PetFirst started in 2004 in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and is the fastest growing pet insurance company in the United States. PetFirst is underwritten by American Alternative Insurance Corporation, out of Delaware.
Benefits of PetFirst:
- No schedule of benefits
- No per-incident or lifetime limits
- Covers exam fees: Yes
- Healthy pet discount if no accident or illness claims are submitted
12 months for cruciate ligament damage or disc disease
Immediate accident coverage and 14 day waiting period for illnesses
Dogs, Cats of all ages and all breeds
Limits, Deductibles and Reimbursement Rate:
- Annual limit: $2,000 or $5,000 or $10,000. PetFirst’s annual limits are on the lower end as compared to other pet insurers, which often offer $14,000 or even unlimited annual benefits. Yes, you will pay more for these options, but you may quickly go over the annual limit, particularly if you choose a lower one, like the $2,000 option to save money on your monthly premium and you may blow through that in one vet visit alone.
- Per incident deductible: $50, $100, $250, $500. Remember with the higher deductibles that PetFirst operates off a per-incident deductible in a policy year, not a calendar year. So, if you start your policy in September, you have until the following September and your pet can be treated as many times (per your annual limit) under the same deductible, but for additional incidents, you will have to pay the deductible again, but still operate under the same annual limit.
- Reimbursement rate: 70%, 80%, 90%. PetFirst also has routine coverage options called the Routine 125, Routine 250 and Routine 400, which is respective to the amount they cover toward wellness care in a year.
**PetFirst offers a 14-day money back guarantee
Discounts for military members and animal welfare workers, buying a policy online and as part of a corporate plan.
One thing that PetFirst is really focusing on is growing its corporate partnerships. Pet insurance is a popular new perk amongst employee benefits packages, and especially in certain industries, where people are focusing on career more and having pets instead of kids, pet insurance and caring for that pet is a big focus. A study from PetFirst shows that up to 70 percent of employees have pets.
- Hereditary conditions
- Exam fees
- Holistic care
- Congenital conditions
- Chronic Conditions
- Hip Dysplasia
- Diagnostic Tests
- Emergency Care
Not normally included but you can get riders to cover some of the expenses from the following:
- Routine examinations like annual vet exam, routine tests or screens
- Teeth cleaning or polishing
- Preventive treatment for parasites, such as fleas & heartworms
- Spaying and neutering
- Behavior training
You can purchase routine care riders with benefit amounts from $125, $250 to $400. When you go to purchase your plan, you will see these listed as Routine 125, Routine 250 and Routine 400. You will get discounted rates on vet exams, vaccinations, flea, tick and heartworm prevention, microchipping, behavior training, spay/neuter, teeth cleaning, checkups, fecal screens and FeLV/FIV screening. This will amount to an additional monthly fee of $8.50 – $28.60 per month
- Pre-existing conditions
- Elective procedures
- Expression or removal of anal glands
- Breeding or conditions related to breeding
- Special diets, bathing materials, food
- Removal of dead teeth, orthodontics or endodontics
- Travel time to vet clinic
- Any injury or illness arising out of fighting or racing your pet
- Behavioral training
- Routine examinations, tests, screens; vaccines, teeth cleaning or polishing. Remember to get a routine care rider if you want coverage in these areas.
- Spaying; Neutering.
- Disc or ligament problems.
- Treatment by an unlicensed vet.
- Diagnosis or treatment for organ transplants.
- Submit claims: for the first claim, you need the last 12 months of chart notes from every vet or emergency clinic your pet has seen. Can submit through online portal, or via email, fax or mail.
- Include the following: Completed claim form, veterinarian notes and itemized invoice. This will go to a claims adjuster. You have 90 days to submit and get your reimbursement
We did a few quotes on PetFirst, reviewing the process and what you get along the way. From a selection standpoint, it is easy to select what your options are, but one thing we would like to see improved is more of a conversation about what the different options entail as you make your selections. Yes, they show the numbers, but they don’t really go over what you get inside the actual plan.
Standard Poodle Quote
For ‘Bob,’ our seven-year-old Standard Poodle, we selected an annual limit of $10,000, a per-incident deductible of $250, a reimbursement rate of 80% and no routine care and our total came to $80.50 a month. When we selected a Routine Care Benefit of $250, this went up to $97.50 a month. This is a little more on the expensive side, since PetFirst has a per-incident deductible as opposed to an annual deductible like some of the other carriers. This means that every thing your pet gets seen for in a year will face a $250 deductible per policy year. There are some carriers that do a lifetime per-incident deductible, but this is per-incident, per year, so keep that noted.
Yorkshire Terrier Quote
Small dogs cost less to insure overall, and with PetFirst this is no different. We kept everything the same – same 80% reimbursement, same deductible and routine care, and we found that the monthly premium is $68.50.
We did a quote for a Newfoundland to see if a Giant dog would have a different impact on the price, and as expected, the Newfoundland with the same variables ($10,000 annual limit, $250 deductible, $250 in routine care and 80% deductible), our quote came to $105.50 per month. Remember that Newfoundlands chew, get into a lot and have lots of issues as big dogs often do, so a per-incident plan is probably not best for this or similar type dog.
PetFirst is growing quickly, and this is largely due to their partnerships with many employers. For what they offer direct to consumers, be sure to read the fine print and make sure you get a deductible level you are comfortable with, since you may have to come up with that deductible a number of times within a policy year.