UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Healthy Paws
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation was created in 2009 by a no-kill shelter executive director and a visitor to the shelter – a former insurance executive – who both adopted his dog there and helped with fostering of animals. They created it to act as both a pet insurance plan for pet owners as well as a foundation that would help provide assistance to homeless pet shelters.
The insurance plans offered by Healthy Paws are underwritten by global insurance giant Chubb Group, and the company also partners with insurance broker Aon Corporation. Both of these big names offer solid financial backing for Healthy Paws.
Through the Every Quote Gives Hope program, Healthy Paws makes a donation to one of several pet shelters across the country for every quote requested on the website. The company also sponsors and Animal Advocate Scholarship and a Veterinary Student Scholarship annually, and also provides major grants each year to several pet rescues.
Healthy Paws is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, and covers pets across the U.S.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance
Healthy Paws writes pet insurance policies for cats and dogs of all ages, although requirements and rates vary based on the pet’s age.
What is Covered
The program does not include any wellness or preventative care coverage and is designed only for unexpected accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Covered services include:
- Diagnostic tests
- Medically necessary treatments
- Prescription medications
There are a number of exclusions, including:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Examination fees
- Dental care
- Behavioral treatment
- Non-FDA approved supplements
Certain conditions have a waiting period before they are covered under the policy; an example is hip dysplasia, a common condition in older dogs. This condition is covered only if the pet is under 6 when enrolled and has a 12-month waiting period after enrollment.
Like most pet insurance, Healthy Paws operates on a reimbursement basis. The policyholder will be responsible for paying veterinary bills up front, and then a claim can be submitted for reimbursement in the amount allowed by the policy.
Claims can be submitted after the initial 15-day waiting period that follows enrollment.
An annual deductible applies to each policy, after which plan benefits kick in. The website states that covered services are reimbursed at up to 90%. The actual amount of reimbursement and deductible amount are selected by the policyholder at the time of enrollment.
Available reimbursement rates are 70, 80, or 90%. Deductible selections are $100, $250, or $500.
With the Healthy Paws plan, policyholders can take their pets to any veterinarian. There are no caps on reimbursements.
We ran a quote using the sample of a one-year-old medium mixed breed dog, using a California zip code.
The suggested coverage rate returned was a reimbursement rate of 80% with a $250 deductible. The premium for this coverage came out to $31.48 a month.
At the highest level of coverage (90%) with the lowest deductible ($100), that rate went up to $44.85 a month.
We then ran a rate quote for a mixed breed cat, also a one-year-old, in the same zip code. The mid-range rate for 80% coverage and a $250 deductible came out to $18.71 a month.
Bumping up to the highest level and lowest deductible, the sample cat rate came out to $26.33 a month.
At the lowest coverage levels, our dog quote was $24.51 a month, and our cat quote was $14.73 a month. These match up with the website’s statement that rates start at $15 for cats and $25 for dogs.
All plans have a $25 initial setup fee. Overall, these rates are reasonable for the coverage offered, and lower than what we have seen elsewhere for similar coverage.
Healthy Paws accepts claims online, where the policyholder need only upload the itemized invoice from the veterinarian, there is not a claims form required, although they do offer the option to fill one out and send it in via email, fax, or standard mail. There is also a toll-free line to obtain assistance with filing over the phone.
The company also has a mobile app where claims can be submitted and followed.
According to the FAQ, Healthy Paws will work to pay the vet’s office directly in the event that the policyholder is unable to afford to pay the bill up front. In this situation, Healthy Paws will expedite the claims process and pay the claim as soon as possible.
The standard turnaround time for processing claims is 10 days, with payment issued within 24 hours of processing completion.
Enrollment in Healthy Paws can be completed online or over the phone.
In order to be eligible for coverage, each pet must undergo a full physical exam by a licensed vet. For pets under 6 years old, that exam must have been done in the 12 months prior to enrollment, or within 15 days of enrollment. For pets over 6 years old, the exam must be done 30 days prior to or within 15 days of enrollment.
If a claim is filed and the exam is not found to have been completed, that claim will be denied. Healthy Paws doesn’t require a full medical history upon enrollment, but they will request it at the time of the first claim.
Healthy Paws offers a 30-Day Free Look Period, which allows cancellation within the first 30-days with a full refund as long as no claims have been submitted.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Healthy Paws has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where they have been accredited since 2011. There are 31 complaints on file in the past three years, with 16 closed in the past 12 months. The BBB’s reviews section features 43 positive and 19 negative reviews, a 69% positive rating.
There are eight reviews of Healthy Paws on Consumer Affairs, resulting in an overall rating of just below 2 stars. Six of the ratings are one star, and they cite issues with increasing premiums and denial of claims.
The company’s Yelp page has a lot more to offer, with 360 reviews. The overall star rating here is four stars, with many positive reviews discussing a good customer service experience and fast claims handling. There are also negative reviews that again focus on denied claims and increasing premiums. Many of the denied claims appear to be the result of misunderstanding what is covered on the policy, a common issue across all forms of insurance.
The positive reviews on Yelp provide a strong counterpoint to the negative ones; in fact, there are far more positive reviews than negative ones across all platforms.
The Bottom Line
Healthy Paws offers straightforward pet insurance for injuries and illness, with a few different coverage choices to help fit your budget. They have a good reputation and do a lot of good work with pet rescues and shelters across the country as well. Adding to that reasonable rates, this company is a good choice for accident and illness pet insurance.