Trupanion Pet Insurance Review 2020: The Best Value?

During my deep dive into the pet insurance industry, I found a lot of customers talking about Trupanion.

People were raving about not having to pay up front vet bills, having one simple plan, and no payout limits.

It sounded great so I decided to do my own research and review Trupanion.

So do they live up to their claims?

Below is my honest opinion about the company and whether you should consider them.

The Highlights

  • Provides pet insurance for both cats and dogs
  • Will insure cats and dogs up to 14 years
  • Offers only one plan with 90% coverage
  • Offers deductibles between $0 – $1,000
  • Offers a couple of add-on plans for extra coverage
  • Trupanion has a per-condition deductible unlike any other pet insurance company
  • There aren’t any payout limits

Trupanion Coverage

Trupanion offers one policy: a simple plan for life’s unexpected occurrences, including injury and illness.

They offer 90% coverage and they have no payout limits, so you don’t have to worry about going over your limits and figuring out a way to pay it out of your own pocket.

To put it simply, Trupanion covers all unexpected injuries and illnesses and the medical treatment they require. This includes:

Hereditary conditions

Any condition your pet’s breed is prone to may be covered, including things like hip dysplasia, diabetes, thyroid disease, or upper respiratory infections.

As long as it’s not a pre-existing condition (diagnose before you got coverage), it should be covered.

Unexpected issues

Trupanion also covers symptoms that don’t have an exact diagnosis. For example, vomiting or diarrhea may need treatment without figuring out the underlying cause.

Even if your vet can’t diagnose anything, the visit (minus the exam) will be covered.

Congenital conditions

Conditions your pet developed before birth, such as heart disease, liver disease, or cataracts are covered as long as you insure your pet before he/she is diagnosed.

Dental Coverage

Trupanion covers all dental illnesses and injuries that are ‘new.’

Unlike most pet insurance companies, Trupanion covers dental illnesses, which may include tooth extraction (baby or adult teeth), root canals, or endodontic treatments.

In order to get dental care coverage, you must:

  • Get your pet an annual dental exam
  • Follow all vet recommendations for dental care

Trupanion also covers dental emergencies due to an injury, but it’s nice to know that they offer coverage for ‘dental illnesses’ unlike most pet insurance companies that only cover dental injuries.

Extra Coverage

Trupanion provides the option to add ‘extra’ coverage or complementary coverage to your policy.

Choosing the extra coverage provides coverage for vet-recommended natural therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, or naturopathy to name a few.

The Complementary Care Rider does have an extra cost. The rider helps cover the cost of complementary services that may make your pet more comfortable or heal faster.

The idea is to treat your whole pet – not just his/her symptoms. Trupanion wants to make sure your pet is well cared for no matter what injuries or illnesses are going on at the time.

You can opt for the Complementary Care Rider at the start of the policy or within 30 days of enrolling. Make sure you call right away if this is something you want to add to your policy.

What Trupanion Doesn’t Cover

Trupanion is very clear about what they do and do not cover. What they don’t cover includes the following:

  • The cost of the exam
  • Taxes charged on any services
  • Wellness exams
  • Flea and tick control
  • Vaccinations
  • Spay or neuter services
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Alternative therapies unless you purchase the Complementary Care Rider

Please note that Trupanion considers a pre-existing condition any condition or symptoms that occurred before you bought pet insurance.

This includes any injuries (and re-injuries) that your pet may have experienced before coverage began.

Waiting Periods

Like most pet insurance companies, Trupanion has the following waiting periods:

  • 5 days for injuries
  • 30 days for illnesses

Any injuries that occur within 5 days of buying coverage or illnesses that occur within 30 days fall under the ‘pre-existing condition’ category and are not covered.

In order to be covered, not only must you be outside of the waiting period, but also have proof that the injury or illness wasn’t a pre-existing condition.

If an injury or illness occurs during the waiting period, it falls under the pre-existing condition category and Trupanion won’t cover it.

How Do Deductibles Work?

In general, the deductible is the portion of the bill you are responsible for before Trupanion will cover the 90% of eligible expenses.

Trupanion’s deductibles work a little differently than standard deductibles though.

They don’t offer an annual deductible, which resets each year. Instead, they have a lifetime per-condition deductible.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say your pet fell ill. The issue required you to see the vet three times. On your first visit, you met your deductible for the condition.

If the next two visits are specifically for the same illness, Trupanion will cover the expenses at 90% – there’s no more deductible to worry about for your pet’s life.

If your pet has the same issues in the future, again, you don’t have a deductible to worry about.

The next time you must worry about a deductible is when your pet has a ‘new’ issue.

For example, if you take your pet in today because he ate a tennis ball. All complications from this occurrence fall under the same deductible.

If two months from now, your pet hurts his leg, you’d have a new deductible for the leg, but every visit you make for the leg will fall under that deductible whether it’s this year, next year, or even later.

Trupanion offers deductibles from $0 – $1,000. When you choose a higher deductible, it lowers your monthly premium.

However, a higher deductible means you must cover a larger portion of the bill before Trupanion will cover 90% of the costs.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Trupanion, like many other insurance companies, doesn’t cover injuries or illnesses that already happened.

You buy insurance to cover unexpected injuries or illnesses moving forward. This includes the recurrence of certain illnesses or symptoms relating to an injury that already occurred.

They consider a pre-existing condition any injury or illness that presented symptoms within the last 18 months or within the defined waiting periods.

If your pet had an issue more than 18 months ago however, it won’t count as a pre-existing condition.

Trupanion recommends that pet owners enroll their pets in pet insurance when they are young and healthy in order to sidestep the pre-existing conditions issues.

Filing A Claim

You are responsible for paying the vet bill at the time of service. You then submit a claim to Trupanion to get reimbursed. The process is simple:

  • File a claim online uploading the bill right into your account
  • Download a claim form, take a picture of the invoice, and email or fax to Trupanion
  • You can send the claim via snail mail, but this process takes the longest

If Trupanion approves your claim, they’ll send a check to your home or direct deposit the funds in your designated checking or savings account.

Please note that you should always file a claim even if the bill is less than your deductible.

Any amount you pay will be applied towards your deductible, lowering your future expenses for that same condition.

Trupanion Costs

Trupanion offers one policy with 90% reimbursement. You may choose your deductible between $0 and $1,000.

Your actual cost depends on:

  • Type of pet
  • Breed
  • Age
  • The health of the pet at the time of application
  • Your location
  • The chosen deductible

Trupanion offers personalized quotes that you can get in a matter of minutes online.

Trupanion Comparison

Trupanion offers a few differences that make them stand out from the traditional pet insurance companies:

  • They do offer Vet Direct Pay. You can search on their website to see which providers are signed up for this service. If you see a vet that accepts Trupanion directly, you don’t have to foot the bill out-of-pocket. You only have to pay your portion of the bill at the time of the visit.
  • Trupanion offers one plan, making it easy to choose.
  • Trupanion doesn’t decide what fees are ‘reasonable and customary.’ They reimburse you based on the vet’s charges.
  • Trupanion offers a condition-based deductible program rather than annual deductibles.
  • Trupanion doesn’t cancel your policy just because you filed claims

Trupanion Lawsuit

Trupanion was involved in a lawsuit in 2019, but it had to do with sales tactics in Washington.

They paid their fines and State Insurance Commissioner, Mike Kreidler, hopes this is the last of the fines he has to assess the company, as this was the third fine in four years for similar violations.

Pro's and Con's

Pros:

  • No payout limits
  • 90% coverage
  • Per-condition deductibles
  • $0 deductible option
  • Vet direct pay
  • 24/7 customer care

Cons:

  • 30-day waiting period for illnesses
  • Doesn’t offer a wellness benefit
  • They don’t offer a multi-pet discount
  • You must pay extra for coverage for holistic or natural care

FAQ’s

Does Trupanion raise rates?

Trupanion may raise rates based on the costs of insuring a pet like yours, but they don’t raise rates just because your pet has a birthday.

This is unlike most other pet health insurance policies that raise rates every time your pet has a birthday just because they are more likely to have claims as they get older.

Is routine care covered?

No. Pet insurance is meant for unexpected injuries and illnesses. Routine care and wellness care are considered a part of having a pet and should be budgeted as such.

Trupanion doesn’t cover this type of visit and they don’t offer any riders or extra coverage options for it.

Does Trupanion pay the vet directly?

Trupanion does pay some vets directly. You can search on their website to see if your vet or animal hospital participates in the program.

If so, Trupanion will pay your vet directly, leaving you with only your portion of the bill to cover. This can be especially helpful for hospital visits that tend to get pricey.

Is cremation covered?

If you purchase the Pet Owner Assistance Package (an additional rider), cremation is covered. It’s not covered under their standard policy.

Does Trupanion cover exam fees?

No, Trupanion doesn’t cover exam fees. That part of the expenses is your responsibility.

Is hip dysplasia covered?

Yes, hip dysplasia is covered as long as you secure coverage before your pet shows signs of symptoms of the issue.

If you secure coverage after your pet is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, though, it won’t be covered as it’s a pre-existing condition.

Reimbursement Stories

Amethyst’s Story

Amethyst was just a 9-week old puppy when she needed emergency vet care. She had breathing issues and needed to be on a ventilator as well as undergo surgery.

Her bills totalled $64,000 and Trupanion covered $57,000 of it. Trupanion even paid the hospital directly, so all her owners had to pay was their portion.

Thankfully Amethyst’s parents chose Trupanion from the day they brought her home.

Cole’s Story

Cole is an 8-year old cat that was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Cole needed radiation or without it, he may not have lived very long.

Trupanion paid Cole’s claims quickly and without any problems. The representatives have helped Cole’s owners through the process, even checking to see how they are emotionally.

With the help of Trupanion, Cole’s been given a longer chance at life.

Should You Choose Trupanion?

Always shop around and compare your options for pet insurance. Each pet insurance company offers different programs and incentives.

Trupanion’s greatest feature is its per-condition deductible. This can save pet owners a significant amount of money if their pet falls gravely ill and needs chronic treatments.

Like most policies, Trupanion doesn’t cover wellness or preventative care. If that’s something you want covered, you’ll have to look at other policies.

Try comparing policies with the same deductible and similar coverage so that you can get a sense of where Trupanion stands compared to the competition.

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