Havanese Forum banner
1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,597 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know nothing about it other than what I just read in the LCP thread.

I'm starting this one just for information for everyone.

Anything anyone knows about it, please post. With what seem to be outrageous costs for some things, it's looking more, and more like it's a good gamble for some owners.

Karen's post about requiring it for the first two years is worthwhile to discuss.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
I had Piper enrolled in Healthy Paws before she even came home. I read that it's good to do it early because there is a two-week waiting period for it to kick in, so the idea is for the waiting period to be over by the time you get your pup (god forbid anything crazy happens). It's only about $23 a month. I like having it to be extra safe. It doesn't cover any routine procedures like shots, annuals, physicals, etc. but you can submit a claim if you ever need an x-ray or antibiotics or if there's an injury or illness or surgery needed down the line I believe.

I think it makes sense for us because the monthly premium is fairly cheap since we got her enrolled early, but the math may make more sense to just make a separate "pet emergency fund" on your own if you're quoted at a much higher premium because your pet is older and has a few conditions and was never enrolled before. I think premiums vary by breed too - my sister was quoted at $45 a month when she was looking into it for her Corgi puppy, so she decided to just set her own $$$ aside for any future pet medical issues.
 

·
Metrowest, MA
Joined
·
29,823 Posts
I had Piper enrolled in Healthy Paws before she even came home. I read that it's good to do it early because there is a two-week waiting period for it to kick in, so the idea is for the waiting period to be over by the time you get your pup (god forbid anything crazy happens). It's only about $23 a month. I like having it to be extra safe. It doesn't cover any routine procedures like shots, annuals, physicals, etc. but you can submit a claim if you ever need an x-ray or antibiotics or if there's an injury or illness or surgery needed down the line I believe.

I think it makes sense for us because the monthly premium is fairly cheap since we got her enrolled early, but the math may make more sense to just make a separate "pet emergency fund" on your own if you're quoted at a much higher premium because your pet is older and has a few conditions and was never enrolled before. I think premiums vary by breed too - my sister was quoted at $45 a month when she was looking into it for her Corgi puppy, so she decided to just set her own $$$ aside for any future pet medical issues.
The waiting period is why I enrolled my pups in the AKC free month of insurance when I registered them for each owner! Most insurance companies will not allow you to enroll a dog you don't own yet. How did you manage that?

Another thing that breeders should look into is that SOME insurance companies offer discounts if the entire litter is enrolled with the same company. But these offers come and go, and none were offering it at the time my litter was ready to go. So it's annoying and time consuming to sort it out.

Another thing I found was that it was almost USELESS to try to do research to help my puppy buyers. It might have helped my two puppy buyers that were geographically close to me, although even with them I suspect their rates might have been different, since one lives in a very affluent town, and the rates that vets charge in an area are factored in) but rates quoted for me would have been useless for my two puppies going out of state. This, unfortunately, is something where everyone kind of has to do their own homework. :(

FOR SURE, the sooner you enroll, the cheaper it is. I can tell you that what swayed me were:

Reports from friends that the company payed out quickly without dragging their heels
The ability to choose your premium by deciding on your deductible. I was willing to take the risk on a higher deductible, for a lower monthly premium.
Make SURE that the company covers the genetic and congental problems likely to come up in YOUR breed. some are remarkably sneaky about disallowing those!
Because I am a big believer in rehab, I liked the my insurer allowed a rider for rehab services for only a couple of dollars a month. Those services can REALLY add up if you need to take your dog in for underwater treadmill work twice a week!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
The waiting period is why I enrolled my pups in the AKC free month of insurance when I registered them for each owner! Most insurance companies will not allow you to enroll a dog you don't own yet. How did you manage that?

Another thing that breeders should look into is that SOME insurance companies offer discounts if the entire litter is enrolled with the same company. But these offers come and go, and none were offering it at the time my litter was ready to go. So it's annoying and time consuming to sort it out.

Another thing I found was that it was almost USELESS to try to do research to help my puppy buyers. It might have helped my two puppy buyers that were geographically close to me, although even with them I suspect their rates might have been different, since one lives in a very affluent town, and the rates that vets charge in an area are factored in) but rates quoted for me would have been useless for my two puppies going out of state. This, unfortunately, is something where everyone kind of has to do their own homework. :(

FOR SURE, the sooner you enroll, the cheaper it is. I can tell you that what swayed me were:

Reports from friends that the company payed out quickly without dragging their heels
The ability to choose your premium by deciding on your deductible. I was willing to take the risk on a higher deductible, for a lower monthly premium.
Make SURE that the company covers the genetic and congental problems likely to come up in YOUR breed. some are remarkably sneaky about disallowing those!
Because I am a big believer in rehab, I liked the my insurer allowed a rider for rehab services for only a couple of dollars a month. Those services can REALLY add up if you need to take your dog in for underwater treadmill work twice a week!
From what I remember there's a waiting period for injuries/illness (i think 15 days) and ALSO a requirement to get the dog you're enrolling examined by a vet within 15 days of enrollment. The way i timed it I got Piper examined on day 15 (the last day of the wait period and the last day of the exam requirement). So far they seem pretty good, I filed one claim so far (vet visit for a coldlike bug) and they paid out within a couple days of filing.
 

·
Metrowest, MA
Joined
·
29,823 Posts
From what I remember there's a waiting period for injuries/illness (i think 15 days) and ALSO a requirement to get the dog you're enrolling examined by a vet within 15 days of enrollment. The way i timed it I got Piper examined on day 15 (the last day of the wait period and the last day of the exam requirement). So far they seem pretty good, I filed one claim so far (vet visit for a coldlike bug) and they paid out within a couple days of filing.
Mine didn't have any requirement for an "extra" exam, and my contract required that the puppies be examined within a week of them going to their new homes. (which is a rather long time under normal circumstances, but... Covid!) And, of course, most people are bringing their puppies in for regular well puppy visits, so it's usually easy to get an exam done if needed. But it also sounds like you have a "wellness" plan, which I don't have.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NotAMuggle

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
I’m still on the fence about pet insurance vs. self-funding emergencies. What are the odds that a pet will have a large enough bill in the first year or two to justify the cost of a premium/deductible/copay? Or do those of you who’ve opted to get pet insurance consider it peace of mind?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,204 Posts
I’m still on the fence about pet insurance vs. self-funding emergencies. What are the odds that a pet will have a large enough bill in the first year or two to justify the cost of a premium/deductible/copay? Or do those of you who’ve opted to get pet insurance consider it peace of mind?
i think the chance is reasonable in the first two years to make it worth the premium, if someone can afford it. For exactly the reason Karen mentioned - that’s when a puppy is most likely to ingest something, and the bill for an overnight stay to monitor or for surgical removal could be $3,000 or more (that was about the estimate we were given, but I don’t remember what it included and our puppy passed the foreign object). It would take years of saving the premium to cover that. I definitely think there is always the potential of it feeling wasted if nothing goes wrong. Whether or not to do it I think depends a lot on financial situation.

Without getting too tacky about money, I feel pretty strongly that finances shouldn’t prevent a family from owning a dog under most circumstances. If someone can afford the cost of food, shots, and basic vet care, they should be able to enjoy the blessings a dog can bring their family if it’s what they want. But MOST people cannot afford an emergency vet bill that requires an overnight stay, X-rays, or surgery. I couldnt afford a $30/month premium on my social worker’s salary! After many years of struggling financially, largely for reasons out of our control, we are in a good place, but it would require creativity to scrape together a few thousand dollars to pay cash for an emergency bill, and it will probably be that way at least until my kids finish college (although I’m sure it would help if I cut out extra doggie toys). I definitely regret not enrolling in insurance. Sundance is pretty healthy but between giardia his first year and a single injury when he was 3, it would have been worth it. All of this I say coming from a family with a decent income, in a state where we can still afford to own a home. The idea that families with less have likely already made sacrifices to save for a dog as expensive as a Havanese, would then be faced with an expensive vet bill they can’t afford, is heartbreaking to me.

Something to consider is that first time dog owners are unlikely to realize how expensive vet care can be, and there is a good chance that their idea of what kinds of treatments they would want to pay for will change.

DH did come across insurance that will enroll older pets after Sundance’s injury. I think they have to be under a certain age, no injuries within a certain period of time, and they must be in good health (verified by a vet). It only covered emergency visits and was $20-30/month.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
We got Healthy Paws for Charlie after his first visit to the ER at 3.5 for a foxtail in his foot. The bill was $700, and when we looked up prices on other health issues we decided it was a good idea so we never had to make a decision about his health based on cost. They’ve overall been great… they generally pay very quickly and I love that they cover things like PT and acupuncture the same as anything else… and no restrictions on various ailments. We just got a check for $1800 for his recent overnight stay when he had pancreatitis. I didn’t think the ‘we don’t cover visits’ was a big deal, until we started seeing specialists… since C was diagnosed with mitral valve disease, we now have a yearly cardiologist appointment, and while they cover the echocardiogram, the visit with the cardiologist (which is something like $225) doesn’t even count towards our deductible.

Because of this, we decided to go with Embrace for Jolene, and got it her first day home. They had a 6 month orthopedic waiting period in addition to the typical 2 weeks for illness/injury, but if your vet fills out a form saying that their joints looked good, it is waived. Not knowing what our financial circumstances will be in 10 years, it made me feel better to know that we could go see any specialist she may need, as frequently as she may need it (FYI Embrace offers discounts through USAA and some employer benefit programs). I like that with both you can adjust the amount of your deductible to find what works for you in terms of monthly premium.

To be clear- this is the first year that we will get more back for Charlie than we paid in premiums between the IVDD and Pancreatitis. BUT, if you’re considering it eventually, the reason it can be worthwhile to do early is that none of them cover pre-existing conditions. So if you wait until something happens, anything related to that wouldn’t be covered. And some of them are pretty aggressive on what is considered ‘related’— like one orthopedic condition could be considered related to others, and one cancer could be related to others. Premiums do go up when they get older, but this happens if you’ve had it since they were young. Charlie’s premiums have doubled in the last 6 years, and I assume they’ll go up again after he turns 10 this year.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,835 Posts
I also got Healthy Paws for Scout and Truffles when they first arrived. Veterinary care and specialists are terribly expensive. Hopefully if you do get insurance you will never need to use it. They covered around $10,000 for two CCL surgeries. Recently Scout saw an eye specialist to have a small growth removed from his eyelid $1,250 which was covered. They make process of reimbursement very easy. I just emailed the invoice and received a check within a few days. Like Lisa and Charlie...our premiums have also doubled over the years.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,597 Posts
From ShamaPapa:

We got Healthy Paws for Her Royal Highness right after we got her. We were not entirely sure it would be a good investment at the time. Now, however, with her CKD, we are very happy to have it. They have covered much of the costs of her vet visits, testing and medications. I am not sure what we pay each month at this point. I know it has gone up since the initial $25/month.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,331 Posts
I had Healthy Paws for Willow since got her. However about a year ago they raised her premium to almost double. Seems to me it was up around $90 a month. I also had problems with them repeatedly asking for information - vet exam information. I repeatedly sent them what I had. Also, I tried to send the information via fax as I don't have a scanner. Their fax line never worked. I feel I am able to take care of Willow's medical costs without insurance. Insurance is such a gamble. Costco now offers Figo pet insurance in some areas. I did look at that and got a quote. Half of what Healthy Paws wanted. I believe Healthy Paws is probably the best even though it's more expensive. I don't know why I had problems. Seems like no one else ever did.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,597 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Could someone that knows more about it than I do start a poll, or list that has columns for company name, cost, deductible, and satisfaction with interactions with the company?

There are a lot of questions to ask, and this could be a good place for owners to get an understanding. Insurance is always a gamble, but someone is going to get unlucky at some point.
 

·
Metrowest, MA
Joined
·
29,823 Posts
Could someone that knows more about it than I do start a poll, or list that has columns for company name, cost, deductible, and satisfaction with interactions with the company?

There are a lot of questions to ask, and this could be a good place for owners to get an understanding. Insurance is always a gamble, but someone is going to get unlucky at some point.
The problem with costs and deductibles, Tom, is that with most companies, you can choose a deductible based on the monthly premium you want to pay. And premiums are completely different based on the age of the dog and where you live. So just because one person is paying a certain amount with one company, it doesn't mean that someone else will pay the same amount with that company, even with another Havanese of the same age.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Do any pet insurance companies lock in your rate as your pet ages? For example, this is how my life insurance policy works. No matter how old I get, I always pay the same rate.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,835 Posts
Do any pet insurance companies lock in your rate as your pet ages? For example, this is how my life insurance policy works. No matter how old I get, I always pay the same rate.
I have never heard of a pet insurance company locking your rate for an older pet. I may be wrong, but I think the premium would more then likely increase due to the increasing possibly of having to pay out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
The problem with costs and deductibles, Tom, is that with most companies, you can choose a deductible based on the monthly premium you want to pay. And premiums are completely different based on the age of the dog and where you live. So just because one person is paying a certain amount with one company, it doesn't mean that someone else will pay the same amount with that company, even with another Havanese of the same age.
Yeah, it’s kind of impossible to compare with different coverage, dogs of different ages, locations, etc. You can get quotes across different companies pretty easily up front, but you have no idea how they’ll change the premiums. It seems fairly unregulated, and the prices can jump quickly. Charlie had small increases each year and then it jumped like 30% one year… they said it was had nothing to do with claims, but I find that hard to believe since that was the year he was diagnosed with mitral valve disease and mild arthritis! It’s a pretty weird industry, and yet I’m really happy to have it for peace of mind knowing that we’ll never be making a decision based on cost of treatment, which unfortunately so many people have to given the cost of specialized vet care.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,835 Posts
Yeah, it’s kind of impossible to compare with different coverage, dogs of different ages, locations, etc. You can get quotes across different companies pretty easily up front, but you have no idea how they’ll change the premiums. It seems fairly unregulated, and the prices can jump quickly. Charlie had small increases each year and then it jumped like 30% one year… they said it was had nothing to do with claims, but I find that hard to believe since that was the year he was diagnosed with mitral valve disease and mild arthritis! It’s a pretty weird industry, and yet I’m really happy to have it for peace of mind knowing that we’ll never be making a decision based on cost of treatment, which unfortunately so many people have to given the cost of specialized vet care.
My experience is that insurance companies increase premiums when a claim is made. Although not pet related...we had a burglary 2015 and our yearly premium was increased for three years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,934 Posts
I’m still on the fence about pet insurance vs. self-funding emergencies. What are the odds that a pet will have a large enough bill in the first year or two to justify the cost of a premium/deductible/copay? Or do those of you who’ve opted to get pet insurance consider it peace of mind?
I can't speak to the "odds" but personal experience says that if you might need it it's worth it :).

I know Perry is probably an outlier, but for him insurance has been completely worth it.

I got Perry healthy paws when he was about a year old (we got him at 8 months old and by the time I figured out if I wanted insurance and got it, he was around a year old). We got the 90% coverage with the $250 deductible. As someone mentioned, they don't cover routine things, but do cover other medical issues, medications, and things like PT.

As many of you know, Perry has had many medical issues. He had his first surgery for a CCL tear a few years ago and 2021 was a host of costs. I think I calculated and at this point his 2021 medical bills were around (through November, haven't added December to the calculations yet) $10,500 and we've been reimbursed close to $9000 (the rest was deductible plus the 10% that we have to pay). I don't remember what we payed when we started the policy - but it did raise to around $50/ month last year.

We're still dealing with issues on his front leg (his PT vet has recommended visiting a specialist in the Baltimore area) and need to do annual xrays (around $700-800) for the lesions on his spine. I figure that that alone practically makes it worth the cost of the insurance every year, plus I can cancel it at any time and will have already made it more than worth the cost with what we've incurred versus what we've had to pay up to now.

I know this is not necessarily the norm, and I could have covered these costs myself without the insurance, but I like the piece of mind of having it.

I find them very easy to work with and get reimbursed very quickly. I attach everything to the claim when I put it in - if I don't have a scanner I just take a picture of the bill and submit it. They have occasionally asked for other paperwork, but it never was a major problem.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,785 Posts
Out of curiosity, I got a quote from Healthy Paws on Ricky Ricardo an 8 y.o. male, 11 - 20 pound small breed canine. Here are some of the details:
  • $44 per month premium
  • Only two deductibles were offered, $750 and $1,000. I selected $750
  • Three coverages were offered. 70%, 60%, and 50%. I selected 70%
  • Premiums are good for 12 months only and can be changed due to dog age and increased veterinary care in your zip code
  • Coverage starts 30 days AFTER the start of premium payments
  • Pre-existing conditions are excluded
  • Routine care is not covered plus there are a lot of other exclusions like hip dysplasia.
  • For canines over 6 y.o., no qualifying Vet exam is required
I did a breakeven cost analysis on the policy. I would need to spend about $2,500 per year in extraordinary veterinarian expenses for this to cover my premiums, deductibles, and co-pay. If Ricky lives to be an average age for a Havanese, I would need to spend about $20,000 on extraordinary health care for him to breakeven during his remaining lifetime...IF the premiums were to remain the same, which I know they won't. That means the breakeven point moves to $20,000+++.

I can take that $2,500 per year I would be spending on his extraordinary health per year and invest in his own stock portfolio. Currently, I am getting about 8% return on investment in the stock market (which could go up or down) and earn $200 per year on that investment. That would mean my breakeven point would be reduced to 5 or 6 years rather than 8 years...IF the premiums and coverage were to remain the same, which they won't.

It is a tough call for me. I think it depends on each individual's specific financial circumstances, dog's age, dog's general health, location, etc. For some it makes sense to get insurance and others it won't.
 

·
Metrowest, MA
Joined
·
29,823 Posts
Out of curiosity, I got a quote from Healthy Paws on Ricky Ricardo an 8 y.o. male, 11 - 20 pound small breed canine. Here are some of the details:
  • $44 per month premium
  • Only two deductibles were offered, $750 and $1,000. I selected $750
  • Three coverages were offered. 70%, 60%, and 50%. I selected 70%
  • Premiums are good for 12 months only and can be changed due to dog age and increased veterinary care in your zip code
  • Coverage starts 30 days AFTER the start of premium payments
  • Pre-existing conditions are excluded
  • Routine care is not covered plus there are a lot of other exclusions like hip dysplasia.
  • For canines over 6 y.o., no qualifying Vet exam is required
I did a breakeven cost analysis on the policy. I would need to spend about $2,500 per year in extraordinary veterinarian expenses for this to cover my premiums, deductibles, and co-pay. If Ricky lives to be an average age for a Havanese, I would need to spend about $20,000 on extraordinary health care for him to breakeven during his remaining lifetime...IF the premiums were to remain the same, which I know they won't. That means the breakeven point moves to $20,000+++.

I can take that $2,500 per year I would be spending on his extraordinary health per year and invest in his own stock portfolio. Currently, I am getting about 8% return on investment in the stock market (which could go up or down) and earn $200 per year on that investment. That would mean my breakeven point would be reduced to 5 or 6 years rather than 8 years...IF the premiums and coverage were to remain the same, which they won't.

It is a tough call for me. I think it depends on each individual's specific financial circumstances, dog's age, dog's general health, location, etc. For some it makes sense to get insurance and others it won't.
I agree. I don't think it makes ANY sense to sign up an older dog. I am not sure it makes sense for MOST people to continue with insurance after the first couple of years AS LONG AS they have the money to handle big, sudden expense. HOWEVER, I think that the cost is much more reasonable in the first couple of years, and while the vast majority of Havanese puppy owners WON'T need it, the few that do, will thank their lucky stars that they have it!!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: DogFather
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top