My Blog

Pet Health Insurance

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:

Healthy Paws

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.


 

Deductible Payment:

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.


 

My Suggestions:

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.


 Here are helpful comparison charts:
 

healthy paws_120x90

   Healthy Paws Trupanion
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 Annual & per condition
Limits & Caps on Reimbursements  None None
Reimbursement  Choice of 65%/80%/90% depends on plan 90%
Premium Increases Yes Yes
 My Final Rating  3 starsStar Cartoon smallerStar Cartoon smallerStar Cartoon smaller 3 starsStar Cartoon smallerStar Cartoon smallerStar Cartoon smaller
  healthy paws_120x90
 HealthyPaws Trupanion

  PB_120x60b pet_plan_logo Embrace Pet Insurance Rectangle Purple
  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
No
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
Premium Increases Yes Yes Yes
My Final Rating 2 starsStar Cartoon smallerStar Cartoon smaller 2 starsStar Cartoon smallerStar Cartoon smaller 2 starsStar Cartoon smallerStar Cartoon smaller
  PB_120x60b pet_plan_logo Embrace Pet Insurance Rectangle Purple
  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.


 

Aff Stmt


Embrace Pet Insurance, Healthy Paws, Pets Best, and Pet Plan

 

 

Tagged: ,

8 Comments

  1. Sonja Lessley

    We have Healthypaws for Shizzle and have been very happy with it. I got it for her when she was a puppy because she was putting everything in her mouth. In her first year, I had to take her in at least 3 times for emergency “consumptions” and a cold, plus follow up therapy treatment. After the $100 deductible, they paid 90% of everything minus the office visit fee.

    Luckily she hasn’t had an emergency so far this year (knock on wood) but it’s a relief to know we are locked into a plan in case something pops up.

    1. Janie

      Healthy Paws is my second favorite. It is exceptionally good. I just don’t like that you have to keep on using your deductible for chronic conditions. It’s ok if your deductible is really low, but your premium would be more expensive. With Trupanion, you can have a $500 deductible, pay it once for a chronic condition, then never have to pay toward that deductible for that condition again. The higher deductible keeps the premium down. I love the coverage that Healthy Paws offers and the fact that they have no caps or limits is also great.

  2. Randi

    I have trupanion and I have been VERY happy with it! I got it for my yorkie at 8 weeks old after my vet recommended it and gave me a free month trial of it… after that month i signed up for a $0 deductible at $55 a month. I did suspect anything would happy….. but then I took him to get neutered and they found a shunt in his liver…. This has required surgery… hospitalization with 24 hour care for a week, complications and medications. Over $12,000 later and my trupanion insurance has paid 90%!!!! It’s awesome because they pay 90% of his medications for life AND 50% of his prescription vet food. Trupanion has been the only good part of this situation! (let not even talk about the vets ans what a rip off it is and how you are treated…) but if it weren’t for trupanion, my sweet little boy wouldn’t be with me today!

    1. Janie

      Hi Randi-
      Yes!!! That’s why I strongly suggest Trupanion. Honestly, I ONLY encourage people to go that way. People don’t realize how important insurance is until you know what hits the fan. I advised someone to get health insurance for their dog. He got it, but then he dropped it. Now that the dog is older and there are issues, he doesn’t want to pay for insurance because it is more expensive for older dogs. Besides that, those conditions are all pre-existing now. I wish people would listen to me. I would NEVER recommend a product or a service unless I know for sure it is best. For your dog’s health issues, I STRONGLY suggest that you go to a holistic vet. If you read my article about dog food, you will understand wwhy the dog food that the vets prescribe are really not any good. Just look up “FDA” in the search bar on my website and go through those articles. If you go to a holistic vet, that doctor would take you off of what your vet gave you and you will be advised on supplements and a diet that will work. If I predict, I would not be surprised if your dog has kidney related issues. Just out of curiosity, am I right? Please let me know.

  3. Sarah Hadley

    Your Blog is very informative and helps us make decision easier. If the dog has a chronic condition you need to pay off your deductible toward that condition year after year and your blog gave such a wonderful information about this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Janie

      Maybe I am misunderstanding your point of view, but pet insurance IS just like human insurance. It is interesting that you mentioned “property” because in many states in the USA, pets are legally regarded as property. In other words, if a person hits your dog in a car accident, the courts (depending upon the state) will award the plaintiff the dollar cost of the dog. If the medical care exceeds the dollar amount that the dog cost in the first place, the plaintiff will only be reimbursed for the cost of the dog (possibly adding the cost of special training).

Leave a Reply to Randi Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *