When you have something of great financial or emotional worth, you want to protect it. For example, I have my autographed Wayne Gretzky rookie card encased in about an inch of clear plastic. (Yes, I’m Canadian.)
Of course, there are many items of value that can’t be placed in protective storage units. Homes, cars, children – none of these things are easily contained. For items of this nature, there’s insurance. If your dog falls into this category (and of course it does!), perhaps pet insurance is for you.
Here’s an in-depth look at Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.
Healthy Paws Company Overview
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance LLC is based in Bellevue, Washington. It was founded in 2009 by Steve Siadek, a former animal shelter director, and Rob Jackson, an insurance executive with a passion for pooches.
The company is partnered with Aon Corporation, a worldwide insurance broker, and also lists Aon as the parent company. Healthy Paws is underwritten by the Chubb Group, the largest casualty and property insurer in the world.
In addition to providing insurance, Healthy Paws contributes to animal welfare through its “Every Quote Gives Hope” program. For each insurance quote requested online, the company makes a donation to animal shelters across the United States. Shelters and rescue groups can apply for a $500 grant to help fund their activities.
At present, Healthy Paws only offers coverage to residents of the United States.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Plan Options
Healthy Paws offers just one comprehensive plan for dogs and puppies. (They also offer cat and kitten insurance, just in case you happen to be a cat person as well.)
Overview of their Most Comprehensive and Popular Plan
Seeing as how there is only one plan, here’s what you need to know about it:
Average Monthly Cost / Cost Range
- Price varies by breed, size, age and home state – For a 4-year-old Golden, assuming 80% coverage with $250 deductible (the most popular combination), you’ll pay $49.06/month. The same coverage for a 6-year-old Retriever is $77.49 monthly. Puppies pay less, and older dogs pay more. (Note: I chose the zip code 90210 for my quote, so these figures apply in California. Other states may differ slightly.)
- Discounts are available for many alumni groups, associations, military personnel, etc.
- Healthy Paws suggests the average owner will pay between $25-$45 per month in premiums.
Summary of Coverage
- Hereditary Conditions
- Congenital Conditions
- Chronic Conditions
- Diagnostic treatment
- Blood tests
- Emergency care
- Specialty care
- Alternative treatment
- Extractions of damaged teeth and reconstruction of upper and lower canine teeth when due to accident
- Pre-existing conditions
- Preventative/routine care (often called “wellness” care)
- Conditions preventable by vaccines and medications or general care (e.g. lice, heartworm, fleas, etc.)
- Elective/cosmetic procedures Injuries due to abuse/neglect
- Behavioral therapy
- Dental health care
- Hip dysplasia and related conditions during first year of policy
- Special diets, vitamins or supplements
- Work injuries or illnesses
- Hip dysplasia and related conditions if dog is 6 or older at time of enrollment
- Conditions occurring as a result of war or war-like activities
- Conditions occurring as a result of a nuclear incident Experimental medicine or treatment
- Bilateral conditions (cruciate ligament only)
- Anal gland expression
- Vet/exam fees
None. Unlimited claims are covered for the life of the dog.
Waiting Period For Payouts
Policy goes into effect 12:01 a.m. on the day after enrollment. No accident or illness claims can be made during the first 15 days. 12 month waiting period for hip dysplasia claims.
Choose from $100, $250, $500, or $750 deductible, depending on the age of the dog.
Spay / Neuter Requirements and Limitations
Procedure is not covered. Whether or not your dog has undergone one of these procedures does not impact eligibility or premiums.
Available Options / Add-on packages
Choose from 60, 70, 80, or 90% coverage, depending on the age of the dog.
- Minimum age: 8 weeks.
- Maximum age: 14 years at time of enrollment. Once enrolled, coverage is good for the duration of the dog’s life.
- Working dogs: Working dogs are eligible, but conditions sustained while working are not covered.
- Pre-existing conditions: Pre-existing conditions will not preclude coverage, but are not covered.
- Veterinary exam: Dogs under 6 years must have been examined within the past 12 months. Dogs 6 years and over must have been examined within the past 30 days.
This comprehensive policy offers unlimited coverage for the life of the dog. There is no limit on the number of claims nor a cap on payments. Once the annual deductible has been met, payouts will increase in value. The deductible can be altered at any time.
Reimbursement is based on the actual amount charged by the veterinarian or animal hospital. You are free to choose any vet or hospital you like, including emergency facilities and specialists. Typically, the plan reimburses payments made upfront. However, pre-payment can be arranged for especially expensive claims.
A claim can be made by email, mail, fax, online, or via a mobile app. Processing time is estimated at 7-10 days for the first claim. After the first claim, processing time generally decreases, sometimes to as little as 24 hours. Many customers will be pleased by the lack of lengthy forms to fill out.
What sets Healthy Paws insurance apart from other insurers?
- Unlike most other insurance companies, Healthy Paws offers unlimited coverage for the lifetime of the dog.
- Annual re-enrollment is automatic, so you don’t need to worry about coverage lapses, so long as monthly premiums are paid.
- Annual deductible instead of per-incident.
- Ability to file a claim by taking a picture with a cellphone using a proprietary app.
Summary of Healthy Paws Pros and Cons
- Unlimited coverage
- Comprehensive plan
- Covers congenital/hereditary conditions
- Customer service seems proficient
- Solid underwriter
- Variety of coverage/deductible options to suit different budgets
- Discounts available
- Coverage offered in all 50 states and D.C.
- Coverage good if traveling in Canada, Mexico, or out-of-state
- 30-day money back guarantee
- No coverage for dogs who suffer an injury or illness caused by work
- Only one plan available
- Only available in the U.S.
- Examination fees not covered
- No “wellness” coverage
A.M. Best Rating
A.M. Best has been rating insurance companies and reporting on their financial stability, both current and projected, since 1899. They have rated more than 3500 companies around the world, and have offices in seven countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
Healthy Paws has not yet received a rating from A.M. Best. However, Chubb Indemnity Insurance Company, their underwriter, has. The details are:
Rating: A++ (Superior)
This means A.M. Best believes the company has “a superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations.” A++ is their top rating.
Better Business Bureau Rating
The Better Business Bureau has been evaluating the way businesses conduct themselves for more than 100 years. Because they are an unbiased monitor and mediator of consumer complaints and disputes, we believe (as do millions of consumer reviewers) that they provide a fair interpretation of a company’s credibility.
The BBB has given Healthy Paws an “A” rating based on a variety of criteria, including how often complaints are filed and how well the company deals with them. “A” is the second-highest rating the BBB offers.
Customer Review Rating: 41% positive and 59% negative. Upon closer inspection, numerous negative reviews seem to be the result of customers not understanding the product.
Composite Score: 4.00 out of 5 stars
Our Overall Impressions and Rating
Healthy Paws, although a relatively new kid on the insurance block, gives every appearance of being a solid company building a strong reputation. Its affiliation with Aon and Chubb should be very reassuring for anyone seeking a long-term policy.
From a customer service perspective, Healthy Paws seems to be doing everything right. There is a comprehensive FAQ section on the website, a good social media presence, and complaints to the Better Business Bureau are handled very well, by and large.
The “Every Quote Gives Hope” program is a nice touch (I personally generated at least half a dozen donations while researching this article) and shows this is more than a business about making money off people’s pets. The development of the claim submission app tells us this is an innovative, forward-thinking company that genuinely wants to be customer-friendly.
Although it would be nice to see a wider variety of plan options, it is possible to tweak the numbers to arrive at a price to suit many budgets. The lack of “wellness” care may be a drawback for some, but the company is focused on helping to cover unexpected healthcare expenses rather than the basics that need to be paid for regardless.
It is our opinion at Totally Goldens that Healthy Paws is an excellent option for pet insurance. We fully endorse and recommend this product and rate it as our number one choice.
If you found this review useful, check out our review of Pets Best Insurance.