Pet Health Insurance
As everybody knows, sh*t happens to our dogs, we go to the vet and faint when we see the bill. Pet insurance plans can be very tricky to understand. There are many aspects that require careful consideration. I have created the following chart to help make the decision easier. I only included insurance programs that have superior reputations and offer excellent coverage. You will notice that I make my preferences clearly. My goal is to enable you to decide for yourself which company would serve you best so I included the top 5. Please note that Healthy Paws & Trupanion offer discounts when you enroll through my website. Those are my favorites respectively. My You can enroll through my website links to lock in your discount and then call the company afterwards if you have any questions or if you would like to make any changes.
What’s REALLY important to look for?
No Limits and No Caps on Reimbursement:
If there are no limits and no caps it means that there are no coverage limits per year or lifetime for costs. For example, I have friends who have spent a fortune of money on cancer treatments or for the treatment of other diseases. It is not uncommon for such treatments to cost $15k to $30k. Unlimited benefits means that they will continue to pay the claims regardless of the cost.
Embrace, Pets Best, and Pet Plan have limits and caps so once you reach those caps you are on your own. By the way, Pet Plan offers an automatic 5% discount when you sign up online. It is VERY easy to surpass those limits. Imagine insuring a dog during puppyhood. That plan needs to cover that dog for several years to come. If a dog has a chronic condition or a serious disease you need to be sure that the plan you choose will reimburse you from the beginning of his treatment and throughout the rest of his life. This is the most important thing to look at when you are choosing a policy. Trupanion and Healthy Paws have no caps and no limits. If your bill is $50k, they will cover it while the others will not.
You want your deductible to be as low as possible, but the lower the deductible, the more expensive the policy. At the same time you want a plan that is annual AND per condition. This means that if a condition develops after the policy is activated, the payment of the first treatment is going to go toward your deductible. Although the deductible is annual, this chronic condition will be covered without putting any additional money toward the deductible for the lifetime of the dog. This is how Trupanion and Pet Plan work so that you pay toward the deductible for that condition only one time during the dog’s lifetime. If it is an annual deductible only, then after each year of coverage you will need to put further costs toward your deductible each year. Although I like Healthy Paws because there are no limits and no caps, the deductible needs to be paid year after year for chronic conditions. If a dog has cancer,each year the deductible needs to go toward that. That means that there is less money going into your pocket.
Coverage for Alternative & Homeopathic Treatments:
I am a big fan of alternative and homeopathic treatments. If I can avoid the pharmaceutical industry I am a happy camper. It is important to contact the insurer to inquire further about the specifics of the coverage they offer in this category. Although Trupanion’s core policy includes some alternative & homeopathic treatments, in order to get more comprehensive coverage I decided to add an additional rider.
I strongly suggest that you visit the websites of the companies that you are interested in. After configuring your policy, you will be able to compare prices and coverage details.
|Wellness Office Visits & Routine Care||No||No|
|Office Visits to Examine & Diagnose||No||No|
|Dental Care||ONLY if the result of an accident||ONLY if the result of an accident|
|Hereditary & Genetic Conditions||Yes||Yes|
|Pre-Existing Conditions pre-policy||No||No|
|Prescriptions for Treating Illnesses||Yes||Yes|
|Holistic & Alternative Treatments||Yes (No Limit/Cap)||Yes Additional cost for better coverage no Limit/Cap|
|Boarding & Kennel Non-Medical Vacation||No||No|
|Enrollment Age Requirements||8 weeks – 14 years||8 weeks -13 years|
|Spay & Neuter||No||No|
|Cremation & Burial||No||Yes depends on plan|
|Deductible||Choose $100/ $250/$500 depends on plan||Choose $0/ 50 up to $1k in $50 increments depends on plan|
|Deductible Payment||Annual & per condition||per condition
|Limits & Caps on Reimbursements||None||None|
|Reimbursement||Choice of 65%/80%/90% depends on plan||90%|
|My Final Rating||3 stars||3 stars|
|Pets Best||Pet Plan||Embrace|
|Wellness Office Visits & Routine Care||Can be added additional cost||No||Can be added additional cost|
|Office Visits to Examine & Diagnose||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dental Care||ONLY if the result of an accident (cleanings additional cost)||ONLY if the result of an accident||ONLY if the result of an accident (cleanings additional cost)|
|Hereditary & Genetic Conditions||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pre-Existing Conditions pre-policy||No||No||No|
|Prescriptions for Treating Illnesses||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Holistic & Alternative Treatments||Yes Limit/Cap $350/$600/ $1k depends on plan||Yes Limit/Cap See Below||Yes Limit/Cap See Below|
|Boarding & Kennel Non-Medical Vacation||No|| Yes depends on plan
|Enrollment Age Requirements||7 weeks & up||6 weeks & up||Mixed Breeds under 8 years Pure Breeds under 6 years|
|Spay & Neuter||Yes depends on plan||No||Yes depends on plan|
|Cremation & Burial||Yes||No||No|
|Deductible||Choose $0/ $50/$100/ $200/$500/ $1k Can choose $50 increments. Lifetime limit: $100k/ $150k/$200k depends on plan||Choose $50/ $100/$200 depends on plan||Choose $100/ $200$/$300/ $500/$1k depends on plan|
|Deductible Payment||Annual||Annual & per condition||Annual
|Limits & Caps on Reimbursements||Annual $5K/$10K/$20KLifetime $100k/$150k/$200k depends on plan||Annual $10K/$14K/$22K depends on plan||Annual $5K/$10K/$15K depends on plan|
|Reimbursement||Choice of 70%/80%/90% depends on plan||Choice of 80%/90%/100% depends on plan||Choice of 70%/ 80%/90%/100% depends on plan|
|My Final Rating||2 stars||2 stars||2 stars|
|Pets Best||Pet Plan||Embrace|
My first choices are Healthy Paws and Trupanion because they have the most comprehensive coverage, no limts or caps and the manner in which the deductible is paid (see above description of deductible payment). I have Trupanion insurance policies to cover my dogs. Trupanion is a bit pricier than Healthy Paws. I have friends who have been very happy with Healthy Paws. I included Healthy Paws and Trupanion in my Favorite Products page.
Healthy Paws has one disadvantage which is the way the deductible works. If your dog has a chronic condition you need to pay off your deductible toward that condition year after year. If you have a high deductible the costs add up. Trupanion only requires to pay the deductible only one time toward a chronic condition. That means that you will only pay toward the deductible for a chronic condition only one time rather than paying year after year. Healthy Paws seems to have lower priced plans. I decided to include it in my Favorite Products page because they have excellent coverage.
*All information is up to date and accurate as of January 5, 2014. It is recommended that you go to the websites to select and configure your policy and confirm your coverage.