Pet Insurance company recommendation

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Swansea
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Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by Swansea » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:23 am

I am considering getting insurance for my puppy at either Healthy Paws or Trupanion. I would appreciate any feedback on either insurance company, particularly with them covering genetic issues, such as hip dysplasia, etc.

stan1
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by stan1 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:47 am

What is the breed of the dog? What is your annual income (ability to self insure)? What is the premium? Is there a maximum payout? At what age is the dog no longer eligible for coverage? Do the rates go up as the dog gets older?

TheOscarGuy
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by TheOscarGuy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:46 am

Swansea wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:23 am
I am considering getting insurance for my puppy at either Healthy Paws or Trupanion. I would appreciate any feedback on either insurance company, particularly with them covering genetic issues, such as hip dysplasia, etc.
We have embrace. This is one of the top two or three rated pet insurance. My dog did not have any history, and at the time they put a hold on covering any issues related to hips (her breed suffers from issues of hip) and skin for first 5-6 months. At this time, she is fully covered for all medical issues. We pay ~25 per month, and have a high deductible. We want to cover catastrophic medical issues that cost more than our deductible.

KT785
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by KT785 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:26 pm

We have Healthy Paws for our 9 month old Vizsla but haven't filed a claim yet. We lost our 11 year old Lab in March after a year of battling a myriad of illnesses and a suspected brain tumor; while I know we did everything appropriate for her (and moreso) there's still a nagging feeling that we could have pursued an MRI and aggressive treatment if needed even though our vet recommended against an MRI or extensive testing due to her age and co-morbidity.

We could afford everything we did for our old girl, but extreme measures (had they been sought) could have been in excess of $20,000 (radio surgery, etc.) and would have probably been out of reach. I don't want to be in a situation where costs are even a remote consideration in the treatment of my dog, and certain, particularly newer, treatments can be very expensive.

After losing our Lab, we brought our new girl home and I began looking at various pet insurers. I work in/around the insurance industry and accordingly, was concerned with the financial viability and experience of the various companies in this space. I ultimately narrowed it down to Healthy Paws and TruPanion. Premiums were within a dollar or two of each other but finally decided to go with Health Paws as I preferred an annual deductible and the fact that they are underwritten by ACE/Chubb.

Of course, my selection was also informed by the fact that our new girl is under a year old--TruPanion may be more appropriate for an older animal.

You may also want to check out the WireCutter article on the subject.

P.S. you may want to check around for referral links for Healthy Paws, I believe we used the link from Canine Journal and it got the best referral discount for us, around 10% I think.

Swansea
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by Swansea » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:15 pm

I am sorry for your loss. It always hurts to lose a beloved pet.
Thank you very much for your information. I have done Yelp reviews on both companies, and visited a rating site or two. It may come down to the deductible options offered.
With german shepherd dogs, genetic issues such as elbow and hip dysplasia are unfortunately all too common. I dropped a fair amount of cash for my previous one who had surgery and rehab for bilateral elbow dysplasia at one year of age.

KT785
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by KT785 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:46 pm

Swansea wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:15 pm
I am sorry for your loss. It always hurts to lose a beloved pet.
Thank you very much for your information. I have done Yelp reviews on both companies, and visited a rating site or two. It may come down to the deductible options offered.
With german shepherd dogs, genetic issues such as elbow and hip dysplasia are unfortunately all too common. I dropped a fair amount of cash for my previous one who had surgery and rehab for bilateral elbow dysplasia at one year of age.
Thanks, Swansea.

Given GSDs are more prone to hip dysplasia than a Vizsla, I agree that the waiting periods embedded in the policies for that condition would be of significant interest. Vizslas are a relatively healthy breed and have knowledge of her breeder and pedigree to have some assurance that risk of genetic conditions is minimized. Our concerns skewed more toward accidents given her incredible speed and the fact that she's going to be a running partner for me (marathon runner) and older-age conditions like the type that affected our old Lab.

My own view is the lifetime (illness/incident) deductible offered by TruPanion is designed to play to the experience (fears) of pet owners who may have just lost a pet after a long-term/lifetime illness. If you're dog is on the clumsy side or involved in activities that make injuries more likely, an annual deductible makes more sense (two or three separate injuries in a given year would necessitate an equivalent number of deductibles).

If, however there is high-likelihood of a chronic condition (diabetes for example), such a lifetime deductible makes sense though is harder to predict. Given my risk management background, I would contend that various accidents/injuries are more common than a long term illness; moreover, in the case of a long-term condition, that "term" may sadly only be a number of months, not years (just shy of 12 months with our dearly departed Lab).

I also believe, given the way the TruPanion policy is written, if a dog were treated for hip dysplasia, each hip may be subject to it's own deductible . . . I could be mistaken about this though.

megabad
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by megabad » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:37 pm

Just out of curiosity, what made you folks seek out pet insurance? I was always of the opinion not to insure against things I can afford. Do you envision extremely large vet bills in the future? I think the most expensive one I've ever seen was $3,000 which was a lot, but I could certainly afford to self insure. Do you folks see much larger bills?

edit: typo
Last edited by megabad on Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mingus
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by Mingus » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:50 pm

megabad wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:37 pm
Just out of curiosity, what made you folks seek out pet insurance?
It's just a new way insurance companies figured out how to make money. And people willingly go along.

KT785
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by KT785 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:32 pm

megabad wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:37 pm
Just out of curiosity, what made you folks seek out pet insurance? I was always of the opinion not to insure against things I can afford. Do you envision extremely large vet bills in the future?
I sought out pet insurance to address the risk that my dog may need much more expensive medical care in the future. We can certainly self insure for most foreseeable issues (and do), but I never want to be in a situation where I have to factor in the cost of treatment regarding my dog's medical care . . . having pet insurance affords me that protection. I'm trading a small, quantifiable loss (premium $) in exchange for avoiding a much, much larger unknown loss . . . that larger, unknown loss may be financial or the worse alternative of having to euthanize a pet.

Veterinary costs are certainly variable based on where you live, type of pet you have, and the extent to which you'll pursue medical interventions. A dog that needs hip surgery early in life in addition to physical therapy thereafter, chronic conditions that need controlled for years (epilepsy, diabetes, etc.), or various tumors/cancers can all be very costly. Moreover, newer advances in veterinary medicine are an option if cost is of little concern to the pet owner (cyberknife for brain tumors for example - $10,000+).

Ultimately, our dog is part of our family (amplified more-so because we don't yet have children) and, having gone through protracted medical treatment for our last dog, are willing to pay a nominal amount per month for the peace of mind of knowing money is no object when it comes to care.

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MP123
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by MP123 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:52 pm

The few policies I looked at a while ago had very low maximum payouts. Like a few thousand dollars maximum. But you'd pay that in premiums in a year or two.

Basically you're pre-paying your benefit which isn't really a good idea. This might be an area to consider self insuring.

At the very least you should read the fine print carefully.

Tribonian
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by Tribonian » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:25 pm

We went with ASPCA on the theory if we lost the actuarial gamble, at least the proceeds would help other rescue dogs.

https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com

Swansea
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by Swansea » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:37 am

990 forms give a good idea where the non-profits spend their monies, some spend heavily on programs, some do not.

https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/fil ... _990_o.pdf

maggsmaggs
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by maggsmaggs » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:44 am

Mingus wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:50 pm
megabad wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:37 pm
Just out of curiosity, what made you folks seek out pet insurance?
It's just a new way insurance companies figured out how to make money. And people willingly go along.
Some people don't want to make the choice between the financially smart thing to do and the life of a loved one. I have dog insurance and would be glad to lose money on the policy over the life of my dog because that meant my dog never had a serious illness. But god forbid he did, I know we would not have to choose between paying for some $10,000+ surgery and my dog's life.

fasteddie911
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by fasteddie911 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:09 am

We have healthy paws for our 6mo pup. We've actually had to use it a few times already, chalk it up to first-time hypochondriac pet owners. Looking at my policy, it says hip dysplasia will be covered if the pup is enrolled at less than 6yo and hasn't shown any sign or symptoms upon enrollment and for 12mo after. So far we like healthy paws and have no complaints. The price seems fair, reimbursements are easy and overall has been hassle free.

GAAP
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by GAAP » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:20 pm

Self-insured now, and probably in the future since our preference would be for older, less-popular rescues that make insurance quite expensive and of potentially limited value.

The high-end numbers mentioned here do not really explore just expensive it can get. We've paid somewhere between $40K - $60K over the last three years in vet bills -- mostly on a single dog with IMHA. No that's not a typo, no I don't feel like explaining/justifying the amount, but most of the cost was for transfusions on 4-6 week intervals.

Tribonian
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by Tribonian » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:49 pm

Swansea wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:37 am
990 forms give a good idea where the non-profits spend their monies, some spend heavily on programs, some do not.

https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/fil ... _990_o.pdf
Thank you, fascinating read.

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JMacDonald
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by JMacDonald » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:26 pm

This is an interesting conversation. I decided to look into pet insurance. Some of the complaints about Healthy Paws is that the rates go up as the pet ages. Has anyone here found that to be true?
Best Wishes, | Joe

Mr.BB
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:46 pm

There are a couple of good threads on this topic, if you search under dog or pet insurance. Personally, we have Trupanion since our dog was 8 weeks old (she will be 9 in January) we have used it (claims), and have been very happy with them.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

dvmmph
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by dvmmph » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:28 pm

I have been in this business for 24 years. Trupanion is one of the best pet care insurance & Nationwide is the worst.

Swansea
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by Swansea » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:22 am

JMacDonald wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:26 pm
This is an interesting conversation. I decided to look into pet insurance. Some of the complaints about Healthy Paws is that the rates go up as the pet ages. Has anyone here found that to be true?
The Washington Consumer Checkbook says that Health Paws does not raise rates due to age.
However, rates can and do increase depending upon how much the company pays out in claims, just like your homeowners policy will increase if there is a hail storm in your area or other event which increases claims.

wfrobinette
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by wfrobinette » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:34 pm

Swansea wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:23 am
I am considering getting insurance for my puppy at either Healthy Paws or Trupanion. I would appreciate any feedback on either insurance company, particularly with them covering genetic issues, such as hip dysplasia, etc.
If insurance is involved, money will be an object for them. If your vet says he recommends against further treatment, I'm fairly certain your insurance won't pay. While they claim there are no limits, there certainly will be exclusions of some kind.

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queso
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by queso » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:57 am

megabad wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:37 pm
Just out of curiosity, what made you folks seek out pet insurance? I was always of the opinion not to insure against things I can afford. Do you envision extremely large vet bills in the future? I think the most expensive one I've ever seen was $3,000 which was a lot, but I could certainly afford to self insure. Do you folks see much larger bills?

edit: typo
I have never had pet insurance, but I'm about 20k into an 8 year old Weim so I get why people are buying it (mostly from multiple orthopedic surgeries all stemming from a bad leg break). I'll prob self-insure on the next dog as well, but if I thought I might balk at the high cost of veterinary care then I would buy the insurance. Dogs are family in our house so the option to skip care or put them down due to cost just isn't on the table.

bbqguru
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by bbqguru » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:25 am

We have a German Shepherd and went with Embrace with a high deductible for around $30/month. At the time, they were one of the only companies to not exclude the opposite cranial cruciate ligament if there was and injury/surgery on the other. I don't remember which other company we were looking at, but it was buried in the policy that for many parts, and I'm summarizing, if one side went bad the other is automatically excluded.

We also purchased Wellness supplement. It's $390 per year and it pays back $450. Covers flea/tick, etc... medicine, grooming (including the anti-shed food supplement!), fecal tests, obedience classes, and a list of other things. We travel quite a bit and the dog hotel we use requires a fecal test each visit. Combined with the flea/tick meds and not having to chase him around the house with nail trimmers, we easily make back the full $450 per year. Claims are paid to our bank account within 2-3 days after I email them.

We can self insure anything that might come our way with regards to vet bills. However, we live close to a busy county highway and the insurance lets my wife sleep easy at night. And if our dog were to ever jump the iron fence, run past the invisible fence, decide to play in the middle in the road and then get hit by a car or something bad happen, I'm not the evil one for refusing to spend several thousand at the vet.

Sometimes the worst financial decisions make the best household peace decisions.

Swansea
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Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

Post by Swansea » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:30 pm

bbqguru wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:25 am
We have a German Shepherd and went with Embrace with a high deductible for around $30/month. At the time, they were one of the only companies to not exclude the opposite cranial cruciate ligament if there was and injury/surgery on the other. I don't remember which other company we were looking at, but it was buried in the policy that for many parts, and I'm summarizing, if one side went bad the other is automatically excluded.

We also purchased Wellness supplement. It's $390 per year and it pays back $450. Covers flea/tick, etc... medicine, grooming (including the anti-shed food supplement!), fecal tests, obedience classes, and a list of other things. We travel quite a bit and the dog hotel we use requires a fecal test each visit. Combined with the flea/tick meds and not having to chase him around the house with nail trimmers, we easily make back the full $450 per year. Claims are paid to our bank account within 2-3 days after I email them.

We can self insure anything that might come our way with regards to vet bills. However, we live close to a busy county highway and the insurance lets my wife sleep easy at night. And if our dog were to ever jump the iron fence, run past the invisible fence, decide to play in the middle in the road and then get hit by a car or something bad happen, I'm not the evil one for refusing to spend several thousand at the vet.

Sometimes the worst financial decisions make the best household peace decisions.
CCL surgery here in Maryland cost a friend $3500.

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