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By Kat Tretina
Updated: November 9, 2021 11:07 AM ET | Originally published: November 4, 2021
A veterinarian checking a dog's heartbeat with a stethoscope
Money; Shutterstock

Best for Alternative Therapies

As a pet owner, you likely think of your pet as a member of your family. As your dog or cat deals with health issues, you want to use whatever treatments will help them the most, even if they’re not the most traditional approaches.

While many pet insurance companies exclude alternative or holistic therapies — such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, physical therapy and massage therapy — Healthy Paws covers them under its accident and illness plan. Because of the range of treatments it covers, we selected Healthy Paws as one of the best pet insurance companies.

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Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Coverage for alternative therapies included
  • Quick claim processing
  • No per-incident, annual or lifetime maximum
  • Direct payments available
  • The company makes a donation for every policy quote submitted
Cons
  • Only one available plan
  • Limited coverage for hip dysplasia
  • Lower reimbursement level for older pets
  • $25 administration fee

Pros Explained

Coverage included for alternative therapies

Many pet insurance companies exclude alternative or holistic treatments from their policies. By contrast, Healthy Paws will cover acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, hydrotherapy, physical therapy, laser therapy and massage, as long as the treatment is recommended and performed by a licensed veterinarian.

Quick claims processing

With some companies, it can take up to 30 days to get a claim processed, which means you’re stuck waiting for your reimbursement check for weeks. Healthy Paws works differently. It has a mobile app you can use to submit claims, and the company processes most claims within two days.

No per-incident, annual or lifetime maximum

With some pet insurance companies, there are limits on how much they will cover per diagnosed condition, annually or over your pet’s lifetime. However, Healthy Paws doesn’t have per-incident, annual or lifetime caps.

Direct payments available

Like most pet insurance companies, the default way to get care costs covered by Healthy Paws is to pay bills at the veterinarian’s office and submit a claim to the company. Unlike most insurers, though, Healthy Paws does offer a direct payment option if you cannot pay the bill at the time of treatment, provided the vet agrees to the arrangement.

The company makes a donation for every policy quote submitted

Healthy Paws launched the Healthy Paws Foundation in 2009. For every pet insurance quote submitted through its site, Healthy Paws makes a donation to organizations that provide medical care for homeless pets. As of July 2021, the company says it's donated $1.6 million in such grants.

Cons Explained

Only one plan available

Pet insurers usually provide multiple choices of policy, so you can pick the one that best suits your needs (and budget). Companies may sell accident and illness, accident-only or wellness policies. But with Healthy paws, there is just one option — an accident and wellness plan — and, unlike with many other companies, that plan doesn’t allow you to add wellness or preventative care to your coverage.

Limited coverage for hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common ailment in dogs; a study found that about 15% of dogs have it, and it’s even more prevalent in certain breeds like German Shepherds, Swiss Mountain Dogs and Labrador Retrievers. Although most pet insurers restrict coverage of treatments for hip dysplasia, Healthy Paws’ exclusions are stricter than most. Pets enrolled at the age of six or higher will not be covered for hip dysplasia at all, even if they showed no signs of the condition prior to enrollment. For pets under six, the pet has to undergo a complete veterinarian examination to qualify for hip dysplasia coverage.

Lower reimbursement level for older pets

While you can typically choose a reimbursement level as high as 90%, that option isn’t available if you’re enrolling an older pet with HealthyPaws. For pets eight and older, the maximum reimbursement level is 60%. You cannot enroll a pet if it’s 14 or older.

$25 administration fee

There is a one-time $25 administration fee at the time of enrollment. Many other companies don’t charge administration or setup fees, or they charge a much lower fee.

Healthy Paws Plans

Unlike other pet insurance companies, Healthy Paws offers just one plan for cats and dogs. Its plan is an accident and illness policy that covers treatments for unexpected illnesses and injuries.

  • Annual Maximum: Unlimited
  • Reimbursement Options: 70%, 80% or 90% for pets up to seven years of age (The maximum reimbursement level for pets between eight and 14 is 60%)
  • Deductibles: $100, $200 or $500 ($500 is the lowest deductible available for pets between eight and 14)

Healthy Paws pet insurance will reimburse you according to your policy’s reimbursement level and deductible for treatments for the following:

  • Congenital and hereditary conditions
  • Chronic conditions
  • Cancer treatments
  • Diagnostic treatments
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • Prescription medications
  • Alternative therapies

Healthy Paws does not cover veterinarian exams and, like all other pet insurers, doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions.

With Healthy Paws, pets must be enrolled before their 14th birthday, which is a common threshold among pet insurance companies.

Optional Features

Healthy Paws doesn’t have optional features or riders; it only has one basic plan.

Healthy Paws Cost/Pricing Tier

Healthy Paws was not one of the pet insurers evaluated in our past price survey. However, we generally found that Healthy Paws’ premiums were higher than average, but that’s partially because Healthy Paws’ policies have unlimited annual benefits; most other insurers have caps on annual reimbursements.

So you can have an idea of what premiums to expect from Healthy Paws, we requested quotes for dogs and cats at varying ages.

Rates quotes are for a pet owner in Orlando, FL, and are based on a $500 deductible and 70% reimbursement percentage. However, Healthy Paws have a lower reimbursement level for senior pets. For pets eight and up, the maximum reimbursement level is 60%.

Your premiums may vary since your pet’s species, breed, age and your location affect your cost.

Sample monthly pricing for dogs

1 year old 5 years old 8 years old (60% reimbursement) 13 years old (60% reimbursement)
Cocker Spaniel $34.38 $57.10 $77.81 $161.17
Labrador Retriever $41.50 $70.52 $97.00 $203.51
Pomeranian $33.58 $57.10 $68.22 $140.00

Sample monthly pricing for cats

1 year old 5 years old 8 years old (60% reimbursement) 13 years old (60% reimbursement)
Domestic Shorthair $25.45 $42.91 $58.83 $122.90
Maine Coon $24.45 $42.91 $58.83 $122.90
Russian Blue $24.45 $42.91 $58.83 $122.90

Discounts

Unlike other companies, Healthy Paws doesn’t offer discounts for enrolling multiple pets.

Healthy Paws Financial Stability

Before selecting a pet insurance company, finding out if a company is financially stable can provide peace of mind. You can find out whether a company can likely afford to pay out future claims by checking its AM Best Financial Strength Rating (FSR).

Healthy Paws’ policies are underwritten by Ace Property and Casualty Insurance Company, which has a “A++” (Superior) rating from AM Best — the highest rating possible. Such a high rating indicates that the company is financially sound and able to pay out its policy and contractual obligations.

Healthy Paws Accessibility

Like most pet insurers, Healthy Paws has a blog with educational articles and resources, as well as an online quote tool. However, Healthy Paws doesn’t have an online chat feature, nor does it offer 24/7 customer support like some companies do.

Availability

Healthy Paws’ policies are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. You can use your insurance to get coverage for treatment from any licensed veterinarian in the U.S., or from veterinarians in Canada if you are temporarily visiting the country with your pet.

Contact Information

Customer service is available by phone or secure message. To contact a representative, call 855-898-8991.

Customer support is only available during the following times:

  • Monday through Friday: 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. PST
  • Saturday: 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. PST
  • Sunday: Closed

User Experience

As a Healthy Paws policyholder, you can log onto your online account to manage your policy, submit claims and make payments. You can also use the Healthy Paws mobile app — available for both iOS and Android devices — and file claims by snapping a photo of your vet bills.

Coverage Limitations

Healthy Paws only offers coverage for dogs and cats. Exotic animals and large animals, such as horses, are not eligible for Healthy Paws pet insurance.

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Healthy Paws Customer Satisfaction

Healthy Paws has a generally positive reputation among existing customers. Its TrustScore on Trustpilot is “Excellent” — scoring 4.3 out of 5, based on over 1,300 reviews. Healthy Paws is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has a 3.08 out of five rating, which is about average for all companies.

Healthy Paws FAQ
Who owns Healthy Paws?
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Healthy Paws is an independently owned company that issues pet insurance policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Its policies are underwritten by Ace Property and Casualty Insurance Company.
Does Healthy Paws cover behavioral modification treatments?
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While some insurers do cover some behavioral modification treatments, such as medication for anxiety, Healthy Paws' policies do not. Healthy Paws excludes training, therapy and medication for behavior modifications.
Does Healthy Paws have an age limit for pet enrollment?
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To qualify for coverage, pets must be enrolled before their 14th birthday. Pets enrolled at six or older will not be eligible for hip dysplasia coverage.
How do I cancel my Healthy Paws policy?
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Healthy Paws' policies have a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you cancel within the first 30 days — and haven't submitted a claim — the company will send you a full refund. If you want to cancel your policy after the initial 30 days, you must notify Healthy Paws by email, postal letter or fax at least 14 days before your next premium payment is due.

How We Evaluated Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

We looked at the following factors when evaluating Healthy Paws:

  • Typical premiums
  • Plan options
  • Reimbursement amounts
  • Annual and lifetime caps
  • Policy exclusions and restrictions
  • Wellness benefits
  • Customer support
  • Customer reviews
  • Third-party ratings

Summary of Money’s Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Review

During their pet’s lifetime, some people may wish to consider treatments that lie outside of traditional veterinary measures. Alternative therapies like hydrotherapy and laser therapy can be expensive, and many pet insurance companies exclude those treatment options. With Healthy Paws, those treatments are covered as long as they are prescribed and performed by a veterinarian.

In addition the company does not impose per-incident, annual or lifetime maximums to its coverage. But keep in mind that unlimited benefit plans are generally more expensive than plans with annual limits, so expect higher-than-normal premiums. Also, keep in mind that Healthy Paws doesn’t offer a wellness plan and it has strict limitations regarding eligibility for hip dysplasia coverage.

Before choosing a pet insurance policy, consider the types of illnesses and conditions that are common in your pet’s breed and species, and compare coverage options from multiple insurers.

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