USAA Pet Insurance Review

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USAA

USAA

Investopedia’s Rating
4.3

Our Take

USAA members can qualify for a few discounts thanks to USAA’s partnership with pet insurance provider Embrace, which makes it an affordable option for pet insurance.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Helpful online tools

  • Solid discounts

  • Flexible pre-existing condition policy

Cons
  • No mandatory medical history review

  • Policies not administered by USAA

  • No coverage for prescription food or supplements

Key Takeaways
  • Annual coverage limits range from $5,000 to $30,000; unlike some companies, unlimited coverage is not available.
  • Policy rates can increase over time due to factors such as the pet getting older, increases in veterinary costs, and changes in overall trends in the pet population.
  • Behavioral therapy and training are covered if administered by a veterinarian for a covered condition.
Company Key Facts
  • Year Founded 1922
  • Kinds of Plans Accident-only, accident/illness, wellness add-on
  • Number of Plans 2
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly
  • Customer Service Email, chat, phone; (210)-531-USAA (8722)
  • Official Website usaa.com

Pros Explained

  • Helpful online tools: Through your MyEmbrace account you can manage your pet’s policy online using a computer or a smartphone. You can update your coverage, get emergency support, and submit claims easily. 
  • Solid discounts: USAA members qualify for a 15% discount off their pet insurance policy; those who insure multiple pets or are current or former active duty military can qualify for extra savings (10%) for a maximum discount of 25%.
  • Flexible pre-existing condition policy: Like all pet insurance providers, Embrace in partnership with USAA doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, but it does allow coverage for curable pre-existing conditions if your pet goes 12 months without symptoms.

Cons Explained

  • No mandatory medical history review: While a free medical review is optional and available to anyone, you do need to request it if you want to ensure your pet’s pre-existing conditions are properly noted.
  • Policies not administered by USAA: Some USAA members may be disappointed to find out that USAA doesn’t actually service its own pet insurance policies—instead, its partner Embrace manages the pet insurance policies. 
  • No coverage for prescription food or supplements: Specialized diets and supplements can be expensive, but unfortunately this policy doesn't cover them.

Introduction

USAA has a unique partnership with Embrace to offer its members a 15% discount on a pet insurance policy.

Company Overview

USAA was founded in 1922 when a group of 25 Army officers insured each other’s vehicles. That organization now serves millions throughout the military community. While USAA does not offer pet insurance directly, it has been working with Embrace since 2014 to get coverage (at a discount) for its members for their dogs and cats.

To qualify for a USAA membership, one must be a U.S. military member or veteran, a pre-commissioned officer, or the spouse or child of a military member. 

While Embrace was founded in 2003 (when Embrace won the 2003 Wharton Business Plan Competition), it issued its first policy in 2006. Through Embrace, USAA members (and non-members) can apply for pet insurance in all 50 U.S. states.

Available Plans

Through USAA’s partnership with Embrace, you can choose between an accident-only or an accident and illness plan. Dogs and cats over the age of 14 are not eligible for the accident and illness plan, but they can qualify for the accident-only policy.

If you enroll your pet in an accident and illness plan before the age of 14, they will still receive coverage as long as they remain insured, even after they turn 14.

Covered Treatment Accident-Only  Accident and Illness 
Virtual vet visit
Exam fees  ✓  ✓ 
Genetic conditions    ✓ 
Orthopedic conditions    ✓ 
Diagnostics/testing  ✓ 
Surgery  ✓  ✓ 
Rehabilitation/alternative care  ✓  ✓ 
Prescription medication  ✓  ✓ 
Prescription diets    ✓ 
Bloat, poisoning  ✓  ✓ 
Behavioral problems    ✓ 
Non-routine dental    ✓ 

Available Riders/Add-Ons

In addition to your base policy, you can choose to add preventative and wellness care through Embrace’s Wellness Rewards rider. This add-on includes coverage for:

  • Vaccinations and titers
  • Spay or neuter surgery
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm treatment
  • Microchipping
  • Routine blood work
  • Grooming and training

Coverage is available up to an annual allowance of your choice: $250, $450, or $650.

Waiting Periods

Most pet insurance policies require a waiting period before coverage kicks in. All new pet insurance policies through Embrace have a waiting period that begins the day the policy becomes effective.

You won’t receive coverage for the following events until their waiting periods are over. 

  • Accidents: 48 hours
  • Illnesses: 14 days
  • Orthopedic conditions: 6 months (an orthopedic exam and waiver process can reduce this to 14 days)

Cancellation Policy 

If you choose to cancel your policy within 30 days of the start date, you can receive a full refund as long as you weren’t reimbursed for any claims during that time period. Refund requests that occur after 30 days or within 30 days of a fulfilled claim may still qualify for a pro-rated refund.

To cancel your policy, you can call Embrace by phone at (800) 511-9172, or you can email your request.

Plan Exclusions

The following issues aren’t covered by Embrace’s policies that USAA members can qualify for. 

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Breeding, whelping, and pregnancy
  • Injury caused deliberately by any person or pet living in the home
  • Injury or illness resulting from fighting, racing, cruelty, or neglect
  • Cosmetic procedures (e.g. tail docking, ear cropping, or dew claw removal) unless medically necessary
  • DNA testing or cloning
  • Stem cell therapy not deemed medically necessary

Pre-Existing Conditions

Like virtually all pet insurance providers, Embrace doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. It considers pre-existing conditions to be:

  • Chronic conditions you or your veterinarian observe prior to the end of the waiting period
  • Illnesses or injuries that occur before the end of the waiting period
  • Other conditions you may have previously observed but that a veterinarian didn’t diagnose

There is a distinction made between curable pre-existing conditions such as ear infections and incurable pre-existing conditions like diabetes or allergies. If the issue is curable and the pet goes 12 months without symptoms, they can receive coverage moving forward.

Plan Pricing

You can receive coverage through USAA’s Embrace for as little as $1 a day. Your pet’s age, gender, breed, and where you live can all affect your premium price. You can get a quote online.

USAA members qualify for a 15% discount off their pet insurance policy, and those who insure multiple pets or are current or former active duty military can qualify for extra savings, for a maximum discount of 25%. 

You can choose your deductible and reimbursement amount, which can also affect the premium. Annual deductibles range from $200 to $1,000, and the reimbursement options are 70%, 80%, or 90%. If you don’t file any claims in a year, your annual deductible will drop by $50.

The annual coverage limit ranges from $5,000 to $30,000, but lifetime benefits are unlimited.

While anyone can purchase pet insurance directly through Embrace, some of the best discounts are only available to USAA members. Only current and former military members and their families are eligible for USAA membership. 

Claims

To file a claim, you will take the following steps. 

  1. After visiting a vet, ask for an itemized invoice: This invoice should include how much you paid for treatment and should note any discounts or taxes. 
  2. Complete the claim form: Fill out a claim form for your pet, including the diagnosis, date of the vet visit, and total invoice amount. Embrace emails you this form when you first enroll in a plan, but you can also download it directly from your MyEmbrace account.
  3. Submit and track claim: You can log in to your MyEmbrace account from the mobile app or website to submit and track your claim. You can also submit your claim by email, mail, or fax. If the adjuster who reviews your claim needs more information, they will contact you to request it. 
  4. Get reimbursed: After a claim is approved, Embrace will deposit the money directly into your bank account within two business days. If you prefer to be paid by check, you will need to wait up to 10 business days to receive one in the mail.

Customer Service

You can either contact USAA or Embrace, the insurance provider that they refer their customers to. Your best bet is to start with Embrace since it manages USAA customer policies. 

USAA:

  • Shortcut mobile number: #USAA (8722)
  • Main phone number: (210) 531-USAA (8722) or (800) 531-USAA (8722) 

Embrace:

Embrace’s customer support hours are Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET

Third-Party Ratings

Embrace (USAA’s partner, which provides pet insurance) doesn’t have any Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaints as of July 20, 2022.

The good news keeps on coming. When Investopedia asked current customers why they chose to renew their policy, they reported that they did so because…

  • “Because they met my needs very well.”
  • “Because their services are great.”

Alternative Choices

When shopping around for a pet insurance policy, there are a few important questions you’ll want to answer. Doing so will help you gain a better idea of which provider and policy are right for you. Ask yourself the following questions before choosing a pet insurance company to work with. 

  • What are their coverage limits?
  • Do they have various deductible options?
  • What are their reimbursement percentages and limits?
  • What treatments are covered and which ones are excluded?
  • Can you add wellness coverage?
  • Do they have any minimum or maximum cutoff ages?

Want to see your options? Browse our picks for the best pet insurance companies and plans available today.

Competition

  USAA Trusted Pals  Prudent Pet 
Annual Deductible Options $200–$1,000 $0, $100, $250, $500, $750 $100, $250, $500, $1,000 
Reimbursement Percentage  70%, 80%, 90%  70%, 80%, 90%, 100%  70%, 80%, 90%
Average Claim Turnaround Time  2–5 days 10 days  3–30 days 
Illness Waiting Period  14 days 14 days  14 days 
Injury Waiting Period  2 days 14 days 5 days 
Exam Coverage  Yes  Yes  Add-On 
Dental Illness Coverage  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Max Enrollment Age Limit  None None  None 
Final Verdict

If you’re a current or former military member and you’re hoping to save on pet insurance, you may find that USAA’s offerings can meet your needs for less than other pet insurance companies. Members qualify for discounts through USAA’s partnership with Embrace, so they can save and protect their pets at the same time. There’s a lot of flexibility with pricing here, as annual deductibles range from $200 to $1,000 and the reimbursement options are 70%, 80%, or 90%.

How We Review Pet Insurance Carriers

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of pet insurance companies. We rated 25 providers and collected over 2,000 data points, including information about plan options, company features, and fees and limits, to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions for their pet insurance needs.

Our full pet insurance methodology, including our data collection process and weighted data points, is available for review.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Consumer Complaint Database."