The Wells Fargo Health Advantage credit card is not a type of pet insurance. Instead, the product provides pet owners with an alternative method of paying for their pet’s wellness and emergency care.
The card also offers a comprehensive range of financing options for other healthcare expenses, including dental, vision, and audiology. Customers can apply for the credit card through Wells Fargo’s website or at participating veterinary offices, which will process your application on-site.
Wells Fargo is an American company based in San Francisco, California, that was founded in 1852. The bank has branches throughout the U.S. and is ranked number 26 on the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of largest U.S. companies by revenue. It is the second-largest bank in the world by market capitalization and fourth-largest in the U.S by total assets.
Unlike pet insurance, the Wells Fargo Health Advantage card does not provide expense reimbursements or any actual coverage. The card can be used to pay for expenses incurred from pet care visits to the veterinarian, up to its approved limit.
Cardholders can make minimum payments to the card or issue extra payments each month instead of paying a monthly deductible for limited service offerings that vary according to the pet insurance company and plan one chooses.
Before you decide if pet insurance is a better option for you, consider the coverage, cost benefits, customer service, and claims process involved with at least three pet insurance companies.
Wells Fargo Health Advantage Card vs. Pet Insurance Coverage
Most pet insurance policies cover cats and dogs under a comprehensive medical and wellness plan. Some companies have customizable options that may raise or lower the policy’s monthly premiums and offer the following variations:
- Medical coverage for illnesses only
- Accident coverage only
- Accident coverage only, as an add-on to the medical coverage
Age: Pet insurance companies usually limit coverage to pets as young as six to eight weeks to those as old as ten to fourteen years. Some providers, such as Banfield Hospital and PetFirst, have no upper age limit for enrollment. Once your pet is enrolled, most insurers continue to cover them through the entirety of their life—with significantly higher premiums for older and sicker pets.
Veterinarian choices: Standard throughout the industry, pet insurance helps pay covered services from licensed veterinarians. With the Wells Fargo Health Advantage card, pet owners can obtain coverage through participating veterinarians. Therefore, eligibility depends on whether your vet offers the card, as well as on your credit rating and other factors.
Waiting period: Most pet insurance companies have a waiting period following the enrollment process and between visits. There may be different waiting periods for accidents versus illnesses. For example, AAA has a 15-day waiting period after enrolling, which is customary in the industry. However, many insurers waive their waiting periods if an accident occurs after your registration begins. When shopping around for pet insurance, be sure to understand how a pet insurance company handles this provision since the rules can vary widely.
Deductibles: Policyholders pay an annual or per visit out-of-pocket deductible based on the plan they choose. Some insurers let pet owners customize their deductible, which may range between $100 and $1,000, to lower their monthly premium. With the Wells Fargo Care Card, there is no deductible, as the full cost of the service is charged onto the card to be paid off according to its terms.
Preexisting Conditions Exclusion
Because it features no reimbursement benefits, the Wells Fargo Health Advantage card also doesn’t have any exclusions. This is unlike pet insurance companies, which universally exclude preexisting conditions. Preexisting conditions are those that your pet had before your coverage period starts. Pet insurance isn’t a great option if your cat or dog has already been diagnosed with an illness or if you are looking for coverage for any of the following services.
Pet insurance common exclusions:
- Dental health care, unless the injury is the result of an accident
- Parasite control
- Preexisting cruciate ligament injury
- Preventative care
- Preventive health care such as vaccinations, heartworm medication, flea control, nail trimming, deworming, and grooming
- Spaying and neutering
- Examination fees
Note that the aforementioned exclusions are just a sample taken from several top pet insurance policies. Each provider is unique, and the items a policy excludes will vary from company to company.
Wells Fargo Health Advantage Card vs. Pet Insurance Costs & Benefit Limits
In return for paying a monthly fee, pet insurance policyholders receive partial reimbursements—typically 70 to 90 percent—for covered services and treatment. The Wells Fargo credit card doesn’t provide any reimbursement for pet care service expenses. However, it also charges no monthly fee beyond the minimum payments due on your card balance.
Unlike regular credit cards, the Wells Fargo Health Advantage card has special terms and promotions. Cardholders are able to get their pets treated immediately and have the advantage of flexible monthly payments. The card also helps track your pet care costs separately from your other credit cards expenses. A revolving line of credit allows you to return to your vet for follow-up visits or extended care on an as-needed basis.
When you’re shopping around for the best pet insurance, consider the following components:
- Coverage types: The most common types of insurance are medical, wellness and accident, and accident only. Some companies, such as AAA, offer policies that combine these plans.
- Benefits limit: This refers to the lifetime benefit of your plan, and some insurers don’t have a cap.
- Deductibles and reimbursements: Deductibles represent the out-of-pocket amount you pay before insurance starts to pick up the cost. The range for the annual deductible varies widely, and lower deductibles equate to higher monthly premiums. The same concept applies to the level of reimbursement (which is typically between 70 to 90 percent), with higher premiums yielding higher reimbursement rates.
- Pricing: Premiums are usually paid monthly and vary based on your location and the age and breed of your cat or dog. Plans that allow you to customize your coverage are impacted by your choice of deductible and reimbursement percentage.
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the average monthly premium for combined accident and illness coverage in 2017 was $44.66 for dogs and $27.93 for cats. Pet owners with older animals, breeds prone to certain congenital conditions, or who choose higher reimbursement percentages and lower deductibles pay much more for coverage.
Three Reasons Standard Pet Insurance May Not Work for Your Pet
Pet insurance may not be suitable for every pet or pet owner.
Excluded treatments: The first thing you should keep in mind when shopping around for pet is that not all types of treatments are covered. Similarly, certain conditions may drive your premiums up to a point where it may not be worth to continue paying for the coverage.
Excluded routine care: Some insurers, like PetPlan, don’t cover routine care, such as teeth cleaning, in their plan options. Many policies are meant to cushion the blow of unexpected illness or injury. Other providers, such as Healthy Paws, don’t cover exam fees, or preventive care like spaying and neutering. A few providers, like the Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation, don’t include either veterinary exam fees nor preventive care.
Breed restrictions: When researching pet insurance options, avoid plans with breed restrictions, especially if you have a purebred dog or cat with known congenital risks.
Wells Fargo Health Advantage Card vs. Pet Insurance Claims Process & Customer Service
In addition to its medical coverage options, you should also look into a pet insurance company’s claims process. Try and find providers with exceptional customer service records. Wells Fargo Health Advantage cardholders can take advantage of the customer service department from a multinational financial institution that has over 150 years of experience resolving customer complaints.
Pet insurance companies vary vastly in their commitment to fast and efficient claims processing. Some don’t advertise a target resolution period. Others may state that they process claims within three to 90 days or longer after receiving the completed forms and documentation that is required. Wells Fargo offers customer support that is efficient, pleasant, and available seven days a week.
With Wells Fargo Health Advantage card, you don’t have to file a claim. You can use it as needed for eligible services and pay it off like you would any other credit card.
Pet insurance policyholders typically have several options available for filing a claim. The digital experience a company provides plays a big part in meeting its customers’ needs. Therefore, the most technologically savvy insurers let you file claims quickly online or through a mobile app. Some offer direct payments based on the veterinarian invoice. The top pet insurance companies may offer claims processing services via email, fax, online portal, or phone app. Wells Fargo Health Advantage cardholders can pay their bills online or by mail.
The BBB chronicles Wells Fargo’s abysmal record of thousands of complaints and alerts notifying consumers of the company’s fraudulent and unfair practices, and the company is not accredited by the BBB. About 500 reviews document the experiences of customers claiming that Wells Fargo was dishonest in various ways. The company is in the process of answering many of these complaints. Most major pet insurance companies have an A+ rating with the BBB and have responded to or resolved the handful of complaints filed against them. Of course, there are exceptions, and you should check out the online reviews of any provider you’re considering.
Wells Fargo Phone Number & Contact Information
To learn more about the Wells Fargo Health Advantage credit card, you can reach out to the company via phone or online.
- Homepage URL: https://retailservices.wellsfargo.com/wfha_veterinarians.html
- Company Phone: 1-877-805-7744
- Headquarters Address: 420 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA, 94163
- Year Founded: 1852
*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that “timely” information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.