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
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:
- hereditary conditions (other than hip dysplasia)
- congenital conditions
- diagnostic tests
- 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
- chiropractic therapy
- 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:
- examination fees
- 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.
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.
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
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.
Trupanion delivers on its promise of full coverage as outlined by the chosen plan. I am pleased with the service.
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
Pet Insurance Comparisons