(WHDH) — A local dog owner says she got quite a shock when her pup racked up a big vet bill and then her pet insurance claim was denied! She called 7 Investigates and Hank found how pet owners can fight for their funds.

Angela was so happy the day she got Layla – her French bulldog puppy.

She did everything she could to be a good owner even purchasing pet medical insurance. “She means the world to me,” Angela says.

Last fall the pup went to play in a puddle. “She ran into the puddle and basically face-planted in the puddle, inhaling dirty water,” Angela says.

Two days later Layla got sick. The vet said she had pneumonia. “I was so worried. I was crying,” Angela says.

But Angela didn’t worry about the hospital bill. Confident she was covered by the pet insurance, she put in a claim.

“You thought you were protected?” Hank asked.

“Correct,” Angela says.

But the company denied that claim. They said it was a pre-existing condition because Layla had respiratory infections in the past.

“I was shocked,” Angela says.

Angela thinks Layla got sick by inhaling the dirty puddle water.

But she was stuck with the $1300 bill.

“It was a nightmare,” Angela says.

Angela complained and complained but the insurance company wouldn’t budge!

“It was terrible,” Angela says.

So, she asked us for help.

We contacted the insurance company and after a lot of back and forth, they offered to send Angela’s claim to another vet for an independent review.

Angela had no idea that was even an option.

“Did they make it clear to you that you could appeal?” Hank asked.

“No, they did not,” Angela says.

The appeal process is supposed to be explained in every pet insurance policy, but we found nothing in Angela’s policy.

“People should know what their appeal rights are,” Angela says.

Her insurance company told us “members are informed of this option if and when there is a dispute.” But that information will now be included in newer policies.

As for Angela, the reviewer ruled in her favor and the bills were covered.

And Layla is feeling great. “It felt good because I fought, and I advocated for my puppy,” Angela says.

If you’re frustrated about a pet insurance claim that was denied you can also file a complaint with the state division of insurance.

If you live in Massachusetts click here to contact the MA Division of Insurance 

To find the agency that regulates insurance in your state, click here. 

If you have a story idea or tip email TellHank@whdh.com

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