Petplan vs Healthy Paws

Choose between more coverage or more savings with these pet insurance options

Petplan vs. Health Paws
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 The Balance / Amelia Manley

Petplan was founded in 2003 by a young couple who had to max out their credit cards and move to a smaller apartment to pay off their cat’s emergency vet bills. Healthy Paws’ 2009 founding was similarly humble, resulting from a chance meeting between two businessmen at a local animal shelter.

While both offer excellent accident and illness coverage for dogs and cats, Petplan helps cover the cost of more emergency pet expenses, such as boarding fees, trip cancellations, advertising for lost pets, virtual vet visits, and more. While Healthy Paws offers just basic accident and illness insurance, you can save more with a lower deductible and the option to have your vet reimbursed directly during your visit.

Petplan vs. Healthy Paws: At a Glance

  Petplan Healthy Paws​
Animals covered Dogs and cats Dogs and cats
Deductibles $250 to $500 $100 to $500
Example cost $37.67 to insure a two-year-old dog with no annual coverage limit, 80% reimbursement, and a $500 deductible $26.79 to insure a two-year-old dog with no annual coverage limit, 80% reimbursement, and a $500 deductible
Coverage type Accident and illness Accident and illness
Additional services Boarding, trip cancellation, virtual vet visits, and more Direct vet pay
Waiting period Accidents: 15 days Illnesses: 15 days Accidents: 15 days Illnesses: 15 days
Network size Any licensed vet in the U.S. and Canada Any licensed vet in the U.S. and Canada
Customer service Phone, email, fax, mobile app Phone, email, fax, mobile app
Claim turnaround Seven to 10 days 10 days
Website Petplan Healthy Paws

Petplan vs. Healthy Paws: Coverage

Petplan and Healthy Paws both offer accident and illness insurance for dogs and cats with a choice of deductibles and reimbursement limits. While Petplan offers two annual coverage options plus a third with unlimited coverage, Healthy Paws offers policies with unlimited coverage exclusively.

  Petplan Healthy Paws
Deductible $250, $300, $500 $100, $250, $500
Reimbursement 70%, 80%, 90% 70%, 80%, 90%
Annual coverage limit $5,000, $15,000 or unlimited Unlimited

Petplan and Healthy Paws cover the cost of the following standard vet services for accident and illnesses:

  Petplan Healthy Paws
Cancer
Behavioral problems
Diagnostic tests
Surgery
Hospitalization
Prescription medications
Dental illness or injuries
Alternative therapies Chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and laser therapy Chiropractic, acupuncture, hydrotherapy
Emergency care
Euthanasia   When medically necessary

Petplan also offers reimbursement for the following services and expenses at no extra cost:

  • Comprehensive dental protection
  • Advertising and rewards for lost pets
  • Boarding fees due to accident or illness
  • Homeopathy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and laser therapy
  • Virtual vet visits
  • Loss due to theft or straying
  • Death from injury or illness
  • Trip cancellation expenses

 Unfortunately, Healthy Paws does not cover the costs of exams and office visits, so you will not be reimbursed for those fees. Both companies will also deny coverage for pre-existing conditions as well as the following:

  • Wellness and preventative care
  • Dental healthcare (Healthy Paws only)
  • Spaying and neutering
  • Cosmetic or elective procedures
  • Injury or illness due to any intentional or neglectful act
  • Non-FDA treatment or supplements
  • Breeding or conditions relating to breeding
  • Grooming or nail trims
  • Experimental or investigational treatment or medicine
  • Non-prescribed special diets or pet foods

 Neither company will pay for daycare and boarding, but Petplan will reimburse you for boarding fees related to accidents or illness (e.g., recovering from surgery).

Petplan vs. Healthy Paws: Enrollment Process

Petplan and Healthy Paws both make it easy for you to build a policy and register online without picking up the phone or speaking to an agent.

While neither company will deny coverage for pets based on age, Healthy Paws only offers a policy with a $1,000 deductible, 50% reimbursement, and unlimited lifetime coverage for pets 10 years and older. Pet plan doesn't show any differences on their plans even if pets are 10 year or older, but they do increase their premiums for older pets.

Petplan vs. Healthy Paws: Claim Filing

In addition to filing claims via fax, email, and mail, both Petplan and Healthy Paws make it easy to submit a claim along with photos of important documents via mobile apps. Healthy Paws takes this one step further by letting you just upload a photo of your bill instead of filling out a claim form.

Petplan and Healthy Paws typically reimburse you for claims by check within seven to 10 days. Healthy Paws also offers reimbursement via direct deposit which can get your money to you a bit sooner.

Petplan vs. Healthy Paws: Reviews

Both Petplan and Healthy Paws receive Excellent ratings on Trustpilot, with reviewers praising both companies’ fast claims processing, reimbursement, and customer service. 

Yelp gives Petplan and Healthy Paws ratings of Average, with complaints about Healthy Paws increasing premiums without notice and Petplan denying claims. Whether this is due to a confusion in policy exclusions or a genuine issue is unclear.  

Petplan’s insurance policies are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company, which has an A+ rating for financial stability from AM Best.

Healthy Paws’ insurance policies are underwritten by Chubb, which enjoys an A++ rating from AM Best.

Petplan vs. Healthy Paws: Costs

Both Petplan and Healthy Paws let you mix and match deductibles and reimbursement amounts to create a custom policy. Petplan also lets you choose a $5,000, $15,000, or unlimited coverage limit, while all of Healthy Paws' policies come with no annual limit.

We used the quote builders on each company’s website to come up with the following policies. Note that your pricing may vary based on your location or other factors.

Petplan Costs 

An accident and illness insurance policy from Petplan for a mixed-breed, medium-size (23–70 lbs.), three-year-old, female dog with $15,000 coverage, a $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement came to $31.85 per month.

Accident and illness insurance policy from Petplan for a domestic longhair, one-year-old, male cat with $15,000 coverage, a $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement came to $20.16 per month.

Healthy Paws Costs 

An accident and illness insurance policy from Healthy Paws for a mixed-breed, medium-size (31–59 lbs.), three-year-old, female dog with unlimited coverage, a $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement came to $27.96 per month.

An accident and illness insurance policy from Healthy Paws for a domestic longhair, one-year-old, male cat with unlimited coverage, a $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement came to $11.68 per month.

Healthy Paws also charges a $25 one-time administration fee to start your policy. The company offers no discounts for multiple pets but will donate $25 on your behalf to help homeless pets for every friend you refer who buys a policy. The referral program is not available in Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Vermont, or Washington.

While Petplan also doesn’t offer discounts, you can get a 15% premium credit for each year you go without a paid claim up to a maximum of 30%.

Both companies will refund any premiums you paid if you cancel your policy within 30 days and haven’t been reimbursed for any claims during that time.

What Are Petplan and Healthy Paws?

Petplan and Healthy Paws are pet insurance companies offering accident and illness insurance for dogs and cats. Each company’s policies will reimburse pet owners for part of their vet bills if their pet gets sick or hurt. 

Each policy comes with an annual deductible of $100, $250, or $500 that must be paid off before your coverage kicks in. Once you’ve paid your deductible, Petplan and Healthy Paws will reimburse you for 70% to 90% of your vet bills on future office visits. Petplan offers some policies with no annual coverage limits, while all of Healthy Paws’ policies have unlimited lifetime coverage.         

How Do Petplan and Healthy Paws Work?

Once you take your pet to the vet for an accident or illness and pay your vet bill, simply submit a copy of your bill with a claim form to your insurance company. Healthy Paws can also work with some vets and pay them directly.

Any fees you pay the vet will go toward paying your deductible for the year. Once you’ve met your deductible, your insurance will reimburse you for between 70% and 90% of your bill, depending on your policy.    

Both Petplan and Healthy Paws make it easy to submit your claim online. Healthy Paws will also accept a photo of your bill so you won’t even have to fill out any forms.  

Who Should Use Petplan or Healthy Paws?

Anyone who wants affordable accident and illness insurance for their pet should consider Petplan or Healthy Paws. However, which one you pick depends on your needs and preferences. 

On paper, Petplan and Healthy Paws stack up pretty evenly, with both allowing you to customize your deductible, reimbursement, and even choose unlimited lifetime coverage. The real difference comes down to whether you want more coverage or more savings.

Petplan offers reimbursement for services that Healthy Paws simply can’t touch, including virtual vet visits, boarding fees, trip cancellation, advertising for lost pets, accidental death, and more. Petplan’s premiums are about $10 higher than Healthy Paws’ for the same coverage, however, and the lowest deductible you can choose is $250.

Healthy Paws offers more standard accident and illness insurance for slightly less money and also gives you more options to save. For one, you can choose a deductible as low as $100. Secondly, Healthy Paws can also reimburse some vets directly so you will pay much less out of pocket during your visit. 

If you don't see the kind of coverage and benefits you need from either Petplan or Healthy Paws, there are several other pet insurance companies you can choose from.

How We Evaluated Petplan vs. Healthy Paws

In comparing Petplan and Healthy Paws, we looked at the differences in coverage in each accident and illness policy. We took particular note of exclusions such as coverage for exam fees and holistic treatments.

Next, we looked at any add-ons offered by each company that would either provide additional coverage or some savings for pet owners. Finally, we compared prices, weighing the cost of premiums against coverage to determine the best value.

Overall, we feel that Petplan offers more coverage for your money even though it will cost you a bit more. Unlike Healthy Paws, you will get reimbursed for exam visits and enjoy additional coverage for boarding fees, trip cancellations, and more. If you’re looking for a cheaper plan with more basic coverage, however, Healthy Paws may save you more and even keep more money in your pocket with its direct vet pay.