About Hartville Pet Insurance
Hartville Pet Insurance was founded in 1997, and in 2006 partnered with United States Fire Insurance Company to underwrite their products. United States Fire Insurance Company is a part of Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group, and it is C&F Insurance Agency that administers the policies. Along with several other pet insurance brands, Hartville operates as a part of the Crum & Forster Group.
In 2006, the company partnered with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to offer branded insurance products that include a stand-alone horse insurance option.
The company has its headquarters in New Jersey and sells policies online and over the phone to pet owners across the country.
Hartville Pet Insurance Products
Hartville’s pet insurance products are offered for cats and dogs. Plan options include accident and illness, accident only, and a preventative care option that can be added on.
The main major medical plan offered by Hartville is called Complete Coverage, and it covers a wide variety of accident and illness related services.
What is Covered
Hartville’s Complete Coverage plan offers a pretty comprehensive list of services, including:
- Diagnostic tests
- Hereditary conditions
- Chronic conditions
- Behavioral treatment
- Exam fees
- Knee and ligament (cruciate, etc) injuries – after a waiting period
Unlike most pet insurance companies, Hartville does not have a long waiting period for knee and ligament conditions, such as cruciate repair. The waiting period is only 14 days, which is the usual waiting period for illness. Most companies have waiting periods of up to 12 months for this coverage. While this is a long waiting period, many companies offer to waive it with a clean bill of health from a vet.
Pre-existing conditions are excluded from coverage, which is common to all pet insurance companies. Also excluded are non-medical services such as grooming, and any cosmetic procedure or breeding costs as well.
Hartville’s plans follow the same basic setup as most such plans, with a choice of 70, 80, or 90% reimbursement levels. The plan pays actual costs at the selected reimbursement level for covered services.
Deductible options are $100, $250, or $500. Annual coverage limits start at $5,000 and increase up to the unlimited option.
It is important to note that in the fine print it is made clear that the plan pays the set percentage of the average cost – a predetermined amount – of that particular service. That makes the claim that they pay a percentage of the actual vet bill not entirely accurate. This is a system used by other pet insurance companies as well, but it is an important detail to note as it affects the value offered by the plan.
For those seeking a budget option, Hartville offers a plan that covers accidents only, without illness coverage. This plan will pay for a list of covered services related to accidents, including surgery and hospitalization.
There are three levels of preventative care available that can be added on to any Hartville policy. Each option provides a higher level of coverage. Services are covered based on a scheduled amount that is the maximum payable for that particular service.
The Basic plan offers minimal coverage, paying a scheduled amount for an annual exam, vaccinations, and a few other common services. The Standard plans add more coverage, and the Prime plan covers the most services.
We ran a quote for a one-year-old mixed breed dog in California. The recommended plan returned a rate of $47.16 a month; that includes a $10,000 annual maximum for coverage, reimbursement at 90%, and a $250 deductible.
We adjusted the quote to get the most possible coverage – unlimited – at the lowest deductible, $100. That came back at $76.99 a month. Adding Basic preventative care to this plan would cost $9.95 a month more. The Prime level coverage was quoted at $24.95 a month. The system did not give us a rate for the Standard plan.
Finally, we ran a quote for the lowest possible coverage level, at a $5,000 annual limit with 70% reimbursement and a $500 deductible. That rate came back at $28.35 a month.
We then ran rates for a one-year-old mixed breed cat. The quoting system returned the same recommended coverage level as our dog, with a monthly rate of $27.59. At the highest level of coverage, that went up to $45.53 a month, and the lowest rate available for minimal coverage came out to $16.13 a month.
The rates for preventative care for a cat are the same amounts as those quoted for a dog.
Overall, we found Hartville’s rates to be higher than other companies for similar coverage. The preventative care option offers a little more value than similar plans elsewhere, but only if you use the majority of the schedule benefits each year.
Claims are handled on a reimbursement basis, with the policyholder paying up front and then submitting to be reimbursed.
The website does not say a lot regarding claims, but it appears they can be filed online through the member center, which requires a login.
We did find a claim form available for download outside of the member center portion of the website.
Pets can be enrolled in Hartville insurance plans online. The website does not offer information in regards to age limits for enrollment.
There is a 14-day waiting period for illnesses, while coverage for accidents starts the next day – with the exception of knee and ligament conditions. As previously noted, these have a 14-day waiting period as well.
Like most pet insurance companies, there is a 30-day money back guarantee as long as no claims have been filed.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Hartville does not have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) file under their own company name but instead appears on the Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group page as one of their brands. Crum & Forster has an A+ rating with the BBB, with 24 complaints on file in the past three years. These complaints apply to all of their pet insurance brands, including Hartville and several others.
We found very little in the way of reviews of Hartville Pet Insurance, although there are some reviews for their ASPCA branded plans, which are covered separately in the review of that brand.
The Bottom Line
Hartville Pet Insurance has some good plan options, but they are on the pricier side. With limited information available and the confusion that comes along with an insurance group using multiple brand names, it is hard to form a solid conclusion about the company. Other pet insurance companies have good plans for less, and are backed by a strong, researchable reputation.