Trupanion swoops into Australia with the highest level of pet insurance you can buy
US-based pet insurer promises to disrupt the existing market.
Trupanion's sole product will be the first and only pet insurance policy that offers unlimited cover for your pet. Most other products currently available in the Australian market cap benefits at anywhere from $11,000 - $20,000 per year.
It also pays 90% of your treatment costs, another figure that no other policy in the market currently matches.
According to 2016/17 claims data from the Hollard Insurance Company, repairing a compound leg fracture in a dog could cost as much as $25,000. A single snake bite costs about the same.
With any other policy on the market, you'd easily use up all your benefits on that single treatment and possibly walk away with a huge out-of-pocket expense. You'd also have zero cover for the rest of the year.
Trupanion's product helps pet-owners avoid that fate.
What else is different?
Trupanion's policy covers accidental injuries and illnesses for all pets it covers. This is good news for those of us with older pets, as most other brands only offer accident-only cover for pets over 9 years. Trupanion offers new policies to pets up to 14 years old, 5 more years than the industry standard.
The policy also abandons a supplementary feature most other brands offer called routine care cover, which helps you pay for services like desexing, microchipping, deworming, vaccines and a handful of those other predictable expenses.
On the surface, this seems like attractive cover. However, because every single pet needs all of these services, this type of cover works more like a savings account than an insurance policy and it doesn't quite help you avoid those large unexpected bills that could blindside you later on.
Can you buy additional cover through Trupanion?
In place of routine care cover, Trupanion offers a couple of other options. One is called the Recovery and Complementary Care package, which pampers your recovering pet with rehab, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, chiro, behaviour modification and a few other treatments.
Another is called the Pet Owner Assistance package, which reimburses you for boarding fees, lost pet rewards and even holiday cancellation costs if you have to cancel because your pet dies or injures itself.
What are some drawbacks?
This strict adherence to the basics does have its downsides. Remember those boarding fees? Many insurers offer that for free while Trupanion doesn't. Plus Trupanion won't cover your pet outside of Australia, while many other policies will at least cover your pet in New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
And then there's the issue of price. The whopping 90% reimbursement rate plus unlimited benefits can't come cheap.
However, these shouldn't hold Trupanion back. Its policy is gimmick-free and is clearly designed for people who want the utmost medical care for their pets.
How do you know if Trupanion is right for you?
The only way you'll know if Trupanion is a good fit is to get a quote and compare it to quotes from a few other similar products. For an apples to apples comparison, look at other accident and illness policies without the routine care add-on.
If you find Trupanion isn't for you, you can compare an additional 12 pet insurance brands here.
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