UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Pet Assure
Pet Assure was founded in 1995 in response to a claim denial from a traditional pet insurance company. The goal was to create a method of saving on veterinary services that did not require any sort of approvals, deductibles, or even claims.
The company operates out of Lakewood, NJ, and offers discounted veterinary services through participating providers across the country. The plan is only accepted at those veterinarians who are part of the network.
Pet Assure’s product is not an insurance policy and instead is a membership discount club. For a fee, it provides a discounted rate on all veterinary services as long as they are in-house.
Pet Assure Discount Program
Pet Assure is a flat-rate discount card that provides 25% off all veterinary services automatically, as long as the veterinary practice participates in the program.
What is Covered
Unlike traditional pet insurance, the plan has no exclusions and covers all in-house services including routine care, dental cleanings, and even pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, Pet Assure can be used in conjunction with traditional pet insurance, allowing the cardholder to receive 25% off and still submit a claim for covered services to their pet insurance provider. The 25% can be used towards non-covered services or the coinsurance amount not paid by the insurance company.
The only things not covered by the plan are non-medical services like grooming and boarding, and any services that are not in-house – such as blood work sent to an off-site lab.
Discounts with the card are taken automatically at the vet’s office. There is no reimbursement and no claim forms.
The Pet Assure card can be used for all types of pets, not just cats, and dogs. There is a family plan that will cover all pets in the household for one rate.
Pet Assure cardholders also receive discounts on pet food and products from affiliated companies.
Where it Can Be Used
This type of discount card is only useful if you can find a place to use it, so we took a look at the list of network veterinarians for California. There is a total of seventeen participating vets in the Los Angeles area, but only six in Los Angeles proper. Browsing through other cities, we found that in some cases the list for a particular city included practices up to 20 miles away. This distance is a bit of a stretch to consider a vet “in your area”.
We looked through a few other states as well, and we found participating vets even harder to locate. There is not one participating vet in the entire city of Minneapolis, for example, although there are two in twin city St. Paul, and a few in the metro area. The city of Portland, Oregon has three participating vets, with a few more in the metro area.
Pet Assure uses a flat rate system based on the zip code of the cardholder. There are two options for payment – annual and monthly. There is a discounted rate for paying annually.
We ran numbers for our usual California sample zip code in the Los Angeles area.
For a dog or other large animal, the annual flat rate is $99, which breaks down to $8.25 a month. Paying monthly, the rate is $11.95 a month. That makes the annual payment a significantly cheaper option, saving $44.40 a year.
For a cat or other small animal, the annual rate is $79. That breaks down to $6.58 a month. On the monthly payment plan, the cost is $9.95 a month, again a significant difference in cost.
There are also a couple of combined plan options.
The Family plan includes 2-4 animals for an annual rate of $149. Charged monthly, the higher rate is $16.95. The Unlimited plan covers any number of animals in the household for one rate. That was quoted as $199 if paid up front for the year, with a monthly rate of $21.95.
Since this plan is different from standard pet insurance, we are unable to compare these numbers to the cost of a traditional policy. The value here comes from how much you save; if you save more in discounts in a given year than you pay for the policy, it is worth the cost.
As noted, there are no claims of any kind involved in using Pet Assure. The discount of 25% is taken right up front when you pay your bill at the vet’s office.
Unlike pet insurance, Pet Assure has does not have restrictions on enrollment. Pets of any age, species, or size can be covered with the discount.
Enrollment can be done online or over the phone. Pet Assure does not have waiting periods, therefore the discount can be used immediately after enrollment. There is not a requirement for medical records or exams to obtain the discount.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Pet Assure has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where they have been accredited since 2016 and there are only two complaints on file in the past three years.
There are three reviews on Consumer Affairs, two of which are entirely negative, and one of which seems mixed. The reviewers complain that Pet Assure network vets are hard to find and that it is not worth the savings provided.
Yelp has three reviews, one positive and two negative. Again, complaints state in-network vets are hard to find or poor quality, and that the discount is not worth the money.
The company’s Facebook page has the most positive reviews. Six reviews have been left, and all are five-star reviews offering praise for the company’s services.
It is not surprising that there are far fewer reviews for Pet Assure than for most pet insurance companies. The vast majority of complaints against traditional insurance plans are to do with claims – and Pet Assure does not have claims.
We again are not surprised to see that customers struggled to find a good vet locally; it matches up to what we discovered in our quick provider search. It is important to check the list of network vets in your area before you sign up.
The Bottom Line
Pet Assure is the type of discount program that is only worth the expense if you use it frequently enough. For some people, the 25% savings will pay for the card quickly, and for othe,rs the savings may not make up for the cost of the card. The lack of available network vets is likely to be one of the biggest factors affecting the value of this discount card. For those who already see an in-network vet and have enough annual costs to make the annual fee worthwhile, Pet Assure might be a good plan.