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Best Pet Insurance Options and What They Cover

By Tulip Thomas

So, about a year ago, November of 2018, I was diagnosed with Lymphoma.

Oh!!  Wait!! 

Sorry… I should probably introduce myself.  It’s Tulip again here.  And this time I am writing an article all by myself.   I’m a bit nervous to tell you the truth.  Last time my big brother Spot helped me.  Have I mentioned how cool that ‘guy’ is btw?  Confident and calm, “Pitbull Perfect” is what they call him.  Well… actually no one calls him that… but they should!

Anyway, a few weeks before I was diagnosed with Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood, I started having runny you know what, and just in general acting slower than usual.  What does “slower than usual” mean you ask?  Well, for example not wrestling with my brother quite as much, or not jumping up on my mom while she ignores me and does work on her computer like I used to.  Heck, as I barked and lunged at the squirrels during my daily walks, and my mom tried to keep hold of my leash, I hadn’t nearly pulled her off her feet in weeks! 
You know… just in general, not really able to give things my all.

So, she took me to the Doctor, and I was diagnosed with Lymphoma, a blood borne cancer of a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte, and one of the top 3 fatal cancers found in dogs.  The doctors gave me 1-2 months to live. 

Well my mom was beside herself to say the least.  She hasn’t had an easy life my mom.  Neither have I, having my own fair share of trauma in the few short months of my life before I met her.  So, 8 years ago when she picked out of a cage in the shelter, me, just a few months old…. I knew we would be soulmates for life. 
But I think it broke her heart when the doctor told her that my “life”, would only be another 1-2 months longer.

You know, I’m only 8, but I’ve noticed something in my 8 years… humans don’t see life the way we do.  They see the pain a lot, and the loss, and how short whatever time they are given seems to feel like.  Us dogs though… we may have residual fears and anxiety, but we naturally focus on the good.  The fun to be had in any moment, the time we get to share with our bondmates (human and dog alike), and of course, how much amazing time we were given in this world, no matter how short or long it is…….

What was that?!?!
Someone’s on the front porch!
Huh, sorry.  I stepped on the keyboard there as I bolted to the front window to protect us all.  Crafty mailman again… that guy always looks shifty to me…
Anyway, back to the article.  The Best Pet Insurance. 

So… after I was diagnosed, my mom spent hours on the computer researching what she could do to fight against my 1-2 month prognosis.  Thankfully, she discovered that Lymphoma is treatable, possibly allowing 1-2 years of prolonged life, with weekly to bi-weekly treatments, of what they call chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy…. I had no idea what that was, just that my mom said it was expensive.  She also said though, that we had insurance… so it should (and was) covered.
It’s almost a year later now and I’ve undergone what they call one full schedule of chemo, went into remission for a few weeks, and am now undergoing another round of a different type.  My mom told her friend the other day that after over 25 chemo treatments and countless tests and xrays… she estimates they have saved over $15,000 of what she calls “money”.

Apparently “money” is really valuable in the human world.  I don’t know why… after all, if I were to guess what is most valuable in the human world, I’d guess cut up hot dogs…  I mean have you tried those things!?!?!  They are amazing!
But, apparently saving “money”, if something happened to me, was what she got our pet insurance for in the first place.  And it has given my mom and me another year to be together… and that I think is “priceless”.

Now, while our pet insurance has literally saved my life, there are other ones out there as well.  I’ll give a review on mine, as well as a couple that after extensive research and comparison… I’ve decided are the best to recommend to you now.

Some General Info on Pet Insurance

  • Typically, pet insurance works as a reimbursal process.  You go to the vet or ER you submit your bill back to the company (most companies have easy to use mobile apps for this), and in a few days to weeks, you receive the reimbursement your plan provides.  For most companies you can choose your reimbursement level, for example 90% reimbursal on covered bills, 80% or 70%.  And they all will effect your monthly premium.
  • Like Human Insurance, there is also usually a waiting period between when you sign up and when your insurance actually kicks in.  This, I would guess, is for if you are signing up quick to cover something that just happened.  This waiting period usually depends on the condition (example: an injury may be covered after a 7 day period, but a knee or ligament issue may be 6 months waiting).
  • Pre-exiting conditions are also typically not covered.  There are a few that may require an exam, kind of like a human physical, to ensure at time of sign up your pet is in good condition.  But typically that is not the case.  Also, some insurance plans have a list of pre-existing conditions they won’t cover, because in some cases they will.  Most plans have restrictions for coverage for an injury that was pre-existing on the other side of the body.  For example, if your pet had a pre-existing condition (typically tendon or hip related) on one side and no the other at time of policy, the other side will not be covered as well per pre-existing condition restrictions.
  • In cost, plans can range anywhere from $20-$120 per month.  This usually depends mostly on the age of your pet at time of insurance coverage start (that is why it is cheaper monthly to get insurance while your pet is young), as well as some dependence based on the breed because of more common illnesses and physical issues that the breed is known for.
  • Also, like human insurance, there is usually a deductable.  Again, like human insurance, most companies allow you to choose your deductable level, and of course the lower the deductable plan the higher the monthly premiums.
  • Most plans do not restrict the vet or animal hospital you use.  Although they must be certified.
  • Lastly, I’ll mention that there are different types of plans.  For example, there are plans that just focus on coverage for routine vet needs, like vaccines, dental cleanings and annual exams.  These typically won’t save you a lot of money in the long run because what you pay in monthly fees is about what you’d pay for the routine needs themselves.  But, if you like budgeting your money with a monthly fee and getting reminders (which many companies do) to take care of your pet’s routine needs, then this is a good option for you.  Other plans focus on only illness and injury coverage.  This might be good if you have a young pet and don’t want to pay a lot on insurance right now.  Some plans offer alternative treatments for issues that may be wrong, like acupuncture and chiropractic work, and then other plans can be a combination of all levels of veterinary needs for your pet. 
    • Note also that, you will want to understand what exactly is covered under your plan.  For example, most injury and illness plans will cover a pet that swallowed something and needs veterinary care to bring it back up again, or have surgery, but this plan may not cover something like kennel cough.

Ok, I know this is a lot, but this stuff is confusing!!!  I drank a whole bowl of water last night and then just vegged out on the couch with my bone in my mouth because I was so exhausted from all my research! 
OK though, on to the four I recommend.

Truepanion Review (Tried and Trusted, and Solid Choice) Truepanion Pet Insurance was one of the first to come out.  This means you can trust it to be around for a long time to come, as well as know it has been tested and in general people have really liked it.  Their plan options focus on illness and injury with levels and options to choose based on your needs.

  • Their deductables are unique in that they are not yearly, but lifetime, and by condition.  So, if your pet develops a chronic disease that needs lifetime treatment, you only need to meet the deductable once, and for that particular disease, no deductable will need to be met for the rest of your pets life.
  • You can adjust your plans monthly premium by deductable, 90% payout of covered bills is their only option.
  • There are not payout limits
  • They have a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
  • They are connected with most animal hospitals and vets, and in many cases you can have your pill paid directly by them, instead of going through reimbursement.  They are the only ones with this option.
  • Pets can be enrolled from birth to age 14 – no limits, but prices will vary.
  • Their waiting periods are typically 5-days for injuries and 30-day waiting period for illnesses
  • Their plan options cover:
    • Diagnostic testing, surgeries, medications, hospitalizations, supplements as prescribed for a covered illness or injury, ½ the cost of prescription pet foods up to 2 months, orthotic devices, prosthetic devices, carts, and other treatments.
    • They do not cover the exam fee itself.
    • The do cover hereditary and congenital conditions.
  • Coverage applies to supplements and prescription pet foods prescribed by and purchased through a veterinarian for the treatment of injuries and illnesses.
  • Interesting add ons:
    • Truepanion also has the options to add recovery and complimentary care onto you package for a few more dollars a month which includes some cool stuff like: acupuncture, physical therapy, and behavioral modification… Even stem cell treatments.
    • It also offers an add on for Per Owner reimbursement for things like boarding fees if the human is hospitalized or liability for third party damage by your pet.
  • They cover ½ of the cost of prescription pet foods for up to two months of feeding.
  • They only cover dogs and cats.

Cost for a 3-year-old healthy dog for basic illness and injury coverage per month at 90% coverage with Trupanion Pet Insurance: $52
And, premiums can be raised based on the state that you live in, so be sure to talk to a representative to understand your options.  Customer service here is good.
Get your Free Truepanion Pet Insurance Quote Today

Healthy Paws Review (Highest Reviewed Online, a Solid Top Option)
Consistently Ranked one of the Top Pen Insurance Options in just about any Comparison or review, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance focuses accidents and illnesses as well.

  • You can adjust the % payout and deductible to find a monthly premium that works for you
    • For some pets, they only offer up to 80% coverage
  • All plan variations include alternative care such as acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic services. 
  • There are no payout limits
  • Their deductables are annual – not by incident
  • Pets can be enrolled starting at 7 weeks old, and Pets older than 8-years-old are restricted to 60% reimbursement and a $750 annual deductible
  • The waiting periods are 15-days for accident and illness
  • If pet is older than 6 you must have vet exam within past 30 days for enrollment or within 15 days of policy issuance
  • They do have long waiting periods on on hip displaysia coverage and no coverage if plan was started after a certain age.
  • Your pet is covered when they travel with you in the U.S. or Canada
  • Healthy Paws is known for their customer service, so if you desire quick responses and help at a beckon call, they are a good choice.
  • Their plan options cover:
    • Diagnostic testing, surgeries, medications, hospitalizations, supplements as prescribed for a covered illness or injury, alternative treatments and other treatments.
    • They do not cover the exam fee itself.
    • The do cover hereditary and congenital conditions.
  • They are known for fast reimbursal after bill submissions
  • They only cover dogs and cats.

Cost for a 3-year-old healthy dog for basic illness and injury coverage per month at 80% coverage with Healthy Paws Pet Insurance: $45
Get Your Free Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Quote Today

Pet’s Best (Most Affordable, Best for Routine Care, Options for More Coverage and Our Top Choice)
Pet’s Best Pet Insurance has a variety of plans to choose from vs a single plan with various options like the two above.  They offer a Routine Care Coverage plan for routine veterinary needs, as well as a Accident and Illness Plan.  Both with various options to choose from. 

Note: Pet’s Best are one of the only Pet Insurance companies to offer routine care coverage, a plan great for young dogs where spaying and neutering will need to be done, as well as all the first vaccines, deworming and microchip placement.  They offer two tiers of coverage for their routine plan, one at $16/mo and one at $26.
For their Accident and Illness Plan:

  • They have 3 level to choose from:
    • Essential Level covers:
      • Diagnostic testing, surgeries, medications, hospitalizations, supplements as prescribed for a covered illness or injury, and other treatments.
      • They do not cover the exam fee itself.
      • The do cover hereditary and congenital conditions.
    • Plus Level covers:
      • Everything in Essential Level
      • Plus: Exam Fees Associated with Accident or Illnesses covered.  This is one of the only ones that have a plan that can include the vet exam fees themselves.
    • Elite Level covers:
      • Everything in Essential and Plus Level
      • Plus: Alternative treatments and rehabilitation options including but not limited to acupuncture and chiropractic care.
  • They let you choose your reimbursement (70%-90%), your deductable level as well as your annual limit (being $5,000 or unlimited) to adjust for your monthly premiums.
  • They offer unlimited payouts, but also allow you to choose a limit to reduce your monthly fees.
  • Their deductables are annual – not by incident
  • Pets can be covered from 7 weeks, with no upper age limit
  • Waiting Periods Include 3 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, and 6 months for cruciate ligament events and any related conditions.
  • They have a fast reimbursement record
  • Your pet is covered when they travel with you in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico
  • 5% multi-pet discount
  • They do have a $2 transaction fee

Cost for a 3-year-old healthy dog for basic illness and injury coverage per month at 80% coverage with Pet’s Best Pet Insurance: $30
Get a Free Pet’s Best Pet insurance Quote Today

Nationwide Pet Insurance (Best for Exotic Breeds such as birds, iguanas, rodents, amphibians, tortoises, and pot-bellied pigs)
Not many Pet Insurance Companies cover anything beyond dogs and cats.  Nationwide Pet Insurance is one of the few that do.  Yes, this is the same as the “Nationwide is on your side” commercials you see, so you may be using them for your human insurance already. 

We won’t spend much time on their dog and cat plans, although they offer multiple plan options including a Whole Pet With Wellness plan that covers up to 90% of routine Vet and health needs like dental cleanings, parasite treatment, or vaccines.
Their Avian and Exotic Pet Plan is what we predominantly recommend them for. 

  • This Plan covers:
    • Accidents, illnesses, examinations, lab fees, prescriptions, X-rays and hospitalization.
  • Quotes are not available online for their exotic pets plans, you must call
  • Nationwide Pet Insurance is typically on the expensive side
  • Does not have fast reimbursement
  • Or top-rated customer service

I don’t have a quote for you for this one, but when insuring a pet other than a dog or cat, your options are limited, however you do have more options than just Nationwide.
Get Your Free Nationwide Pet Insurance Quote Today

Well, I am exhausted!  Talking about the Best Pet Insurance options our there really takes it out of you.

So, it’s off to a nap for me.  While I feel pretty good these days, I just don’t seem to have the energy I used to.  Ah well, life is still fun!

But I hope you found this helpful, and when it comes to Pet Insurance, this pet can attest…. No matter which one you have, it can truly change (and save) your pet’s life.

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