USAA Pet Insurance Review

Customizable discount dog and cat pet insurance for military families

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USAA

 USAA

overall rating
4.1

Our Take 

USAA offers its members discounted, customizable accident and illness insurance for dogs and cats through Embrace Pet Insurance. An additional wellness rider and exemptions for some pre-existing conditions provide easy and affordable coverage for military families. Non-military families will want to look for a different policy.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Customizable insurance policies

  • Discounts stackable up to 25%

  • Generous wellness rider

  • Accident coverage available in 48 hours

Cons
  • Policies not administered by USAA

  • Only available to members of the military and their families

  • No option to bundle with other USAA policies

  • Senior pets limited to accident-only coverage

Key Takeaways
  • USAA offers discounted accident and illness insurance for cats and dogs.
  • Coverage available for some pre-existing conditions
  • Multi-pet, annual pay, and healthy pet discounts available
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1922
  • Deductible $200 to $1,000
  • Types of Services Available Accident-only insurance, accident and illness insurance
  • Additional Features Wellness rider
  • Official Website www.usaa.com/inet/wc/pet-insurance

For nearly 100 years, USAA has been helping military families with affordable banking, insurance, and investment solutions. By partnering with Embrace Pet Insurance, it is able to offer discounted accident and illness insurance to its members who own dogs or cats.

USAA makes it easy to customize a pet insurance plan to meet your budget and needs. Deductibles are as low as $200, and you can choose up to $30,000 in annual coverage and 90% reimbursement for your vet bills. USAA also offers discounts for multiple pets, paying annually, and for each year you don’t file a claim.  

We review USAA’s pet insurance coverage and exclusions, optional wellness rider, discounts, pricing, reviews, customer service, and more to help you see if it’s right for you.                         

Company Overview: Discounted Pet Insurance for Military Families

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) was founded in 1924 to provide discounted insurance, banking, and investing services to members of the military and their families. It has partnered with leading pet insurance provider Embrace to offer accident and insurance coverage for dogs and cats.

USAA lets you customize a pet insurance policy with a choice of five different deductibles and five different annual limits along with 70%, 80%, or 90% reimbursement. You can also add on a wellness rider that reimburses you for most routine and preventative pet services along with some that aren’t covered by other wellness plans.  

USAA typically gets high marks across the board for customer satisfaction. However, since its pet insurance is offered through Embrace, we looked at customer ratings and reviews for that company instead.

Embrace has mixed reviews, with some customers claiming that Embrace changed or didn’t sufficiently explain its plans’ exclusions. Conversely, others focus on how quickly Embrace handled claims as well as its fast and friendly customer service. 

Embrace’s pet insurance policies are underwritten by American Modern Insurance Group, which has an A- rating for financial stability from AM Best.            

Policies Available: Accident and Illness

USAA offers accident and illness or accident-only insurance through Embrace Pet Insurance. 

Accident and Illness

In order to get a pet insurance quote, you’ll need to log in to your account on the USAA website. Alternatively, you can go straight to Embrace’s site and use their online quote generator. 

You’ll begin by entering the basic information about your dog or cat, including breed and age, as well as your location. Embrace will recommend a coverage plan and show you what it will cost you every month. From there, you can adjust your annual limit, deductible, and reimbursement to create a custom policy to fit your budget.   

Your premium will be based on whether you’re insuring a cat or dog, how old your pet is, its gender and breed, and where you live. Once you’re approved, USAA won’t drop your pet for any reason. Your policy will also automatically renew each year for the life of your pet.  

USAA requires a waiting period of 48 hours before you can file a claim for an accident, which is shorter than the typical two-week period offered by other pet insurers. You will have to wait 14 days before filing a claim for an illness, however, and six months before submitting any claim related to an orthopedic condition for your dog. An orthopedic exam can shorten the waiting period to 14 days.      

Accident and Illness Coverage includes: 

  • Cancer treatment including chemotherapy
  • Chronic conditions (such as allergies)
  • Congenital conditions
  • Dental trauma
  • Exam fees
  • Genetic conditions (such as hip dysplasia)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Allergy testing
  • Alternative therapies (such as acupuncture)
  • CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, and ultrasounds
  • General, specialist, and emergency care
  • Hospitalization and surgery
  • Lab tests and biopsies
  • Physical therapy (such as hydrotherapy)

Accident-Only

Once your pet reaches 14 years of age, USAA will change your policy to accident-only coverage. The policy comes with a set annual coverage of $5,000, a $100 deductible, and reimbursement for 90% of medical fees.

Your senior pet can receive coverage for: 

  • Bloat
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Hit by car
  • Torn cruciate ligament
  • Poisoning
  • Cuts & lacerations
  • Prescription drugs for covered conditions

There is no coverage for illnesses with this plan. 

Other Add-Ons: Wellness Plan 

In addition to accident and illness insurance, USAA helps its members pay for preventative pet care through Embrace’s Wellness Rewards program. Similar to a flexible spending account (FSA), the wellness rider allows you to set money aside for routine pet health services.

Start by choosing your annual limit of $250, $450, or $650. Then divide that amount by 12 and that’s how much you’ll pay every month. For example, if you choose $450 of coverage, you’ll pay $37.50 each month. Embrace will then reimburse you for the following services up to your annual coverage limit:

  • Routine veterinary visits
  • Grooming
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm meds
  • Fecal and routine blood tests
  • Microchipping
  • Medicated shampoos
  • Spay/neuter surgery
  • Routine chiropractic care
  • Massage and acupuncture
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Prescription diet food
  • Training classes
  • Vaccinations
  • Toenail trimming
  • Anal gland expression
  • Pet activity monitors
  • Cremation or burial  

You can increase your wellness coverage anytime, but you will need to pay the difference between the two policies for all months you received the lower-level coverage. In other words, if you start a policy in July and upgrade it in December, you will need to pay the difference in cost for the five months you had the lesser coverage. 

Any money left in your account at the end of the year is non-refundable and won’t carry over to the next year. 

Unique Features: Prescription Coverage

Until recently, pet insurers typically didn’t cover prescription medications. USAA, however, offers reimbursement for both FDA-approved and Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia-included drugs prescribed for covered accidents and illnesses including:

  • Antibiotics
  • Allergy medication
  • Insulin and supplies
  • Eye and ear drops
  • Oral chemotherapy
  • Steroids
  • Pain relievers
  • Anxiety medication

USAA’s Wellness Rewards program also offers reimbursement for the following treatments and prescriptions related to preventative care:

  • Flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives
  • Prescription diet food
  • Ear cleaning drops
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Medicated shampoos    

Unique Features: Dental Coverage

Many pet insurance plans differ in the coverage they offer for dental care, whether preventative or as a result of an accident or illness. USAA includes coverage for dental accidents up to your policy limit and up to $1,000 coverage for dental illnesses per year. 

Dental Accident and Injury Coverage includes: 

  • Broken, chipped, and fractured teeth
  • Extractions
  • Gingivitis
  • Root canals and crowns
  • Stomatitis
  • Periodontal disease

Plan Exclusions: Incurable Pre-Existing Conditions 

Almost no pet insurance plan covers pre-existing conditions. Through Embrace, however, USAA offers some coverage for the following “curable” pre-existing conditions:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract/bladder infections
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disorders

USAA will only cover medically necessary treatments if your pet goes 12 months without having symptoms or needing treatment for these conditions.

There are some pre-existing conditions considered incurable and are not covered by USAA: 

  • Orthopedic conditions, illnesses, or injuries on the opposite side of a prior injury
  • Allergies
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Lipomas or skin lumps
  • Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
  • Urinary or bladder crystals or blockages
  • Other chronic conditions

In addition to certain pre-existing conditions, USAA will also not cover: 

  • Breeding, whelping, and pregnancy
  • Injury caused deliberately by you or any other person or pet residing in your home
  • Injury or illness resulting from fighting, racing, cruelty, or neglect
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • DNA testing or cloning
  • Stem cell therapy not deemed medically necessary
  • Avian flu

And if you choose an accident-only Insurance policy, the following are excluded: 

  • Illnesses
  • Breed-specific and genetic conditions
  • Congenital conditions
  • Chronic conditions
  • Cancer
  • Dental illness 

Be sure to review your exclusions carefully since you can only get a full refund of your policy in the first 30 days after enrollment.

Cost: Stackable Discounts and Customizable Plans 

By partnering with Embrace, USAA is able to offer a 15% discount to its members for accident-only, accident and illness, and wellness coverage. Embrace also offers a 10% discount if you cover two or more pets and a 10% discount if your employer offers Embrace Pet Insurance as a voluntary benefit. Most states allow you to stack up to a maximum of 25% in discounts.

Embrace will also reduce your annual deductible by $50 for every year without an accident or illness claim reimbursement. You can also save $12 by paying your premiums upfront for the year—and your $25 admin fee will be waived as well.  

The prices below are what we were quoted using Embrace’s online quote generator. Note these numbers do not include the 15% discount USAA offers to its members or any other discounts mentioned above. 

Accident and illness insurance for a mixed breed, medium-sized (31–50 lbs.), three-year-old, female dog with $15,000 coverage, a $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement came to $36.11 per month. Wellness Rewards added an extra $18.75 per month for $250 of coverage for a total of $54.86 per month.

Accident and illness protection for a domestic longhair, one-year-old, male cat with $15,000 coverage, a $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement came to $17.68 per month. Wellness Rewards added an extra $18.75 per month for $250 of wellness coverage for a total of $36.43 per month. 

Prices will vary based on the policy, reimbursement rate, and coverage you select, along with the age of your pet and whether you opt for the wellness coverage. 

Most states allow you to stack up to 25% worth of discounts for your USAA pet insurance policy, so take advantage of as many as you can.

Customer Service: Phone, Mail, Chat, and 24/7 Help Line

USAA handles all of its pet insurance claims and customer support through Embrace. You can file claims or make changes to your coverage using Embrace’s online portal or mobile app, or submit claims by email, fax, or mail. Accident and illness claims are typically resolved in 10 to 15 days, and Wellness Rewards claims within five business days. 

Embrace offers email or phone support Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET. You also get 24/7 access to a help hotline for pet emergencies and general pet health questions.

Competition: USAA vs. PetFirst 

We compared USAA to PetFirst, which also offers customizable accident and illness pet insurance policies for cats and dogs. Like USAA, PetFirst also offers an add-on wellness plan, but with coverage that is not as robust or clear.    

PetFirst’s wellness rider is fairly standard and does not include coverage for prescription food or dental services. It also only pays a set amount per service depending on the annual limit you choose, making it harder to calculate the savings you’ll get.

Since USAA is less expensive even before its member discount and provides more coverage, we recommend it over PetFirst. 

  USAA PetFirst
Animals Covered Dogs and cats Dogs and cats
Example Cost $42.77 to insure a two-year-old dog with 80% coverage, a $10,000 annual limit, and a $500 deductible, and $250 in wellness coverage $48.31 to insure a two-year-old medium-sized dog with 80% reimbursement, $10,000 annual coverage, a $500 deductible, and $250 in wellness coverage
Coverage Type Accident-only, accident and illness, wellness Accident and illness, wellness
Waiting Period Accidents: Two days
Illnesses: 14 days
Accidents: 24 hours
Illnesses: 14 days
Network Size Any licensed vet in the U.S. Any licensed vet in the U.S.
Discount Pet Insurance With Generous Coverage

By partnering with Embrace Pet Insurance, USAA offers its members generous accident and illness pet insurance and wellness coverage. Although Embrace offers its own discounts, USAA’s 15% discount for its members makes its pet insurance among the most affordable protection available.

We liked how easy Embrace makes it to build a plan for any need or budget. The additional wellness services, including dental and preventive prescriptions and accident coverage for senior pets, add an extra bit of peace of mind. We also like its flexibility with certain pre-existing conditions and 24/7 helpline.

We were a little disappointed that you can’t bundle USAA’s pet insurance with any of its other plans. The fact that there are multiple complaints about Embrace’s exclusions was also troubling, though we found the information provided on its website fairly clear and transparent.

Overall, USAA has chosen an excellent partner to provide pet insurance that is cost-effective even before USAA’s discounts, is easily customizable, and goes above and beyond its competitors in the coverage it offers.