Protecting Poppy

Kyle McIntosh, 4:11 am ET

OUR DOG LIKES SOCKS. A few months after Poppy joined our family, she consumed her first sock. Since then, she’s eaten two more. After the first sock was removed, our veterinarian offered some valuable advice: Get pet insurance because Poppy is likely to do this again. Within a few days, we purchased a policy from Healthy Paws for $38 a month. The policy has proven valuable: We’ve had four other unplanned trips to the vet over the past 21 months.

For those considering pet insurance—especially first-time pet owners—here’s why I’d recommend coverage:

  • Ease of use. Everything with Healthy Paws is done through a well-designed app. It was easy to sign up and submit claims. For costs you incur, you simply take a picture of the invoice. It’s then reviewed within a few days. So far, there’s been no pushback on charges we’ve submitted and the insurer has always paid claims—net of deductibles—within a few weeks.
  • Straightforward coverage. I often hold my breath when I receive a medical bill for our family’s health coverage because I’m never sure what’s covered. By contrast, Healthy Paws makes coverage easy to understand. We have a deductible of $250 per year. After that, pet insurance covers 80% of most charges. So far, all tests, treatments and prescriptions have been covered.
  • Good return on investment. We saw pet insurance as a safety net that would provide peace of mind. We never thought we’d see a positive return on investment. But so far, our premiums have been $800, while the insurance has covered $1,500 in claims. That recovery rate of 188% is well above the industry average of 70%. We hope our recovery rate is much lower in the future. That said, it’s good to know we’re covered if Poppy gets a hankering for another sock.

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Andrew Forsythe
Andrew Forsythe
8 days ago

Kyle, this post got my attention as we have two older dogs and the high vet and Rx bills which often go along with that. Out of curiousity I went to the Healthy Paws site and entered the info. of our oldest dog (13+ years) to get a quote. Results: $339.06/mo. + $1000 deductible + 50% reimbursement rate! To Healthy Paws credit, this was followed by a comment that “Unfortunately, our quote might not be the best value for your pet” and they provided links to some other companies which could provide quotes (very decent of them).

I tried one of the other suggested sites, Prudent Pet, and got a much lower quote for their middle-of-the-road “Essential Plan”: $101.50/mo. + $500 deductible + 80% reimbursement rate (+ $10,000 annual cap). I was surprised at the big difference from the Healthy Paws quote.

Finally, I also saw something of importance on the latter site:

“Pet insurance coverage is generally standard across the board for all companies. For example, pet insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions because pet insurance carriers aren’t legally allowed to cover them in the United States.”

So, no Obamacare for the pups. Our dogs, especially the older one, have numerous pre-existing conditions, so that’s probably a deal breaker for us.

Thanks for an interesting post.

Last edited 8 days ago by Andrew Forsythe
Kyle Mcintosh
Kyle Mcintosh
7 days ago

Thanks for your note. It’s interesting that your cost per month and coverage details are so much different than what we have. I have to think that the age of the pet is the big driver of the difference. I’ll have to watch to see if we see increases over time.

R Quinn
R Quinn
8 days ago

I’m thinking the insurance company calls that the loss ratio. If other customers get that much value from their policy, your $38 per month is very temporary. 🐶

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