Petco Pet Insurance Review (2022)

As one of the largest national retailers for all pet products and services, it was only a matter of time before Petco decided to roll over into the pet insurance sector in 2017. Labeling itself a “category-defining health and wellness company,” Petco earns its spot when it comes to specialty pet supplies, but can it deliver competitive veterinary coverage when life decides to throw your pet a curveball?

Our 2022 Petco pet insurance review assesses how well this brand-name commercial pet care company’s insurance solutions keep pace with the big dogs of the pet healthcare industry based on:

  • Our exclusive rating
  • Base plan options 
  • Average monthly premiums for cats and dogs
  • Annual coverage limits, reimbursement rates, and deductibles
  • Coverage inclusions and exclusions
  • Available discounts
  • Verified customer reviews

Our Review for Petco Pet Insurance

With a Petco policy, pet owners will be covered for a few valuable vet services like prescription medications, specialty diets, and alternative therapies but will have to forgo any routine care, which most competing providers at least include as an elective add-on. A Petco policy may be a good fit for middle-aged dogs or cats that have already passed their initial health screening milestones and are now just needing emergency vet care coverage. 

Pros and Cons of Petco Pet Insurance

Pros

  • No upper age limits on enrollment for any policy dimension
  • 14-day waiting period for orthopedic conditions
  • Option for estimate review and pre-approval before continuing with a treatment/procedure

Cons

  • Bilateral exclusions may apply
  • Higher than average monthly premiums
  • Takes up to 30 days to process claims
  • Wellness coverage can only be purchased as a stand-alone non-insurance plan

Petco Pet Insurance Plans and Coverage

Petco offers two dimensions of standard coverage through its accident-only and accident-illness base plans. Unrelated to its pet insurance solutions, Petco markets its trademarked Vital Care program, a non-insurance form of wellness benefits, only available with a separate purchase of a Vital Care membership. Vital Care is available to cats and dogs for $19 per month, but if you’re looking for accident and illness protection in addition to routine coverage, you’ll be paying a minimum of around $49.76+ per month for cats and $76.50+ per month for dogs. Woof!

Plans and Costs

In 2022, the average monthly cost to insure dogs with standard accident-illness protection sits around $50, whereas cats cost a slightly lower $28 per month. Petco’s monthly estimated cost fell within the higher end of that average for mixed-breed pets, and for purebred animals, its premiums were nearly double the national average. 

Here’s how its base plans pan out:

Accident-Only

Petco’s accident-only policy adheres to the typical protocol of competing accident coverage, only covering injuries that arise from sudden and unpreventable events like torn ligaments, broken bones, bite wounds, cuts, and lacerations, as well as ingestion of toxic or foreign objects. Should your pet ever be involved in an emergency, Petco’s accident-only policy will reimburse:

  • MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays
  • Veterinary treatment — examinations, consultations, and laboratory tests
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids and medications
  • Tooth extractions
  • Prescription medications
  • Supplements (to treat eligible conditions only)
  • Prescription pet food (to treat eligible conditions only)
  • Veterinarian-administered alternative therapy
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Poison control consultation fees
  • Surgery and hospitalization
  • End-of-life expenses

Accident-Illness

Its next and most comprehensive plan level covers all of the above in addition to unforeseen illness-related expenses such as:

  • Microchip implantation
  • Behavioral therapies, if performed or referred by a veterinarian
  • Cancer treatments including but not limited to chemotherapy and radiation

Samples of Prices for Four Species/Breeds

To give you a concrete look at just how much Petco premiums vary from pet to pet, we’ve generated a sampling of real, direct quotes from Petco based on common pet personas. 

Aside from species or breed, the below estimates are based on a fictional pet owner located in Alexandria, Virginia, with a 2-year-old pet, and who selects Petco’s most intermediate plan customizations of an 80% reimbursement rate, up to $15,000 in annual coverage, and a deductible of $250 per year.

For variables with preventative care added in, we added $19 to the total premium as this is the flat rate for enrollment into the Petco-sponsored Vital Care wellness plan.

Species/Breed

Sample Price for Medium Mixed Breed Dog

Sample Price for Golden Retriever (Dog)

Sample Price for Domestic Shorthair Cat

Sample Price for Domestic Mediumhair Cat

Accident and Illness Plan

$57.50

$79.92

$30.76

$30.76

Accident and Illness Plan With Preventative Care

$76.50

$98.92

$49.76

$49.76

Accident and Illness Plan With Vet Fees and Physical Therapy Coverage

$76.50

$98.92

$49.76

$49.76

Deductibles

Petco offers annual deductibles of $100, $250, and $500 across its accident-only and accident-illness plans for pet parents to select from. For those unfamiliar, your deductible is a set amount you’ll need to pay upfront before your pet insurance provider steps in to cover eligible expenses.

For example, say your cat took a miscalculated leap from the top of your fridge and is now not putting any weight on one of its hind legs. After a physical exam and some X-rays at the emergency vet clinic, the veterinarian confirms that your cat has sustained a minor fracture across its tibia bone. 

For a feline fracture, your total vet bill will run you around $1,500 — fortunately, you have cat insurance to cover accidents like these. So, say you selected a $250 deductible and a 90% reimbursement rate at enrollment. Since you haven’t yet had to file a claim, you’ll have to pay off that deductible before your provider takes on any expenses. In that case, 90% of $1,500 leaves you with $1,350 and then minus your deductible, comes out to a tentative reimbursement of $1,100.

Coverage Exclusions

With the same pre-existing condition exclusions as other competing pet insurance providers, Petco will not cover any health-related incidents that occur before or during the 14-day waiting period following enrollment.

But, Petco provides policyholders with a bit of an escape clause based on its definition of a pre-existing condition. So long as your pet can go 180 days without exhibiting symptoms or requiring treatment for a pre-existing condition on its medical record, Petco will consider the complication as cured and therefore eligible for coverage. And by default, pre-existing chronic conditions with frequently relapsing symptoms are considered incurable and ineligible.

Petco’s effort to distinguish between curable and incurable pre-existing conditions is a policy feature that might be particularly advantageous for breeds prone to congenital conditions. This distinction does not apply to knee and ligament events.

As for veterinary service limitations, even if related to an eligible accident or illness, Petco will not reimburse costs for:

  • Non-veterinary services — administrative fees, medical record fees, medical waste disposal, membership fees, etc.
  • Preventative care without an eligible occurrence 
  • Routine dental cleaning
  • Controversial elective cosmetic procedures — ear cropping, tail docking, declawing, etc.
  • Aesthetic or cosmetic dentistry — orthodontics, caps, crowns, fillings, implants, root canals, etc.
  • Anal sac expression or removal
  • Grooming and grooming supplies (is available through Vital Care)
  • Non-medical supplies — specialty leashes, bedding, ramps, pet devices, etc.
  • Boarding and kenneling
  • Training or training devices
  • Breeding, pregnancy, whelping, or nursing
  • Organ or heart valve transplants
  • Herbal and holistic products like CBD
  • Dietary supplements
  • Prescription pet food not used for prevention reasons or general health maintenance
  • Vet house call fees
  • Funeral services, memorial items, urns, caskets, or burial plots
  • Treatment for illnesses or injuries resulting from abuse or gross negligence by you or any caregiver for your pet
  • Treatment for illnesses or injuries resulting from organized fighting, racing, commercial guarding, law enforcement, etc. 

Plan Customizations

After selecting a base plan, Petco gives its policyholders the freedom to customize based on a few coverage options:

Annual payout limits — $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, or unlimited

Deductible — $100, $250, or $500

Reimbursement percentage — 70, 80, or 90%

Discounts

Petco only offers one member-only discount, 10% off for policyholders who enroll more than one pet in a Petco pet insurance policy. 

Although not technically a discount, Petco policies adhere to a product assurance protocol, offering customers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all pet insurance plans as long as they haven’t yet filed a claim with their active policy. If for any reason, a policyholder feels that their initial experience did not live up to their expectations, Petco will issue a 100% refund of their paid premium. Residents of New York don’t have access to this refund opportunity due to individual state restrictions. 

Petco Pet Insurance State Availability 

Petco pet insurance covers cats and dogs in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C. Also, it keeps your pet insured if it travels with you to Canada or any U.S. territories, including Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Petco Pet Insurance Reviews

We incorporate verified customer testimonials into our provider reviews to highlight the most transparent insights available about each pet insurance policy on the market — from the voices of real users of the product! Below are a few customer reviews that stood out to us in particular. 

To remain as impartial as possible, we always feature both positive and negative reviews so you can see both sides of the customer experience.

Definitely adequate coverage for our rescue dog’s needs. Having never been a pet owner in my life, I wanted to make sure the newest member of our family had sufficient coverage in the event we needed to bring him to the vet for care…it was an easy enrollment and claim experience for his vet visit, I’d recommend it to others if they’re shopping for coverage.” —Joanne B., PetInsuranceQuotes.com

“This past spring we decided it was time to give an abandoned dog a chance at a new life and adopted Jack. Not knowing much about his background, I knew we needed insurance, hoping never to use it. Unfortunately, this past December, Jack got really sick and was at the ER vet for three days. After all was said and done, I went to submit my claim, and it was so easy. I had my funds back within a few days! Knowing everything he needed was covered gave me such peace of mind…” —Wendy W., PetInsuranceQuotes.com

 “While I was excited at how quickly they processed my first few claims, I was shocked to realize that vaccinations and spay/neutering were not covered and that they only offer this type of plan to employees of the company. I quickly learned that their customer service is truly terrible. I had to call multiple times to get ahold of someone (rather than be placed on hold, or directed to a voicemail box, when the line was busy, the call would just drop), and when dealing with them online, I found the representative to be pretty unprofessional.” —Christian B., PetInsuranceQuotes.com

Final Thoughts

To properly close out our official Petco pet insurance review, we’ve condensed the costs and benefits of Petco’s policies into a final score of 4.1 out of 5. Starting with the perks, we were pleased with Petco’s effort to cover older pets by withholding any upper age limits from its eligibility criteria. It was also encouraging to see behavioral training and alternative therapy offered as standard inclusions as both are items that competitors tend to only offer at higher plan levels. 

The biggest drawback about Petco’s policies is that preventative care is entirely out of the picture unless you purchase an unrelated plan for an additional $19 per month. Inclusion of routine care like checkups, vaccines, and general diagnostics are part of a prevention-first approach, which we would expect as a bottom line from any pet wellness program. 

Petco Pet Insurance vs. Competitors

Factors

Petco

Spot

Lemonade

Embrace

Healthy Paws

ASPCA

Quote

Visit Site

Visit Site

Visit Site

Visit Site

Visit Site

Visit Site

Our Score

4.1/5

4.9/5

4.8/5

4.7/5

4.6/5

4.5/5

Average Monthly Cost for Dogs

$65

$30-$50

$37

$30-$40

$39

$49

Average Monthly Cost for Cats

$30

$18-$25

$15

$15-$20

$12

$29

Waiting Period

14 days for accidents, 14 days for illness, 14 days for knee or ligament events

14 days for accident and illness, 

14 days for knee or ligament events

2 days for accidents, 14 days for illness, 6 months for cruciate ligament events

2 days for accidents, 14 days for illness, 6 months for orthopedic conditions

15 days for accident and illness, 12 months for hip dysplasia events

15 days for all accident and illness coverage

Multi-pet Discount 

10%

10% off

5% off

10% off

No

10% off

Mobile App 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Wellness Add-on 

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Online Chat 

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

BBB Rating

B

A

F

A+

A-

N/A

About Petco Pet Insurance

Before entering the pet insurance market, Petco already offered many in-store pet services beyond retail, including grooming, behavioral training sessions, and adoption facilities. 

But in pivoting its business model toward a health and wellness focus, Petco added pet insurance to its scope of pet care solutions in 2017.

Petco’s plans are produced and serviced by PetCoach, LLC and underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company, administered by C&F Insurance Agency, LLC. PetCoach is not a third-party insurer but a licensed insurance producer acquired by Petco Animal Supplies, Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of Petco pet insurance?

One of the most attractive features of Petco’s pet health insurance coverage is its 14-day waiting period for knee and ligament conditions like cruciate ligaments injuries and patellar luxation. The vast majority of pet insurance companies abide by a six-month waiting period for all orthopedic events, with an occasional accommodation for diagnoses deemed urgent by a licensed veterinarian.

Does Petco offer exotic pet insurance?

No. Petco only provides cat and dog insurance at this time. However, insurance coverage for exotic pets such as small animals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, etc., is offered by Nationwide and Pet Assure

Is an initial vet exam required to enroll in a Petco policy?

No. Petco does not base eligibility for enrollment on your pet’s current medical status, so a preliminary vet exam will not be required if you’re interested in registering for coverage.

Does Petco offer pet liability insurance?

No. Petco’s pet insurance policy strictly covers expenses related to veterinary care for eligible accidents and illnesses. Pet liability insurance, a third-party product protecting you if your pet causes any sort of damage, is a dimension of coverage sometimes included in homeowner’s insurance policies. 

Can I modify my coverage between policy periods?

Unlike some of its competitors that only allow plan amendments to be made upon each annual renewal of your policy, Petco enables its policyholders to make changes to their coverage at any time by calling its customer service line. 

Our Methodology

The 365 Pet Insurance research team looks at all pet insurance policies and comes up with our reviews based on coverage, plan options, cost, reputation, customer service, and species eligibility. We’ve also created a rating system to score pet insurance brands.

We’ve consulted with pet experts and dug into plans to develop what we think are the best overall plans, complete with ratings on coverage, how they handle claims, reimbursements, deductibles, limits, and more.

To make our list, pet insurance companies must have:

  • A variety of plan options
  • Affordable monthly rates

Our team revisits each company’s information at the end of every month to make updates and ensure the information is as accurate as possible.