Veterinary Pet Insurance

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions & Advice Related Pages

2010 - 2013 Recommendations

Pet Insurance Rate Increase

June 2013

I just found out that my pet insurance company (Trupanion) just raised my monthly premium by 36%! It's going from $46.38 (which already seemed crazy high) to $63.16. I'm wondering if I have any recourse. Are they allowed to do that? If they are (which is what I assume), I will definitely want to find another insurer. Does anyone have a recommendation for another insurer (especially one that's good for a dog who isn't a puppy? Our dog is 4 years old). Thanks! Unhappy Customer

I've used Petplan ( for the past four years for all five of my cats and am ECSTATIC with them. Very reasonable rates, they hardly ever go up, they've never questioned a claim, etc. In fact they lose money on me every year (literally, every year they have paid out more than I've paid in). I'm not even sure how they make a profit.

Before I bought the insurance, I'd spent about $6,000 on a sick cat who subsequently died. I realized if that happened with a bunch of my cats simultaneously I'd be up the creek. So I spent about two months researching all the companies. Petplan came out first (according to my criteria), with Embrace a close second. Phrasing the next part carefully: I liked ASPCA and VPI the least, from what I saw. That is my opinion and I am not suggesting that you not do business with them. I'm saying that I personally wouldn't. Get Petplan and you'll never look back. Anon

A recent responding poster was too tactful to say anything negative about ASPCA Pet Insurance, but as someone whose dog has been insured by them for 9 years, I have no such qualms. Stay away. I agree that frequent rate increases are annoying, but if your current pet insurer is reimbursing your claims fairly, I'd stick with them. You really don't want a pet insurer that makes no allowance for the higher cost of veterinary services in the Bay Area. That's ASPCA Insurance. Of course, they SAY they do market surveys and adjust for geographical differences, but in my experience it isn't true. Every time I've filed a claim, they've discounted what I was charged to what they say is 'reasonable and customary' -- that means it takes longer to reach my annual deductible and the 80% the plan supposedly pays back after reaching the deductible is never -- ever -- really 80% of what it cost me. Also, one year, my dog was diagnosed with something a few days before the end of the 'plan year'; when I had her treated for that condition after that date, all expenses related to the condition were rejected as 'pre-existing.' Unfortunately, my dog was already of an age where it was impossible to switch to another pet insurance company. But I will never insure a pet with them again. ASPCA did itself a grave disservice lending its good name to this. P.O.'d Pet Parent

Anyone have Pet Insurance?

March 2012

I have a 3 y.o Aussie mix. She is healthy now but had distemper and mange when I got her. My last girl died of cancer and it was pretty expensive. I'm thinking of getting insurance but the few brochures I picked up at my Vets all seemed the same. Does anyone have experience with any of the various companies, and if so, how has it worked for you? Dog mom

The best pet insurance by far is TruPanion. They cover 90% of ANYTHING unexpected (illness, injury, etc). They do not cover routine issues (vaccines, etc). Since it''s the unexpected things that will cost you (knee surgery, kidney failure, hospitalization, cancer treatment) this makes more sense. Avoid VPI at all costs. They are terrible and try to decline payment with loopholes in coverage. -Been through it and happy with TruPanion!
I have pet insurance with VPI. I just filed my first claim and haven't heard back yet. If you want, send me your email address and I'll let you know how it turns out. Jon

Pet insurance for our cats

Sept 2011

Can anyone recommend some Pet Insurance? We have several cats, and I know from experience that as they get older, there will be more, and bigger vet bills. I want to find some pet insurance before I actually really need it. Thanks. animal lover

We have ASPCA pet insurance for two dogs and have been pretty happy with it; previously we had VPI and had a harder time with them paying claims. It's definitely smart to get it *before* any chronic/serious health problems develop. insured pooches
Hello, As someone in the Veterinary Field, I can recommend highly recommend TruPanion Pet Insurance. Avoid VPI at all costs- they do everything they can to avoid re-imbursement. You definitely want to get insurance now as most insurance companies exclude pre-existing conditions (sound familiar?). -Anon

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Is pet insurance worth the cost?

June 2006

Does anyone have any experience with veterinary pet insurance, good or bad, s/he would like to share? What I'm trying to figure out is whether it is worth the cost (considerable, as we have three older dogs). We just spent a fortune on medical care for an (uninsured) dog; if insurance pays a significant share of the cost in the event of a catastrophic illness such as cancer, it might be worth doing. Thanks for your help, ljz

We have used VPI for about 5 years now and are very satisfied. We have two dogs and two cats, all fairly young, and didn't want to face the dilemma of finances versus giving them necesary medical care in the event of an accident/injury. We have the highest level of coverage, which covers vacinations, preventative stuff like heartworm medication and flea/tick medication, and maybe one annual ''checkup.'' VPI only pays up to a certain amount - it never covers the entire vet bill - but there have been several times when our dogs have been injured and we've been charged a huge amount for stiching up lacerations, etc. --- and we were glad we had insurance. We've never had a claim turned down and when I've had to get on the phone with the company, they've been very helpful anon
I had bad experiences with them about 6 years ago. I had an older rottweiler who I got insurance on when she was about 4 or 5, with the cancer policy. They covered barely anything and the type of cancer she got when she was 7 was not covered under the policy, and told me it was a pre-existing condition, which it wasn't. They have so much fine print, it is hard to find anything that they do cover and you have to play a lot out of pocket before the insurance will kick in. I think I got *maybe* $300 back total for 2 dogs being covered for 6 years, for incidental things like teeth cleaning and shots, nothing major. But when major things ($$$$) went down with my dogs (cancer, vomiting, eye lesions, fox tails in the nose), they totally screwed me and I got such a lousy return for it, like $25 for a $600 vet bill. It was a very unwise investment for me. It was worth it once when our second dog was a puppy and we had her spayed, but now days, any vet will fix your dog on a sliding scale and sometimes free! It makes me sad just to think about it. When times were tough with my dog suffering, I *thought* I had planned well for her care, only to find out that VPI was heartless and found every way to get out of covering her bills. Hope my 2 cents helps
We have been using VPI for several years now. Our dog had a pre- existing condition (hip displaysia) so anything related to this condition is not covered but we decided it was worth the $160 we spend each year just in case something does happen. It is like any insurance - you wish you had it if something bad happens and dogs can do crazy things sometimes. We have gotten some money back for testing we did earlier and medications we had to give to her. One thing though - they might not cover older dogs or charge a lot if they have not been covered before Wendy
I have VPI for my two dogs (5 and 9 years old). I have only needed to submit claims for my 9 year old so far. One of the last times was for teeth extraction, and I think VPI ended up covering about half of it. They have a defined schedule of what they will pay for what illness/treatment, regardless of how much your vet charges (they don't pay a certain percentage). If you sign up your dogs with them, they will also review their medical records and probably will exclude any prior problems from coverage. You can talk to them about the details if you're concerned. Their customer service is very good. I believe that having health insurance for my dogs is worth it. I have the basic plan, so it's not that expensive, but it gives me peace of mind. In fact, I've always said that I hope I never have to use the insurance, even if I pay for it their entire lives Hope this helps