The true cost of limited payouts

When an injury or illness strikes, there's no telling how mild or severe it will be. Your pet may be lucky and not need a trip to the veterinarian, or your pet may be unlucky and need extra medical attention. If your pet does need extensive treatment (think diagnostic tests, imaging, surgeries, and hospitalization), the bill you’re facing could be a lot more than you think.
Domino the dog Trupanion member testimonial

REIMBURSED: $98,012.24

Condition: Lymphoma

Rexford the cat Trupanion member testimonial

REIMBURSED: $19,031.43

Condition: Urinary obstruction

Kendra the dog Trupanion member testimonial

REIMBURSED: $47,401.08

Condition: Arthritis, Adenocarcinoma

To afford unexpected veterinary bills, you should just pick a pet insurance company and get protection for those worst-case scenarios, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that straight-forward.

Not all pet insurance payouts are created equal

If you’ve done research on medical insurance for pets, you’ll notice that companies will talk about reimbursement percentages (like 70%, 80%, and 90%) and payout limits  Some companies call payout limits “annual coverage limits,” “reimbursement limits,” or “annual benefit limits.”

  • When insurance companies talk about reimbursement percentages, they are talking about the percentage of your eligible bill they are willing to pay you back. For example, if your reimbursement percentage is 70%, and your eligible bill is $500, you will be reimbursed $350.
  • When insurance companies talk about payout limits, they are talking about the maximum amount of money they are willing to pay you.

Pet insurance companies share their payout structures when you first enroll in a policy, and payouts are usually restricted in one of three ways:


Coverage ends based on how much money has been paid for a certain condition


A pet insurance company says they will not pay more than $5,000 for treatments related to diabetes. If your pet has diabetes, once you’ve been reimbursed $5,000 you’re on your own for all costs related to diabetes for the rest of your pet’s lifetime.


Once you hit the annual reimbursement limit, your coverage would end until your policy anniversary, when the limit would reset


Once you hit your insurance plan’s annual reimbursement limit, your insurance coverage would end until your policy anniversary. If your annual limit is $2,000, that’s the most you’ll get back from your insurance company every year, even if your pet’s medical conditions cost thousands more.


You are reimbursed a set dollar amount, and then the insurance coverage ends


A pet insurance company has a lifetime limit of $10,000. If they’ve paid $10,000 toward your pet’s medical bills, they will not pay out any more money for your pet’s coverage.

With limited payouts, you have to hope that your pet never experiences a condition that will cost more than your pet insurance company will pay out.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been making monthly payments for the past 5 years, you can’t get any more money from your pet insurance company than the payout limit allows. After paying your premiums month-after-month, how do you think you’d feel if your pet insurance company refused to pay out any more because you’ve reached a financial ceiling? Meanwhile, your pet is still in need of medical attention and the bills just keep mounting.

In a review of the more prominent pet insurance companies, quite a few have optional limits on their payouts:

Unlimited payouts for every pet


Annual limits starting at $5,000


Annual limits starting at $2,500


Annual limits starting at $10,000


Annual limits starting at $5,000

Most pet insurance companies offer plans with no payout limits and give you the option to add limits to your policy. Usually, payout limits can lower your monthly cost in the short term. However, payout limits might not help if you get an expensive veterinary bill in the future. To decide if payout limits are right for you, ask yourself if you would rather pay a few dollars less each month or if you would rather have unlimited payouts on expensive injuries and illnesses in the future.

A Trupanion policy always offers unlimited payouts

If pet insurance is meant to help you give your four-legged best friend the absolute best veterinary care possible, then it doesn’t make sense to pay for a policy that could come up short.

A Trupanion policy will never limit your coverage with caps or financial ceilings of any kind.

According to Pet Insurance University, our unlimited payout structure “will meet everyone’s calculated “worst case scenario” costs.” With no per incident, annual, or lifetime limits, you can choose the best care possible for your pet without having to hit a predetermined financial ceiling.

You deserve to be in complete control of your pet’s health care, and you should never have to settle for substandard treatment because your insurance company is limiting payments. Don’t fear visits to the veterinarian. Rest assured that no matter what the future has in store, a Trupanion policy will support every enrolled pet with unlimited payouts.

Get your pet's quote

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