As a pet owner, you eventually will come across the thought of getting medical insurance for your dog or cat. Some owners choose coverage on day one of bringing the puppy home. Others find it more cost-saving to wait until the older years when pets are more likely to develop costly procedures and medical conditions (i.e. cancer, hip dysplasia, etc.). But when you have a VERY active dog like Tank that constantly runs and jumps on every sofa, it might be better invest in pet insurance early just in case an injury happens one day [knock on wood…]
In 2010 when Tank was under a year-old, we decided to get him pet insurance through VPI. It had great reviews and great customer service, so we decided to go with them over the small companies. Luckily we did because later that year, Tank caught giardia (an infection of the small intestine caused by a parasite). We suspected he got the parasite from eating other dogs poop or drinking stagnant water at the dog park. Either way, Tank did both of those very often in his puppy stages which was one of the factors in us deciding to get pet insurance early.
Tank became very ill with this infection to the point where we thought we was going to die. Fortunately, there were some great doctors at the overnight animal hospital and after many visits to his regular vet, the medications got rid of giardia. Of course the vet visits and medications racked up a good amount in bills, approximately $1,500 total. When I submitted the large $1,000 bill from the overnight emergency room stay to VPI, we were told we could not get reimbursed because we had used all of our coverage for that year already. Mind you that Tank was never sick before this incident, but what we didn’t know was that all of our smaller previous vet visits for shots and checkups were deducting from the amount of total coverage VPI allowed for us for the year. If VPI would have explained this to us in the beginning, we wouldn’t have been submitting claims to get reimbursed for checkups and puppy shots. Instead, we would have been paying for those on our own and saving the pet insurance for a large claim like the overnight emergency visit.
That was our first experience with pet insurance and it’s safe to say that it didn’t go well. Nothing against VPI, it was just a combination of them not fully explaining our coverage and us not knowing that we had an annual limit. We discontinued VPI after that and fast forward to January 2013 where I was searching for pet insurance again. After reading many reviews and asking around many online dog forums, I felt comfortable choosing Trupanion. Lots of recommendations from the french bulldog community and the “No Payout Limit” made it an easy decision. The No Payout Limit is huge because with Trupanion, we are not subject to any per incident limits, annual limits, or lifetime limits on the amount Tank can receive. That was ultimately what hampered us with VPI. We exceeded our annual limit early in the year and were not able to get reimbursed for the expensive giardia bills that came after.
So far I have had great experiences with Trupanion. Friendly customer service when I call, and if needed, I can always change my monthly rate/coverage. I highly recommend checking them out if you’re considering pet insurance.
P.S. When you sign up for your coverage, they also send you a cool ID tag for your pup to wear!