Adventures with Ryan: Finding Pet Insurance for Liza

Adventures with Ryan: Finding Pet Insurance for Liza


I recently adopted my foster dog Liza! She’s an adorable senior German Shepherd who I’d been fostering for a few months. Over the last few weeks, it just became clear that I loved her a lot and wanted her to stay part of the family!

I’ve fostered a lot over the last two years with Rocket Dog Rescue (an incredible rescue in East Oakland). It finally felt right to adopt my latest family member, but it felt like a huge responsibility to keep her healthy and happy. I knew that I wanted to get her insurance, but I didn’t know where to start.

In the past I’ve never had health insurance for my pets, to be honest I didn’t even know it was an option until recently. Luckily, I’m the CEO of Wild Earth, a health focused plant-based dog food company and I had A LOT of help and suggestions from my colleagues. So how did I start?

First of all, don’t panic. There are thankfully A LOT of choices out there. The hard part is picking a simple pet health insurance plan which works best for you and your dog, and this varies a lot from what I’d found. 

If you’re like me (and the majority of pet parents in the US), you probably haven’t had pet insurance before, in fact only 1% of pet parents in the US do. That’s a SHOCKINGLY low statistic. To provide you with a comparison, 90% of the US population have some level of health insurance in the US. 

Most of us are used to paying out of pocket expenses every time we go to see the vet. Unfortunately, in the past there just haven’t been a lot of good and affordable health options for pets and reducing our vet bill. 

Thankfully, over the last few years, that’s been changing. Now there are a lot more and better choices out there for pet parents like you and me.

With such a low level of pet insurance, it’s no wonder that pet parents struggle to pay those surprise vet bills.

Hopefully, with a bit of planning and affordable monthly premiums, we can all avoid that and keep our best friends as healthy as possible!

This isn’t an extensive list of dog health insurance options and the Wild Earth team and I would love your feedback on the best pet health insurance options that you’ve found for your pet and why you love it!

To get us started I began by asking the pet parents at Wild Earth and also my other friends who were pet parents. It was a small but mighty group of pet parents!

Starting the Search

I started my search by putting in Liza’s details, she’s an 8-year-old German Shepard in generally good health. 

Rather than talking about general experiences, I thought I’d share my specific experience in March 2020 looking for insurance for her.

It’s important to note that dog health insurance varies A LOT by the specifics of your dog, breed, age, location and pre-existing health conditions as well as levels of coverage and reimbursement (i.e. the ranges can be between 50%-100% although 70% and 80% are most typical).

I started with the list of highly recommended plans from my team at Wild Earth and also from my friends and family. I’ve included my top 5 in no particular order.

*Wild Earth does not endorse any of these options, this is just my experience*

The Options

PetPlan

  • PetPlan came highly recommended but ended up being VERY expensive compared to the other plans. My lowest offer was $136/month-$300/month for 80% reimbursement. It seems like a good plan but I’m guessing they’re not trying to attract pet parents with senior dogs like Liza.

Figo

  • I was super impressed with Figo, starting at between $60 to $70 per month (with 70% reimbursement and options for additional coverage, they felt far more flexible and cost-effective than a lot of the other plans and I also love the live vet feature 24/7, it brings a big peace of mind and feels much more suited to the smartphone era we’re all in. 

Trupanion

  • It was kind of a shocker, it came most highly recommended but at between $179 to $330/month it came out to be the most expensive insurance quote that I got during my search but it did have comprehensive options and lots of great reviews. 

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

  • I really liked their quick and easy interface and they were about the same cost for coverage (around the $90/month cost). A nice, simple plan that’s apparently also great for pet parents that have multiple pets (both dogs and cats)

ASPCA

  • It seemed really reasonable for 80% reimbursement with a $5k limit at $85/month. A nice and really solid plan! I love the ASPCA and their mission and I think it’s a great all-rounder plan

A few notable mentions

Nationwide VPI was competitively priced in the $80-140/month price range and seemed to have some additional benefits including wellness. I liked their offering but only had one friend recommend them (and they recommended them strongly)

Banfield Hospitals, I would have loved to have reviewed them but unfortunately, they require that a representative contact you first and they said they’d be in touch within two days. Unfortunately in today’s world of online convenience, this was kind of a fail. I really loved the idea of a regular Banfield wellness visit at what sounds like affordable prices but I’d love to be able to compare before having to speak with someone.

So what did I choose?

The winner was FIGO for me and Liza, I went for 70% reimbursement with a $10k cap. I’m actually really excited to get started and to have easy access to a 24/7 vet feature. 

Several members of the Wild Earth team recommended it and honestly out of all the plans it felt like the most technologically advanced plan.

I also really like the founder of Figo, Rusty Sproat who clearly cares a lot about pets and bringing the best technology to service all of his furry customers and their pet parents.



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