Trupanion Health Insurance Review: Our Claim Fulfillment With Trupanion

How happy am I with our chosen pet health insurance provider and plan?

There is one thing experience taught me. Having an emergency fund or a savings account is not likely to come anywhere close to covering veterinary bills if your dog gets really sick.

Resource: Dog Care Emergency Funds

I admit that like the pet health insurance plans that include both insurance coverage and what would be best described as a prescription to routine care. In the past, we used a combination of insurance and a veterinary care plan. When I was selecting health coverage for JD and Cookie, no insurance plan included such things.

Resource: Veterinary Care Plans

Trupanion Health Insurance Review: Our Claim Fulfillment With Trupanion

Why I picked Trupanion pet health insurance?

At the time, Trupanion offered the most no-nonsense plan. This might still be true but I haven’t kept up with pet health insurance options too closely. Given the number of preexisting conditions Cookie accumulated over time, switching wouldn’t make sense.

The basic Trupanion policy covers treatment for:

  • accidents
  • illnesses
  • hereditary conditions (other than hip dysplasia)
  • congenital conditions
  • diagnostic tests
  • surgeries
  • medications
  • hospital stays
  • veterinary supplements

There are no payout limits. Trupanion pays 90% of treatment costs after deductible. The company also offers an expanded plan, “Recovery and Complementary Care Rider.” The extended coverage covers the following:

  • rehabilitative therapy
  • acupuncture
  • hydrotherapy
  • chiropractic therapy
  • homeopathy
  • naturopathy
  • behavioral modification therapy

Because wherever possible I prefer alternative treatments to drugs and surgery, I opted for this additional rider.

Items the insurance does not pay:

  • deductible
  • examination fees
  • coinsurance
  • taxes
  • cost not covered by the policy

And, of course, the plan wouldn’t cover pre-existing conditions. That is a standard in the insurance industry. Fortunately, we insured Cookie right away when she still had a clean bill of health.

Deductible

Everybody hates deductibles. With Trupanion, you can juggle the deductible against the premium. There are things to weigh when deciding whether you’d rather have a larger deductible or larger premium.

When I had multiple dogs, it was important for me to keep the premiums at an affordable level. Understandably, the deductible reflected that. Since right now Cookie is the only dog, as well as she is older, I went with a lower deductible.

Premium

Our premium seems high. However, with 10% co-pay and no coverage limits, I consider it well worth it. Your premium will depend on a bunch of criteria, including:

  • your dog’s breed
  • chosen deductible
  • even veterinary costs where you live

For a dog, your monthly premium can be anywhere between $21.31 – $128.73.

Source: Pet Insurance Comparisons

Claim reimbursements

I haven’t used this option yet but Trupanion offers express payments directly to veterinary practice. This is an important option to have. It could be life-saving. If your dog needed expensive emergency care and you didn’t have enough “cash” to shoulder the bill until you can get reimbursed you have this option.

Our claim experience

To date, we filed 24 claims. I went to look it up and it surprised me a little that it’s been that many. Just a little bit, though, because Cookie is quite a project.

The first claim takes a while to process. I imagine they are checking medical history, communicating with the listed veterinarian(s) and stuff like that. They processed every following claim fast. The checks arrive quickly but because they offer direct bank deposit, that is what I use now.

Filing the first claim—lameness diagnosis and treatment

The filing was easy. Trupanion claim forms are not complicated. We got an email confirmation of a received claim the same day.

They did notify us that they required further information and Cookie’s health records. The email indicated that this process might take 14 days. I can see why that could be the standard but it did not take that long.

We filed the claim on December 19th. On the 27th we got an email that the claim has been processed and the check was in the mail. We also received a couple of progress report emails in between. As well as every account has online access to all information including claim status.

The whole process was simple and painless.

What Trupanion reimbursed

Our first claim included:

  • cost of Cookie’s x-rays
  • and the first bill we had for a bundle of 10 underwater treadmill sessions.

Each invoice was from a different clinic because there are not so many underwater treadmills out there.

Cookie’s plan covers everything, including physical therapy.
We claimed a total of $752.08.
Our deductible was $400.
We got 90% of the claim (minus taxes and minus deductible), just as the plan promises.

Nobody gave us a hard time, and nobody tried to weasel out of paying. They even thanked us for taking such good care of Cookie.

Dear Jana, We are pleased to help with Cookie’s healthcare costs. Trupanion provides 90% coverage for all approved accidents and illnesses, and we’ve mailed your payment to the address above as requested. The entire Trupanion team thanks you for taking such good care of Cookie. 

Our declined Trupanion claim

Ever since we enrolled our dogs in Trupanion pet health insurance, all our claims were reimbursed. Except for this one.

While I didn’t like it, I understand that the circumstances fell outside of the outlined conditions.

Our claim for chiropractic care

Chiropractic adjustments are covered by our “Complementary Care Rider.” Everything you and your veterinarian can come up with for diagnostics or treatment is covered if you have the extended plan.

Our claim was declined because of a “technicality.” The problem was that the only animal chiropractor far and wide from where we live is not a veterinarian and she does not practice at a veterinary clinic. She is a medical doctor. She is, however, licensed for animal chiropractic by the Veterinary Chiropractic Learning Centre,

Unfortunately, that does not pass. I filed a dispute but lost.

Temporarily, we ran into the same problem with Cookie’s physical therapist. While she worked as part of a veterinary hospital, our claims were reimbursed. Then she opened up her own practice at a new location and we had the same dispute. Fortunately, once she achieved the required certification, we were able to claim Cookie’s physical therapy again.

Either way, if you do have the choice, try to avoid refused claims over technicalities.

Our reimbursement history

Between JD and Cookie, we have likely filed close to 30 claims so far. Other than the two above instances, we got paid every time as the plan promises.

Even when I took a chance on platelet-rich plasma for Cookie’s partial cruciate ligament tear. Paid in full.

In summary

Trupanion delivers on its promise of full coverage as outlined by the chosen plan. I am pleased with the service.

Related articles:
Dog Care Emergency Fund: My Take on Savings Accounts and Emergency Funds versus Pet Health Insurance
Getting On The Pet Health Insurance Wagon: Does Being Insured Equal Being Covered?
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion

Further reading:
Pet Insurance Comparisons

Categories: Dog carePet health insurance

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

15 Comments
  1. I’ve had Trupanion Pet Insurance for over 10 years with my cats. I love that I was able to choose my deductible and copay. The customer service is excellent and I always get my reimbursement within a few days. I’m trying to work with my vet to accept direct payments from Trupanion.

  2. FiveSibesMom

    Thanks for this great info! 15 years ago when we began our journey that would wind up with us having five Siberian Huskies, I looked into insurance, but the choices were not great and they were iffy about what would be covered and with 5 dogs to insure, I needed more definites. There are some great choices today and many more things covered. I’m Pinning this as future reference and to share!

    • Yes, there used to be some horrible insurance plans out there; maybe there are still. But the options are improving all the time.

  3. I read about Trupanion when I did my research on pet insurance plans for my blog. Trupanion is one of the few plans that pays veterinarians directly, so can be a life-saver if you don’t have the cash or credit to cover a major illness or injury. I’m glad to hear about the rider to cover what is often considered alternative medicine. Sounds like a great insurance plan.

    Currently, I do not have an insurance plan for Buffy, who is 10. She’s at an age where it becomes very expensive to insure and so far she has been pretty healthy. I definitely plan to buy an insurance policy when I get my next dog.

    • Yes, I think Trupanion is great. I kind of miss the option of the plan including routine stuff but that’s more of a subscription than insurance. Some plans do include it, though.

      And I absolutely love the option for alternative treatments, particularly because I prefer to use those wherever possible.

  4. Marjorie Dawson

    Sounds a sensible plan? We have not had to claim on our insurance (thankfully we don’t have a cat like your Cookie yet!) I think these people are brilliant for processing your claims without you needing to worry. It’s a nightmare finding the money if you don’t have the finances.

  5. Layla is a client of the PAWS organization so we have credit for our vet on a yearly basis which includes Bi–Annual check ups and medications. So I am very lucky I do not have to worry

  6. I used to have health insurance on my two cats. I forget the name of the company but it was not Trupanion. The animal clinic I foster for does advocate for Trupanion and recommends to pet parents. It’s nice to read a positive personal review of this pet insurance. I”m sure many pet parents will appreciate it and I like how the company stays true to reimbursing a large percentage of expenses. Anything to help with pet medical costs is a god sent.

  7. I’ve never heard of this company, but it’s good you were able to find one you’re happy with. There are so many out there how do you even know where to start! One of my neighbours has insurance for her dog, and when he got an ear infection they paid. When it happened in the second ear they wouldn’t because they said it was a preexisting condition. I’ve never had insurance, they always charged a fortune to cover senior dogs.

    • Wow, wait, they paid the first infection but not the second? That’s not how the “preexisting condition” stuff works. It means conditions that existed PRIOR signing up with the insurance, not AFTER.

  8. Sounds like you’ve had an overall good experience with Trupanion. I so go back and forth on how I feel about pet health insurance. I don’t currently have it for my two dogs. In 10+ years (knock on wood) we haven’t had any major medical issues and I can’t help but think that if I had been paying monthly insurance premiums for all those years I would have lost quite a bit of money. Now that one of my dogs is older I do worry more that he’ll have a major medical issue, and I can for sure see the benefits of having insurance. The problem being, of course, that to insure him now that he’s older wouldn’t be cheap. Luckily I actually do have a VERY healthy savings account/emergency fund for my dogs so I’m not worried about finances ever being a deciding factor when it comes to their care. I know not everyone has that luxury and in those instances also I can understand why insurance would be beneficial.

    • Well, yes, it’s a bunch of money out of pocket on monthly basis. But after our $75,000 medical expenses for Jasmine, I would never go without insurance again.

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