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When will my pet insurance premiums increase?

We’ve previously touched on the fact that with Trupanion, your premiums won’t increase when you submit a claim, but many pet owners ask us when else their dog insurance premiums may increase.

I’d be lying if I told you that premiums with Trupanion will never increase. However, they will not increase based on the age of your pet. Some pet insurance companies have rate factors in accordance with the pet’s age. So, each year when you renew your policy, you will likely see premium increases.

With Trupanion, premiums may periodically change to reflect the cost of veterinary care in your region, but rates will never be increased due to the aging of your pet or for filing claims. As you might imagine, during the 10-15 years that your pet is alive, veterinary medicine grows quite rapidly. While this is great news to help extend the lives of our pets, it naturally means an increase in cost. To ensure that Trupanion can keep paying out on the latest veterinary technology, we must periodically adjust our policyholder premiums. This may happen every 1 and a half to 2 years during the life of your pet.

About Stacy @Trupanion

Stacy Kowalchuk is a dog mom to her rescued Whippet-mix, Ellie. During the week, you can find Stacy surfing (the internet, that is) and managing Trupanion's presence in the social media world. In her free time, Stacy likes to bake, especially cupcakes! To balance her culinary affinity, she also likes to stay active, especially with activities that include her dog such as hiking and going to dog parks.

49 Responses to When will my pet insurance premiums increase?

  1. Marsha Abramson says:

    While I understand that premiums increase, it is ridiculous that the insurance for my dog has gone up 35% this year. No one would stand for a 35% increase in any type of insurance – health benefits, car, property, etc. – so please explain again how you can justify your 35% increase. If the issue is that you started your pricing too low and are not covering claims, then Trupanion needs a lesson in business management, and should not be punishing the clients who have stayed with you through the 10 – 15% increases over the past 5 years.
    Don’t offer me $20 for referrals and don’t donate $5 to charity – you are taking those amounts out of my 35% rate increase.
    I have spoken to a representative from your company (in December) and was told that Darryl Rawlings would call back – hasn’t happened yet.
    Marsha Abramson

    • Stacy K. says:

      Hi Marsha,
      I have just passed along your information to Darryl who is planning to call you shortly. I apologize for the wait. He is best at explaining our pricing, but if you would like me to comment about this on here, I can do so as well.
      Also, when you refer a friend, we are gaining new business, so your referral bonus is somewhat like commission off of the sale. As Darryl can explain to you, the rate adjustments did not go toward our salaries or administration costs, but are solely determined by our claims data for your pet’s particular situation (breed, age at enrollment, geographical location, and selected deductible).

  2. Jennifer Zimmerman says:

    I currently pay $39.47/month for my dog’s insurance. I just received an e-mail stating that his premium is going up to $100.19/month. That is a 255% INCREASE!!!!! There quite simply are no word to explain how angry I am right now (at least none that I can post on this page). We have had this insurance for a little over a year now and have filed claims for our dog, one was denied, one was approved and one our vet had to argue with you to get approved. While I have been somewhat happy with the coverage, I simply do not believe for one second that this increase is justifiable and I find it very hard to believe that this increase had nothing to do with prior claims. I find it interesting that you say the increase is based upon the area we live in & the breed of dog. Our dog is not a common breed in this area, therefore, I would very much like to see the specific data that you speak of (not your blanket pricing policy, but the actual data) to support this increase. I have never had an insurance company try & stick me with such a ridiculous rate increase in my life!!! I would have to agree with your customer Jeff H. from the above posting. I feel as though you have pulled the old “bate & switch” tactic. The only conclusion that I can draw from this is that you are trying to get rid of us as customers. I will be calling tomorrow to speak to a manager.

    • Stacy K. says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      I understand that the percentage may seem shocking, however we do not raise our rates arbitrarily. Because we cover 90% of the actual bill with no limits, we must adjust our rates to keep in line with the amount of animal health care being delivered. Premiums are based on the cost of the average pet of your situation (breed, age at enrollment, deductible chosen, and geographical location). If your premium increases, that is a sign of more health care being delivered and more claims being paid out for the average pet of your situation. Please feel free to call us if you’d like to adjust your deductible to get a lower premium. Here’s some more info about our pricing: http://trupan.in/trupanionfaq

      • Deanna says:

        I understand that pet insurance like any other insurance premiums, increase with the rate of inflation, vet costs, etc. However, what I don’t understand is 1) How can you justify increasing my monthly premium from $31 to $56/mo? Do you have supporting data to justify this much of an increase? Have vet costs increased by over 70% over the last 1.5-2 years? 2) Please explain why when I requested for a quote by entering my area code, pet’s age and breed, the premium came up to be $33/mo. (keeping the same deductible)? If your premiums increases are really about adjusting for vet cost inflations, then shouldn’t new customers in the same area be subject to the same rates that your imposing on your existing customers like myself? While I have been pleased with your services, this ridiculous premium hike will force me to look elsewhere for pet insurance providers.

        • Stacy K. says:

          Deanna,
          While veterinary costs have remained fairly constant, these increases reflect the increase in care being delivered and claims being paid for the average pet of your situation (based on breed, age at enrollment, chosen deductible, and geographical location).
          We sent out 30-day notices for the increases which means we are giving you advanced notice of this change. Those new premiums will also be updated on our website at the same time so all customers new and old will see the same costs.
          Please feel free to give us a call if you’d like to talk about this more! 800-569-7913

          • Michael says:

            It clearly states above that “they will not increase based on the age of your pet.” Yet you just factored age into your statement above.

            While this is an old post, these premium increases seem to lack transparency.

          • Stacy says:

            Michael, that is correct that one of the rate factors for premiums is the age of your pet at the time of enrollment. But if you enroll a dog at age 1, the premium will always be based on the “age 1″ factor, even when the dog is 8, 9, 10 years old. The key point here is that your pet will not get shifted into a more expensive age bracket just for having a birthday.

  3. Kathryn says:

    I can top everyone… I just got notice my rate will increase from $41.91 to $161.63… that’s almost 400%!!! A similar reason was given – that it’s due to increased expenses in my area – but that level of increase is unacceptable and I don’t believe the reason. Because the increases from customer to customer vary so much 35%, 39%, 255%, 400%! – something else is going on. I believe that the increases are due to my submitting a claim and my dog’s medical history. When younger, he had various issues and high vet expenses, I believe they now view him at high risk and that is why the absurd rate increase. I, like the others on this blog am extremely frustrated and angry.

    • Stacy K. says:

      Hi Kathryn,
      I completely understand your frustration. As we continue to receive and pay claims, we gather more data about each breed, location, etc. to be able to better price each pet. The increase you saw is not based on your pet’s individual history, but on its group as a whole. This is why different people saw different changes in their premiums. As you may have already read, the factors upon which your premium is based are breed, chosen deductible, age at enrollment, and geographical location. We take all of these specific factors and look at the “average” for that particular situation. We pay out 70 cents on the dollar for the “average” pet versus a pet insurance industry average of 50-55 cents on the dollar. Here’s some more info about our pricing: http://trupan.in/trupanionfaq

  4. Scott P. says:

    Although my premiums went up by a PALTRY 42% compared to some of my peers on this thread, I am still shocked and suspicious of this practice. I have also made a few hundred dollars worth of claims, and it sounds as though the others here are getting commensurate increases with their claims history. I also entered data and got a quote for my dog that did not reflect that increase. I am now motivated to look for another provider, and although I am satisfied with the claims process and the customer service I have to date, I will definitely identify this issue on any review sites as I search for a new product.

    • Stacy says:

      Scott,
      I can assure you that rate adjustments occurred regardless of an individual’s claims experiences. You would have seen the same adjustment whether or not you had filed any claims.
      The $0 deductible factor added a greater increase to premiums than for those who had deductibles which is why many saw greater changes to their premiums. Rate updates are being rolled out on the website for new enrollments and should all be up to date within the month, so newly enrolling policies will see the same cost.
      Here’s some info if you’d like to learn more about how pricing works: http://trupan.in/j2BU2l

  5. Wilson says:

    On my first anniversary with Trupanion, I too have been hit with a 39% rate increase. I’d like to have some sypmathy for Stacy K. who has a tough job trying to defend these large hikes, but can’t. I think the problem is that Trupanion gives customers the impression that rates will “adjust over time to reflect the change in costs of veterinary care in your region” (per online FAQ). As a general consumer, I would assume this to be near or slightly above inflation as costs at my local vet simply don’t rise that fast year over year. Trupanion should really 1) clearly note that annual rate increases can be between X% and 400%+ and 2) provide the supporting detail on these increases. The first at least sets my expectations to those of Trupanion reality and the second helps me understand the rationale beyond the assumption that there is a rash of Bernese Mountain Dog illnesses affecting one year olds in my city. These two customer focused changes might make the rates more palatable. As is, the complete lack of transparency gives me a force fed sour taste.

  6. melanie and phil koehler says:

    Joined with my golden retriever puppy in August 2010 with understanding inflationary increases every 1 1/2 to 2 years to reflect overall costs of veterinary care . 86% increase as I approach my first renewal!

    Did a sale or investor change happen where major assumptions to your actuary changed?
    1) is the profit margin increased
    2) was the lifetime of golden retrievers extended by several years
    3) did you increase the inflation rate on reserves
    4) did you decrease the investment rate on premiums (your float)
    4) was the confidence level moved up to 99%

    Those with healthy dogs may decide to move carriers or self insure while the rest stay in your portfolio. Jacking rates like this has that impact. You would have probably been better off just saying the 0 deductible is no longer available than saying things like your premium doubled in one year.

    The need for this type of increase for the most part had to exist last August and thus a
    “bait and switch” or “buying the business” as described by others is an accurate description. Misled, definitely.

    Can you provide a copy of your financials for the past two years? I am interested to see if I think you will be around in 10 years when my 1 year old dog is most likely to need care (and you will have collected 11 years of premium). 11 years of premium at around 1000 a year (most of which is invested during that timeframe) is a lot of money. Based on this huge increase in year one, I have to think that more bad news will come (rate increases and likely forced deductibles, lifetime caps etc…).

    Is the changed business plan to write less in California? Get rid of “0” deductible policies?

    Is this major increase in rates across your whole book of business in California, USA, Canada?

    I am wondering if enough policies do not renew, will that require a substantial increase in rate next year as well?

    The best case is you rattled your policyholders across the board… who knows what the outcome will be. Good luck.

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Melanie and Phil,
      While I am not at liberty to disclose our actuarial data, I can present to you information regarding this recent premium adjustment.

      1. Premiums in California had not been adjusted since we first became approved to write policies in this state since 2008. It was a lengthy process to obtain approval from the CA department of insurance for the new rates, provided that they got sufficient information from us which supported a credible loss experience for CA only. Rates were approved by the DOI based on not being excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory.
      2. We are the only provider to cover actual veterinary costs at 90% with no payout limits, so as we see utilization of veterinary services change, premiums must be adjusted accordingly for these costs.
      3. We are also the only provider to offer a $0 deductible. The demand for a $0 deductible policy with no payout limits continues to increase, thus increasing the cost of a $0 deductible plan.

      I encourage you to visit this page to learn exactly how premiums are calculated – http://trupan.in/j2BU2l

  7. Sheri says:

    I am shopping for pet insurance for multiple pets. I narrowed my choice down between yours and another company – but I have to say that this e-mail thread is scaring me away and I’m ready to move on to the other company. No way I can afford to insure 5 pets and have to face a rate increase like being discussed here regardless of the reason. I want a realistic quote upfront so I can make an imformed choice and budget for it. I don’t want any surprises that will force me to cancel. What can you tell me to convinvce me there is some security in buying your policy?

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Sheri,
      I understand your concern with comments you have seen about recent premium adjustments. To give you some information about this:
      1. A great majority of the commenters and those who experienced greater changes to their premiums are in California. Part of the reason for such a change is because premiums in California had not been adjusted since we first became approved to write policies in this state since 2008. It was a lengthy process for rates to become approved based on information that supports a credible loss experience for CA only. Rates were approved by the DOI based on not being excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory.
      2. Subsequently, we are also the only provider to offer a $0 deductible. The demand for a $0 deductible policy with no payout limits and its utilization continues to increase, thus increasing the cost of a $0 deductible plan. Because of this, policies with no deductible saw much more change to their premium than policies with deductibles.

      Premiums are now up to date with current costs, so what you see on the website when generating a quote is what you would get.
      There are bound to be premium adjustments in the future as veterinary spending and costs continue to increase, however it is much less likely for such significant changes to occur in the future because adjustments will happen much more frequently. Because we now have a more solid book of business and claims history, we are able to provide sufficient information to each location’s department of insurance to keep premiums up to date regularly (as opposed to the situation in California in which we were finally approved to adjust premiums for the first time since 2008).
      I hope this makes sense and encourage you to please give us a call if you have any other concerns as we’d be happy to discuss. Our customer service team are great to talk to and are not pushy salespeople. :)

  8. T says:

    My partner and I have have separate trupanion policies, one for each of our cats.

    She received an email today notifying her of 30%plus increase to her monthly premium, from $31 to $42/mo. The email assured her it had nothing to do with any claims submitted.

    I find this highly suspect, as the other cat (on my policy) is a year older than the cat on her policy, and we live at the same house, so there can’t be a difference in regional costs (i.e. if costs are going up, why haven’t I received a premium increase notice?). However, I have never submitted a claim for the cat on my policy, as he hasn’t gotten ill/had any accidents since coverage began.

    We’re currently traveling abroad, but I plan to phone Trupanion about this when I get home in a couple weeks. In the meantime, would like to hear an explanation as to how it’s possible that this premium increase is “not a result of your pet aging or any claims that you have filed.”

    • Stacy says:

      Hi T,
      Firstly I would like to say that you would have seen the same change to your premium had you never filed any claims. The premium adjustments are to bring premiums up-to-date with the current costs of a pet of your situation. Your new premium is based on the average cost of a pet like yours based on breed, age at enrollment, geographical location, and chosen deductible.
      Because you did not provide enough information for me to look into your policy, I can’t provide specific details on why one cat received a notice and the other did not. However, my best guess for why you have not yet received notification on the other cat would be that it was enrolled at a later date than the cat that did receive notice.
      We would be glad to further look into your policy to give you full details on the situation when you give us a call.

  9. Gary says:

    We were paying around $40 to insure our bulldog with $0 deductible in BC. Now we have moved to Toronto we are paying $62 with a $500 deductible. The new vet we use here is cheaper, how does that add up? I think they cocked up and made the prices too cheap from day one. Now as our pets get older we are less likely to be able to get a good deal elsewhere. They do pay out but now i have a $500 deductible, only major things are covered. May as well just have a savings account standing by.

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Gary,
      Your new premium would suggest that Bulldogs in the Toronto area are receiving more veterinary care (more claims being filed and paid) as opposed to where you were living previously. Premiums are based on the average cost of “your pet” taking into account the factors of breed, age at enrollment, chosen deductible, and geographical location.

  10. Gary says:

    thats what they told me on the phone when i changed it, but yesterday i did an online quote with my old postcode and it was more than my new policy. I think Trupanion makes the prices up as they go along and there is nothing customers can do. Eventually people will have to cancel their policy and put money aside for vet bills instead.

  11. Shasta says:

    When I first signed up with Trupanion for my two dogs I was very happy. One dog was less than a year old and one dog was almost two years old. Both very healthy no major problems. I paid $70 a month for both dogs and yes that was a lot of money for me but it made me feel so good knowing my dogs were going to be taken care of. Now after being with them almost a year now I find out my insurance will be over $100 for both of them. How can the rate jump this high, this fast. I’m not sure how I can pay for this rate increase. Even if I could find a way if it ever goes up again ( which it sounds like they raise it evey year or two) then there is no way I can afford health insurance for my dogs. I am very sad and dissapointed. I felt so good providing health insurance for my dogs but now I believe I will need to cancel. I think I will just put money aside every month instead. I really wish I could keep the insurance but there is no way I can keep this coverage if it jumps up so high every couple of years. I wish Trupanion would of explained how they raise the rates. They offer no proof for the area and vet expenses increases. So basically I feel they can raise it when ever they want and you have to deal with it. And giving a month notice is not enough! If you can’t afford it and need to find a new insurance they usually make you wait a month before you can be covered. You need to give more notice when raising rates. Again I started out very happy and excited to be with trupanion. But now I am very let down and dissapointed. I wanted to be able to provide my dogs with health insurance. This was important to me but again with these rate increases there is no way I can do this.

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Shasta,
      I do understand your concern but wanted to let you know that insurance in the US is highly regulated, and we cannot just change premiums whenever/however we want.
      In order for a premium change to occur, we must provide sufficient evidence to the state’s department of insurance with claims data to justify the changes. The insurance department will approve rate changes based on not being excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.

      What this means is that any time you see a premium increase, it means that the average cost of your pet has gone up – whether it be that these pets are getting a type of treatment that is more expensive, or just that they are experiencing more frequent visits to the veterinarian.

      Lastly, the $0 deductible factor caused a greater change in premiums compared to policies with deductibles, so my recommendation would be to take an affordable deductible onto your policy to lower your premiums.
      Feel free to give us a call to chat or click here to learn more: http://trupanion.com/About_Us/Value

  12. Saskia says:

    Hi Shasta,

    I’m looking around for dog insurance. I like the fact that you cover 90% of vet costs etc. Will you guarantee the 90% payout for the duration of the policy?
    I did an online quote and it will cost me CAN$67 per month with $0 deductible to insure my 4 month old Whippet. Can you give me a rough estimate of how much I’ll be paying when my dog is 5 years old? 10 years old? If you won’t give me an answer on this, then how much have rates increased on average in the past in the Vancouver area?
    Is there any info available to the public regarding the financial health of Trupanion? If I’m going to give Trupanion thousands of dollars over 10+ years I’d like to know that they will still be around when my dog is old.

    • Saskia says:

      Sorry, I meant Hi Stacy!

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Saskia,
      To answer your first question, the 90% coverage will never decrease for any reason such as filing claims, so coverage will always be 90% for diagnostic tests, treatments, and medications for the life of your policy.
      Because our rates are based on current veterinary costs for a pet “like yours” based on breed, age at enrollment, geographical location, and chosen deductible, we really can’t predict what costs will be years from now. Veterinary technology continues to advance and pets continue to receive optimal veterinary care which means that you can expect updates to your premium over the life of your policy. We do promise to always price fairly based on individual factors, so you will always be paying the cost of the average pet like yours. You can learn more about how our pricing works here: http://trupanion.com/why-trupanion/value
      As to your question about the financial health – Trupanion started out under the name Vetinsurance in Canada in 1999 so the company has been around now for over 12 years. We continue to see positive growth, and being that the percentage of pets that have insurance is around 3%, we only expect to continue to grow.
      I encourage you to give us a call with any other questions you may have!

  13. Lilly818 says:

    I live in California. My dog Luna is an American Bulldog and she has been insured with Trupanion since she was 5 months old. Last month I submitted the first claim since she’s been insured.

    Weeks later, i got the rate increase e-mail…I went from $49 to $95!!! Unbelievable.

    If it’s true that they were just approved to increase rates in California, why people getting notices of increases at different times? Thsis tells me that they are waiting until a claim is submitted to increase the premium, and then use the excuse of Californias rates not being increased since 2008 to cover this up.

    There is no way that Vet care has increased 100% since 2008.

    If you say that the reason is that other dogs like mine are receiving more vet care, this means then that if other dogs “like mine” receive LESS vet care the rates will then decrease???? If that’s not the case, then your reason is bogus and I can’t believe you think customers will be stupid enough to believe that.

    I initially picked Trupanion because the terms were simple, straight forward and honest.

    That is no longer the case. I wish they would just tell the truth. I am forced to cancel now, and I will make sure that my review appears in every pet insurance site so other unsuspecting responsible dog owners don’t get taken advantage of like this.

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Lilly,
      The reason folks received rate adjustment notices at different times is because we do not send them out until the policyholder has been with us for at least a year.
      It is completely independent of claims and you would have received the same notice at that time regardless of filing a claim or not.

      Also, it is true that if the average pet like yours made very few trips to the veterinarian that you would see a decrease to your premiums as some policyholders have experienced this.

      Premiums will always be based on the average cost of the pet, so if it goes down, the premium will go down, and if it goes up then the premium will go up. Premiums will never be arbitrarily increased.

      I do apologize for the frustration it has caused you and the way in which adjustments occurred. As we continue to gain steady footing as a business, premium adjustments should continue to be more predictable and less surprising.

  14. daniel says:

    Hi,
    i just received an email regarding to the rate adjustment 2days after my claim has been approved. I paid $ 59 a month with 0 deductible and now, the price goes up almost 45% amonth and plz explain to me that how can it be!

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Daniel,
      Firstly I would like to state that your premium adjustment is completely independent of your individual claims history and you would have seen the same change whether you had filed 0 claims or 10 claims. Our updated premiums are based on the average cost of a pet like yours taking into account its breed, age at the time of enrollment, geographical location, and chosen deductible. Unfortunately, policies with a $0 deductible saw a greater premium change than policies with deductibles as we are the only provider to offer a plan with $0 deductible and the plan continues to be utilized.
      I encourage you to take a look at how our pricing works here: http://trupan.in/j2BU2l or give us a call if you would like to talk further about this.

  15. C B says:

    Seems to me that while the rate increase may not be based on your individual dog as they explain, it is based on your individual dogs addition to the local sample.

    Assuming you have a rare breed of dog, your dog would have a small sample for which they base their rating. If you file a claim, you added another claim for which them to average. But, due to a small sample size your claim could skew the sample, or at least help to produce a better rating schedule. This potentially leading to a very large rate increase. i.e. Greyhound dog 1 has $200 claim (only claim insurance company has to reference), new claim greyhound dog 2 has $1000 claim. Averaged together is $600. If their prior average claim was $200 (based on greyhound dog 1), and this is what they based their rates on, it was the only claim they had to reference, this new average of $600 would lead to a 300% rate increase as average cost per claim increased.

    Basically stated, if they use a dogs breed/geographic location/average cost per claim to determine rates, a claim in a given area could effect rates in that area. So technically for Trupanion to say your dogs individual claim history does not effect your rate is accurate, but your dog’s claims contribute to the sample from which they base their rating for a given area.

    So in effect their explanation of rate increases is typical corporate double speak. Your individual claim history does not effect your rate personally, but it is does effect rates in a given area, so in effect you did indirectly effect your rates.

    So, what this means is your claim history does effect your rates! Your claim effects the sample they use to determine rates in a given area. So if you have decent cost claim, expect your rates to go up.

    Maybe as time goes on and more claims are submitted they will get better at rating different breeds and rates will stabilize. As for right now, my rates more than doubled following a recent claim, so I will be looking elsewhere for dog insurance. Or just putting money away just in case.

    • Stacy says:

      Hi CB,
      We do appreciate your insights and taking the time to try and understand our pricing model. While it is true that your individual claims do have a small effect on the pool, we look at the breed or like-breeds collectively to determine the average cost and use a minimum of 5000 sample size. Subsequently, our Actuary evaluates and manages rates to ensure that they are not excessive, inadequate, nor unfairly discriminatory which would prevent one or two pets from greatly skewing the average.
      I encourage you to give us a call if you’d like to further discuss.

  16. Damon says:

    This company seems far too shady.

    No empirical data to support any of these rate adjustments is a deal breaker for me, and should be an instant red flag for everyone. They quote (ad nauseum) that “rate increase is due to the actual cost of pet care for your breed in your area”. This isn’t plausible.. For this to be accurate, trupanion would have to collect data from every vet clinic/hospital from every city/town in every province (or state). They are just using their own claims as a way of determining ‘actual cost of pet care’, it is a deliberate misdirection. It has nothing to do with the cost of petcare. If they had said “insurance premium increases are based on the number of claims we receive for your particular pet’s breed”, that would have saved me time and I’d have moved on to searching for another company to insure our pet.

    What are these geographical areas anyways? City? Province/state? Why is this information not readily available? Why did I have to read several dozen blog posts scattered through as many different websites. I even went as far as downloading a sample policy and reading it from front to back… Still the same vague references to rate increases with no supporting facts as to why, just the assurance that it reflects pet care costs in my area and not age.

    Speaking of petcare costs in my area; if a particular breed has less petcare costs, the premium should decrease, no? I’ve yet to find a single person that can attest to this. On average from what I’ve seen, with trupanion an increase of at least 50% is inevitable.

    It’s unfortunate that so many of these people are on the receiving end what seems to be borderline-criminal business practices. Thanks to all for posting your stories. I’ll most definitely be looking for insurance elsewhere as a result.

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Damon,
      While I am not at liberty to release actuarial data, I can provide a little more detail as to the way our pricing works. Your pet’s premium is based on the average cost of a pet like yours using the factors of age at enrollment, geographical location (postal/zip code), breed, and chosen deductible. These are based on the average cost of claims for that ‘like’ pet with a minimum sample size of 5000 pets. If many pets like yours are filing more claims, you will likely see an increased premium just as well if the following year, those pets were filing far fewer claims, you would likely see a decrease in your premium.

      It is true that we have sent out premium notices with lower rates than what the policyholder had at the beginning. I have seen a few people post about this on our Facebook page and tried to find it but it was a few months ago and our page is very active so it would take a lot of scrolling back to find. Here is one example I was able to find on the web: http://www.k9diabetes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2096&page=18

      Premiums are not inflated arbitrarily and they must first be approved by each area’s department of insurance as not being excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory. We pay out on average 70 cents in claims for every dollar received in premiums (versus the industry average of 50-55 cents) and this remains the same when premiums increase or decrease. When you see an increase to your premium, it is a sign that more pets like yours are filing claims and receiving health care.

      • Stan says:

        Just received my 53% rate increase starting in August. Similar to the other posts, have no idea how the department of insurance can justify a 53% increase as not “excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory”. What do you think would happen if a car insurance company was to send you a 53% increase in your premium because all of a sudden cars now come with premium features like navigation systems and rear cameras? Would you think that’s excessive?

        We’ve been with Trupanion for 3 years, but this year our dog got sick and we filed a bunch of claims. I find it incredibly odd that this was the same year that we received our 53% increase.

        I spoke with a friend that has worked in the health insurance industry (for humans, where medical advancements are even greater than for animals) for over a decade and he has never seen a level of abusive practice of this magnitude.

        To say that it’s “shady” is an understatement. I’ll definitely be filing a claim with the Better Business Bureau, because there is no way that this can be justifiable.

        I live in New Jersey, so the entire California explanation doesn’t make any sense either. In the end, I’m spending this weekend researching other insurance companies and plan to dump this company later this week.

        Also, recommend that people post on social channels, to alert others to these deceptive business practices, that are not rooted in any valid actuarial estimates.

  17. Alison says:

    We adopted a 5 year old Boxer and immediately enrolled him in Trupanion. Our monthly cost was $48 with a $0 deductible. We live in Marin county, California. We’ve filed a couple of claims-one larger one ($500) for oral surgery that Trupanion covered. We had been pleased with the service and cost so far, although thought at the time that it was a little on the high side for price. Just recently we got a premium change notice stating that our monthly rate will be increasing to $93 per month- how is that possible-almost a 100% increase? I spoke to customer service today who assured me that it wasn’t due to the claims or pets age. Something is definitely wrong with this picture if that Department of Insurance for California is approving rate hikes approaching 100%- outrageous. Nothing increases by 100%-nothing! I also asked customer service to provide me with some legal documentation that proved the need for rate hikes. She (Renee) was unable to help me except to say that it was “public record” and that I could look it up online myself. Something isn’t right and I’m determined to get to the bottom of it. I can’t justify paying more for pet insurance than I pay for my own families health insurance each month. We need to work together to force them to change their fee structure, these huge rate hikes are completely outrageous and unnecessary.

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Alison,
      I understand your confusion and frustration with the premium adjustments. I’m sure you’ve read some of my responses above and how the premium adjustments are not arbitrarily inflated just to collect more money.
      We pay out on average 70 cents in claims for every dollar received in premiums. When you see an increase to your premium, you can imagine that the group of pets like yours as a whole (based on age at enrollment, breed, location and deductible choice) are making more trips to the vet and receiving more health care.
      Unfortunately, our rates were priced out of date and it took up until this point to gather enough claims evidence and receive approval from the DOI for the updated rates. Because of the time delay, the increase had to take a bit of a “jump” rather than a smaller, more “expected” amount of a change.
      I do agree that the way it happened wasn’t favorable and would like to have seen it approached differently. That is one negative thing about the industry being so young – it’s still a learning curve. Now that we have established business in all of these areas, rate adjustments should occur in a more predictable way from now on.

  18. Laurie says:

    Hi, we have Trupanion pet insurance for your dog Sophie. She was in a very bad accident involving being hit with a baseball bat, breaking her jaw in 3 places. She had 2 surgeries, and many, many doctors appointments from 4 different places.

    My question is, do we have each vet fill out a claim form for EVERY individual bill we paid, or do we have each of the 4 vets fill out ONE claim form that encompasses a grand total for what we paid? I am unsure of how to do this, and what the correct way is.

    Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!
    Laurie

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Laurie,
      Wow I am so sorry to hear about Sophie’s accident and hope that she is doing alright! You are welcome to use the same claim form for all of the invoices since they are all related to the same incident. I spoke with our Claims Manager and she suggested to have your primary veterinarian fill out the claim form, and then you can use white-out or a post-it note to write in the names of the other clinics when you fax or scan in the invoices from them. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call! 800-569-7913

  19. Danny says:

    I have had Trupanion for about 4 or 5 yrs now on my 2 dogs. I had switched from VPI. In the last 2 yrs I have used the benefits of the policy because the rep said they can’t raise the rates on how many claims are made. So I said ok I guess I should make claims on the $100 here and there i spend. I like the service and fast payment. I went with the zero deductible and paymore up front because of that option. The premiums never went up in the few times i used it for none crazy stuff. Some were so minor i said i dont want to make a claim. About 6 months after I started using the policy on a couple of more exspensive issues they raised my rates. May this is coincidental. Then about 8 months later they raised it again. The total of both increases was almost 90% jump in just over 1 yr. I felt like they were trying to make me drop the policy’s because of my dogs age. I’m going to stick with them because they are good. But that type of a double increase was a little high in a short period. I still recommend them to friends. And I will stay with them.

  20. Lulu says:

    Florida has increased the mandatory Hurricane Relief Fund Tax associated with all insurance policies by .3%. The tax is now 1.3%, up from 1%. This is the message I got today which indicates
    That my premium is going up again.

    2011 i sign up and trupanion rep at the vet office
    Told me my premium was permanent no increases.
    the year was not even completed and had not filed any claims
    yet i got an email my preium was going up due to vet cost and location
    Of business 2012 another increase without ever filing
    a claim. So I went from $43 to $59 to $75 dollars
    Year 2013 not over yet, I have filed claims this year
    and guess what I just
    Got a new email, guess what it says? Yes, my policy
    Is going up again this time because hurricane insurance
    In florida has increased. And how and why is that
    Affecting my policy? So as you see your rates increase
    Every single year, and every single year you
    Have a new excuse and no proof to back it up.
    I pay more for my doggie’s health insurance
    Than I do for my major health insurance.
    Something is totally wrong. Don’t say that this is mostly
    California is also Florida.
    I have Vpi for my other doggie and the premium has been
    The same, they always send him a bday card,
    Benefits are good… Maybe I should consider
    Moving your policy with them. Not happy with trupanion
    At this moment.
    Lulu

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Lulu,
      I first wanted to clarify that permanent premiums have never been part of our policy. While we promise not to increase rates just because your pet had a birthday, or because your pet was unlucky and had to file many claims, we cannot promise that premiums will always stay the same. Your premium is based on your pet’s age at enrollment which means if you sign up your pet as a puppy/kitten, your premium will always be based on the puppy/kitten age factor even as your pet ages. Premiums are also based on your pet’s breed, gender, deductible choice, and your location. Essentially, for all pets that are similar to yours based on these factors, we set our premiums based on paying out about 70 cents in claims for every dollar received in premiums.
      Every year, your premium may increase, decrease, or stay the same. If your premium increases, it is a sign that the pets like yours are receiving more veterinary care, and if your premium decreases, it is a sign that those pets made fewer vet visits during that time period. So far this year, about 40% of our policyholders have received a premium decrease. The insurance industry is highly regulated and new prices must be supported with sufficient data before they can become approved by insurance departments and put into effect with policyholders.
      I hope this helps to explain things, but please feel free to call us if you would like to learn more! 800-569-7913

  21. Lily says:

    I am curious what type of criteria are used to decide whether to raise a premium? When you say you look at “similar” pets, what is it that you are looking at? If I own a breed that tends to be healthy but is a similar size/appearance to a breed that tends to have a lot of health problems, am I going to be dealing with a lot of cost increases?

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Lily,
      When we look at pets similar to yours, that means that we review the claim trends for those similar pets to determine our pricing. When adjustments are made, it is in efforts to maintain the ratio of paying out 70 cents in claims for every dollar received in premiums. If you have a breed that tends to be healthy, then your premium will be based on that breed (so hopefully all of them would tend to be healthy). Of course, there are always going to be unexpected injuries and illnesses with any breed. Please feel free to call us to chat– we’d be glad to further explain!

      • Lily says:

        What if you have a rare breed and there are only a few other dogs of that breed in your area?
        The breed I am thinking of getting, the last count I heard was there are probably less than 2000 dogs of this breed in the whole US.

        • Stacy says:

          Good question! The minimum group size to determine the average cost is 500 pets and if your dog’s breed is rare then we would also take similar breeds into consideration.

  22. Andrea says:

    One of the worst things about this is once we as pet owners commit to an insurance company, then try to cancel it and reapply at a new company because of any type of dissatisfaction such as unacceptable price increases, then you basically can never get covered for anything remotely covered before because the NEW company will put that all under a pre-existing condition. If you stay at the same company it will often times “reset” after a calendar year, even if the condition repeats itself. This is true at VPI, but they have their own issues. Their premiums do go up as your dog ages so you don’t have those massive increases, but we often had to fight many denied claims to get them eventually covered after getting more vet supporting documentation etc. Instead of just denying a claim then making the CUSTOMER do all the work, how about ins companies say, hey – we will likely cover this, you just need to explain x, y or z from your vet. So you are danged if you stay and danged if you try to go. Insurance is a racket for sure – humans or animals alike. They fight you every step of the way and unless you are willing to be your own advocate you will rarely ever get what is due. I was going to get Trupanion for my new puppy after much dissatisfaction over the 13 yrs of my dog’s life but now I’m thinking better to have less rate increases overall. It’s a catch22, if more people are buying Trupanion and they are paying out so much on huge claims, then if you don’t personally have huge claims you lose out.

  23. James says:

    I am definitely considering switching my pet’s insurance after these posts and while he is still young enough to do so. I’d rather know what to expect in a rate increase rather than just hope it doesn’t happen to me.

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