Does Your Pet Need Health Insurance?

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Like many pet owners, you may wonder if medical insurance is necessary for your pet. Similar to your own health insurance, pet health insurance is a safety net. If you never file a claim, you can count yourself lucky, but, like you, it is unlikely that your pet will never become injured or sick. 

Sadly, many pet owners fail to plan for the unexpected, and are forced to make difficult decisions regarding life-saving health care. Some manage to borrow funds or scrape together enough money to cover treatment—though, possibly cheaper, less effective treatment—but many others will make the heart-wrenching decision to euthanize their best friend because they cannot pay for veterinary care.

At Trupanion, we believe that a pet owner should never have to make this difficult decision. A Trupanion medical insurance policy for your pet means they will receive the critical health care they need, and you can focus on their recovery, instead of how you will pay for treatment.

Theo’s story

Theo was adopted as a kitten, along with his two littermates, and during their first veterinary visit, the veterinarian presented Theo’s owner with a Trupanion Exam Day Offer – introducing medical insurance for pets. Knowing how mischievous kittens can be, Theo’s owner called Trupanion before the 24 hour offer expired to learn more and enrolled to receive immediate coverage for all three kittens. A few months later, when Theo became lethargic and stopped playing with his littermates, his owner knew something was wrong. After several days of medications, and two sets of X-rays, the veterinarian discovered that Theo had an intestinal blockage, likely from ingesting a foreign object. To survive, he’d need surgery. “It was very stressful because Theo was so sick and required so much attention. Trupanion made it easier. The bill would be a semester’s college tuition for somebody,” said Theo’s owner. “To go from this animal that was essentially on its deathbed, to being the cat he is now—he’s fearless; he’s a fun cat—it really is peace of mind.” Thankfully, Theo’s care was covered, the blockage was surgically removed, and he made a full recovery. 

Fortunately, Theo’s owner had planned ahead for an unforeseen mishap, and $3,157.73 of Theo’s total bill ($4,416.83) was covered. His owner wrote a check for only his portion, and Trupanion paid the remainder directly to the hospital.   

Which pets need medical insurance?

Although some pets are at higher risk of disease than others, any pet—like any person—can become sick or injured, and all pets can benefit from the security Trupanion medical insurance provides, including:

  • Rambunctious puppies and kittens with a penchant for accidents — Once your pet has medical insurance, new mishaps will be covered. And, if they develop new health conditions as they age, those will be covered, too.
  • Curious pets who explore the world with their mouths — Pets ingest all types of dangerous substances, and toxicity and obstruction occur frequently. 
  • Food-focused dogs who can’t resist getting into the trash — Frequent bouts of gastritis, pancreatitis, and other gastrointestinal conditions can be expensive to treat.
  • Athletes who sustain injuries — That sudden limp after a wrong landing could mean a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament, and costly surgery.
  • Aging pets with kidney or liver failure — Pets who receive regular veterinary care are more likely to receive a diagnosis sooner, when treatment can help.
  • Pets with arthritis — Age-related aches and pains often require frequent veterinary visits and long-term medications.


Even if your pet doesn’t fall into one of these categories, chances are good they will need unplanned veterinary care at some point, and most likely on multiple occasions. If your pet develops a chronic condition, it may involve repeat veterinary visits and medication refills. Acute illness may require surgery and hospitalization at a specialty or emergency hospital. Age-related diseases your pet may develop can involve intensive care to maintain the best quality of life possible. Unfortunately, you don’t have a crystal ball to know what the future holds, but planning ahead by having a medical insurance policy for your pet will guarantee them the best chance of recovery from whatever health problems they develop. 

How is Trupanion different from other insurance companies?

You know you should research medical insurance policies before choosing one for your pet, but when you type “pet health insurance” into your internet browser, the search results are daunting. Trupanion makes it easy—we offer comprehensive illness and injury coverage designed by veterinarians, as well as 24/7/365 access to support and the ability to pay hospitals directly so you can rest assured knowing your pet has access to the best care.  

Highlights of a Trupanion medical insurance policy include:

  • One simple plan — There is no need to choose from complicated policies with varying coverage options. We offer one comprehensive plan that covers new unexpected illnesses and injuries, to help you budget for unplanned expenses.


  • Lifetime pet coverage — Your pet’s policy does not renew each year on their birthday, like policies from many other companies, which means that your pet’s chronic illness won’t suddenly become classified as a pre-existing condition.  


  • 90% coverage — After your deductible, we pay 90% of the eligible treatment costs of your pet’s treatment*. And, we will never dictate the cost of care, or treatments prescribed by your veterinarian.


  • No limit to the amount paid out — With Trupanion, there is no cap on the amount we reimburse per condition, per year or over your pet’s lifetime, to keep them healthy.  


  • No claim penalties — Your monthly cost will never be determined by the number of claims you file with us. 


  • Pay only one deductible per condition per lifetime — If your pet has a chronic illness, you won’t get stuck paying a deductible that renews every year.


  • Direct payment to your veterinarian — Trupanion can pay 90% of your pet’s eligible costs* directly to your veterinarian. No need for you to come up with a large sum of money, mail in claim forms, or wait for reimbursement. Ask your veterinarian if they accept direct payment from Trupanion!


  • 24/7/365 member service — Trupanion is available any time you may need our help or have questions, day or night.


With over half a million pets insured with Trupanion for a lifetime of best care, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing your best friend is in good hands.

How is a veterinary visit different for a pet with Trupanion medical insurance? 

When you purchase a Trupanion medical insurance policy for your pet, you won’t hesitate to take them to the veterinarian when they are sick, and you’ll be able to agree to the best treatment options for your best friend. You won’t need to pick and choose which diagnostic tests and treatments you can afford. 

Let’s look at two different pet experiences—one with Trupanion medical insurance, and one without. Although these stories are fictional, they represent situations that occur in veterinary hospitals every day.

Dolly: Covered by Trupanion since puppyhood

After jumping off the couch, Dolly, a 3-year-old dachshund, suddenly yelped and crumpled to the floor. Her owner rushed over and picked her up, to find that she could not stand, and seemed painful. Dolly’s owner immediately took her to the emergency veterinary hospital, where she was rushed to the treatment area. After the exam, the emergency veterinarian shared her concern that Dolly had a ruptured disc in her back, and required a myelogram, a special imaging technique performed under anesthesia, to confirm the diagnosis. If the veterinarian’s suspicion was correct, they would immediately take Dolly to surgery, and perform a procedure to relieve the pressure on her spinal cord. Quick action was critical, since the longer Dolly’s spinal cord was compressed, the less likely it was that she would recover and walk again. Dolly’s owner quickly signed the consent forms, and the anesthesia team got to work. Four hours later, Dolly had recovered from anesthesia with a good prognosis and showing interest in walking again.  Thanks to Dolly’s Trupanion policy, her owner didn’t hesitate to seek immediate care for her injury, and consent to emergency surgery, which gave her the best chance for a full recovery. When Dolly was released from the hospital two days later, her owner paid her portion of the invoice—her deductible plus 10%—and Trupanion paid the remaining balance directly to the hospital at the time of checkout.

Duke: Uninsured

Duke, a 1-year-old mastiff, managed to get out of the fence…again. When he showed up at the front door several hours later, his owner thought he seemed a little “off.” He acted tired, and swayed when he walked. “Please don’t be sick,” she pleaded, as she thought of the car repair bill that had just taken most of her paycheck. She warily watched him worsen through the evening, as he vomited several times, and stumbled when he tried to walk. Duke’s owner made him a bed on the floor next to hers, so she could check on him through the night. She wanted to take him to her veterinarian’s office, but wasn’t sure how she would pay for it. She resolved that if he wasn’t better in the morning, she would find a way to get the money. The next day, Duke seemed better, and even ate a little breakfast. His owner breathed a sigh of relief, and vowed to look into health insurance policies so she would not end up in this same, stressful situation again. 

The next day, Duke’s condition quickly worsened. He stopped eating and drinking, and could barely stand up. Duke’s owner took him to the veterinary hospital, hoping they could help her find a way to pay for the appointment. Upon arrival, the veterinary team could tell that Duke was in distress, so they agreed to perform a physical exam, and go from there. From their physical exam findings, and the details his owner shared about the past several days, the veterinarian strongly suspected toxicity. It was heartbreaking for the pet owner and the veterinary team when a blood test confirmed that Duke had ingested ethylene glycol, a toxin found in antifreeze. Duke’s owner cried as the veterinarian told her that they may have been able to treat Duke’s toxicity had she sought treatment at the first illness sign, but there was nothing they could do for him at this point. She explained that he was in advanced kidney failure, and recommended humane euthanasia to prevent further suffering.  

Sadly, had Duke been protected by medical insurance, his owner could have taken him to the veterinarian at the first sign of illness, when his chance of recovery was greatest. You have likely heard stories like Duke’s from friends or family, or experienced the stress of this yourself as a loving pet owner. This is why we have made it our mission to help the pets we all love receive the very best care. Please ask your veterinarian about their experience with medical insurance for pets, and call Trupanion to learn how we can help your pet. 

When should you purchase health insurance for your pet?

All pets can benefit from medical insurance, but pets will receive the most value from a policy purchased when they are young and healthy. As pets age, they may develop health conditions. Once signs or symptoms of a condition are already present, or a veterinarian has made a diagnosis, that condition becomes pre-existing, and will not be eligible for coverage.  Planning ahead and enrolling with Trupanion when your pet is a puppy or kitten, helps ensure that more illnesses and injuries will be eligible for coverage over their lifetime.   

How to protect your pet from the unexpected

Protecting your pet (and your wallet!) from unexpected illness and injury is easy! Talk to your veterinarian about taking advantage of a Trupanion Exam Day Offer to enjoy immediate coverage with no waiting periods. Don’t want to wait until your pet’s next exam? Simply give us a call today to get started. 

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