A Personal Quest to Find the Best Pet Insurance – Part 3

Zelda's Song photo jewelry the best pet insuranceNow that my rescue dog, Heidi, is home, it’s time to make a decision about which pet insurance will work best for us.

There are many insurance plans out there to choose from: Pet Plan, Pet Partners/AKC, PurinaCare, Healthy Paws, VPI, Trupanion…and more!  That’s why it’s so important to understand the type of coverage you need – because all of these plans have particular strengths and weaknesses.

Criteria for Choosing Medical Insurance for Pets

As a recap, the 5 important things to consider from an insurance perspective are:

  1. The premium, the deductible and any co-pay
  2. The definition of “maximum payout” – per incident, per year, lifetime, etc.
  3. Waiting periods for coverage to start
  4. Restrictions on coverage
  5. Reasons to raise the premium

But there are other important things for me to consider, based on Heidi – a 5 ½ year oldZelda's Song gifts for dog lovers Bernese Mountain Dog with “Dry Eye”, a chronic eye condition that needs medication several times a day.

Having been a Berner-mom before, I’d be wise to plan for dog health coverage in these areas:

  1. Cancer (histiocytosis is a breed related cancer)
  2. Hip dysplasia
  3. Bilateral conditions (like ACL injuries)
  4. Hereditary and congenital conditions

Comparing Dog Insurance: Healthy Paws vs Trupanion

After I did my research on several insurers, I did ask several trusted resources – including my veterinarian – for recommendations.

Overwhelmingly, my sources steered me to Healthy Paws and Trupanion.  So, I dug in and requested pet health insurance quotes to compare.

Zelda's Song photo keychains for dog loversBoth are excellent companies, and here’s how they compared:

  • Premiums, deductibles and co-pay’s:
    • Trupanion pays 90% of costs, with the option for a $400 or $500 deductible
    • Healthy Paws pays 90% of costs only with a $500 deductible; options for 80% of costs are available with a $250 and $500 deductible

I prefer a higher co-insurance and based on quotes from both, Trupanion’s 90% at $500 deductible was less expensive for me than the same Healthy Paws option.

  • Both Trupanion and Healthy Paws offer unlimited lifetime payout, a 30-day money backZelda's Song photo charm bracelets guarantee, premium increases based only on area cost increases in veterinarian services (not on the pet’s age).
  • Waiting periods for coverage vary:
    • Trupanion has a 5 day waiting period for accidents; 30 day for illnesses and 5 day for a first cruciate injury
    • Healthy Paws has a 15 day waiting period for all
  • Inclusions that interest me:
    • Trupanion covers chronic and hereditary illnesses not evidenced before the coverage.  The same with hip dysplasia.
    • Healthy Paws does the same – although I needed to call the company to verify they have changed their policy with hip dysplasia and indeed cover it after the waiting period, provided there was no evidence beforehand.
  • Neither Healthy Paws nor Trupanion will cover bi-lateral injuries if the first is pre-existing.  That means if one ACL has been repaired, the second will not be covered.

My Choice for the Best Pet Insurance

I decided to go with Trupanion, and purchased a policy – and reviewed it within 30 days to be sure!

Zelda's Song custom dog themed jewelryHeidi will be covered for cancer, hip dysplasia, bilateral injuries and any of the other Berner-related hereditary diseases – because, as my vet said when he examined her – “She’s a sturdy piece of work”.  There is no evidence of any of these conditions at the time of coverage.

The chronic Dry Eye – well, I’m just going to have to keep doing what I’m doing on my own.

A small price to pay for the love and companionship of this little Berner-girl!

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