Continuing our series from Is Pet Insurance Worth It? Part 2
In this post we want to look at three more Pet Insurers – Healthy Paws, Figo and Pets Best. Along with Trupanion (in our previous post), these insurers get high marks in their industry. We wanted to know if there is a big difference in price and if there are any “Gotchas!” In other words, are you going to get your money’s worth?
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance
Most big companies know how to promote themselves. Healthy Paws is no exception. But they do have features that can make your life easier when you sign up.
No complicated add-ons or benefit schedules. One plan. Four Paws. All Covered.™
So using our test pet Oliver’s data (6 year old male, American shorthair, cat) we asked for a quote – We received an email with a link to our quote page below.
Right off the bat you notice several important differences versus our Trupanion quote. Yes, it is markedly lower per month, but the Reimbursement is only 80% (not 90% like Trupanion) and the deductible is given as $250.
However, if we go back and adjust for no deductible (you can Customize Rate), what happens? You find out that you may get to pay a higher deductible for a lower rate, but there is no zero deductible plan. We didn’t do the 70% or 60% reimbursement options, as that obviously off-loads more of the cost for paying the bills to us.
With the higher deductible you can clearly see that the monthly payments go down for the Healthy Paws premiums.
Are there any other “Gotchas!” with Healthy Paws?
Healthy Paws’ single plan offers comprehensive coverage that makes it an attractive choice. There’s no limit to how much its plan will pay out each year, and it boasts a 15-day waiting period for injury and illness coverage. (Unlike Figo, it doesn’t cover exam fees.)
Its plan is underwritten by Chubb, a strong, global insurer, which is very good, but –
Is Hip Dysplasia In Your Dog’s Future?
But while it’s a solid choice, owners of large-breed dogs should be wary of a specific policy rule regarding
Healthy Paws has a 12-month waiting period for hip dysplasia coverage regardless of breed, and won’t cover it at all if your pet enrolls after age 6. That means to be covered, your pet must A) be younger than 6 when you buy the policy, and B) make it through an entire year of coverage without any symptoms. Since early onset typically shows signs at four months, and later onset is due to long-term wear and tear, these rules effectively exclude most cases of hip dysplasia.
How big a deal is this? While many cases of hip dysplasia can be treated with simple pain medication, severe cases require surgery priced between $1,000 and $7,000 per hip (depending on the recommended procedure).
Given the risk, it’s wise for owners of large dogs to go with a different insurer like Figo (which covers all hip dysplasia-related treatment after the standard 14-day waiting period) or Trupanion (same coverage, but with a 30-day waiting period).
Figo is a new company in the pet insurance market, having sold its first policy in 2015. That inexperience initially made us hesitate, but our concerns vanished when we learned its policies are underwritten by Markel Specialty, an A.M. Best A-rated company with more than 70 years in niche insurance markets.
As before, using our test pet Oliver’s data (6 year old male, American shorthair, cat) we asked for a quote and received an email with a link to our quote page below.
We were unimpressed at first. It popped up a higher rate at $41.79/mo ($501.48/yr) with 80% coverage and but a lower $200 deductible than did Healthy Paws $33.62/mo with a 80% coverage and a $250 deductible. Figo also has a $14,000 annual cap at 80% and Healthy Paws is unlimited. Figo still edges Healthy Paws here because the deductible is $50 lower.
But we decided to play with the policy customizer. You can move those sliders to 90% and 100% and you can change the deductible amount as well.
In choosing 90% + $200 deductible, the scale began to tip in Figo’s favor – as Healthy Paws does not have the 90% option. The Figo rate of $59.91/mo is also less than Trupanion’s $70.74/mo.
Wanting to see what would happen when we went all in, we scaled it to the max – 100% and the $200 deductible. We truly expected this to be over $100/mo – But were very impressed to see this –
A monthly payment of $70.85/mo ($850.20/yr) and unlimited annual benefits. This was clearly a winner for possible claims and reimbursements.
FIGO In a Nutshell:
Figo’s three tiers of coverage all include comprehensive medical protection. The main difference between them comes down to how much they’ll cover in a given year: $10,000, $14,000, or unlimited (though, the more coverage you have, the higher the premiums).
Are there any other “Gotchas!” with Figo?
Again, sort of. The list is short, but important to know –
- Pre-existing conditions
- Routine Wellness or Preventative Care
- Spaying and Neutering
- Dental cleanings
- Supplements and over-the-counter medication
Whichever plan you choose, Figo has perks that exceed the typical pet insurance on the market:
- It pays vet exam fees (generally around $50) when the exam is related to a covered accident or illness. This comes in handy if you need to make multiple visits for something like a broken leg.
- It reimburses claims within 30 days (as opposed to 60 for Trupanion).
- It waives the copay and deductible if your pet ever needs immediate, lifesaving treatment.
- It has some of the shortest waiting periods before coverage kicks in (five days for accidents, 14 for illnesses), and no additional exclusions for hip dysplasia (unlike Healthy Paws).
The fact that you can access records from the company’s mobile app also has the potential to make a real difference in an emergency.
Figo’s Pet Cloud can also geolocate your pet if it runs away, remind you when shots are due, and point out relevant landmarks like dog parks and pet stores based on your current location. On top of already great coverage, these extras impressed us even more.
Last in our comparison is Care Credit entry as an insurer, via their partnership with Pet’s Best Pet Health Insurance.
“Pets Best offers a wide variety of plan choices, so you can find the right option for your pet and your budget.
BestBenefit Accident and Illness Plans
The most popular and comprehensive coverage option. With multiple levels of coverage, BestBenefit Plans can be customized to meet the future medical needs of your four-legged family member. Prices vary by pet age, breed and location.
Accident Only Plans
As low as $6/month for cats and $9/month for dogs in most states. Designed for those on a limited budget who want great coverage for things like broken legs, snake bites, foreign body ingestion and more.
Optional Routine Care
Coverage to help pay for regular and expected veterinary visits. An EssentialWellness™ or BestWellness™ plan can be added to your BestBenefit plan, for an additional premium, to help cover things like teeth cleanings, vaccines or spays and neuters.”
Again using our test pet Oliver’s data (6 year old male, American shorthair, cat) we asked for a quote – We received an email with a link to our quote page below. Pet’s Best reimburses at 90%. Using a $250 deductible, the Plus plan is pretty reasonable, though Elite would be tempting for only $1.43 more and the inclusion of rehabilitation coverage.
With a higher $500 deductible, the rate is probably cheaper than coffee for the week.
This is their Plan chart, showing which plan includes what:
The What’s Covered Chart is straightforward –
In a Nutshell,
- Use any vet in the U.S. – including specialty and emergency clinics.
- Have Pets Best pay your vet directly, with optional Vet Direct Pay.†
- Fast claim processing and free direct deposit.
- Online or mobile App Claims Submission. Get the app.
- Top Customer Ratings.
- 24/7 Pet Helpline powered by whiskerDocs.
Are there any other “Gotchas!” with Pet’s Best?
Like the other insurers, there is a list of What’s Not Covered –
Coverage begins after a length of time known as a waiting period. The waiting period varies by the type of coverage following the start date of your policy. Waiting periods for this (Plus) plan are:
Accidents: 3 days
Illnesses: 14 days
Cruciate ligament conditions: 6 months
You can download a Sample Copy of their policy. This one is for Colorado. If you get your own quote, it will be for your state.
Wrapping It All Up
We’ve thrown a lot of numbers at you, so it may seem confusing at first. Our suggestion is to get your own quotes and do comparisons that are apples to apples for your own pet(s). Owning a pet can turn suddenly expensive if they have an unexpected trip to the veterinarian. Pet insurance has become a highly competitive business and each insurer has their own set of rules. Spending the time to look at your options, whether insurance or credit card, is much like buying a car – you want the best value for the money.
FCVC hopes that you have found our discussion on whether to be insured to be valuable. If you have questions about the cost of care for your pets, please let us know.