Understanding Pet Insurance

Pet ownership comes with a lot of responsibilities, and routine veterinary care as well as injury and illness management are a large part of those costs. Understanding pet insurance is a good step to determining if – and what – coverage is right for you and your pet. Being prepared before something happens ensures that if your pet should get hurt or sick, you can focus on what they need to recover without the added stress of worrying about how to pay the bill.

There are a lot of pet insurance companies out there, and they can range from discount and reduced cost plans, credit and veterinary financing plans such as Care Credit, to full service coverage with companies like Trupanion. Reviewing the coverage options available to you for your dog or cat before a major illness or injury happens is a good way to make sure that you are prepared if something happens. And we’re here to help you understand the difference.

The Animal Hospital of Sussex County works with both Care Credit and Trupanion, and want to make sure you have the coverage you need and can afford so that you can provide the best care for your pet. Read our guide on understanding pet insurance below to learn more about both of these companies so that you can decide which is best for you.

trupanion carecredit

Care Credit Veterinary Financing

What is Care Credit?

Care Credit is a veterinary financing company – in essence, a credit company that specifically offers credit for veterinary bills to make the care your pet needs more affordable. Think of it as a special credit card just for your pet’s veterinary expenses. You apply similarly to how you would for a credit card, and based on your approval, you are assigned a credit line that can be used for a large range of services at the vet.

Keep in mind that Care Credit is not actually pet insurance – it is a credit line that allows you to make monthly payments for approved veterinary services provided to your pet. It’s a little different than traditional pet insurance, and covers different services.

What is covered?

As explained on the Care Credit website, here are just some of the many small and large animal veterinary procedures you can use your CareCredit healthcare credit card for:

  • Annual check-ups
  • Spay and neutering
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Parasites
  • Skin care
  • Feline care
  • Senior pet care
  • Rehab
  • Medication
  • Diagnostics
  • Emergency services
  • Care of chronic pet diseases and conditions
  • Hoof care
  • Docking
  • Vaccinations
  • Deworming

If you’re not sure if something is covered, you can also contact Care Credit for more information, or apply for Care Credit today!

Trupanion Pet Insurance

What is Trupanion?

Trupanion is traditional pet insurance where you pay a monthly premium, just like you would on your own health insurance. In exchange, Trupanion provides coverage at a rate of 90% for covered services and you pay the remaining 10%. The focus of pet insurance is providing coverage for unexpected veterinary costs from illnesses or injuries, and can give you the peace of mind to know that your dog or cat is protected in the event they need unplanned veterinary care.

What is covered?

Trupanion explains that almost every type of injury or illness is eligible for coverage, so long as it is not considered pre-existing. They do not exclude any conditions or breed-specific ailments. They even cover hereditary and congenital conditions, provided signs were not evident before your policy coverage date.

So if you have a dog whose breed is predisposed to hip dysplasia, for example, Trupanion will cover up to 90% of any related non-routine veterinary costs should your dog develop any issues.

Simply put, we provide one simple plan that covers 90% of your unexpected veterinary costs, including hospital stays, diagnostic tests, medications, surgeries, and other treatments that arise when your canine friend is ill or injured.* The 90% coverage kicks in after you meet your deductible, and there are no limits on the amount we reimburse.

It’s a pretty robust coverage offering, and allows you to have peace of mind that your pet can get the care they need, when they need it. In addition, Trupanion pays out based on your actual veterinary bill, not benefit fee schedules or “usual and customary” payouts which means you get reimbursed based on the actual amount paid to you veterinarian.

What kind of coverage is available?

Trupanion offers dog, cat, and even puppy and kitten insurance (which can be great to ensure your pet has no preexisting conditions by having them covered since their puppy or kitten days!). While routine veterinary care is not covered, the key benefits include one simple plan with 90% coverage and no payout limits. That means no matter what your pet needs, as long as it is a covered service/care, it’s covered 90% of cost for as much as it may cost – no caps or limits. You can rest assured that your dog or cat or puppy or kitten is always going to get the best veterinary care. You can get a quote and apply for Trupanion online right now!

Trupanion offers the most robust coverage of any pet health insurance company today!

Trupanion offers the most robust coverage of any pet health insurance company today! (Click to enlarge.)

What’s the main differences between Care Credit and Trupanion?

The biggest differences between the two plans are that Care Credit works like a special credit card for veterinary services and lets you pay for those services over time. It includes some routine services such as vaccinaions, deworming, annual checkups, and teeth cleaning. You pay 100% of the cost, over time, rather than needing to have the finances up front to pay your veterinarian at the time of the services. Your vet gets paid when your pet is treated, and you have the convenience of paying back those fees to Care Credit over time, just like with a credit card. And, like a credit card, there is a credit limit.

Trupanion is actually pet insurance, and you pay a monthly premium. When something unexpected occurs due to illness or injury, or even genetic conditions or issues, you submit a claim after your pet is treated and Trupanion reimburses you for 90% of the actual fees paid to your veterinarian (after your deductible). There are no limits or caps to the payout amount, and while routine procedures such as vaccinations, deworming, annual checkups aren’t included, if your pet needs anything major done, you don’t have to worry about hitting a limit and can focus on your pet’s care.

And, the best part is that you can use both services together. If approved, you can use Care Credit for routine visits and procedures, and rely on Trupanion for the more important limit-free coverage for unexpected veterinary needs.

At the end of the day, it’s important to plan ahead, and make sure you have a good understanding of pet insurance so that you can be prepared and know that your pet is covered. The Animal Hospital of Sussex County participates in both Care Credit and Trupanion programs, to make things easier for you. And of course if you have any questions, you can always contact us and our staff is happy to help in any way we can.

Do you use Care Credit or Trupanion? Share stories of how they’ve helped you provide the care and coverage to keep your pet happy and healthy in the comments below!

Dr. Carriera, VMD at the Animal Hospital of Sussex County

Make sure your pet is covered with Trupanion and Care Credit

Our Certifications

AAHA: The Animal Hospital of Sussex County is a certified hospital in the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). To achieve this distinction, our hospital has passed regular comprehensive inspections of our facilities, medical equipment, veterinary practice methods and management. If you are traveling or relocating anywhere, finding an AAHA hospital will ensure the best medical care for your pet. The AAHA is recognized as the world’s leading association of small animal practitioners.

AAFP: We are also a cat friendly practice, certified by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. This means that the Animal Hospital of Sussex County is specifically set up to decrease stress and provide a more calming environment for your cat. Our staff has also been trained in feline-friendly handling and understanding cat behavior in order to increase the quality of care for your cat.

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