brown and black dog snuggling and resting paw in owners armsbrown and black dog snuggling and resting paw in owners armsbrown and black dog snuggling and resting paw in owners arms

When looking into medical insurance for your pet, it’s very important to get the facts and read the fine print. Be sure to do your research before making your decision. To make life a little easier, we’ve done some of that for you—read on to learn some of the differences between Trupanion and Petplan.

Waiting periods We have one short 12-day waiting period before full coverage begins Waiting periods for some conditions can last up to six months
Unexpected restrictions

We don’t punish unlucky pets with surprise restrictions on coverage

Can make previously covered conditions pre-existing at renewal
Direct payment to hospitals We can pay your veterinarian directly within minutes at checkout No automatic process to pay veterinarians directly
Birthday pricing We don’t increase your monthly cost just because your pet has a birthday Automatically increases rates just because your pet gets older
Deductible We have no deductible to meet Limited deductibles options that reset with every policy term, potentially reducing lifetime coverage

We don’t restrict coverage with long waiting periods

Like all companies, Petplan has waiting periods for injuries and illnesses following enrollment. This is completely normal, and Trupanion has them too. However, Petplan has a six-month waiting period for any treatment associated with damage or rupture of cruciate ligaments, luxation of the patella, or other soft tissue disorders of the knee.

Six months may not seem like a long time to wait, but we’ve found that cruciate ruptures and luxating patellas are two of Trupanion’s most commonly claimed conditions and some of the most costly to treat. According to Trupanion claims data, a Labrador Retriever that is between the ages of 2 and 7 years old is 70% more likely than the average dog to experience a cruciate rupture, and treatment will likely cost the pet owner nearly $4,100.00.

You can have the six-month waiting period reduced, but in order to do so you must visit your veterinarian within your first 30 days of enrollment and get a special examination that provides documentation showing that your pet doesn’t have any pre-existing conditions related to their knees. This is just one more restriction that costs you time and money. And if you miss the window for waiving this restriction, you could find yourself in a difficult financial situation. This is a terrible experience for a pet owner who is trying to do the right thing and get the protection of medical insurance for their pet.

See this in Petplan’s own policy wording:

Petplan pet insurance - policy information screenshot graphic

Fetch Insurance Services, LLC, dba Petplan, Pet Health Insurance Policy Terms & Conditions, page 8, Section V. General Exclusions. Screenshot taken 10/29/19.

Trupanion has one short 12-day waiting period. That’s it. And then you have the complete coverage of The Trupanion Plan

We don’t penalize pet owners with unexpected restrictions

It’s important for your pet’s health to have a yearly checkup. This crucial part of your pet’s normal veterinary care has the unfortunate potential to reduce your pet’s coverage with Petplan—all because of their annual wellness exam.

Petplan requires any pet under the age of 6 to be examined by a veterinarian within the past 12 months prior to enrollment to determine any pre-existing conditions. This all seems pretty standard and not particularly concerning. What is concerning is that this same stipulation that applies to new policies also applies to your continuous coverage. Enrolled pets under the age of 6 must continue to have yearly veterinary checkups. If for some reason you miss that annual health check they require, that next exam will be used to determine if any conditions will be excluded.

We’re not sure how severely they adhere to this—what if, for instance, you are just a few weeks past due for that annual exam? It appears that any conditions discovered at that next annual exam might now be considered pre-existing even though you’ve had continuous coverage. It also seems that even previously covered conditions will now be considered pre-existing, as well.

While it’s quite normal to require that a pet receive an annual health checkup, in our opinion the condition of using this as a way to exclude conditions seems unfair, especially when it comes to renewals where there hasn’t been any lapse in coverage. Petplan mentions this condition at least three times in their policy, so clearly they are taking it very seriously. That’s why we think pet owners should be aware of this policy stipulation.

See this in Petplan’s policy wording:

Petplan pet insurance - policy information screenshot graphic

Fetch Insurance Services, LLC, dba Petplan, Pet Health Insurance Policy Terms & Conditions, page 11, Section VII. General Conditions, section 6. Care for Your Pet. Screenshot taken 11/22/2019.

We can pay your veterinarian directly

Rather than having the traditional insurance reimbursement model, Trupanion has changed the game and created a process that, once again, puts our members first. We can pay your veterinarian directly, before you even leave the hospital. We don’t want you to pay out of pocket and we think you probably don’t either. We don’t want you to have to worry about what’s going to get covered. In many cases, our direct pay option requires no paperwork and no phone calls from the pet owner.

Petplan only reimburses pet owners once they have already paid their veterinary bill, or if you call in during their open hours and request a special pre-approval.

Ask your hospital if they have the ability to accept direct payment from Trupanion. If they don’t, ask them to contact us so we can work with them to help ensure you’ll have the best experience possible.

We don’t raise rates just because your pet has a birthday

Trupanion is unique because we are the only provider of medical insurance for pets that uses your pet’s age at enrollment to determine your plan’s price—for life. For example, if you sign up your puppy at eight weeks old, we’ll price them as an 8-week old for their entire life. This doesn’t mean your rates will never change as a Trupanion member. All insurers must increase or decrease rates due to changes in the cost of veterinary care. And while your pet has Trupanion coverage, your monthly cost will go up or down based upon the underlying costs of all pets within your sub-categories. That’s how we share the risk fairly among all of our members.

But some providers including Petplan, use what’s called “birthday pricing.” Birthday pricing means that an insurer will automatically raise your rate when your pet gets older—on top of all other increases that account for inflation or other factors. Here is Petplan’s breed and age rates filing:

Petplan pet insurance - breed and age rate filing screenshot graphic

Petplan Pet Health Insurance Program Rate Manual, Specific Animal Pricing, Page 7. Screenshot taken 1/14/2020.

This might be confusing, so let’s break it down. Based on their filing, Petplan has set rate increases as your pet ages that corresponds to their breed. Petplan has 32 different breed categories for dogs, so let’s just take a look at a Jack Russell Terrier, which Petplan puts in Group 11.

Petplan pet insurance - breed group age 11 rates screenshot graphic

Basically, for a Jack Russell enrolled at less than one year old, 1.00 is the best rate of the monthly cost. Every year as the pet ages, there is an increase in the base rate—which can be significant. For a Jack Russell Terrier, these are Petplan’s automatic rate increases:

  • 43.8% increase of the base rate on 3rd birthday
  • 94.9% increase of the base rate by the 5th birthday
  • 177% increase of the base rate by the 7th birthday
  • 379% increase of the base rate by the 10th birthday
  • 727% increase of the base rate by the 13th birthday

Trupanion considers cost for the entire life of your pet. Our pricing reflects a shared risk with all responsible, loving pet owners like you that sign up their pets at the same age. This is regardless if the pet was signed up last month or last decade. When we have a price increase, it ultimately means that we can continue to offer our members the same value as we always have. This is our pricing promise to our members.

We have no deductible and offer a flexible payout percentage

Petplan has two deductible options: an annual deductible or an annual per condition deductible.

If you choose Petplan’s annual deductible, you’ll be required to meet the deductible once a year. Which means if your pet develops a chronic condition, you’ll pay for the same condition over and over, year after year.

If you choose their second option—annual per condition option—Petplan requires that you meet your chosen deductible both annually and per-condition.

Many pets deal with only a few unrelated conditions over the course of their life. For a pet that is insured for 10 years that has one or two veterinary issues per year, you could pay your deductible at least 10 or 15 times if all the conditions affect your pet only a single time. If they have chronic conditions, you could pay up to 20 or 30 deductible payments.

For example, if your pet has diabetes and you’ve selected a $300 deductible, you’ll be out of pocket $300 before Petplan begins to pay. And if your pet also develops a skin condition due to allergies in within the same year, you’ll be out of pocket another $300 before Petplan begins to pay for this condition. And that amount is reset annually—every year you’ll be out of pocket $600 just for these two conditions.

See this in Petplan’s own policy wording below:

Petplan pet insurance - copy and deductible information

Fetch Insurance Services, LLC, dba Petplan, Pet Health Insurance Policy Terms & Conditions, page 7, Section IV. Co-pay and Deductibles. Screenshot taken 11/22/2019

The Trupanion Plan has no deductible. That’s right, we don’t have a set amount you have to meet before your coverage kicks in. And we let you decide what we pay. If a new illness or injury occurs after our 12-day waiting period, The Trupanion Plan starts paying. And our flexible payout percentage allows you to have maximum control over your monthly costs by choosing a payout percentage that works for you.

We love informed decisions. See our plan for full coverage details.

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