Wednesday she will have her 4wk post-op check-up. (She finally had the TPLO she should have had from the beginning, but for which ASPCA pet health insurance refused to pay.) She still toe-touches. I’m not sure if that is now out of habit, though, since she’s had to do it since August. I’ll ask the vet when we see him tomorrow. Two weeks ago he felt she was coming along beautifully, though. I only hope—going through all she’s been through, what with having to take all of those anti-inflammatory, pain, and antibiotic meds and the possible osteoarthritis, all because she couldn’t get the RIGHT procedure done from the very beginning—that no permanent damage has been done to her longevity and quality of life. She’s just the best companion and she’s MY responsibility. It was my job to protect her and I feel that I’ve let her down by choosing to change insurance companies last May. (She had been with Veterinary Pet Insurance since I took her home at 8weeks, though we had never filed a claim with them.) I want to make sure that ASPCA Pet Health Insurance is aware that they cannot treat animals cruelly and get away with it—especially and keep their endorsement from the ASPCA! Perhaps if everyone contacts them to report cruelty to animals, done by their own insurance company, they’ll stop merely telling them to contact the party who handles their insurance problems (and who does NOTHING!)—as they did to me when I tried doing just that. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

  • Patty

    I’m all for a class action suit. I’ll follow your lead and the advice of a good lawyer. Not sure what’s necesssary to get it going. My last unsolicited call from ASPCA (after I threatended to contact the NY Times and other media) was to say they had “decided” to review the case (been reviewed twice already) and request medical records (so none were requested the first 2 times???) These guys are a piece of work!

  • Victoria

    The first thing we have to do is find a lawyer who will take the case…and take it for a percentage of whatever they get from Hartville. I’m afraid that I can’t afford more than what i’m already paying for my own lawyer and all the friggin’ vet bills i had hoped to avoid by buying pet insurance.
    By the way, I contacted my dog’s OLD insurance company (VPI) and unlike ASPCA, they don’t consider something that occurs while insured with them to be pre-existing for the following policy period. They also told me that my dog’s other knee would not be considered pre-existing were i to sign up with them again…ASPCA considers her other knee to be pre-existing because they consider it a “bi-lateral” injury. So I’ve signed back up with VPI.

  • Patty

    I had checked with 3 other pet insurance copanies (VPI was one) after I realized I was being screwed by the pre-exisitng clause and all 3 said the conditions would not be considered pre-existing. That said they didn’t pay as much as ASPCA for certian ailmentss, BUT AT LEAST THEY PAY CONTINUALLY. I’m really stuck now because both my boys are 10+ and with Rudi’s diabetets no one will take either of them now. I’m afraid to pull out of ASPCA should either of them get injured or develope some other illness. Feel like a slave. I’m putting feelers out for the lawyer.

  • Curt

    AVOID ASPCA PET INSURANCE COMPLETELY. IT MAY HAVE THEIR BRANDING BUT IT IS A COMPLETE RIPOFF.
    The policy is not pet insurance it is a limited benefit polciy paying predetermined amounts for each item but they do not disclose those amounts. They try to disguise it as geographic reasonable and customary but a supervisor admitted to me that is not true. The reasonable and customary for durgs is lower than the manhufacturer sells it at cost! I paid for a premium policy and got less coverage than basic elsewhere for a much higher premium.

  • Curt

    If a class action is initiated please post the attorney information

  • Kristine

    OMG – Ok, so now what? What insurance do we choose for our new 4month old pups?? I am confused, frustrated and …well… confused!!! Can someone direct me to ANY good pet insurance experiences??

  • Abbie

    I just switched my puppy (9 months) to VPI Pet Insurance. I haven’t gotten the paperwork yet or tried to file a claim, so I’m not sure how it’s going to be. I have heard good things about this company from friends, however. I purchased the superior plan that runs about 47.00 a month, but it covers everything from accidents to cancer.

  • Victoria

    I went back to VPI. (i had only switched from them because I’d thought an insurance company endorsed by the ASPCA had to be superior–it is not.) VPI doesn’t consider a condition to be “pre-existing” when it happens whilst insured by them (as ASPCA does), and they guarantee that they will not refuse to renew your policy as long as you want to renew. ASPCA won’t let me renew my policy because my dog’s CCL injury cost them too much in one year. They also now consider BOTH knees pre-existing. VPI isn’t even classifying the other knee as pre-existing, and said they’d cover it as long as it doesn’t require surgery for the next 12-months (in other words, she can injury it at 9months and, as long as her surgery doesn’t take place until 12months later, it’s covered). This exclusion isn’t even like ASPCA’s original exclusion, as the only reason for it is because my dog’s one knee already went out whilst insuraced by ASPCA and now i’m having to switch.
    Even though I’ve had this insurance in the past, i’ve not yet had to file a claim with them. Just these things, however, make them superior to ASPCAs Pet Health.
    I cannot believe that the ASPCA would endorse a company that causes pet owners–those concerned enough to have taken out pet insurance–to be left caring for pets with pre-existing conditions and no insurance. Yet unfortunately it has.
    again, grrrrrrrrrrr…

  • Yelnats

    My Vet actually recommended ASPCA Pet Insurance to me… I will have them read these posts. The crooks at ASPCA Pet Insurance should have their criminal behavior corrected by the State.

  • BILL S.

    ASPCA is receiving a fee from the insurance carrier to use their name. It is unlikely that ASPCA would be willing to give up that stream of income. They will, however, not receive any more donations from me until they publically rebuke this company. ASPCA may be contractually bound for a set period of time, to lend their name to this insurance carrier.

  • Patty

    That’s interesting Bill. I had left a VM for Ed Sayers of the ASPCA last week and yesterday I received an email from their markering director. I sent a long, polite message explaining how many of us feel about the endorsement and the issues with the pre existing condition clause. I’m waiting to see how they respond.

  • Victoria

    I’m a bit insulted by that news, Patty. For I have written two letters to, and left two voice messages with Ed Sayers and have yet to hear one word from him or anyone at the ASPCA.
    Oh well, my last VM gave him the URL for this website. Maybe he’ll get the picture.

  • Patty

    I mentioned this website as well. And just so you know no response sincce I sent my detailed email. I was thinking just the other day I should follow up and ask if they have any comment or if they have taken my respectful suggestion that the ASPCA no longer endorse this insurance company. If I hear back I will advise all.

  • Victoria

    I hope no one minds, but I’ve quoted some of your comments to the Wisconsin Office of Commissioner or Insurance. My examiner told me that her supervisor is looking into pet health insurances since she’s been receiving so many complaints. As not all of your complaints with ASPCA Pet Health have been MY complaints, I thought they’d like to know what others have been saying regarding this company–especially with regard to the “pre-existing” clause, which seems to be unique among pet insurance companies.
    I’ve done more research and have finally made my decision to go with Pet Plan USA for my new insurer. They don’t seem to have an incident limit, but rather a yearly limit–which I like, since few pets get struck with several things within one year but one incident alone can cost over $5,000. They do have one drawback: presently they only cover 70% of any “specialty” care. This means that if you take your pet to anyone other than your primary-care vet–any kind of surgeon who specializes in that surgery–it is only going to cover 70% of the cost. The good news is that they CLAIM (and it’s recorded) that they cover that percentage from what your vet charges (only exception is if the fee seems SO outrages–like 50-100% higher than normal– that they get the feeling they are being bilked, then they may question things). So the way i figure it, even 70% of what the vet charges will still be more than what ASPCA covers with their don’t-call-me-a-benefits-schedule benefits schedule. And the thing i like is that they came right out and SAID that they would only cover 70% of those charges, unlike ASPCA Pet Health who made me believe they didn’t use a benefits schedule like VPI does, but everything indicates they actually do use one, since they only allowed a fraction of what my vet charged as “reasonable charges,” and they can’t seem to tell me HOW they calculate those reasonable charges. Pet Plan USA is even hoping to change that 70% thingy by year’s end to match the rest of one’s plan (which can cover up to 100% if you want to pay for that much plan…i figured why pay for 100% coverage when they’ll only pay 70% on the really big things anyway–their plans don’t include wellness care–the annual physicals and such).
    Anyone still with ASPCA and having a pre-existing problem, do call other companies, as many of them don’t even consider some things pre-existing that occured while covered by ASPCA even though ASPCA does! (e.g. my dog’s other knee is now considered pre-existing with ASPCA, but not with both VPI and PetPlan USA.) Anyway…look into Pet Plan USA if you’d like…and if you find something I should know about and have missed…PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

  • Victoria

    oh yeah, and i was told by someone at one of the other insurance companies that they heard the ASPCA is TRYING to withdraw their endorsement, but there is a lot of red tape involved…let’s see how this plays out.

  • Victoria

    whoa! I was just about to try calling Mr. Sayres at the ASPCA again…and the number must have been pulled from this website! Am I missing it somehow?

  • Patty

    Just to let you all know I did indeed receive a detailed reply from a Claire McCabe, Manager of Mktg for the ASPCA. She was clearly quoting verbiage from managers of the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance team. In fairness she did respond but the overall tone was that while she could appreciate my situation, that there is no one insurance that can satisfy everyone and that the Hartville Group was being very “flexible” in their response to the pre-exisrting conditions clause by now offering the Continuing Care and Sterling plans. The fact that the plans are so cost prohibitive (for my dogs it would be $110 per pet, per month on top of premiums, if they were even eligible which they are not due to age and, you guessed it, pre-existing conditions) doesn’t appear to be of concern to them. My favorite quote…” in general, we’re pleased that APHI has been able to provide what we believe to be the best accident, illness and wellness coverage in the industry, as well as to respond flexibly to concerns like those about ongoing conditions. In addition, APHI web sites and other marketing materials have been regularly and conscientiously updated to apprise prospective and existing customers of relevant plan features, including exclusions and coverage limitations.” She was pleased that I was conscientious enough to have insurnace for my pets (still doesn’t get it, it doens’t matter, they don’t pay) and “encouraged” me to continue to shop for the plan that was best for my situation (again, doesn’t get it, no one will take Rudi, he’s too old now and has several condotions that will never be covered). VPI and Pet Plan are both good. Petsurance is a little weird in that they don’t sign you up for a yearly policy. You pay month to month on a CC. They cover up to $20K for the life of your pet. And beware, Pets Health Plan IS the Hartville Group. Same as ASPCA with a different name. They actually told me they were the ONLY insurance company that offered coverage for pre-existing conditions by the simple addition of one of their continuing care options. Can you imagine???!!! Not only are they cheating folks but they point blank lied. This ain’t over yet.

  • Dr. jan

    FYI…

    After making the “stink” heard around the world and firmly informing an ASPCA Pet Health Ins. rep that I expected my my dog’s pneumonia treatment ins. claim to be paid (they wanted 30 days to review the appeal) I gave them a 3 day limit (this was based on their history of bad faith) lo and behold… They called me on day two and informed me the check was going to be put in the mail. Eventually, it did arrive.

    Prior to this, I had put in a call to E. Sayres, CEO the ASPCA in NY. Apparently,
    he won’t personally respond to calls re.
    ASPCA Pet Health Ins.

    Their marketing liason ??? Ms McCabe returned my call. After listening to my complaints, like a puppet whose strings were being yanked by someone higher up,
    she uttered several obviously, parroted and very pat responses.

    An ER call came in and I had to end the call with McCabe. I called her later and left a message. Never heard from her again…

    ASPCA Pet Health Ins. still owes me hundreds of dollars re. previously unpaid claims in which they exercised their “weasel” preexisting clause.
    I’m going to see if they are going to make this right too.

    I was told this co. is now under new management.

    Dr. J

  • Patty

    McCabe emailed me again and I quote “I have passed your email on to our Sr Director of Corporate Partnerships and our VP of Marketing and Licensing. I also forward copies of every inquiry to Hartville’s CMO and to their head of customer service. We are all working together to make improvements and continue to develop plans that provide the best possible value.”

    I don’t know who they are “all working together” with because it’s certainly not the customers. Got a VM message Friday I was just denied (the 3rd time they’ve “reviewed”) for Rudi’s cataract surgery because of couse they are linking it to the diabetes which is, you guessed it, pre-existing from year 2 on our policy. I will call, AGAIN, and tell them I’m in direct contact with ASPCA and see if it makes any difference to them what so ever. If nothing else they know we aren’t backing down w/o a fight.

  • Candice

    I signed up for ASPCA health insurance for my labrador pup two months ago thinking they would be great. I have not tried to file any claims, he’s had no issues (I only signed up for accident coverage) but I really wished I would have read this website first, scary! I am now researching other companies because I refuse to give this company one more penny!

    I checked out Trupanion, but I live in Alaska and they do not write policies within our state! Any other companies anyone could recommend? I’m very new to this pet insurance thing, so any advice would be greatly appreciated, Thanks!

  • Paula

    Oh my gosh! Why didn’t I find this website prior to purchasing ASPCA health insurance for my 13 year old Persian. She has no health issues (genetic or injuries), but recently she picked up a bacterial infection and the vet had to do several tests, which costs me approximately $400. I am already getting the run-around from ASPCA (they have already asked for Praline’s records from the vet) and I have a feeling that after reading all of this, I have wasted the premium payments I have already made since March. My problem is her age. There have only been two companies that will give me a quote for her: Petsurance and Trupanion. Can anyone give me any advice on this?

    I am considering calling an cancelling this plan and just “eating” the vet costs last month.

  • Victoria

    Paula,
    Don’t give up on them so easily. This is how the insurance companies make their money–people don’t bother fighting for what they deserve…besides, they may just surprise you and pay the tab. They are funny that way. Maybe they’ll find no easy way of getting out of it. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely need to find another insurance company, because ASPCA Pet Health is total crap, but don’t let them get away with not paying their portion of this bill. If they don’t pay on the first shot then file an appeal, and if that doesn’t work then contact your state’s Office of Commissioner of Insurance and file a complaint. It is only when we band together, and make a stink regarding the poor state of pet insurance, that we will finally get pet insurance companies to treat us properly. My state’s OCI is already gathering as much info as possible on pet insurance companies due to all the complaints being filed on them. So this is how we have to do it, if necessary. But please don’t just eat the expense and leave it at that.
    Victoria

  • Nicole

    Look into PetsBest or PurinaCare insurance. PurinaCare seems to have the best payouts, few exclusions. PetsBest is good for accident-type coverage and is a big cheaper.

  • Paula

    Thank you Victoria and Nicole. ASPCA has finalized one of my claims (only about 1/3 of the bill) and it still reviewing the other claim. Needless to say, I am very frustrated and unfortunately, the fine print won’t allow me to cancel once I file a claim.

    PurinaCare isn’t available in SC yet and I am looking at the PetsBest. They gave me a quote, but the deductible is $100 per visit.

    I’ll keep looking.

  • Ruby

    Okay…just researching pet ins. companies, this one sounds like a bad choice. A friend of mine has Petfirst Healthcare…has anybody else used them before. I have a 2 yr old Bullmastiff and would like to get him some coverage.

  • Randy

    Anybody who is looking for a very fair-minded company that provides good insurance coverage for your pet without pages of fine print that will allow the insurance company to “Opt Out” of either renewing your policy or paying a claim should take a hard and very serious look at TruPanion.

    It is NOT true that Trupanion won’t cover older pets. They now will enroll new pets that are as old as FOURTEEN (14) years old.

    I briefly signed up with PETPLAN but then read the policy saw all kinds of scary exclusions, qualifications, and requirements before you could renew your policy (especially as your pet ages). I could see many ways that PETPLAN could “legally” cancel your policy.

    Trupanion seems to be a very honest company. I enrolled a second pet with them. If you enroll a second pet, you don’t have to pay a second enrollment fee. That caught my mistake and advised me that they would be combining the policies and REFUNDING the second enrollment fee that I wouldn’t have to pay.

    I am impressed with that honesty. I used to work in the HUMAN health insurance industry. I know from experience that the policies are written to AVOID paying claims.

    Nothing I’ve seen in the TruPanion policy frightens me …. even with my insurance experience.

    Though I haven’t had a claim with them, my experience so far has been very positive.

  • Fifi

    I’m all for class action suit. Sign me in.

  • Ashlin

    Absolute Rubbish! I’ve insured three dogs – at a cost of $1,200 and have paid out at least that in vet fees for vaccines, neuter, etc. I have received back a grand total of $80!!!!!
    Has cost me more in premiums than my own health care – hardly anything is covered (I’m on Advantage) Everything is a fight – Vaccinations are only the “most essential” I would think a Lyme Vaccine is cheaper than treatment of the disease. I’m fed up with them and so is my Vet who doesn’t have time to keep re-submitting records. Never Again.

  • Paula

    I guess I’m stuck with this insurance company with my current cat. She will be 14 in September and I guess some reimbursement is better than none. Who knows? They will probably cancel her policy as she gets older. When I get a younger cat in the future, I will definitely get a different company. I will NEVER recommend this company to anyone.

  • Neal Q.

    ****WARNING ****
    Stay far away from ASCPA Pet Health Insurance. They have what’s known as a “manifestation clause”. Policy renews annually and any claim filed now becomes ‘pre-existing’ for that treatment for the life of the policy.

  • Victoria

    Wish me luck everyone. I just recently mailed the necessary paper-work to the Stark County Sheriff’s Office so that they could be served to ASPCA Pet Health. Our court date is Aug. 7th.
    The amount of money I lost is beyond what i’m asking, all because it took them six months to finally decide to cover my dog’s surgery. The pain from the extra surgeries my dog needed to go through because of them cannot be included, as that’s not something one can put a price on. The osteoarthritis my vet said was likely caused because she needed to go over six months before getting the proper surgery…also cannot be included. However, my lost wages because i needed to stay home from work to care for my dog; the extra 20% i had to pay for the additional surgeries; and the cost beyond their “reasonable charges,” can all be calculated. The additional cost for pain and inflamation management during that time can also be calculated, as can everything that ASPCA considers beyond the incident limit (if any of you recall, for financial reasons i needed to go with an inferior surgery because ASPCA refused to pay for my dog’s CCL injury…until AFTER that procedure, which did not hold and then required another surgery to remove the monofilament line and finally i was able to get the CORRECT surgery–the TPLO–after they agreed to pay. So obviously i went over my incident limit. Had they agreed to pay for the procedure my vet had recommended in the first place–the TPLO–i never would have exceeded that limit).
    Not only does ASPCA’s definition of “pre-existing conditions” defy all REASONABLE meaning of the term, but it was a moot point with me, as they dropped me at the end of my policy period anyway. They claimed, in different terms, that my dog’s expenses exceeded their desire to keep us as clients. She had only one injury the entire year. Nice way to make a buck, eh? Take money from everyone until they need to pay it out, then drop them so you don’t have to pay anything back.
    So now, even though my dog’s had insurance since the day i brought her home at 8wks (she’s now 4), I am left without coverage of her right knee. By ANY insurance company’s standards this is now a pre-existing condition, even though she was insured when it happened.
    ASPCA Pet Health doesn’t care about animals, obviously, and after numerous unanswered phone calls and letters to ASPCA’s president and CEO complaining about their endorsement of this company, I’ve come to feel the same way about them. How can anyone who truly cares about animals endorse–ALLOW–a pet insurance company such as this? Too many people are left facing terrible decisions with regard to their dear four-legged family members because this company didn’t represent itself properly to the client. They claim they do not use a benefits schedule in formulating what will be paid, but that is EXACTLY what they use (and one that pays little), and their “pre-existing conditions” is a grotesque misrepresentation of the term.
    Perhaps if we all take them to court they might open their eyes.

  • Sarah H

    I, too, just cancelled my ASPCA insurance today. I had thought I had bought good insurance for my pet that would work like house insurance, as a safety net. Buy it and it’s in place continuously as long as the premiums are paid. But, as I discovered, that is definitely not the case.

    The way this misleading insurance is set up can absolutely leave a policy holder in the lurch just when financial help is need the most. It would be better to put the cost of the premiums aside in an interest bearing saving account for when you might need the money for your pet.

    When I bought a policy last week, it was NOT clearly explained to me that if a pet has the misfortune to get sick or injured before an annual policy ends and is still actively under treatment when a new policy period begins, the company will not cover any more costs related to that incident under the new policy. That’s because any condition related to the incident covered by the expired policy would be considered “an ongoing condition” by the new policy. Doesn’t matter if the pet was hit by a car or developed diabetes, it’s condition would be considered ongoing and therefore will not be covered. The pet will not have any more coverage for whatever that condition is until it is proved to be free of that particular condition for a period of 180 days. That’s the “gotcha” clause. (Try keeping a pet free of diabetes for 180 days – ha! Can’t be done.)

    An animal being treated, hospitalized or in intensive care under this policy on its last day would not be covered for whatever it was suffering from in the new policy period – even if the incident only happened the day before.

    It took four rounds of careful questioning before I pulled that unpleasant bit of information out of the sales representative. He tried to skirt the issue by repeatedly telling me about the 30 day waiting period at the start of the policy, which had nothing to do with my question about what happens if something occurs near the END of a policy period. I disliked his avoiding giving me a clear answer. It left me with a very bad feeling about his company and the ASPCA. So, I cancelled.

    He also told me that animals are legally considered “property” under the law which is why his company can do that – as can every other animal insurance policy. If that is true, then the law need changing.

  • Patty

    Sarah to your point my dog was indeed diagnosed with diabetes several years ago while on this policy and because of the pre-existing clause ASPCA has not covered any expense or treatment assocaited with his condition since he was diagnosed, including cataract surgery to the tune of $3,000+. Surgery was successful by the way and I would do it again in a heartbeat but it was all out of pocket. He was dignosed 2 months before my policy renewed so they covered about that much time. As we all know Diabetes isn’t curable and now no other company will cover it either. I’ve done a LOT of research sicne and every other popular pet insurance company does not have this clause. The may not pay as much but they pay…and for the life of the policy. You’ll see my posts earlier in this long string but the point is ASPCA’s policy is decitful, confusing and heartbreaking. We think we’re doing right by our animal companions and a company like this contributes to devastating results. I have been in touch with several people at ASPCA asking them to cease endorsement of Hartville Group. They claim they have passed all my concerns along to the appropriate parties at both companies. I doubt it will do much good. ASPCA probably gets a pretty penny for the endorsement. The whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth. I have not contributed to the ASPCA since all of this began. And I told them that would remanin the case as long as they continue the endorsement.

  • heather

    Wow…. After reading all of this I just don’t know what to do. I was going to join with aspca insurance because my youngest boy max was born with a deformed paw. And now it has gotten really bad and he needs some x-rays possibly have it amputated. And they told me they will not cover anything pervious that’s the last time I ever help out the aspca program. Now I do not know where to do go. Anybody know any other who will help out pervious problems and is not a scam please let me know thanks a lot, heather

  • Randy

    Heather… There is no company that will cover pre-existing conditions (at least none that have not been symptom free for quite a while when the policy is issued). Treatment for the deformed paw will have to be paid by you. The policy that I have on both cats (including a newly insured 12 year old cat) is Trupanion. I’ve done extensive research and could find no other policy that seems to be as honest with the absence of fine print as the Trupanion policy.

    Sorry to say that all policies are only designed for illnesses that may be diagnosed in the FUTURE.

    Good luck in taking care of your pet with the deformed paw.

  • Victoria

    I noticed that someone once mentioned that ASPCA Pet Health now has something one can add to their policy for “continuing care.” I looked this up and found that they have re-vamped their plans. Mind you they haven’t made any improvement to their old plans, just now have found a new way to trick the policy holder, because these “continuing care” plans have incident limits and “lifetime” limits—the more inexpensive one’s policy plan the less continuing coverage one can get. In fact, prior to this change one could pay through the nose for their Sterling Plan and get some sort of continuing coverage included. This plan was ridiculously over priced, but the option was there (I’m not sure what the incident limit was, however), even though few people were explained that it was the ONLY plan that covered, beyond one’s policy period, an illness or injury that occurred while covered by their insurance. With these new plans one can purchase a plan from levels one through four. Each level covers more and subsequently costs more. However, from what I can tell, the “continuing care” that is offered a policy holder depends entirely on which plan level they’ve purchased and really doesn’t cover much at all.
    Their most expensive plan–Level 4– BEGINS at an annual cost of $708 for a dog. Mind you, if your dog is over a certain age (probably 2yrs), is a certain breed, or lives in certain metro areas, you will have to pay more. This plan has a $5,000 incident limit. Then, if one wishes to purchase continuing coverage it would cost them an ADDITIONAL $102. MINIMUM for a dog! Again, it could cost a person more than this depending upon where they live, which breed they own and the age of their pet. And what does one get for that added expense? More peace of mind? Not really, because the incident limit is $2,500, with a lifetime limit of $6,000. In the mean time one is probably paying close to $1,000/yr. for this coverage!
    If one were to go down to the next level—Level 3—there is less coverage (it has a $3,500 incident limit), hence the annual cost is less, beginning at $402 for dogs, but one cannot purchase Level 4 “continuing care” with a Level 3 policy. They can, however, choose to pay an additional $85/yearly for an additional $1,500 incident limit and only $3,500 lifetime coverage. Is this really continuing care?
    All ASPCA did was give their policies new names (Level 3 appears to be their old Advantage Plan), take the continuing care away from their Sterling Plan, and allow a person to pay extra for what they would THINK is coverage for chronic illnesses. I’m sorry, but my dog went over $3,500 for ACL surgery! Any pet with REAL chronic illnesses would surely exceed these incident and lifetime limits. These are not good plans, but fortunately they seem to spell things out a little more clearly now so that one can SEE that they are not good plans. Things weren’t this clear when I purchased my insurance from them.
    The person who posted mentioning this “Continuing Care” sounds a bit as though they work for ASPCA Pet Health because all they stated was that it cost as little as $5 more a month. (Those monitoring this site may have felt the same, because it looks as though the posting was removed.) This info is true, but only if you own a cat and not a dog, have a Level 2 plan (which has an incident limit of only $1,500), and only expect to get $1,000 more coverage per incident/ $2,500 per lifetime with the Continuing Care plan. Again, it costs more if the cat is older or lives in a certain metro area, etc. In fact, by breaking it down this way ASPCA is able to charge a person TWO $100 deductibles: once for the plan and again for the “Continuing Care”! What crap.
    I have completely lost my respect for the ASPCA organization for not withdrawing their endorsement even after so many have complained directly to them. When I watch their sad commercials I mumble under my breath that ASPCA doesn’t care about animals so stop making ME feel bad. It’s sad, but I don’t think pets really have anyone reliable in their corner unless WE step up to the plate. If we don’t fight for our four-legged friends, I don’t think anyone will. Please, Please file complaints with your state’s Office of Commissioner of Insurances. Right now our pets are not considered anything more than “property.” That’s why ASPCA can get away with this pre-existing stuff. My dog is a family member and NOT my property! Let’s not let insurance companies get away with treating our family members this way. We bought insurance because we cared!
    Victoria

  • Brittany

    ASPCA pet insurance is a COMPLETE RIP-OFF. I filed my first claim, for $260 to get my cat’s senior bloodwork/urine/fecal testing done, and every single cost on my receipt and claim they chose “reasonable costs” as their excuse for not paying. They have to get their numbers for “reasonable costs” from out in the boonies where people pay with chickens rather than money. Either way, they find every single excuse possible not to give you a dime, meanwhile here I am paying them $60 a month for NOTHING!

    They are a total rip-off. Do not go with them. You’re better off having a few thousand dollars in a savings account should your pet need a life-saving surgery or anything. These people are scam artists.

  • Celita

    For all of you considering VPI, please save yourself the time, money and frustration. I have been with them since December 2008 and have just canceled both of my GSD’s policies. I got tired of the duplicate billings to my card, their $50 deductible per incident, and the fact that their per incident coverage amounts are about 10% of what you will actually pay the veterinarian for services. You are better off putting the monthly deductible in a savings account and paying for the services yourself.

  • Jo Ann

    Interesting reading. I have been looking for pet insurance and anything I find in the US is overpriced and fairly useless.
    Why do they feel the need to ‘rape’ the American public?
    I have friends in Britian that have great insurance for their pets and it is reasonably priced. I could insure all 3 of my dogs per month(Gold Plan) there for what it would cost me for a monthly rate here for 1 dog( second best plan).

    Very discouraging.

  • Michelle

    I have not found the same issues of the other people on this site, but have had ASPCA for over a year. My issue has been “reasonable Costs.” I’m not taking my dog to a super high end vet either. Recently I got her spayed and they excluded $70 to “reasonable Cost” . In the last Year and a half I’ve claimed over 1000 dollars on basic vet costs (shots, accidents, illnesses, spay ect) plus the 30 dollar monthly fee (for advantage) and have only received a little over 200 in reimbursements. My advice to anyone with a new puppy. Steer clear of ASPCA, complete waste of money!

  • KLynch

    After reading all the comments on this site I spoke to someone at the ASPCA insurance about the ‘reasonable and customary’ charges to find out more about where these costs come from. Apparently the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) publishes a guide of reasonable and customary costs for different veterinary fees each year. That’s where they get them from. It makes sense to me that they do this because you can imagine that some vets (i.e. in downtown manhattan )may charge an astronomical amount for a procedure that would be quite a bit lower anywhere else. In my mind this prevents the average person (like me) from having their insurance costs go up over time.

    I too insured my new puppy last year with ASPCA, but since I didn’t get the Wellness, I wasn’t covered for the initial expenditures of neutering, etc. I was prepared for this though, because its part of being a good pet owner. I also read my plan when I received it, and also the sample plan they have posted right on their site.

    They are a relatively new company in the pet insurance business, so they seem to be improving their plans and transparency over time. I do believe that they care about pets, because the people I’ve spoken to there when I’ve had claims or questions have all been pet owners as well. I just think most people don’t understand how insurance works.

    Pet insurance is a long term investment. No one covers a car that’s already been in an accident so why would we think they’d protect a pet that’s already sick or injured for those problems? I expect that as my little boy gets older (and he will sooner than me) I’ll see the long term benefits of coverage. I have Continuing Care and I’ll never cancel my coverage because then I’ll lose the benefit of my investment.

    BTW – I went on a few British sites like Petplan and guess what – the costs and the coverage are virtually the same as here (once you convert Pounds to US$!)

  • Ronnie

    ASPCA… Scumbags, I had the insurance for 6 months, the 1st time I needed it they covered nothing… ZERO, they said the vet wrote on the bill the dog had a lump which they found in a routine exam,they said it was not an exam but a a pre existing condition but it was only found by an x-ray so a $500 bill those A Holes Covered NOTHING, BEWARE

  • Victoria

    Dear Klynch,
    I’m afraid that i must burst your bubble. There are a few holes in your bliss.
    First you say that ASPCA Pet Health is a relatively new insurance company–prior to “ASPCA” Pet Health, they existed for many years as just plain, Pet Health Insurance. They are a subsidiary of the Hartville Group, which is owned by American Fire and Causualty. They are not at all a new insurance company. In fact, they are quite old.
    Now, for the fact about your coverage…it is true that ASPCA Pet Health NOW has what they term, “continued care” insurance for all of their levels, 1-4, you may wish to look at just what is being covered:
    You apparently have purchased level 1 or level 2 coverage since you say you don’t have wellness care. Let’s say you purchased the more expensive one, level 2. For a new puppy you are probably paying around $24.06/mo. plus $6.56/mo. for continuing coverage. In addition to that you had to pay an additional $10.50 the first month. This all comes to $344.94 for one year and the most you’ll see for coverage for each incident is $2,500 maximum!
    When i bought my insurance they didn’t offer “continued coverage” as they do today. I paid almost the same amount of money each year, though, and had a $3,500. incident limit! It is true that by offering this extended coverage they can get around people complaining that their pet’s injury occured at the end of the policy period and Pet Health then called it “pre-existing.” This “pre-existing condition” that we have all been referring was not a condition which occured PRIOR to optaining ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. It was for injuries which happened DURING our policy periods.
    My dog tore her CCL while she was covered by ASPCA PH. They gave me the run-around with regard to covering her surgery for so long that her necessary surgery occured toward the end of the policy period. If she had done ANYTHING to re-injure that knee during the following policy period she would not be covered as it would now be considered pre-existing from the previous policy period.
    But that wasn’t a problem i faced, nor will it be something that you will now face as you have continued coverage…right? Maybe not. The reason i don’t have any problem is because after I submitted my claims for her surgery they wrote me a letter telling me they will not let me renew my policy because–though put more diplomatically–my dog was costing them too much money. So, dear KLynch, even though you purchased a continued care plan, don’t hold your breath that when you need this company they will be there for you. My dog’s knee is now considered pre-existing no matter WHERE i get her insurance now.
    Now, with regard to their “reasonable costs,” call another agent and he/she will give you a different answer, unless, of course, they are now being told to say something else…or they really are using the AAHA (have you tried finding one of these books? I have. Most vets will not subscribe to them as they are very expensive and none of my local libraries carry it. So it is a nice thing to say one’s insurance company quotes from a book no policy holder can possibly find!).
    When i called asking how they came up with their idea of reasonable costs i was given different answers every time i called–once even told i lived in a “Metro Area”! I live in rural Wisconsin…my town’s population is less than 14,000. I have, however, contacted my state’s Office of Commissioner of Insurances and they’ve told me they are looking into how this company calculates its “reasonable costs” because they, too, were given obscure answers. This, they told me, will take a bit of time, though, as they will have to send an agent to go through the company’s files.
    Please do not fool yourself. This company’s policies are, by far, more unreasonable than any others. My recommendation, BEFORE your puppy really needs to be insured, is find a different company.
    Victoria

  • Victoria

    OOOPS!
    Glad that i’m re-reading my posting as I had a typo in the cost of KLynch’s policy–it is not 344.94, but rather 377.94!

  • Tiff S

    This is ridiculous! They should not be allowed to do any of this. I originally on their advantage plan, but after a few months, I did not think that it was worth me paying that amount to cover pretty much nothing. So I decided to stay with them, since my pomeranian hadn’t really run into any major problems, but I downgraded my plan to the primary one. When my contract was almost up, I received a call, as well as emails, stating that they were going to give me a better quote, a 10%discount. This isn’t much, but better than nothing. I decided to go with it. The rep, Nate, also promoted their continuing care program, which he said was covered under the first year, but I had to pay an extra $7 and change to continue it. I became very upset because I did not understand why my original plan had it, then they supposedly give me a 10% discount, but then tacked on over a 35% increase for me to have what I oringally had covered. Nate said, to what I understood as “it is only covered for the first year, but after you have to pay for it.” He kept making it seem like what I had understood was wrong and finally said that he would have upper management call me back to explain it better. Wouldn’t you know… NO ONE ever called me back. When the new plan started, I noticed that they charged me even more than what I was previously paying. So of course, I called customer service to find out what had happened. This time, I spoke with James. He kept saying that they weren’t allowed to make me the discount offer and that it must have been a mistake. It was a good thing, I kept the emails, since Nate never bothered to leave any notes about speaking with me on my account. I emailed him what they sent me about the discount, so they couldn’t even fight me on the subject. But James DID say that they would only give me the discount for one year since it was a mistake. Since they had already charged me, he said it would be credited on Sept’s bill, which it WAS NOT!! Obviously, I called again, spoke with Tiffany, who is supposedly a supervisor, explained the situation, and she was going to have it researched and call me back the same day. NEVER HAPPENED. I just called again to find out what happened, she gave me some bs excuse about no one getting back to her. Either way, she finally called me back and said that they have fixed the problem and I will have two months of credit on my Oct bill. I even told her that I had been reading up on their org and THEY HAD HORRIBLE REVIEWS… and that I wanted to cancel, but I want to find an insurance company first since I dont really want to leave my pet without any insurance… ANY SUGGESTIONS!??!

  • Tiff S

    to anyone who needs their pet neutered/spayed:
    The actual ASPCA org, nothing to do with the insurance company (since they just use the ASPCA name), actually does neutering/spaying for $25. It is part of their mobile clinic… which I know sounds kind of iffy, but it isn’t. My pet had it done there and she is fine. My vet even complimented the work and asked where I had it done, so she could refer patients who could not afford her procedures.

  • Randy

    I would dump ASPCA in a heartbeat and go with Trupanion.com. If you want a company that seems to have a very clean policy (no fine print or wording only a New York lawyer could understand) and good customer service then this might be the plan for you.
    We’ve not had a claim, but based on the policy (I’ve read every word) and their customer service so far, I would recommend Trupanion.com. I have told ASPCA to take me off their mailing list because I will not support an organization that scams pet owners with a sleazy insurance plan. How many pets have died because the owners “thought” they had insurance via ASPCA? My hard earned $$ won’t be going to ASPCA for ANY reason, especially to buy their scam pet insurance.

  • Victoria

    Tiff S,
    I just wanted to clarify something: ASPCA org DOES have something to do with this insurance company! By endorsing this company, as they do, they have now gone to bed with it. It is for this reason that so many of us are angry with the ASPCA, an organization that is supposed to be concerned with the care of animals.
    Many of us have written/called the pres. and CEO of the ASPCA organization to beg him to withdraw their endorsement of this insurance company, since they have caused such hardship to so many pets, but we either don’t get a reply from our letters or voice mails (I have written 2 letters and left 2 voice mail msgs and have heard nothing back from him.), or we get some sort of form letter not really addressing our concerns.
    The organization, ASPCA, therefore is definitely related to this insurance company! They must get some sort of financial compensation for their endorsement, but they have lost much of their credibility. I sneer whenever I see their advertisements now and will only donate to humane societies.

  • Kristen

    I, too, have been a recent victim of their new “manifestation clause”. I have had 5 pets insured for over 11 years – all having high coverage. I believe Level 4 they are calling it now. You do the math on how much money I have invested with them over the years.
    I have had some minor “reasonable costs” issues over the years, but overall was happy with them.
    My last claim denial (on a hefty ER bill, of course) led me to a lengthy discussion with them today. I am canceling all of my policies with them, and would love to sign up for any class action suits.
    I have been in the veterinary field (surgical/critical care nurse) for over 15 years. I have recommended them over again, only to be taken advantage of them in the end. Their current practices are deceitful, and they need to be held accountable.

  • Paula

    Okay! Thanks to Dogster, I had a trial period for Trupanion for 60 days. Luckily for me, my persian did not get sick during this time period. I’ve been with ASPCA since March and was not happy at all! My cat got sick in May and I spent over $400 on her and was only reimbursed $100. I just cancelled ASPCA today and went with Trupanion. The price is a little higher per month, but my cat will be 14 next week and Trupanion is the only other company that will insure her and I don’t have to worry about them cancelling the policy because of her age or other stupid reasons. Wish me luck with Trupanion and my cat.

    Thanks for all of the advice.

  • Randy

    Paula, I do believe you made a wise choice. I was in the same situation in insuring a 12 year old cat. No other company would insure a feline that old. Trupanion did so with no qualms. Also their policy is very clean with very few exclusions. We have both the 12 year old and the 1 1/2 year old cat now with Trupanion. I’m glad we made that decision before making a mistake and insuring with a company that has so many “Got ya'” clauses as to make the insurance meaningless. Even the higher rated PET PLAN has scary clauses (especially as the animal ages) that would permit them to legally deny claims unless you follow their very strict rules as described in the policy. You end up becoming an underwriter for PET PLAN just to keep your insurance valid… and they are considered to be much superior to ASPCA. In my opinion, no plan is as honest as Trupanion.

  • Victoria

    Congratulate me! I took ASPCA Pet Health to small claims court and won. Justice Prevails!

    • Steve K

      Hello Victoria,
      I am considering a small claims lawsuit against ASPCA. Our dog was diagnosed with cancer and was covered for about 1 month…then his policy was renewed and suddenly he had a pre-existing condition (his cancer) which was subsequently not covered! Can you let me know a case number and in which state you won the case? This historical information will help with our case. THANK YOU, Steve K.

  • Tiff S

    Congrats!!!

  • Patty

    That’s grest news Victoria. I bet it cost you to go thru all that though. After all we’ve been through (see prior posts) I’m completely fed up with these people. I recently sent back one of their direct mail pieces (telling me how they missed me and would I consider donating agian) and wrote a note stating I would not be making any further donations until such time as they disassociated themselves with the Hartville Group. What insurance are you currently using, if any?

  • Victoria

    Patty,
    It cost me a lot in my time, but not expense. I contacted an atty who specialized in animal cases and she donated her time in consulting me and also sent me an article she’d written in Fetch magazine regarding representing yourself in small claims court (i’m sure you could find it at your local library–not sure of the issue, but by M. Senatori). I had already spent a great deal of time fighting with ASPCA Pet Health trying to get them to pay in the first place–appealing, filing complaints with the state OSI, etc. When they finally agreed to pay i was angry with the amount they were paying and for the many other expenses that were caused by their delay in covering the necessary surgery to begin with, none of which they were covering. So as for my time, it had already cost me a lot there. Going to court only took up a little more of my time.
    The cost of bringing suit in small claims is only $94.50 in Wisconsin (it had just gone up the day before I’d filed) and here one can ask for as much as $5,000. I had to pay an additional $25.00 to have a sheriff in Ohio (Stark County) serve the papers, since the defendant was outside the state. That filing fee of $94.50 was returned to me when i won.
    Mind you, I don’t think that I was given any more than what I deserved from this insurance company. The Judge (Court Commissioner?) awarded me $2,671.30, which was what remained to make up 80% of my vet bills (plus the $94.50). I had also asked for reimbursement for missed work, which I wouldn’t have missed had ASPCA agreed to pay when my dog first injured herself, but I don’t think the judge felt that this was due me. My boyfriend sort of sided with the judge on this one, saying that many people crate their dogs while they are away at work. My dog has never been crated—she’s 30” at the shoulders! Even the jumbo kennels don’t allow her to stand comfortably! But after the surgery the vet told me she could not be left alone in the house unless she was crated. I wasn’t working when she had first injured herself and so I wouldn’t have missed work, so I thought the company should reimburse me for that, too. I still feel this way, but i’ll take what I can get since it is $2,671.30 more than what I’d have had if I hadn’t pursued this. So I still consider this a victory, especially since the insurance company had to send an atty. (or some sort of representative), spend time on this, and then are having to pay me more than what they’d wanted to pay me. I think we MUST hold insurance companies like this accountable. YAH, the little guy won for once!

  • Victoria

    p.s. Good for you, Patty, on sending back their donation cards with that msg. What a great idea!
    I’m currently with Pet Plan USA, but after reading some of these posts, I think i’ll be changing to Trupanion at the end of my policy period. I don’t like all of the loopholes that these insurance companies have for pets. Our cherished companions and family members are treated like our cars! (You can complain about this with your state’s OCI.) Pet Plan even offers a replacement cost! I must admit, it is nice for those of us who could not afford to replace our beloved pets with a similar breed. I had never owned a Leonberger before, nor had I even HEARD of them until shortly before getting mine. But being a purebred, she didn’t come cheap! Now I don’t think I’d want anything BUT another Leo. She is the greatest friend. I’d heard that her temperament is status quo for Leos. She’s the perfect breed for me, but I don’t have the money I once had and so if anything happened to her, I doubt I’d be able to afford another Leo…if not for this damned replacement thingy. So as much as I hate that it seems they are putting a value on our loved ones, there IS a certain element of practicality in it, too. Still, no other Leo would be MY Leo in the way that she is, but there would be a better chance of finding one with similar characteristics that I love so much.

  • Dana

    I will NOT renew my pet insurance with ASPCA.

    It has NOT been worth it. Yes it paid a small amount but I would have been money ahead by just putting the $38 a month payment into a bank account and taking my chances that my dog might eat something harmful as a puppy. My dog has been treated for hookworm …which isn’t covered under my plan and yearly shots and got him neutered. I got him micro chipped…which wasn’t covered. My puppy was in a kennel cage 4 hours at a time while I was at work so I could keep a close eye on him not to eat things he shouldn’t. Unless you plan on letting your puppy run in traffic and be alone to eat and or chew on things they shouldn’t then I don’t think you need the insurance just stash the monthly payment and take your chances! The insurance was a waste of money!!!

  • Mike

    Thank you all for posting here. I am searching for coverage for our family pet.
    I am avoiding this ASPCA crap.
    And congrats to the lady who took them to court and won! Well done.

  • Marie

    Thank you for all of your postings! I, too, just realized my tea-cup poodle’s plan was up for renewal 2 weeks ago. I called ASPCA today and learned that they automatically renewed the plan and charged my credit card, which I had not seen the bill for yet. I asked if in fact it was true (being recorded) that if my pet was diagnosed with an illness on 10/30, treatment begins 11/2 but plan renewal is 11/1, she will not be covered because it is a new plan and this would now be a pre-existing condition. The answer was “yes”. Therefore, have your pet checked the second day into the plan and hope for the best the remainder of the year (or cancel it within the 30 days if nothing is found! you just can’t renew it for another year, but, so what?)
    Sorry I made the investment last year, which I really couldn’t afford…..
    PS: I canceled within 30 days on this plan, so I get a full refund. Lucky break.

  • Coopers Mom

    Ok, What the Heck!!! I can’t believe this is the practice of THE ASPCA.. Maybe they should be in the business of working agianst cruelty to people or to pets parents.. I have researched and researches..Metlife backs VPI.. more realistic.. Give it a look

  • Annette

    I purchased ASPCA insurance 8/2009 for my 3 cats and 1 dog. In October one of my cats became ill. After my vets evaluation it was determined my cat has hypothyroid. The claim was denied for the office visit and blood work as well as his first dose of medication. After numerous phone calls and an appeal fromyself and vet the claims are still denied. I have 4 pets and can not waste my money (100$ a month) on a company that won’t pay! I have cancelled the per insurance but unfortuantely now my cat has a pre existing condition! Don’t go with ASPCA pet insurance!!

  • Ann

    VPI might be good for animals who are young, but as they age, the reimbursements fall. My daughter has 2 cats who are 11 and the recent reimbursements don’t even cover the year’s premiums. No medicines were covered and one of the problems was considered pre-existing (treated before) although the condition had been mis-diagnosed. I am now looking for coverage for 2 young dogs and a young cat and it won’t be with VPI or ASPCA. I am continuing my search today and will look to see what Trupanion offers.

  • Ann

    Forgot something. Last night I was on the Internet researching Pet Care and who do I get an email from today??? ASPCA, saying they were answering my inquiry for my cat. I never checked in with ASPCA! They must be monitoring other websites or their parent company is, as some of you said, Hartville Group. HOW SNEAKY!

  • Cyndi

    I was asking my vet about insurance. They told me that the best thing they can advise is to open a savings account and be regular with a set deposit amount each month (what you would pay for a premium or more if you can). Don’t ever use it for any thing else and if you have a catastrophic illness or injury the money will be there and you won’t have to argue with anyone about pre-existing conditions or anything else. I think that is what I’m going to do.

  • Victoria

    Cyndi,
    This is great advice for someone not planning any problems for the first several years. Unfortunately problems can occur early on and so one cannot plan for their pets this way –unless, of course one can afford to invest at least $3,500. the first year and then build from there.
    So I disagree with your vet, but only to some extent. I do think that saving the money oneself would be the best way to go, not for pre-existing problems, but because pet insurance—unlike people insurance— can drop someone the minute the pet becomes a bad risk (more like one’s car insurance). Although Pet Plan USA guaranteed me they wouldn’t drop my dog under any condition, I don’t trust that there isn’t a loop-hole somewhere, because pet insurance doesn’t REQUIRE they continue to insure a pet once it becomes high-risk. So for this reason alone, a savings plan of one’s own would be ideal. But in reality, even such a lousy insurance company as ASPCA Pet Health saved me money OVER my premiums that first year. It is true that I had to fight for almost every cent of it, but it was well worth it. My dog’s surgeries, meds, and physical therapy cost well over $6,000. that first year, and my dog was only 3yrs old. Had I saved my premiums since she was born I would never have saved nearly enough to cover those expenses—not even the 80% of them that the insurance company EVENTUALLY paid me.
    An exception would be those who have numerous pets. Obviously not all will become ill or injured at once, yet premiums on multiple pets are quite high. If you’re paying $100/mo. on pet insurance it wouldn’t take too long to invest a couple of thousand for an emergency. And if you’ve not quite banked that much and you did have a problem, your credit card would likely require not much over the $100/monthly for the difference. But it would have taken me over ten years to save up, in premiums, what the insurance company eventually paid me for my dog’s injury. So I really believe insurance is the way to go with a pet—but the RIGHT pet insurance. A person should not have to go through what I went through just to get them to pay on a claim. I’ll admit, I did not do my homework. I had merely assumed that if the ASPCA endorsed them they must be reliable—I’ve learned my lesson and hopefully this website will inform others not to be so gullible.
    Victoria

  • Frank

    I agree with Victoria. In the past year our 2 year old Lab has suffered a shoulder injury ($1000) a TPLO to her left hind knee ($3700), and yesterday underwent a second TPLO ($3700) to her right hind knee. I never would have been able to save this money. PetPlan USA was the best investment I could have made. It will be at least 10 years before they break even on my dog, assuming an annual premium of $450 a year.

  • Victoria

    Frank,
    Sorry to hear of your lab’s –and YOUR–bad luck! If you’d had ASPCA you would have greatly exceeded your annual incident limit, even IF they’d been willing to pay!
    How was Pet Plan at paying on all of these? When i first signed up with them they told me that they cover 80% of one’s normal vet bills, but only 70% of specialty care vet bills (such as TPLO surgeries). They also told me they were likely going to bring those up to 80% coverage, too, by the end of this year–have they yet?
    I’ve not yet filed a claim with Pet Plan. I’m hoping i’ve finally found a good pet insurance company.

  • Frank

    Victoria,

    The first incident (shoulder injury) was prior to getting coverage and was the one that cased me to get insurance. PetUA promptly paid 80% of the first TPLO… no hassle, no looking for a loophole so they wouldn’t have to pay. The second TPLO was last Monday and I haven’t submitted a claim yet. My yearly max is $8000 according to the policy I purchased, so I am expecting the same 80% coverage on the second TPLO. I am very happy with PetPlan. Good luck.

  • Victoria

    Frank,
    Please keep me posted on the second TPL0. ASPCA considered an ACL/CCL tear to be a “bi-lateral” condition thus making the other knee a pre-existing condition the next policy period. PetPlanUSA told me they would cover the 2nd knee after one year from the surgery of the first knee (because about 30% of dogs with ccl surgery end up tearing the other knee within one year since they baby that injured knee). I still worry about my dog, even though she’s bypassed that one year period, simply because she’s still pampering that knee. Because of my fight with ASPCA, she had to go through an inferior procedure first. She didn’t get the TPLO until 6months after tearing her CCL! So I’m still crossing my fingers this doesn’t happen again. It isn’t just the expense. As you well know, recovery from a TPLO takes 8-12 weeks of babying your pet BIG TIME! I live in the country and so generally don’t walk my dog. She has 5 acres within invisible fencing so i just open my door and let her out. Having to walk her 8-12 weeks of Wisconsin winter can be hell…brrrrr…I’d rather not have to go through it all again. Not to mention the ache from hearing her whimpering from the pain of the surgery and having to make her wait for her next pain pill. (AND ASPCA MADE HER GO THROUGH 2 PROCEDURES!)
    No, i feel for you Frank and wish you the best.
    Victoria

  • Victoria

    Hi everyone,
    I found a brochure in my vet’s office during my last visit. It may help out those who either choose not to get insurance or have found their insurance is not covering what they should be covering. It’s called Care Credit (http://www.carecredit.com/). I can’t tell if it is as great as it looks or not. Depending upon certain particulars, it may not charge any interest for up to 18mos. (from what I can tell), but then the minute you’re delinquent once—like a loan shark practically break your knee caps—they can destroy you by charging up to 29.99% interest! Still, if one needs the money and knows they won’t miss a payment…it appears to be interest-free for quite awhile. Read all the fine print first, though, cuz I’ve not yet.
    Victoria

  • Claire

    Renewal time for me with ASPCA in two months. So, even though I had realized that this was a plan that had so many exceptions and that I had not even enjoyed even the minimum recoup of costs. My tallying up totally surprised me. I have three dogs on advantage. Mostly healthy. I’ve spent $2,263 on premiums and $2,264 in vet costs claimed. I’ve received back from ASPCA a total of $471 !!!!! I’m going to have an investigation of my account and further review – I can’t think of anything we have done to have a claims denied to this extent. I had other problems to focus on this year, but now I am tuned in and ready to become their most annoying client.

  • Randy

    Victoria… I think I’ll pass on CareCredit. I’ve grown rather fond of my kneecaps over the years! LOL

  • Randy

    Trupanion….

    For those of you who might be considering Trupanion insurance for your pet, they have enhanced their customer web interface. When I originally took out the policy on our two cats, everything had to be done by calling the customer service number. That wasn’t all that bad because customer service there is very friendly and helpful, but I do prefer doing updates to my account online.

    Trupanion now offers this convenience. You can update pretty much all aspects of your account including pet medical history and payment method.

    You can also download a sample policy before you buy so you can compare it to the other companies.

    If you want to know which pet insurance policy is straight forward with no fine print or onerous requirements on the pet owner, I’d recommend comparing the Trupanion policy with any other pet insurance policy out there.

    I think you’ll come to your own conclusion pretty quickly. There is one honest company and then there are the others.

  • Trish

    Today I received postal mail from ASPCA pet insurance. My husband asked if maybe we should check into switching since we’d been noticing that our current provider (VPI) had been getting increasingly more expensive.

    After checking around online, and seeing some of the stories, I think we will be staying with VPI.

    They’ve had our business now through the lives of two of our previous cats and the one we currently still have.

    The first one was diagnosed with diabetes. Our first hint of it was when we woke up one morning and he was lying on the floor next to our bed unable to stand up. One week in the animal hospital adds up to a pretty good sized bill. By the time they got done carving up what they were willing to pay, I think I remember it being about 75% of the bill. Which wasn’t too bad. He had diabetes for about 1 1/2 years and died at the age of 14. Throughout, he was insured through VPI. They never once told me they were thinking about canceling the plan.

    The second one passed away last year in November. Prior to her passing, the tests that were done added up to around $1900. Total paid by VPI was $1400.

    There are some things that I wish VPI did better, but I certainly can’t fault a business for making money. And I always do have the option of opening up a savings account and tossing the money into that each month for an ‘animal welfare fund’ on my own. With VPI though… at least I don’t have to worry about them saying that renewing my plan each time causes a “pre-existing” condition. That sounds a bit shady to me.

    The shame is, I have such good admiration for the ASPCA that it is hard for me to believe that they would endorse insurance for animals that will leave owners holding extremely large bills for that they’re not expecting. If you have an insured animal one day, how can you reasonably expect that the next day it all of a sudden has a pre-existing condition under the same continuing insurance plan? The plan definately needs to be re-written.

  • Victoria

    I agree with you whole-heartedly regarding your thought that the ASPCA would NEVER endorse an insurance company that would CAUSE the cruel treatment of animals. At least that’s what I used to think, too. In fact, that is why I had switched from VPI to ASPCA about 1-1/2 yrs ago. My dog had been with VPI since I brought her home at 8weeks, and then I received a brochure in the mail from the ASPCA promoting their insurance. I had, in the past, donated to the ASPCA. I thought they were the good guys, so why wouldn’t they endorse one of the better insurance plans, right? Wrong! We were all duped by them. Even AFTER taking them to court and winning, I would have been MUCH better off with your 75% coverage from VPI. My dog went through so much because ASPCA Pet Health were such …creeps! (can’t use the word I’d like to use here) My dog is still limping and I will be setting up yet another appt. for yet another x-ray–these were likely caused because it took ASPCA 6 months to approve her surgery– and they will not be covered because ASPCA then dropped us for costing them too much. So now her knee is considered pre-existing, of course, by all other companies. Even had I been able to stay with ASPCA, I found out that it would have been considered the same even by them.
    No, after several letters and phone calls to the Pres. And CEO of the ASPCA, I no longer believe they were also duped by this insurance company. They have been told of this website and all of the problems we’ve experienced with the insurance company they’ve endorsed, and still they have not pulled their endorsement. I guess they like the financial kick-back too much to worry about the pets who have been harmed. Pets who live in loving homes and have owners who care enough to buy insurance for them don’t make for good television on their animal cop shows, either, I guess.
    Don’t donate to the ASPCA any longer—give to the Humane Societies.

  • Sirena

    CareCredit: I have used them before and this IS how it works or at least worked (since it has thankfully been 2 years since I needed to use it). I signed up at the vet and was approved with in minutes. I DID have free financing for several months based on my charges. I paid it off by the end of the the free period so no finance charges where paid.

    Things to know: 1) different dollars amount qualify for different time periods to repay finance free. Ask at the vet, they should have the latest “offers” or schedule. 2) IF you do not completely pay off your balance by the end of the free period they will RETROACTIVE all the finance charges. 3) only certain vets participate w/Care Credit. YOu don’t need a referral or pick a provider like human insurance. Know ahead of time who particiaptes so you don’t find yourself in an emergency only to be told the vet does not take care credit.

    If you have pet insurance I would think you could still use this as you have to pay the vet first. So now you can by yourself some time while waiting for your claim to be paid.

    If you DO NOT think you will be able to pay the care credit balance before the fees are tacted on, I believe you would be better off charging it to your credit card OR use one of the balance transfer checks for a low apr. Some co’s don’t like those checks so your credit card company many let you make it out to yourself/deposit it straight into your checking account.

  • Victoria

    Thanks for the info, Sirena. It’s nice to know that Care Credit will, at least, give one a period of time where he/she will be interest-free. But i agree that if one cannot pay it by that cut-off period Care Credit’s APR (22.98%-29.98%) is MUCH higher than that of most credit card companies.

  • sheri

    I happen to agree that the ASPCA pet Insurance is very poor. I recently purchased for my dog, she was running, began limping and they call it pre-existing. I will now switch to Pets’ Best….I understand that ASPCA farms this out to another company.
    Please go on their web site and let them know you are unhappy!!

  • Randy

    Sheri….

    I used to be on the ASPCA mailing list and I made donations to them in the PAST (but No More!).

    After I discovered their scam Pet Insurance plan, I patiently waited for their next mailing. I then printed copies of several of the very sad experiences people had with the ASPCA plan that exposed them as a FRAUD.

    I sent these copies back to ASPCA in their POSTAGE PAID ENVELOPE and demanded they forever remove me from their mailing list.

    It worked like a charm!

    I am FREE from the ASPCA donation solicitations. There are many other legitimate animal welfare groups that are deserving of my charity.

    ASPCA has lost the right to receive donations from me now that they’ve decided to resort to fraudulent tactics to sell pet insurance.

    Good Riddance ASPCA!!!

  • Victoria

    Sheri,
    The ASPCA doesn’t own ASPCA Pet Health insurance. They merely endorse the company and in so doing have lent their name to the insurance company, thus misdirecting many of us to a very bad pet insurance company–one that actually CAUSES cruelty to animals.
    Still, many of us have complained to the Pres. & CEO of ASPCA asking that they withdraw their endorsement and they refuse to do anything.
    No, ASPCA Pet Health is OWNED by the Hartville Group. I looked them up online and found this:
    “Hartville Group, Inc. (Hartville Group) is a holding company whose wholly owned subsidiaries include Hartville Re Ltd. (Hartville) and Petsmarketing Insurance.com Agency, Inc. (the Agency). Hartville is a reinsurance company [“Reinsurance” is the contract made between an insurance company and a third party to protect the insurance company from losses. The contract provides for the third party to pay for the loss sustained by the insurance company when the company makes a payment on the original contract] that is registered in the Cayman Islands, British West Indies. Hartville was formed to reinsure [re•in•sure
    To insure again, especially by transferring all or part of the risk in a contract to a new contract with another insurance company.] pet health insurance that is being marketed by the Agency. The Agency is primarily a marketing/administration company concentrating on the sale of its proprietary health insurance plans for domestic pets. Its business plan calls for introducing its product effectively and efficiently through a variety of distribution systems. The Company accepts applications, underwrites and issues policies. Visit http://www.hartvillegroup.com for more information.”
    [quoted from: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Hartville+Group,+Inc.,+Launches+’ASPCA+Pet+Health+Insurance’-a0154153025]
    And this was another:
    “Hartville Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in pet insurance business in the United States. The company sells and administers pet insurance, a niche insurance product designed to help cover the veterinary expenses of dogs and cats. It also reinsures pet health insurance. The company’s products are sold under the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, Petshealth Care Plan, and Hartville Pet Health Insurance brand names. Hartville Group is based in Canton, Ohio.”
    http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot.asp?ric=HVLL.PK

  • Kathy

    Run, don’t walk, away from anything to do with ASPCA Pet Insurance. They tell you over the phone what the plan offers and when it comes down to actually covering a claim, they come up with all kinds of reasons for denying claims. I was told initially that the only things not covered were genetic disorders, preexisting conditions and well care. My dog got a torn ACL and needed surgery (which costs $2810.00 not including x-rays). I was told when I signed up that all the diagnostic things would be covered for injuries, surgery and medication. Guess what!! ACL surgery and diagnostic things are not covered when they take place within the 12 month period after signing the plan (which only covers a 12 month period!!) If you sign again, then you are not covered either since that would be a preexisting condition. You can’t win this one. If you choose to cancel your membership, they will take off plenty of what it cost you and will deny you if you have filed one claim. The ASPCA Insurance Plan is worthless and I consider their phone analysis of what is covered absolutely false. They say one thing and when they get your money, the plan says another. This is a scheme to steal from the people land also a very dishonest organization. I would never recommend it to anyone. Look at all the customers who have been disappointed and lied to. Do not trust them; they are untrustworthy.

  • Victoria

    Kathy,
    Ask them for a copy of your recorded conversation when you signed up with the plan. If there is no mention of a 12month exclusion for ACL injuries (by the way, ASPCA keeps refering to it as an ACL injury, but dogs don’t even have ACLs. It is a CCL injury so technically they should mention that they have a 12month exclusion on CCL injuries!) If they have NOT mentioned it you have a case against them. File a complaint with your state’s Office of Commissioner of Insurance first. This may get their underwriters to pay up. If not, take them to Small Claims court.
    The same thing happened to me. They refused to pay for the same reason and so I put my dog through an inferior procedure since it was all that I could afford (the TPLO required $3,500. up front), even though my regular vet recommended the TPLO since I have a jumbo-breed dog. That first surgery did not hold and so my dog went through another procedure to remove the monofilament line, which had snapped. Finally after all of my complaints from my OCI, ASPCA agreed to pay for anything ACL-related for the remainder of my policy period (by then only a few months away). She had the TPLO—6 whole months after her injury, but by then I’d long past my incident limit, in addition she required vast amounts of physical therapy sessions due to her muscle atrophy in that leg…to get to the point…
    Since you’ve probably not exceeded your incident limit, you may not need to take them to court to get paid—file a complaint with your OCI first. But if you do need to take them to court…I won the case and you can, too, if they never mentioned anything about it in that initial conversation—ask them for the tape. They have to keep it and they should send it to you. (They just emailed it to me as an attachment. I had to go through the work of transcribing it for court.)
    DON’T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS. They think we won’t fight it, that they’ll make money because we’ll take it—don’t give in. Don’t let them win.

  • Kathy

    Thank you Victoria. I am calling in the morning to ask for the transcripts. What happened to me was that I applied over the phone and was denied due to the fact that they didn’t receive my dog’s medical transcripts. There was no mention in that initial conversation of the exclusion for CCL events. I applied again the following day for the same plan. (Plan 2). They are supposedly checking my phone conversation because in the first one I applied for, there is no mention of the exclusion. They are telling me that they may have informed me during the 2nd conversation, the day after I was initially denied. I am calling again in the morning and asking for the transcripts. No matter what, I am advising everyone not to even consider this group. They are crooked and not out to help pet owners at all; just out to line their pockets. My vet threw out all their pamphlets. He was disgusted after hearing too many stories about their policies and treatment of clients. I do so appreciate your response to me.

  • Victoria

    Kathy,
    Remember that your first line of attack, if there was indeed no mention, is to contact your state’s Office of Comissioner of Insurance. They are there to help fight injustice if possible.
    Good Luck!

  • Kathy

    Thank you for your advice. I was not sure exactly how to pursue this and I know that I am very disappointed in what has ended up being a very costy mistake for me. I talked with 3 people today about the ASPCA Pet Insurance and how I felt about them. If I can save one person from going through a bad experience, I am happy. I am hoping for a positive resolution to my experience but am not holding my breath. Thank you for sharing with me. You have been very helpful.

  • Linda Love

    I spent about $1,700 on my two cats’ Level 4 coverage for dental check-up, extractions, medications, and cleaning. What I got in the form of reimbursement is $120.00 for each cat. What a rip-off! I donated monthly, too. Well, I hope my cats don’t get ill anytime soon, because we are sooo canceling the fraudulent ASPCA insurance. I will never recommend them to anyone!

  • Trevor

    I thought I was covered, my dog had an emergency. I called the insurance company from the vet,explained the procedure and they verified (or at least agreed) it was in fact an “emergency”….then denied my $941.00 dollar claim.

  • Claire

    Here’s a tip: If your dog is limping over a period of a couple of weeks, is not improving, and is checked up by a vet via manipulations and finally x-ray…. the return on the claim for the visit and x-rays is not covered is because it is hereditary (elbow dysplasia) My argument is that for diagnosis purposes – how would one know it is dysplasia without further investigations…. I understand that this diagnosis is not covered for any “treatment” but, for a diagnosis? This is where fraud starts. Rubbish company. Final straw – it is comical how much comes back from them, in terms of the customary fees – where are these vets whose fees are being compared to! I’ve cancelled them all and won’t be taking out any animal insurance again.

  • Victoria

    Claire,
    Different breeds have different hereditary complaints. That’s why pet insurance companies ask you for the breed of your dog when you sign up. Were you told that elbow dysplasia would be excluded due to your dog’s breed? If they did…then yes, the diagnosis of that condition would be included in the exclusion. If not, you may wish to fight this exclusion.
    I would not lump all pet insurance companies in with this one, though, and I would never want to be without pet insurance. As it is, i worry constantly about my dog’s one leg that is no longer covered by anyone due to ASPCA’s crappy insurance coverage.
    Victoria
    Victoria

  • sheri

    Thank you Claire for your insight. I am arguing the claim on the fact that she injured herself while running. Regardless of whether there is an underlying problem, the symptoms happened from running. We found out that she is slightly arthritic, but we all have this problem with age. The policies clearly state that they will over injuries, and it is a fine line as to whether a dog injured a joint or it is hereditary. I am not going to give up . They play a waiting game, giving themselves 30 days. Everyone should file a complaint with their state insurance board!!!

  • Linda Love

    Again, I DO NOT RECOMMEND THE ASPCA PET INSURANCE TO ANYONE! FIND A REPUTABLE COMPANY!!!!

  • Victoria

    Good for you, Sheri! In my first conversation with ASPCA Pet Health–when i signed up with them–I was told that my dog would be covered for injuries in about a week and then in 30 days would be covered for illness. Never once did she mention an ACL/CCL exclusion. So, when 4months passed and my dog injuried her knee, i expected my insurance company to cover it. When my vet recommended a TPLO procedure (which he does not do) for my giant-breed dog, I called ASPCA to make sure they covered that particular procedure…only to find they would not cover ANY procedure! I fought it–first complaining to the state’s insurance commission and then taking them to small claims. I did win, but my dog is still limping on that leg (see above for all she went through) and now that leg is pre-existing with my new insurance company (ASPCA dropped us after the injury, saying basically that we’re costing them too much…though it would have been pre-existing even had we been able to stay with ASPCA, which i wouldn’t have wanted to do anyway).
    Bottom line: i still believe in pet insurance…just not THIS pet insurance!

  • Claire

    I’ve started to review one pet insurance company (Embrace) who, has a policy to cover hereditary conditions – as long as the condition wasn’t present before the policy started. So, for me with dogs that have documented problems, it won’t be useful, but, if I’m with another puppy in the future – I’m going to file this and review it again.

    Anyone with PetsBest?

    I’m also going to look into whether or not any of the vet schools (orthopedics) have programs where interns are supervised with surgery (I know this happens with plastic surgeon interns) If the surgery itself isn’t too delicate or complicated – might be a way to manage the expense a bit …. ahh, the reality is, is that if surgery is the only option – I’ll only go to a highly recommended one and pay, pay, pay.
    But my St. B, Boxer and Poodle are all worth it. Good luck all.

  • Claire

    Duh, just saw the Embrace banner at the top of the page…

  • sheri

    I have Pets Best for my cats and so far so good.

  • Dana

    I have had the ASPCA Pet Insurance for the past year. It paid a small amount for basic services. I think next time around I will just put that money in a savings account and take my chances. I don’t think it was worth the monthly fee. If you get your dog a micro chip they carry insurance coverage if your dog gets injured while lost for about $17 a year!

  • Victoria

    I just received notification of a posting I’d like to respond to, but when i clicked the hyperlink it isn’t posted here. Why would that be?
    Well, KK, If you can read this, I am responding to your, “Dogs do have an ACL… you can find surgery videos on youtube. What would make you think they didn’t?”
    What makes me think they don’t is that…they don’t. Dogs have the EQUIVALENT of a human’s ACL; however it is not called an ACL. It is called a cranial cruciate ligament, or CCL. Many people–including vets– just find it easier to call it an ACL, since that’s something more humans understand, and some documents (e.g. pet insurance documents) will use the ACL/CCL to cover the bases, but if you were a vet student and were to call it an ACL (or anterior cruciate ligament) on an anatomy exam…you would likely not get credit for it. This website will show you the anatomy of a dog’s knee-
    http://dogkneeinjury.com/anatomy-of-the-cranial-cruciate-ligament/
    Nowhere will you see anything marked ACL or Anterior …whatever. But this is only a technicality. Of course they have the very same ligament as humans, only it has a different name. I’d only mentioned it because insurance companies find EVERY which way to deny paying a claim and so if one’s exclusion were only on ACLs and dogs don’t even HAVE ACLs…well, why not do the same thing the insurance company would do: fight the wording of the contract.

  • Kevin

    ASPCA Pet insurance sucks. I pay my premium every year for three years, and now I have a claim (CCL tear in my lab) they have denied it for some very suspect reasons. They claim that the injury occured (and is thusly excluded) in a previous plan year (even though the dog was insured and the injury was covered in that plan year).
    In my opinion save your money, these guys are following the insurance mantra of “deny, deny, deny”.

  • Neal

    Watch out for their ‘MANIFESTATION CLAUSE.’

    It’s in everyone of their policies. Manifestation clause reads that each year, upon the anniversary date of the policy, any condition, treatment, symptoms, medications, surgery, etc., is specifically not covered as it is know considered a pre-existing condition.

  • Victoria

    Kevin, Neal,
    Not all pet insurance companies have this clause. So far ASPCA Pet Health is the only one i’ve found that does. All of us would have been better off with almost ANY other pet insurance company because of it, and yet ASPCA continues to endorse them–regardless of all the phone calls, emails, letters, etc. begging them to do otherwise.
    Still, any insurance company has the right to drop your pet the minute he/she has an expensive problem, so please do your homework to make sure you sign up with one that doesn’t make a practice of such things. Try to get it guaranteed if you can, when you sign up, and have it taped. Almost all companies tape their coversations (for training and developement…right). Use that tape to YOUR advantage rather than theirs.
    Vic

  • Angela

    I’ve been looking for reviews for Pet Plan USA and came across this website today. Interesting stuff!! I know i won’t be getting ASPCA insurance now! My giant breed dog may be needing a TPLO in the next 7-8 months. Her CCL is fraying in BOTH back knees. We have her activity limited and no slick floors to lay on anymore (although she loves nothing more than laying on laminate or slick floors for the coolness of it). I’m just trying to figure out if she now already has a ‘pre existing condition” since we know the CCL’s are tearing… anyone know?

  • Frank

    I have PetPlan USA and I am very pleased. My Lab had a CCL rupture about 6 months after I got a policy and a TPLO procedure was covered. They paid their 80% promptly, according to my policy. The recovery period was 3 months, and toward the end, she developed problems in the other CCL. We had the second TPLO, and they paid for it at the 80% rate. So I am very pleased and can recommend them without reservation.

    As for the policy, here is the “exclusion ” language in my policy… they will NOT pay for “Any treatment associated with the damage or rupture of cruciate ligaments, or defects of the patella during the first six (6) months that the policy is in effect. Except coverage is given if a certificate of health stating that your pet has been examined and does not have any pre-existing conditions relating to the cruciates or the patellas is provided by a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of the effective date of the policy.
    jj. If your pet has received treatment for a cruciate injury to one leg then the other leg will automatically be excluded for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of treatment. ”

    The second clause made me wonder if my Labs second TPLO would be covered, so I called them. They explained that that clause applies to pre-existing conditions. That is, if you had a TPLO in one leg, then got a policy, the second leg would be considered pre-existing for 12 months after the first were covered. In my case, since the first leg was covered, there was no question that the second leg would be covered.

    My advice would be to call them, explain the situation, and ask the questions. I have spoken to them on the phone several times and they are very knowledgeable. I am a customer for the life of my pet.

    My Lab just had her final checkup on her second knee yesterday and got a clean bill of health. The 6 month recovery on both knees was difficult on everyone, but today I got to see her run off-leash for the first time in close to nine months and it was worth it. Good luck.

  • Victoria

    Frank,
    Yes, I’m now with PetPlan. They offered the soonest coverage for my Leonberger’s other knee after her one TPLO. Unfortunately the previously injured knee is considered pre-existing (but then it would have been had I stayed with ASPCA, too).
    How on Earth did you manage a dog with TWO injured knees?! Oh my Lord! I can understand how you’d be so happy to now have a full recovery.
    Angela,
    If your dog’s CCL condition is documented with your vet, i’m not sure how you’d be able to get it covered. I think it would be considered pre-existing with all insurance companies, but it would be a good idea to call around. You might be able to find one that would cover you.
    Good luck
    Vic

  • Angela

    Thanks everyone! I my Newfoundland puppy is just 15 months old and dealing with this! I never in my wildest dreams thought we’d be dealing with this so soon and just didn’t realize how important pet insurance would be for us. I supose this is a lesson learned for the future!! Thank you for all of your help and I’ll be going with Pet Plan in the future!

  • SCJohnson

    I have somewhat scanned the above posts about various animal insurance companies. The only thing I can say is I would NEVER reinsure with VPI. They are such a rip off.

    They claim they pay 90% of claims. Ya, 90% of their arcane numbers for a specific procedure, i.e., if something actually costs $200.00, their figure may come in at $140.00. They pay 90% of that minus your deductible. That may not be so bad until you get into the big bucks situations.

    My last newfie boy had oral melanoma. His bills were roughly $5,000.00. I carried a cancer rider on him that would double his payouts. VPI paid $2600.00 for his therapies/meds, oncologists. I guess I just don’t understand their arithmetic.

  • Victoria

    Angela,
    We’ve heard some good reports on an insurance company called TruPanion, too. Check out both of them and see what would be best for you.

  • Victoria

    P.S. Angela,
    If you do need surgery for your newfie and her ccl condition is considered pre-existing by all the insurance companies, there is also something called Care Credit (www.carecredit.com). It offers interest-free credit for a limited period of time (sometimes up to 18mos. if the loan amt. is high enough). But be sure to make your payments on time otherwise they call in the full loan or charge quite high interest (though some credit card companies even started charging those amts., too).
    Just something else for you to look into if you need it.

  • Dorothy Marshall

    Do NOT buy ASPCA pet insurance. I have submitted bills in the hundreds and in thousands of dollars and received nothing to a pittance. NEVER, NEVER buy from this ripoff organization. I also went through them thinking that I like the ASPCA and that it would help other animals. I have been ripped off for a few years now. Searching for a worthwhile insurance company.

  • Linda

    It’s a shame the ASPCA’s name has been tarnished by an unscrupulous company. I believe in the ASPCA and wonder if they know their reputation as an upstanding organization protecting animal rights is being misrepresented by its supporters by a company motivated by greed. Too bad we haven’t organized together to file a class-action suit against it. …something to think about.

  • Victoria

    Linda,
    You probably haven’t had the time to go through all of these posts (I don’t even know how far back they still go), but many of us have written, emailed, and called the president and CEO of the ASPCA expressly to inform him of the practices of this insurance company. We thought he may not be away of them and wished to bring them to his attn. When it seemed he was/is aware and chose/chooses not to do anything about it we then begged him to withdraw the endorsement of the ASPCA, as this company gives his organization a bad name…still, either no answer or a form letter having little to do with our requests.
    So to answer your question, yes, the ASPCA is aware and they don’t care (I read somewhere they get a kickback from this insurance company), which is why most of us are no longer donors to their cause and choose instead to donate to the human societies and other animal-benefiting organizations.

  • Paula

    I switched from ASPCA last summer because of the problems with my claims. I’ve since gone to Trupanion, which was highly recommended by this group and the only one that would accept my 14 year old Persian.

    She just had surgery today to remove a cyst, so I’ll let you know how Trupanion handles the claim.

  • Victoria

    Haha…just re-read that last post…I meant “aware” rather than “away,” and “HUMANE” rather than “human.” hehe…human societies…

  • Paula

    I was considering switching from Pet’s Best, which I have had since my dog was a puppy (3 years+). I was going to switch because Pet’s Best has a per-incident deductible, and ASPCA was an annual deductible. My vet had even recommended it, but I don’t think she knows. Pet’s Best called me and we had a long talk, and they advised me about the pre-existing condition gimmick. In doing my online research, I discovered that this is indeed true, so I will stick with Pet’s Best. They have always been responsive and very service-oriented, and believe me, the peace of mind is worth it.

  • Paula

    I just realized I didn’t let you know the outcome of Praline’s recent surgery and Trupanion! It was fantastic!!! I am paying approximately $38 per month with NO deductible and a reimbursement of 90%. The surgery was $395 and Trupanion paid me $342. This was processed within a few days and I received my check within a week. This was amazing after all of the problems I had with APSCA. I will definitely stick with Trupanion.

    The only drawback and that I don’t have wellness care, but that isn’t the purpose of this insurance. In fact, I don’t even have wellness care myself!

  • Paula

    All that is said above from ASPCA is well and good, but that is just company talk from ASPCA. I think it’s very cruel to animals to offer and insurance company that keeps animals from getting the care they need. There are so many things that ASPCA did to me when I tried to get reimbursements that were not written in the policy. I support what ASPCA does for animals, but I will NEVER recommend this insurance policy to anyone!

    • andal

      What problems did do have with ASPCA?

      • Paula

        I’m sure you’ve read many of the other comments listed in this post. I paid my premiums and read my policy very carefully. I was told that there was not a “set” rate for procedures and that after I paid my deductible, ASPCA would reimburse me 80%. When my cat got sick last year and required two very expensive trips to the vet (over $800), I submitted my claim. It took forever to get a response from them. I called several times and was told they had not received information from my vet. I called my vet and was assured they sent the information every time it was requested. Finally, ASPCA settled and claimed that what I charged was above the “allowable” rates, but no one could give me where those rates came from. I only received about $200 out of the $800. IT appears this insurance company will do anything it can to avoid paying what is promised and it is a shame that ASPCA allows its name to be connected with it.

        I switched to Trupanion and have been very satisfied so far!

  • Yu-Li

    I decided to use ASPCA pet insurance because I thought I was helping a good cause and that they were more likely to be trustworthy than other pet insurance companies. Sad to say, I was wrong. I feel rather cheated.

    After being a policy holder for 1.5 years, I finally submitted my first claim for $315. I had a $100 deductible and so, according to the agreement, they would cover 80% of the remaining amount (i.e. $215). Boy, I was surprised when a few weeks later, a check for $32.59 arrived. Looking over the explanation of benefits, they said that all items listed exceeded the customary fee or reasonable costs for the area and that they would only cover what they thought was reasonable. For example, a thorough fecal test was done and I was billed $62.50 from my vet. ASPCA pet insurance allowed me to claim only $23 for that one item. I actually called 5 different vets within the same zip code and they all ranged within a $10-$15 difference of what I was charged. It almost seems like they are making these numbers up. Upon asking for an explanation on how these numbers were determined, I received none. Basically, if they say so. End of story.

    So I hear that pet insurance is great because people who cannot afford to pay for a large pet bill in the future will not have to put their pet down. However, at the rate of reimbursement from ASPCA pet insurance because of their ridiculously low ‘reasonable costs’, a person would still have to put their pet down anyway. I think you’re much better off putting the money into a savings account in case something terrible and expensive happens.

    I do NOT recommend ASCPA pet insurance. Just because they have “ASPCA” in their name doesn’t mean that they’re not out to scam you. It’s a shame that the brand “ASPCA” is now tainted in my mind. I used to donate on a monthly basis to them and will never give them a cent again. There are plenty of other organizations with the same/similar cause that I can donate to.

  • sheri

    Dear Yu-Li
    They say that you never really know how good your insurance is until you need to use it…a-men. Unfortunately, ASPCA willingly allows this company to use its’ name to sell a product. Guilt by association? No.. just guilty. They know what is happening and sanction it all in the name of profits!!! Any company that will advocate to saving animals on one hand, and misuses their power to injure on the other is deceitful. Sadly, the ASPCA is no more than a shell for profit!!! I will not support them ever. It would help the animals to support other organization which truly care for animal welfare.

  • Patty

    haven’t posted a comment in a very long time but just wanted to reassure folks that ASPCA is still up to their old tricks. I JUST received payment for a series of procedures one of my guys (Vizslas) had back in August of 2009. Payment was received in March 2010 only after challenging their original payment, requesting an internal review, then a “formal” review, multiple emails, letters, copies of 2 year worth of Rusti’s medical records, multiple calls to my vets office from the insurance company and a lot of “reminders” from me that they had not yet responded to the appeals. So 7 months of my time and the concerted efforts of my patient vet to get paid for what was rightfully covered in the first place. The tactic is one of stalling until the insured just cries uncle. This company is dispicable. I’ve written many letters to the ASPCA and have had replies from them reassuring me they were reviewing all my complaints and passing all the incidents along to their marketing folks. A lot of good that’s done. In my case I’m kind of trapped in this plan as both my dogs are too old to be insured anywhere else and so it’s a case of anyting is better than nothing. If I had it to do all over again I’d go with another company in a heartbeat. My advice is to just hang in there and fight for everything you can if you’re in the plan. If you can get out, do so, sooner than later.

  • Laura Alibrandi

    DO NOT get ASPCA Pet Insurance if you think they will, as stated, reimburse you for spaying or neutering your pet!!!! Under “Covered Expenses” for the plan I opted for, it says “Necessary surgical treatment for an illness or injury including costs to spay or neuter your pet”. The cost was about $400 for the neuter and related treatment. Know how much they reimbursed me? $60!!!! When I called, they said they go by a NATIONAL AVERAGE AND NOT WHAT IT COSTS YOU. Having called multiple vets in my area, no one charged less than what I was charged. So, after the $100 deductable, and THEIR assumption that I could have gotten it for less, we got a LOT LESS than we signed up for. Their rep was not at all surprised when I inquired what I needed to do to cancel them. I had heard that Pets Best was the way to go, and I am so sorry I didn’t listen.

  • Linda Love

    I’m so sorry we have or are going through this miscarriage of justice. I paid about $1,200 for my cats dental work and one cat had acne under his chin. Even though I purchased the highest level, Level 4, they only reimbursed me $260! I protested and filed an appeal and they considered even the pain medication and antibotics and illness. They even told me that the tests prior to and following the surgery was “done on another animal” and not mine.

    I quickly cancelled it and hope one day, someone here will commence with a class action suit against this insurance company. I fully supported the ASPCA for all of the work they’ve done, but someone has their hand in the cookie jar and are putting the ASPCA in a bad light for unwanted publicity.

    I’m still very angry. I will not recommend this insurance company to anyone.

  • Cathy Goff

    RUN! RUN! RUN! DON’T TRUST THEM!!!! THEY WILL GIVE YOYU ONE HECK OF A SALES PITCH, THEN SAY THEY CAN’T FIND THE RECORDED CONVERSATION!! DON’T TRUST THEM..NOT WITH YOUR BABY!!!! RUN, DON’T BUY, GO TO ANOTHER COMPANY!! THE OTHER COMPANIES ARE ALL BETTER THAN THIS ONE…PET-SMARTING IS HOW YOUR CHARGE WILL APPEAR…REMINDS ME OF LYING TELEMARKETERS!!!They do not disclose facts for coverage. They chaged my account on the 6th of Februsary but decised to change coverage to 2/15/2010 so that they would not cover. They also denied a claim on 3/18 for the reason of falling within 30 days OF A WAITING PERIOD THAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT WHEN ON THE PHONE BUT SAY IT’S IN FINE PRINT!! and after I pointed out it was longer than 30 days they changed to pre-existing. When I inially called no preesisting issues were discussed. They claim they cover meds but don’t expect the vet bill to write the prescriptions to be covered..even if it is a vet approval/prescibed needed medication. They claim it was preexisting but he didnt pre exist, he was a puppy!! I called 8 times and email 5 times and until I decided to deny charges, I never received a call. How can alleries be a pre-existing issue on a brand new puppy? If they cover Revelution, a prescribed med for fleas, heatworms, etc..than why wouldn’t they cover his 1st visit to the doctors as an annual exam. They say they cover meds, but don’t expect it…,.,$500.00 later and The best plan they offer at almost $80.00 a month and absolutly nothing execpt a little towards the $100.00 deductible was covered. RECORD YOUR CALL!!! GET IT IN WRITING!!!! READ THE FINE PRINT, THEY DON’T COVER ANYTHING. WHEN I QUESTIONED THE DENIAL REASON THEY ACTUALLY SAID “OH IT WAS CODED INCORRECTLY AND CODED IT WITH A CODE THAT I COULD NOT FIGHT!!!! DONT BUY ASPCA INSURANCE, GO WITH ONE OF THE OTHERS, THIS IS THE WORST ON THE MARKET AND THEY TELL YOU THEY PAY WHEN OTHERS DONT!!! IT IS A TRUE RIP OFF!!! RUN NOW!! DON’T LOOSE MONEY FIRST!!! POOR POOR POOR COVERAGE. I HAVE DONATED TO ASPCA FOR YEARS AND THOUGHT IT WAS A REPUTABLE NAME…BUT I WAS WRONG!!! THEY EVEN SAY DEWARMING, EVEN THOUGH ALL PUPPIES MUST HAVE MEDS FOR THIS, WORMS OR NOT, IT IS PRE-EXISTING!!!!

  • Barbara Niro

    I’m writing a follow-up to my previous posts regarding ASPCA’s pet Insurance.
    I’m still a supporter of the ASPCA but I don’t understand how they can allow this company to use their name!
    I’ve worked in the Insurance Industry as an agent for many years and then for 15+ years as an investigator and I understand that Insurance companies, like everyone else, are in business to make money. HOWEVER, the way this company handles their renewals and pre-existing conditions is ridiculous. Yes, companies need to avoid paying for pre-existing conditions, since it’s possible that people could sign up when they know they have a sick pet. This I understand. I believe that most insurance companies, except for ASPCA, consider pre-existing to be a condition prior to coverage, not from renewal to renewal.
    The first claim I submitted on my dog Abby, who is now deceased, was declined due to pre-existing conditions. I was 100% certain that the condition was NOT pre-existing and I fought it, I won and they reluctantly paid the claims.
    Last year, I took my other dog to the vet for back trouble. We hoped to avoid surgery so tried to treat with medication. It seemed to help but a couple of months later, it flared up again and he required back surgery. We are now into the renewal policy by a few weeks and they declined to pay, since it’s pre-existing. I knew they would do that, but didn’t want to put my dog through surgery if we didn’t have to because of his age. Had I gone for the surgery immediately, they would have covered the $4,000 + claim. In my opinion, and I’m not an attorney, if you are covered continuously from policy period to policy period, with NO GAPS in coverage, they should honor claims. What this company is doing is encouraging us to jump into surgeries right away and not consider any other treatment, which would be easier on the pet AND more cost effective.
    I would have left this company and gone to VPI, but my dog is too old now. VPI has an age limit for new policies. VPI is a great company and they were always fair with me. I had to cancel my coverage years ago when I moved to Canada for a few years, but I highly recommend them and would avoid ASPCA if at all possible.

  • Victoria

    Barbara,
    Thank you for your comment. It was great hearing from someone in the business. I agree with you with regard to ASPCA Pet Health’s pre-existing condition clause. When I fought my case I had them send me a transcript of my first–signing up–phone conversation. I wasn’t fighting this particular clause and yet was thrown off guard when I listened to the recording. (I had to transcribe it myself, but as an historian it was not difficult.) I shocked to find that I WAS informed of the pre-existing “clause,” but it was done in such a way that I, with the mind-set that “pre-existing” means PRIOR to signing up with their company, interpreted things said to reflect that definition. So I was startled that I, too, had been informed, but did not understand it to mean what THEY had meant. Since my case did not pertain to anything pre-existing, however, I also won my case.
    I encourage anyone who has been wronged to fight. This is why I’m for animal rights, and why I had donated to the ASPCA in the past. No longer. I do not understand how you can remain a supporter when you can see what they are doing to loved members of people’s families. This insurance company does not belong to the ASPCA, but they are endorsed by them, and their endorsement has been enough to get many of us to sign-on thinking that if it is endorsed by an organization whose reputation is for the protection of animals…then it MUST be a good insurance company for our precious family members. The ASPCA is not oblivious to what this company has been doing. Members of this website, alone, have brought this up to their president and CEO so often he must have felt harassed by us. We even left messages on his voice mail that directed him here to read these bulletins. This has been going on for over a year and yet…Pet Health Insurance is still endorsed by, and uses the name of, the ASPCA. I think it is about time you switched your support to the Humane Societies. Give to your local one if you’d like. Perhaps they could afford animal behaviorists such as those shown on ASPCA’s many television shows. I know that if local one had been able to afford one, I probably would have been able to adopt this precious shepherd mix I wanted…instead—simply because he had “food issues” (meaning he became angry when someone came near his food dish) he was put down. All I could think of was how I’d feel if I were taken from a comfortable life-style (a divorce, and subsequent move to an apt. that didn’t allow pets put him there) and placed in a prison. Perhaps I’d have food issues, too. If they’d been able to afford a behaviorist …maybe when I called to see whether he had passed the tests I’d not have been crushed to hear they put him down already. I was angry with them…but I understand that if they do not have the funds to work with an animal and keep him around until he has been made ready for adoption, they have few choices. I want them to have more choices. The ASPCA has shown me they do not really care about animals if they can turn their backs on such cruelty from their own endorsed insurance company—just for the monetary kick-back.
    You are absolutely right, Barbara. One should not have to jump right into surgery just because they cannot afford to wait while they try less invasive treatments…And this company does indeed encourage just that. Because of this company you have to pay out of pocket to prevent unnecessary cruelty to your pet; I have to pay for my dog’s continuing treatment (the pre-existing thing DOES pertain when one switches companies–ASPCA dropped us, pretty much claiming we cost them too much); many of the others on this website have to deal with paying for chronic conditions no longer covered by ASPCA and now considered pre-existing by any other company as well…and an organization claiming to prevent animal cruelty continues to ENDORSE it?! Nope, I no longer am a supporter.

    • Barbara Niro

      Hi Victoria,
      Would LOVE to chat with you! Thanks for your reply and you’re definitely giving me something to think about. I was lucky to be able to afford to pay for my dog’s surgery, but I hate to think of how many people think they are doing the right thing buying insurance for these type of emergencies and then have the rug pulled out from under them. I may be making some phone calls this week to find out more about ASPCA’s stand on the problems with this insurance…..

  • Amil

    A big thank you to everyone who dedicated their time to write about their experiences. We greatly appreciate your input, this will absolutely help us in deciding what company to go with.

  • Linda Love

    Well, I sent a letter to the CEO of the ASPCA in New York last week. I think we should initiate and file a class-action suit against this fraudulent company! I’ve appealed my case in which they denied 99% of my claim because my cats had to have teeth extractions. They even said the medication prescribed to them was for “another animal” and not my cats. What’s this? Perhaps if they were thrust in the news so the public is made aware of their practices, they’ll be shamed in the public eye and we can obtain proper reimbursement.

  • Matt Hohenstreet

    I shopped and shopped around trying to find a decent pet health insurance plan before I decided to buy Purinacare for my three Chihuahuas (age 8, 2 1/2, and 4mos). Regretfully after submitting a couple minor vet bills to Purinacare, I was discouraged that they don’t cover very much. I even bought the upgraded “preventative care” policies. I read that it covered dental, but – it doesn’t. I got denied on $109.84 for a cleaning that included the removal of one tooth. When I called their customer service, they told me it was denied because the tooth was a “pre-existing condition”. LOL I laughed! You’ve got to be kidding me? Guess the tooth was in existence previous to the vet removing it. I didn’t realize needing a tooth removed was a “condition”. Essentially, after having the policies less than 2 months – I can see that this will result in constant “issues” trying to fight with Purinacare on what they cover and what they won’t. Especially when they can hide behind the “pre-existing condition” denial for about anything they choose not to pay. Honestly – Put the money you are thinking about spending on a policy into a separate savings account at your local bank. That way when you have vet bills, you’ll have some money saved up & set aside for it. Don’t flush your money down the toilet by buying Purinacare. After the $250 deductible and $40 a month – to only get an 80% reimbursement amount for things they don’t decline/deny….. Definitely NOT worth the time, money, & frustrations.

    • Barbara Niro

      Matt,
      Have you looked into VPI? They’ve been around a long time and have a good reputation. I was with them for years until I moved to Canada for awhile. Would have gone back to them, but my dogs are too old. I think they have an age limit of 12. When I first signed up with them in the 90’s, there wasn’t much competition. In the first month or so, of coverage, my dog scratched his eye at the dog park. They were fantastic- no hassles. Paid 80% after deductible and I got the check right away. Highly recommend them.

  • Victoria

    Matt,
    three points: 1)If your insurance company paid 80% of anything it didn’t consider pre-existing prior to signing with them then it did better than ASPCA’s 80% of some fabricated amount they felt your vet SHOULD have charged. 2)YOUR insurance considered things pre-existing when they claimed they existed PRIOR to signing with them–ASPCA considers things pre-existing when they happen the previous policy period (all while covered by them). 3) If you suggest that a person place his/her premium money in a savings account rather than take out pet insurance you had better hope that nothing big happens to their pets the first years, as they wouldn’t have enough saved for much of any kind of surgery.
    My dog’s surgeries cost almost $6,000. all the first year with this insurance. It is true that I had to take them to court to get my 80%, as promised, but there is NO way that I’d have had enough saved had I merely put my premiums in the bank–especially not with the interest rates we get these days!
    I agree that many of these pet insurance companies are rip-offs, but then so are many car insurance companies. Does it mean we drive around sans car insurance? Nope, we do our homework and find a company that is good. In addition, our pets are not inanimate objects like cars–they are members of our families and so it is essential for us to cover them properly–all of us on this site are responsible pet owners who love and care for our pets or we wouldn’t be complaining about pet insurance companies.
    Don’t go without pet insurance–just go without BAD pet insurance.

  • Victoria

    Just a “heads up.” We have had some complaints on this site over VPI’s idea of “reasonable costs.” Trupanion has had the most good things said about it, but I didn’t know about them last year and signed up with PetPlan USA because i’d heard good things about them on other sites. Now I hesitate to switch to Trupanion since most insurances have 12month exclusions on so many things. I figure I’ll just stay with PetPlan. I’ve not had anything bad to say about them–they may be great–but i’ve not yet had to file a claim and so cannot say either way.
    No matter which you choose, you’ll still be better off than with ASPCA!

  • Cathy Goff

    Matt,

    Just don’t waste your money on ASPCA pet insurance. They claim to be handled by the Hartford Group. It is a shame that they are just not upfront with the coverage that they provide. I think this area should be as regulated as standard human health insurance. Just don’t want you to find out the hard way!!!!

  • Geri

    After reading all of the horror stories regarding ASPCA pet insurance I was apprehensive about my current claim. My dog ate a blanket (I don’t know why) and, after an extensive 5 day stay at the vet including a 3 hr surgery, I ended up with a $1431 bill. I submitted it to ASPCA 8 days ago. This morning I received an email from them authorizing a refund check of over $1025. Mind you, I did my ground work. First, I sent them the itemized statement from the vet and a copy of the bill. The next day I followed up with a phone call asking if there was any other information they might need. They requested a years medical records from the vet which I then faxed over to them. I made several phone calls to them over the past 8 days inquiring about the status of the bill and was told it was being expedited. The check will be going out today. I felt I needed to ‘put this out there’ because of all the bad press they’ve received on this website. I couldn’t be more pleased with their service and, I’d like to add, their phone reps were fantastic.

    • Barbara Niro

      Geri,
      I’m glad your dog is doing ok now. I don’t mean this to be sarcastic and certainly not to make fun of your dog’s experience, but my first thought was that “here’s one claim that they can’t deny for pre-existing condition”.
      So many of us have had such bad experiences with this company, it’s good to hear that you were treated fairly.
      I have non-renewed my policy with this company. I have been in contact with ASPCA’s marketing department and they were very receptive and are trying to correct the problems. It’s true that you can’t make everyone happy and there will always be claims that will be legitimately denied, but this company needs a lot of work. I have contacted the Dept of Insurance and will follow-up to see that someone does look into this company’s practices.

  • Paula

    Geri, so glad you had a positive experience with ASPCA, but unfortunately, you had to take the initiative to stay in constant contact with them. You shouldn’t have to do that to receive your benefits.

    I hope your dog is recuperating well.

    • Geri

      Hi Paula,

      She’s fine. Not eating any more “foreign objects”…so far. The thing is I didn’t HAVE to stay in constant contact – that is how I deal with things. I owned a business for many years and found that if you stay on top of issues, any issue, the results are usually much better. It works every time. Unless you’re dealing with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Then it doesn’t matter what you do – they will screw it up.

      • Paula

        Geri, I actually have more luck with Blue Cross Blue Shield than I did with ASPCA. I truly stayed on top of the situation (for over 6 weeks on a weekly basis). I would call to see what was needed and would contact my vet to send the same information yet again. In the end I only got about $125 out of $600 because of the “phantom” set charges for the area that no one will give you or post. I still say you were one of the very few who was treated right. I wish you the best. I am extremely satisfied with TruPanion, which is who I changed to after my situation last year. I had an email the next day, along with a phone call and I had a check within a week! Received 80% of my charges.

  • Laura

    Glad you had a good experience Geri. I, on the otherhand, have a claim with the Better Business Buerau. I have NEVER done anything like that before (and hope to never have to do this again), but what ASPCA Pet Insurance deems “reasonable” costs for any medical procedure such as neutering is SO off the mark, that it is not even worth the monthly charge. As always, buyer beware, and REALLY beware of what this company claims to offer.

    For anyone still thinking of using them, make SURE they tell you an acutal dollar figure BEFORE you have any procedure done, because afterwards, they get coy and claim that in your geographic area, the costs should have been unrealistically lower.

  • Linda Love

    Okay, I’m totally dumbfounded by this last post. I don’t know what “pull” YOU had with the ASPC Pet Insurance, and as far a the “bad press” on this website goes, WE WERE CHEATED!

    Maybe someone from the organization is reading this website and maybe someone read my letter to the CEO in NY about my being cheated out of my 80% reimbursement, but you are one in a million. How come I called, I sent my documentation in the same week of the surgeries for my cats’ tooth cleaning, extractions, and medication and out of $1,200.00, all I received was $240.00?

    Can you answer that since you are such an advocate of them and received “prompt” “expedited” service? Maybe YOU work for them or maybe this is just a junk email to put a spin on the damage this company has caused us.

    I don’t believe you received anything to be honest. The company stinks!

    • Geri

      Dear Linda,
      I assume that you really didn’t mean to call me a liar. The “I don’t believe you received anything to be honest” was a bit harsh, don’t you think? My original bill from the vet was for $1431. Of this, ASPCA paid out $1025. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I’ve had VPI for my other pets and, yes, sometimes you don’t get back what you think you should. My dog had three separate procedures – x-rays, endoscopy, and stomach surgery, not to mention antibiotics and IV’s, etc. Each items is a separate issue for insurance purposes. they cover X for surgery, X for x-rays, etc. Maybe this is why they covered so much. I don’t know. I don’t have any “pull” as you call it but I do know that they were helpful and polite. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience.

  • Cathy

    Geri,

    You comment is so bogus!! You have to be an employee!!! This would be the only way in the free world you could even get a claim processed in 8 days. You gave yourself away, since everyone who has dealt with this company knows you are even lucky for them to acknowledge receipt and let you know it is processing even within 14 days. You are really lucky to get an answer within 3-4 weeks. If you call the customer service line today they will advise you that they are working on claims from the 24th of May….Far more than 8 days. (Note: Then it is not even posted on the system until weeks after they handle it.) I hope you enjoy working for such a horrible company!!

    • Geri

      Dear Cathy.

      Seriously? A company shill? I’m a full time college student and have absolutely nothing to do with the company except to pay my premium on a monthly basis. Your vitriol is misdirected. Ever hear of ‘you catch more flies with honey?” try it, sometime. I posted on this website simply to tell MY experience with the company and so far in the last 48 hrs I’ve been called a liar and a company front. I don’t need this crap. No more comments, please. From now on, I will keep my opinions to myself and I ask that you all do the same.

  • sheri

    I cannot believe that they paid anyone in 8 days. They claim they need a minimum of 30 days and those 1st 30 they always tell you it in review. I switched to Pet’s’s Best, which I find to be excellent, and claims paid with 10 days to 2 weeks. By the way, if you switch by referral, you can get a discount. ASPCA cares nothing for the pets they insure, only their profits. Eight days?????? Really…….?

  • Geri

    Thia was copied and pasted from the ASPCA website. Some people have unrealistic expectations when it comes to insurance. Pet insurance is no different that people insurance. I had a sliver in my thumb. My doctor couldn’t remove it so she sent me to the urgent care. They wouldn’t do it (too deep). They wanted me to see a hand surgeon but I couldn’t afford him and he didn’t take my insurance, I went to my dermatologist. The total bill for this was over a thousand dollars and my insurance covered none of it because they said it was cosmetic not medical. This happens continually and pet insurance is no different.

    This was posted on their website last week:

    05/26/10 PG $1,431.60 $1,025.89 Complete

    Now, please, stop commenting on this. Move on.

  • Laura

    I have no idea who Geri is, but I do concur that it took 3 weeks to even get anyone to address my initial claim – and that WAS with following up by phone to see if they needed anything else, as well as using the “honey” approach. Geri – no matter if you are a college student or you are affiliated with ASPCA Pet Insurance – what you say you received is worlds different that what I or anyone here encountered – so it is by far the exception and not the standard operating procedure.

    For the record – I wouldn’t have cared if it took 3 months or more to get the money I was due according to their own policy if they really did pay. But, as we all know, the company baits and switches after any procedure is done, leaving its duped customers to resort to reporting them to the BBB, or venting on sites such as this in an effort to prevent the next unassuming victim from falling prey to unscrupulous busines tactics.

    IF you already have an ASPCA policy, o if you are thinking of purchasing a policy with them, get them to tell you what they deem “reasonable costs” for your geographic area before you have anything done. Trust me – you will be the next one on this board with a small refund and a huge complaint.

  • Linda Love

    What does a sliver in your finger have to do with pet insurance and when is sliver removal from a finger considered “cosmetic”? I don’t understand the relevance and I especially don’t understand your using that bogus example to justify your taunting your “expedited” claim here. We don’t have any reason to fabricate stories about a company we paid good money to, complied with their requirements, and then get duped just because they could.

    And for the record, I don’t know any physician (quack or blind, cripple, or crazy) who would call a splinter in a finger cosmetic.

    Geri, perhaps you’ve been watching too many House episodes.

  • Victoria

    Geri,
    I, too, stayed on top of things. I even contacted ASPCA prior to my dog’s surgery to make sure they would cover the procedure my vet recommended…only to find out they wouldn’t cover anything…until I took them to court! In the mean time my dog had to go through an inferior procedure (it was all I could afford)– only to have it fail– and then require the original procedure after all. It took my dog about eight months to get the proper treatment because of this insurance company, and it took me almost a YEAR after my dog’s injury to get paid.
    Yes, I , too, called. I appealed. I filed complaints with my state’s Office of Commissioner of Insurances. Finally I sued them…and THEN they paid me what they owed me. Maybe you had a better experience because yours wasn’t as costly? I have no idea why things were different with you, but you, my dear, are the anomaly.
    Victoria
    p.s. Laura, …as for asking them their definition of “reasonable costs”…I’ll add that they should get something specific from them. I got three different definitions from three different agents and NONE of them gave me anything direct—just a run-around. But when one is just signing on with this company, they lead us to believe that it is based on what the vets in one’s area charges. This is so untrue. They use some sort of benefit’s schedule. My vet charged what the local vet SCHOOL charges and yet ASPCA felt that was $1,000. too much…hmmm…by who’s standards?

  • Victoria

    Guys, guys, GUYS!
    Why are we all ganging up on poor Geri? This is a place for “REVIEWS.” So she had a good one. That’s fair. I’m sure there are a few of them out there.
    Now, Geri, I think the reason some of us may be a little peeved was the statement that, because you “did [your] groundwork,” everything went smoothly–implying that perhaps our problems were caused by not following the company’s procedures. So I would just like to clarify for all of us: we realize that insurance companies are in it for profit–ALL insurance companies–and that some claims will always be denied due to exclusions, et al, but the majority of us are here to complain about real issues that seem only to apply to ASPCA Pet Health, and we, too, did our “groundwork.” In fact, several of us did over and ABOVE the necessary groundwork…but to no avail.
    I’m glad your experience went well and your dog came through things well, but for your sake I hope your dog doesn’t eat anything else next policy period or it may be deemed “pre-existing.”
    Victoria

    • Geri

      Thanks, Victoria. I only meant to say that I did have a positive experience, that’s all. If anybody thought that I was implying that I did something better or different than they, I’m sorry for that. That was not my intention. I have 4 dogs, all have insurance. Three were with VPI but I left because of the crappy reimbursements I would get. I have a dog with cancer and I couldn’t switch him to another company because of the pre-existing issue, yet for his claims they cover almost all of the bill. ASPCA only covers one ‘foreign object’ a year so, yes, she’d better not eat anything but if she does it will come out of my own pocket. I get that. I had a puppy that contracted Parvo after being vaccinated fully for it – cost me $4000 and the insurance company covered almost all of it. My dog, Pete, has had countless mast cell tumor surgeries so I have a lot of experience with the good/bad about these policies. I’ve been dealing with pet insurance companies for over 7 years. I only wanted to say something nice about a company that I think did a good job for me – this time. Who’s to say they won’t screw me the next time…BUT all I’ve read on this site is bad things. I know there are other people out there that have had good experiences with these companies or they wouldn’t be in business. I just wanted to show another side. Now, please, everyone, stop bitching at me. It’s getting really old.

  • Laura

    … or that they deem “reasonable costs” for the vet is only $1.35 of your $3,500 bill.

  • Linda Love

    Victoria, no need to referee our responses. There is no “poor Geri”. She opened that can of worms with her gloatious (if that’s a word) comments comparing her rate of service to ours and implying we were the negligent ones instead of the ASPCA Pet Insurance Company.

    In my neck of the woods, there’s a saying “Don’t start none, won’t be none.”

    That said, I still retain my stance on this fraudulent company and hope someday we’ll prevail in our quest for legal redress.

  • Laura

    Well… the BBB could not help to resolve my complaint (read: they have encountered a brick wall on AQSPCA Pet Insurance’s end just like I did) and suggests I take legal action. Just what I needed – something more to do to make right the absolute BS I have encountered with this horrid company.

    FYI – here is what the BBB has for ASPCA Pet Insurance, aka PETSMARKETING INSURANCE.COM AGENCY INC:

    “BBB processed a total of 89 complaint(s) about this business in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total 89 complaints closed in the last 36 months, 18 were closed in the last 12 months.”

    Only 18 were closed in the last year??? And, closed doesn’t even mean they resolved them – it just means that the people complaining could have just given up.

    These complaints concerned:
    4 regarding Advertising Issues
    8 regarding Billing or Collection Issues
    11 regarding Contract Disputes
    6 regarding Customer Services Issues
    1 regarding Delivery Issues
    2 regarding Guarantee Or Warranty Issues
    2 regarding Product Issues
    7 regarding Refund Or Exchange Issues
    8 regarding Selling Practices
    40 regarding Service Issues

    Hmmm – just to compare, I checked out how many complaints that Pets Best Insurance had filed with the BBB – and it is SHOCKINGLY lower!

    “BBB processed a total of 25 complaint(s) about this business in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total 25 complaint(s) closed in the last 36 months, 11 were closed in the last 12 months.”

    These complaints concerned:
    3 regarding Billing or Collection Issues
    3 regarding Contract Disputes
    4 regarding Customer Services Issues
    2 regarding Guarantee Or Warranty Issues
    1 regarding Product Issues
    5 regarding Refund Or Exchange Issues
    3 regarding Selling Practices
    4 regarding Service Issues

    Call me crazy, but when you compare the 89 complaints about ASPCA Pet Insurance to only 25 about Pets Best, I think we all are kicking ourselves for ever having given ASPCA Pet Insurance our business and hard earned dollars.

    And, did you notice that they had 3 contract disputes as opposed to ASPCA’s 11? UGH!!!!!!!!!! WHY did I not see any of this before I picked them?????

  • Victoria

    C’mon Linda Love, let’s all be civil here.

    Laura, How does one find these BBB stats? The BBB was the one place I had not thought to complain, actually. I went straight to the OCI for my state, but neglected the BBB. Can you do a search on Pet Plan USA for me? That’s the one to which i’ve switched MY dog, but keep worrying that it will be another ASPCA in sheep’s clothing. It’s a bit pricey compared to many others and i was told one’s policy price increases 10% annually due to the aging of one’s pet. So by the time my dog is 10yrs. old, I’ll be paying about $1,000/yr. for her insurance.

    Geri, Can you give me more info on VPI? I’ve heard that they give exactly what they say they give in their benefits schedule and no more…but if that’s the case at least one knows in advance where they stand. Were there any “hidden” aspects to them? Their premiums are about a third the cost of Pet Plan’s, but if they’re really a crumby company then i guess it makes more sense to stay with the more expensive one.
    Thanks
    Victoria

  • Kristen

    I’m a silent reader of these posts, although I posted a year ago about a claim I was denied by Pets Health. I have had 4 pets insured with this company for over 10 years. Up until a year ago, I never had a problem, and always received close to fair reimbursements. Yes, it was the ‘reasonable’ costs that screwed me in the end. I have seen both sides of this company as of recently. Denied a $5k claim due to the new ‘pre-existing’ line in policy. On another dog, filed a $7k claim, and they reimbursed me almost 60% – I was beyond stunned. Although I’m still getting screwed as I cannot cancel my policies without paying a penalty until the annual renewal month rolls around.
    One is up this month and they are delaying an existing claim so I still cannot cancel yet. Crooked, crooked people. But I’m onto them, and call daily to get this resolved.
    Overall, I cannot wait to say goodbye to ASPCA. However, occasionally they do follow through. Unfortunately, it’s a full time job to babysit these people and get what you are legally entitled to. So sorry to those who have had such horrible experiences, but let’s not badger those who actually had a positive experience. I’ve been on both sides and still can’t wait to say good-bye.

  • Laura

    Wait – Kristen, what penalty is there to leave? Did you pay monthly or for a year up front? I just cancelled, and I hope that they did not charge me a cancellation fee!!!

    Victoria – This is what the BBB says about Pet Plan Usa:

    Petplan USA aka Fetch, Incorporated
    1 International Plaza Suite 140
    Philadelphia, PA 19113
    Number of complaints processed by the BBB
    in the last 36 months: 12
    in the last 12 months: 10
    Complaints Concerned:
    Selling Practices (3 complaints)
    Service Issues (3 complaints)
    Credit or Billing Disputes (1 complaints)
    Delivery Issues (1 complaints)
    Contract Disputes (3 complaints)
    Guarantee or Warranty Issues (1 complaints)

    Looks MUCH beter than ASPCA Pet Insurance.

  • Geri

    Hi Victoria,

    I’ve had good experiences and bad experiences with VPI. I stick with them because my dog has cancer and that is definitely considered ‘pre-existing.’

    I did talk to the ASPCA reps yesterday after I looked at the ‘detailed list’ of what they actually paid. I received 80% of allowed costs BUT my vet charges what they considered reasonable costs, differing by only $5-%10. I had gone to another vet for years and the prices were getting outrageous so I shopped around. I sent some friends to my new vet when their dog tore his ACL. Their original vet wanted to charge $2200, another $1600, my vet did it for $865. Lest you think my vet is some kind of old school, shoddy place, let me say it’s not. It well staffed with three vets (all experienced) and they do a huge business. It sometimes pays to shop around.
    As for you, Linda? Do me a favor – find something more constructive to do besides bitching at me. I’m sorry you had issues but, frankly, grown the hell up.
    And I’m done with this nonsense. I thought this was a “forum” for the exchange of ideas and experiences. I was wrong.
    Geri

  • Laura

    Ok – enough drama! Geri – thanks and good luck to you. If you continue to discuss how you are being attacked, you are only perpetuating the issue. And as for everyone else – Geri is not the reason we are here. If she legitimately had a positive experience, great – but it is the exception and not the apparent rule, so let’s move on!

    If anyone has anything CONSTRUCTIVE to say or advice to give in dealing with ASPCA Pet Insurance, please – let us hear from you. I just want to share ideas, and find a course of action for dealing with this bad situation, and to prevent anyone else from falling prey to ASPCA Pet Insurance’s poor and unscrupulous business practices.

  • Linda Love

    Geri, I did not cuss at you, so if there’s growing up to do, you should take your own advice. I was upset because you were gloating about your experience and seemed in disbelief that we were so negative towards the ASPCA Pet Insurance Company, even though there are numerous posts on this site, evidencing our frustration with this company, instead of you stating that your experience was “different” you said you said you felt you needed to “put that out there” because of all of all of the bad press on this site. Geri, in all honesty, did you really think we were making off of this up? I’m not the only one who had a bad experience with them. My hard earned money I paid for the Level 4 for two cats went ignored.

    As far any drama is concerned, I’m not here for drama and Laura, don’t appreciate your yelling.

    As for continuation of Geri’s experience with the company, it’s a closed matter as far as I’m concerned, but I offer no apology for my opinion.

  • Victoria

    Okay, now, Linda, I’m with Laura here. This has to stop and I don’t appreciate your trying to get in the last word. I know that I am not here to listen to someone complaining about someone else on this site. We are here to review ASPCA Pet Health. I highly doubt that Geri’s one comment will cause anyone to choose ASPCA. If anything, Linda, it may give this place more credibility since it shows we are allowing unbiased reviews here.
    If there isn’t a stop to this very adolescent bickering I’ll have to remove myself from this site and I’d rather not have to do that.
    Please, let’s just let this drop. From what I’m seeing Geri is legit and has every right to post her review here, and let’s hope that they don’t let her down in the future…or perhaps we can convince her that she’d be better off switching to a better insurance company while she’s ahead and before there are pre-existing conditions with her other dogs. This is the point of our being here—to keep others from having to face what we’re facing because of this company… and not to have these petty arguments amongst ourselves. We have to keep our eye on the prize.
    Victoria

  • julie

    I have been a policy holder for about 5 years. My dog had never had any problems, and the insurance company reimbursed for my yearly visit stuff. Before her last visit, she turned 7, and the vet suggested a senior check up which included a few tests like a blood test. She also has a history of being extremely sensitive to vaccines (vomiting and diarrhea for 2 weeks afterward) so I got titers done instead to show she didn’t even need the vaccs. Her eye was bright red, and the vet did a test on it and prescribed eye drops. I also got heartworm prevention, as I always do. My bill ended up being $442 (I just about fell over, her bill has never been more than about $80) and said “luckily I have the pet insurance”

    Well, a few weeks later I got my reimbursement….for $74. It seemed the only thing they covered was the yearly visit fee (like $40) and the heartworm prevention. I have the top tier insurance and have paid them a LOT of money. I definitely do not recommend ASPCA’s insurance.

  • Linda Love

    Julie, doesn’t that really insults your intelligence? I mean, you pay your premiums, expect the best care to coincide with the level of policy you buy, and then the ASPCA insurance company cheats you out of a proper reimbusement. I hope your dog is better.

    I’ve read a lot of people on this site recommend Trupanion. I told my vet not to recommend the ASPCA to anyone. I’m going to look into Trupanion. I just had a $421 vet bill w/o coverage last week, but I need to cover my pets.

    One thing I can say and that is I know I won’t see a reimbursement of my last vet bill, but at least no is ripping me off.

  • Victoria

    Steve,
    Odd…your post shows up in my email, but not here.
    Well, unfortunately this may post before yours, but to answer your question on small claims court: I live in Wisconsin. It was the circuit court of Rock County, case number 9SC2540. I’m not sure how that will help you, but there it is. I didn’t have a judge, but rather a Court Commissioner (who, by the way, was a real horse’s behind). The guy was very short with me and so I thought there would be no way he’d side with me on this. Whenever I tried explaining the “issue” he would cut me off and so now when I’m looking at the paperwork it is sort of ticking me off, as he had written: “She was forced to hire inferior (cheaper) vet because ins. said no coverage. $3500 limit. She accepted the $3500. She claims bad faith denial.”
    I did not go to an “inferior…vet” ever! My vet didn’t do the procedure he had recommended (TPLO), but when ASPCA said they wouldn’t cover ANY procedure, let alone the more expensive TPLO i was forced to have a cheaper PROCEDURE done– by my local vet That procedure didn’t hold so i needed to get the TPLO after all. “Bad faith” is important, though.
    But, Steve, this was another major point–I’d already filed a complaint with my state’s Office of Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). They were the ones to get ASPCA to pay on the claim. The problem was that when they finally agreed to pay it was 6 mos. later and I had already had to have SOME surgery for my dog. So when that one didn’t hold and I had to get the $3500. TPLO–and I only had a $3500/incident limit on my policy–i took them to court to get what exceeded that limit. I also ended up getting the full 80% they had told me I’d be getting, which they were denying by their idea of “reasonable costs.”
    ASPCA’s pre-existing condition clause HAS to be changed! I’m glad that you’re pursuing this.
    Steve, I had to cut this post in half due to its length…and it’s still too long. Do you have a generic email address you’d be willing to post here? If so I could mail you some things. But if not, google something like “_your state’s name_ guide to small claims court.” You should be able to find some info. that will be helpful.
    Good luck

    • Steve K

      Thanks for the info. The case number will help to establish a precedent.
      If you have more info to send, please use: email@mediapeopleintl.com and I will receive it. THANK YOU! Steve

    • Steve K

      Hello again. By any chance, do you have the “Citation” associated with your case? If you do, this will save our lawyers a ton of time in obtaining it. Thanks again, Steve

  • Linda Love

    I purpose a class-action suit against the ASPCA.

    • Steve K

      Have you started the legal procedures involved? If so, we would like to be included in the class action suit.

  • Linda Love

    I meant the ASPCA Pet Insurance company, that is. Not the ASPCA.

  • Victoria

    Linda,
    You find an atty who will handle the case and I’m sure we’d all join in. Keep in mind, the person who originally files a class action receives the most compensation from it. I actually discussed it with the atty with whom I’d spoken regarding my small claims stuff. She said she didn’t think her firm would approve of her taking it on. I don’t think it was that she didn’t think we’d have chance, though. She mentioned the fact that their office was handling some other class actions that year and she didn’t think they’d have the manpower for it.
    So, by all means…go for it. Keep in mind, though, filing a class action costs MUCH more money than small claims.
    Perhaps we could have several benefits–in many different states–to obtain the funds to pay for the thing and then we could ALL share, financially, in the win. =)
    Maybe THEN ASPCA would withdraw their endorsement, eh?

  • Linda Love

    I’ll start looking for pet activists attorneys. I’ll probably find one who represents the ASPCA/Humaine Society. If anyone finds a “mouthpiece” first, I’m on-board with that, too. I think we need some justice here. My cat has bladder problems and it just cost me over $400 to get him treated. I don’t have anymore insurance coverage because I’m so skeptical where pet insurance companies are concerned. I know, a lot of people here have had good experiences and not every company is out to take advantage of the pet owner. I’ll look into more coverage for my babies soon…and my wallet.