Nationwide Pet vs. Petplan vs. Healthy Paws vs. Banfield Pet Hospital:Pet Insurance Compared

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Nationwide or VPI pet insurance has serious discount options if you want to use your own vet, such as for specific employers like Microsoft. Petplan is ideal for new pet owners who want some guidance from vets in live chat. Healthy Paws has the lifetime i

Health insurance for people has existed for a long time, of course, but health insurance to help pay for expensive bills for pets is more of a new thing. But, now it’s here, and if you have pets that could accrue expensive bills, it can be a good idea to get some. Here are a few options for you to choose between.

Nationwide Pet Insurance

 

Nationwide Pet Insurance is also known as VPI pet insurance, and it’s one of the most popular options online for offering insurance to pets. In fact, it’s even possible to pick up the insurance from some employers.

Pet Insurance Plans

Whole Pet with Wellness

Major Medical

Pet Wellness

Exams, lab tests, X-rays

Exams, lab tests, X-rays

Wellness exams and tests

Prescriptions

Prescriptions

Flea & heartworm protection

Surgeries & hospitalization

Surgeries & hospitalization

Vaccinations

Chronic conditions

Chronic conditions

 

Hereditary conditions (no waiting period)

Some hereditary conditions (waiting period applies)

 

Wellness

   

And more

   

Prices typcially will depend on the age of your pet.

Features

  • Insurance from Employer-Some employers actually offer VPI to employees. There’s a link to check this in the main price. The pricing will at least be discounted for some companies. For example, Microsoft employees are discounted to $22 per month or so for My Pet Protection.
  • 90% Back on Vet Bills-This is more of a maximum than a guarantee, but it means the site claims a pretty good rate in terms of the equivalent of a copay. The policy does include exclusions.
  • Use Any Vet-You can use any vet you want with VPI or Nationwide. There’s no limitation on it and coverage should still apply regardless of the vet.

Petplan

 

Petplan has a lot of information available for beginners, including a LiveChat option. This makes them one of the few pet insurance services that does that.

Petplan covers the following:

  • Accidents and emergencies: Accidents such as broken bones, swallowing something wrong, injured knees, cuts and even bee stings.
  • Illness: Your pet will be covered with illnesses like ear infections, stomach bugs, dental disease and more.
  • Hereditary and chronic conditions: This can include chronic issues like allergies, and hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia and cancer.
  • Veterinary exam fees for non-routine care.

Features

  • Petplan Extras-Petplan has an extensive rewards program. You get access to Fetch! Magazine, the newsletter, and 24/7 access just for being a policy holder.
  • PetCoach Information for Pet Owners-Those who are policyholders can access the full database here including all documents on pets and questions for experts. This includes PetCoach forum access, one on one online consultation with a professional veterinarian, and access to scheduling tools.
  • $25 for Referrals-The “Refer a Friend” program lets you get $25 if you get someone else to sign up, make their first payment, and list you as the one who sent them. You can only do this after you’ve been a policy holder for 30 days, however.

Healthy Paws

 

Healthy Paws has the distinction of being the best rated Pet Insurance for the last three years. They have features that help reduce the hassle of dealing with pet insurance such as lifetime benefits and paperless claims.

Features

  • Paperless Claims-You can get fast claims done right through your device without having to wait for slow mail to handle it. Reviews online indicate that reimbursements come quickly through the site as well.
  • Unlimited Lifetime Benefits-You can keep getting benefits for your pet across the board including minor accidents and chronic issues that occur throughout the lifetime of your pet. It covers them for their whole life, in other words.
  • Flexible Deductible Levels-You can choose between $100, $250 or $500 deductible rates. If you have a higher deductible, you’ll have a lower monthly rate of course.

Banfield Pet Hospital

Banfield Pet Hospital actual physical hospitals where you can take your pets, including many locations throughout the country.

Features

  • Unlimited Office Visits-Take your pet to the office for general checkups as much as you want.
  • Routine Vaccinations Covered-This applies to any of the plans. This is in contrast to many services where the basic vaccinations aren’t covered.
  • Discounts for Multiple Pets-If you have multiple pets, you can get up to $15 off on the new pets when adding them to the plan.

Head to Head

Pricing

Nationwide or VPI has their Whole Pet with Wellness plan that goes for $64 per month at the low end. This covers just about everything. Or, you can go for Major Medical which is accidents, illnesses, and hereditary conditions at $34 per month. Pet Wellness is $17 per month and covers exams, vaccinations, and worm or flea prevention.

Petplan has a $100 deductible and 10% copay on many of their plans. They aren’t especially forthcoming about their monthly rates, and these can vary extensively. A common rate is $30 per month, however.

Healthy Paws has examples of monthly costs at around $32 for a two year old Labrador Retriever, for example. Reimbursement levels can vary from 80 to 90%, whereas VPI fixes most of theirs at 90%. This means that VPI tends to cost more if you don’t get any deals like through an employer, but more is covered.

Banfield Pet Hospital has its Wellness plans that start out at $13 per month. This makes them easily one of the cheapest plans of the lot. They can do this because they are using their own locations. You also get 10% off other Banfield products and services as well.

Features

Nationwide or VPI offers both cat and dog insurance. Their “Whole Pet with Wellness” program offers just about any problem you can think of generally. The service has deep discount possibilities including getting $40 off or more from your employer.

Petplan has a lot of specific discounts such as a 10% military discount. They received an A+ rating from the BBB under Fetch, Inc. People like that they can get vet exams that aren’t of a routine nature covered, such as ones needed due to an injury or illness. The service focuses on giving you a lot of information access such as live chat. People do complain about policies like needing to get a pet to a vet within 48 hours of onset or potentially losing coverage. Overall, they are a bit more information heavy than VPI, for example.

Healthy Paws has the downside of having 12-month waiting periods for things like hip dysplasia, and this isn’t the case in places like Petplan, who will cover it as long as there were no symptoms before you took the policy. They only have a 14-day waiting period after treatment. They do have lifetime insurance where none of the others do though.

Banfield Pet Hospital has reviews online that complain about automatic membership renewal, meaning it can be hard to get out of it sometimes. They don’t cover illness or injury the way that Healthy Paws and others do. There are also apparently some issues when it comes to going to appointments where Banfield people push services so you end up paying money even though it’s technically free. But, you do get access to routine vaccinations and many checkups.

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