Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Review 2020: The Right Choice?

Having evaluated the best pet insurance policies for your cat or dog, it’s only fair that we review a major player in the US market.

And that is Healthy Paws.

Apart from some great features like no caps and fast payouts, we love the fact that a portion of their profits a donated to homeless pets.

But the real question- is Healthy Paws the best insurance option for your pet?

In this review, we’ll discuss everything you need to know before deciding if their policy is right for you?

About Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws is a company that cares about animals. They aren’t just in business to make money – they truly care about your pets. They are committed to providing an easy-to-understand pet insurance policy and incredible support as you navigate life as a pet parent.

Their staff are compassionate, connected, and constantly striving to improve their plans and their service to make it the best for pet parents today.

The Highlights

  • Offers pet insurance for cats and dogs
  • There aren’t any maximums annually or for your pet’s lifetime
  • The insurance covers accidents and illnesses including congenital illnesses, chronic illnesses, and cancer
  • Alternative therapies and medication may be covered
  • File claims online or on the Healthy Paws app for fast reimbursement
  • Offers deductibles starting at $100
  • Offers reimbursement levels up to 90%
  • Healthy Paws is committed to helping homeless pets by donating proceeds to local animal rescue facilities

Healthy Paws Coverage

Unlike other pet insurance companies, Healthy Paws has one simple plan.

You don’t have to make complicated decisions or wonder which option is right for your pet. The one plan is easy to understand, provides adequate coverage, and is affordable.

Healthy Paws insurance only covers unexpected accidents or illnesses. They don’t cover pre-existing conditions or wellness visits. What they do cover however is the following:

  • Diagnostic tests including x-rays and ultrasounds
  • Diagnostic treatment
  • Hospitalization and surgery
  • Emergency care
  • Cancer
  • Other chronic conditions including hereditary conditions
  • Congenital issues
  • Medication
  • Alternative or specialty care

The only decision you’ll need to make is the amount of the deductible and the percentage of reimbursement.

What’s Excluded?

Healthy Paws is upfront about what’s not included so that you aren’t met with an unpleasant surprise in the midst of an emergency.

In addition to pre-existing conditions and wellness exams, the exclusions include:

  • Bilateral cruciate ligament injuries: If your pet has a pre-existing cruciate ligament injury on one side, the other side may be excluded. For example, if your pet has a knee issue on his right knee that exists before you secure coverage or during the 15-day waiting period, the left knee will be excluded if the same issue occurs to that knee.
  • All preventative care – Preventative care includes immunizations and flea and tick test/medications
  • Parasite control – Internal and external parasite control is excluded
  • Dental treatment – Any preventative or ‘normal’ dental care isn’t covered. But, if your pet experiences an accident that causes a broken tooth, the treatment may be covered.
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Expression of anal glands
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Elective procedures
  • Boarding

Pre-Existing Conditions

Healthy Paws considers a pre-existing condition one that your dog or cat had before you secured insurance coverage or that occurs during the waiting period.

Insurance coverage is for future accidents and illnesses, not those that showed signs or were diagnosed before you bought coverage.

Ongoing symptoms

A pre-existing condition is one that has ongoing symptoms or issues that were prevalent before coverage started. It doesn’t include accidents, even those of the same nature.

For example, if your dog swallowed a sock and needed surgery before you secured insurance coverage and then did it again after you had insurance coverage, it wouldn’t be a pre-existing condition.

Previous illnesses

Any illnesses or symptoms that you sought veterinarian care prior to getting coverage, though, may be excluded.

If there weren’t any clinical signs or symptoms of the illness prior to getting coverage, including congenital defects, though, they may be covered.

Your pet’s exam and records must show that there was no prior knowledge or suspicion of the injury (cruciate ligaments) or illness (including congenital) before securing coverage in order to be excluded from the pre-existing conditions exclusion.

Healthy Paws Costs

As we stated above, Healthy Paws has one plan, but you can play with the deductible and reimbursement percentage to raise or lower your premiums.

Healthy Paws’ pet insurance premiums start at $15 per month for cats and $25 per month for dogs. Your exact premium depends on several factors including:

  • The type of cat or dog
  • Your pet’s age
  • Your location
  • Your pet’s health

Healthy Paws offers reimbursement levels of 70%, 80% or 90%. They also offer deductibles of either $100, $250, or $500.

Choosing a higher deductible and lower reimbursement percentage helps lower your premiums, but plan your coverage based on what you need.

Deductibles & Percentages

The deductible is the amount you must cover before Healthy Paws will cover their percentage. The reimbursement percentage represents the amount Healthy Paws will cover after your deductible.

For example, if you have a $2,000 bill and it’s for a covered accident or illness, you’ll pay your deductible first. Let’s say you have the $500 deductible.

You’d pay the first $500, plus your percentage; let’s say you have the 90% coverage plan. You’d pay $500 plus $150 (your 10% of the $1,500 remaining).

Submitting Claims

With Healthy Paws, you can use any veterinarian in the United States. You pay for the treatment in full and then submit your claim to Healthy Paws as follows:

  • Keep a copy of the vet bill
  • Complete the claim form online or via the Healthy Paws mobile app
  • If you prefer, you can email, fax, or mail your claim form in but online or via the mobile app is faster
  • Provide a copy of your pet’s medical records with your first claim

It’s important to file a claim even if the bill doesn’t exceed your deductible. Your deductible is figured on an annual basis.

Annual coverage

If you pay some of it at one visit, it will apply toward your annual deductible, decreasing what you must pay out of pocket later in the year, should you have other visits.

Healthy Pet considers your annual coverage term from the date you enroll. Your coverage term is the 12 months following that date.

Process time

Healthy Paws processes most claims within 10 days. After completion of your claim, they process reimbursement within 24 hours.

You can opt for a check or direct deposit reimbursement. Both options can take up to 10 days to receive depending on your financial institution, but most direct deposits are received within 48 hours.

Healthy Paws does pay veterinarians and hospitals directly in some cases. If you can’t pay the bill, contact Healthy Paws and their representatives will determine if the vet or hospital will accept direct payment from them.

This is only available during business hours of 7 AM – 4 PM (PST) Monday – Friday and 8 AM – 5 PM (PST) Saturday and Sunday.

Reimbursement Stories

Hugo the Cat

Hugo the Cat has had quite the year with severe back and nerve issues. Hugo needed back surgery or he would have been paralyzed.

To complicate matters, after back surgery, the vet determined that Hugo had congenital heart failure and glucose issues. Hugo went through a lot in one year, but his pet parents thankfully had Healthy Paws insurance.

The total cost of Hugo’s medical needs was $34,830. His parents had the $500 deductible with 90% coverage option, so Healthy Paws covered $30,847, leaving his parents with a debt of only $3,983.

If Hugo’s parents didn’t have Healthy Paws insurance, they could have been on the hook for the entire $34,830 in costs.

For most pet parents that’s out of their league, making it impossibly hard to care for their pet. With the insurance coverage, Hugo’s parents were able to save their cat’s life and give him the care he needed for a prosperous future.

Prince the Dog

Prince, a beautiful Pitbull terrier suffered from kidney disease that quickly came on out of nowhere. Prince needed immediate dialysis to save his life.

Prince’s treatment went on for an entire month. Prince contracted an infection that also needed treatment during this time.

He needed continual care at home even after leaving the hospital with continual meds and lots of TLC. Fortunately, Prince’s parents had Healthy Paws insurance coverage.

The total claims for Prince’s treatment were $56,533. Healthy Paws covered $50,630 of the bill, leaving his parents with only $5,903 to cover themselves.

Prince was saved by the fact that his parents had Healthy Paws insurance. Without it, they would have had to pay a whopping $56,533. That’s more than the cost of most cars!

Fortunately, Prince’s parents were forward-thinking and opted for credit insurance coverage to save Prince’s life before they even knew they would need it.

FAQ’s

Does Healthy Paws raise rates?

Healthy Paws does raise rates, but not based on the number of claims you file. They generally increase rates each year in an effort to keep up with the latest technological advances offered in veterinary care.

They want to ensure that you always have access to the best care with the best coverage.

Other reasons your rates may increase include:

  • Moving
  • Changing (adding or removing ) pets
  • Changing your plan options

What is Healthy Paws’ waiting period?

Healthy Paws has a 15-day waiting period. It starts at 12:01 AM on the day you enroll. After the 15-day waiting period, you can submit claims for illnesses or injuries.

If anything happens during that 15-day period, the costs will not be covered.

Does Healthy Paws cover blood work?

As long as the blood work is a part of the diagnostic tests for an injury or illness, they are covered. Preventative blood tests, such as those for heartworm aren’t covered.

Does Healthy Paws cover spaying?

No, Healthy Pets doesn’t cover spaying or neutering. It falls under the preventative care exclusions.

Does Healthy Paws cover euthanasia and burial?

Healthy Paws covers euthanasia when it’s medically necessary and falls under a condition they cover. They do not cover the cost of burial or other aftercare.

Does Healthy Paws cover hip dysplasia?

If your pet is less than six years old when you enroll in insurance and he/she doesn’t have any signs or symptoms of hip dysplasia within the first year of coverage (without gaps), Healthy Paws may cover the issue.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Healthy Paws has only an annual deductible, not a per-incident deductible
  • There aren’t any caps on payouts, including lifetime payouts
  • It’s easy to file a claim online quickly
  • There’s only one plan so there’s less confusion
  • You can use any licensed vet
  • Healthy Paws helps homeless pets by donating a portion of their proceeds to animal rescue organizations
  • Healthy Paws pays out 99% of claims within 2 days

Cons:

  • Wellness and preventative care isn’t covered
  • Exam fees aren’t covered
  • Your coverage may be limited if you enroll your pet for the first time and he/she is older than 6
  • Premiums will likely increase annually
  • You’ll pay a $25 set up fee upon enrollment

Should you Choose Healthy Paws?

Healthy Paws offers great coverage options for cats and dogs. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and they cover a wide range of accidents and illnesses.

Like most insurance companies, they have exclusions including pre-existing conditions and wellness exams, but their premiums are affordable and their reimbursement levels high.

As with any type of insurance, shop around to see which company offers the best product for your pet’s needs.

If you’re looking for coverage that includes wellness or preventative care, you’re better off with another policy, but if you strictly want coverage for unexpected occurrences, Healthy Paws offers credit coverage.

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