Updated January 11, 2021
Reading time: 9 minutes
Pet owners looking for a wellness plan add-on
Pet parents looking for customizable options mid-policy
Those looking to customize coverage for specific treatments
Pets under nine years old
Pet parents looking for alternative therapy coverage
Pets with patterns of unsafe behaviors, like consuming potentially poisonous items
Those looking for dental disease coverage for their pets
Owners looking for unlimited annual coverage
Pets in Washington or New York
Pet parents might argue about what designer food or training technique might be best. Still, everyone can agree on the importance of proper veterinary care. At Insurify, we know pet owners would do anything for their furry family members, especially when it comes to maintaining their health. But when it comes to an unexpected illness or injury, vet bills can get very high, very fast.
In addition to the emotional distress that comes with a sick pet, the looming financial stress only makes these periods harder to navigate. Some pet parents aren’t able to handle substantial vet bills, which can lead to improper treatment and even economic euthanasia.
This is why so many pet parents are turning to pet insurance as a way to relieve some of the financial burdens that occur during an emergency vet trip. Finding the best policy for you and your pet can mean a world of difference when it comes to finding treatment for your pet while not breaking the bank.
Purchasing a pet insurance plan can mean saving on upwards of 100 percent of your qualifying veterinary bills. These policies cover various treatments depending on the company and plan, including preventative and routine care, emergency care, surgery, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and even euthanasia and cremation.
Your pets are members of the family and deserve the best possible healthcare, finding the best pet insurance policy can guarantee the best care for your best friend.
AKC offers coverage for dogs and cats in all 50 states.
AKC does not require an initial vet exam before enrollment. Still, pet owners are required to disclose veterinary records before filing any claims. This allows AKC to determine the possibility of pre-existing conditions. AKC accepts all breeds, regardless of their registration status with the national American Kennel Club.
AKC has a comprehensive plan for dogs and cats, depending on where they live. Pets in New York and Washington qualify for the companion plus plan, and pets living in every other state qualify for the companion care plan.
Both plans offer reimbursements for unexpected accidents, illnesses, surgery, physical therapy, and prescription medications. This means that AKC will reimburse policyholders for costly broken bones, surgery to correct foreign body ingestion, and chemotherapy for cancer.
Unfortunately, pets under the companion plus plan will receive fewer coverage options, which can’t be customized. Unlike the companion care plan, it excludes alternative therapies, pet ambulance fees, any treatment associated with anal glands, and injuries caused by another pet in the household.
Both plans offer a number of add-ons, including two different wellness care options and coverage for general exam fees. AKC is one of the only pet insurance companies to require customers to buy an add-on for hereditary and congenital condition coverage, instead of including them in its comprehensive plans. Pets over two years old can’t add hereditary and congenital coverage.
Both plans can be customized by changing the deductible, coinsurance, and annual limit. Unfortunately for those in New York and Washington, AKC includes incident limits in the companion plus plan. AKC will only pay up to $8,000 toward each individual accident or injury for the remainder of the animal’s life, regardless of the treatment required. This means that if your cat required multiple surgeries over three years to address an illness, AKC would only pay $8,000 toward the operations, despite being in separate billing cycles.
There is an upper age limit on AKC’s comprehensive accident and illness coverage. Pets over nine years old only qualify for AKC’s accident-only plan.
AKC also offers accident-only coverage options for pets that don’t qualify for comprehensive plans. This means that AKC will reimburse policyholders for treatments like broken bones but won’t reimburse for cherry eye or urinary tract infections. Policyholders can add a wellness plan in addition to the accident-only plan.
The accident-only plans are significantly cheaper but offer less financial protection. The plans also differ by state like the comprehensive plans. Most states are offered a $100 deductible, 90 percent reimbursement, and an unlimited annual limit for dogs and cats. Pets in New York and Washington are offered a $100 deductible, $3,000 incident limit, and $11,000 annual limit. None of these options can be customized.
AKC has two wellness plan options to purchase alongside a comprehensive plan. Wellness coverage means AKC will reimburse you for routine and preventative care like heartworm medicine or teeth cleanings. The defender plan is the cheaper option and offers $305 in savings. The plan costs roughly $190 per year, which means policyholders could save over $100 on routine and preventative care. The defender plus plan offers $535 in savings and costs roughly $300 per year.
Both plans have annual maximums on each treatment. This means that no matter how much your vet might charge for vaccinations, the defender plan will only pay $30 towards the invoice, and the defender plus plan will only pay $40. The defender plus is the only plan that will help pay for spay / neuter surgery.
Despite AKC’s history with breed discrimination in its dog shows, it offers coverage to all dogs regardless of breed. Depending on the policy available, AKC can provide complete coverage for nearly every instance of veterinary care. AKC offers up to a 90 percent reimbursement for qualifying veterinary services by any licensed practice, emergency clinic, or specialist.
The comprehensive accident and illness plans offer coverage for expensive, unexpected vet trips that can rack up expensive bills. It even covers expensive treatments for hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament conditions, and cancer. It also covers common treatments like x-rays and blood tests. Unfortunately, AKC is one of the only pet insurance providers that requires an add-on for hereditary conditions. It is only available for dogs under two years old, which means that conditions like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes won’t be covered in older dogs.
The wellness care add-on helps cover the cost of routine and preventative care like annual exam fees, microchipping, vaccinations, routine diagnostics, and teeth cleanings.
Like every other pet insurance company, AKC will not cover pre-existing conditions. It will also not cover any fees related to breeding, alternative therapy for pets in New York and Washington, dental diseases, fees associated with working dogs, behavioral treatment, or any medical obesity. Another significant coverage limit is that AKC will not cover treatment for repetitive injuries or illnesses from behavior it deems unsafe. This means that if your dog has a habit of eating out of the garbage and eats something toxic, AKC won’t cover subsequent treatments if it happens again.
AKC will also cover all cats regardless of breed and offers complete coverage for your favorite feline. Cat owners can customize the amount of insurance coverage they want by choosing between wellness plans, hereditary and congenital coverage, and even exam fee coverage.
AKC can cover nearly every instance of veterinary care your cat might need throughout its nine lives. They can receive care from any licensed veterinarian, emergency clinic, or specialist. The comprehensive plans offer coverage for accidents, illnesses, prescriptions, physical therapy, emergency care, and diagnostics.
Depending on the plan available in your state, AKC can cover ailments like urinary tract infections and toxoplasmosis. It will also cover unexpected injuries like broken bones or tooth extraction due to injury. However, AKC does not offer any coverage for diseases that have preventative vaccines. This means it will not cover FIV, feline leukemia, or rabies. It will also not cover hereditary or congenital conditions without the inherited plus add-on, which is only eligible for cats under two years old.
No pet insurance provider will cover pre-existing conditions, but AKC has significantly more exclusions than many other providers. AKC won’t cover any fees related to breeding, dental diseases, behavioral treatment, illnesses from parasites, or any medical obesity. Cats in New York and Washington will also not be covered for alternative therapies or any treatment resulting from an attack by another pet in the household.
The most significant exclusion is that AKC will not cover treatments from behaviors deemed repetitive and unsafe. This means that if your cat had eaten a mouse toy and needed removal surgery, AKC would not cover additional surgeries if it were to happen again.
AKC does not offer insurance for birds or exotic pets. Currently, Nationwide is the only pet insurance company to offer pet insurance for exotic animals.
Depending on the state you reside in, AKC offers a decent amount of flexibility with its comprehensive plans. Pet parents can adjust the deductible, the percentage of the invoice that AKC will pay, and the amount AKC will pay toward all treatments per year. Pet owners in New York and Washington can also adjust the incident limit, which is the amount AKC will pay toward a single accident or illness for the remainder of a pet’s life.
Pet owners in New York and Washington can choose a deductible between $100 and $1,000. This is the amount pet owners must pay out of pocket before receiving any reimbursements from AKC. The higher the deductible, the less you pay each month. You can also choose between 80 percent and 90 percent reimbursement, which is how much of the veterinary invoice AKC will pay.
One of the most important choices pet parents make is choosing the annual limit, which is the amount AKC will pay toward all treatments in a year. Pet parents can choose between $3,000 up to $16,000, or an unlimited amount. The higher the annual maximum payout, the more you pay each month. However, choosing a low payout could potentially cost you more out of pocket if your pet were to need expensive surgery.
Unfortunately, AKC also implements an incident limit. Incident limits are the maximum amount AKC will pay for specific accidents or injuries for the remainder of a pet’s life. This means that even if you were to choose an unlimited annual maximum, AKC would still limit the reimbursement on a single treatment. Pet parents can choose from $1,500 to $8,000, which can really limit the treatment options available. If your cat were to get hurt in a car accident and need reconstructive surgery and a second surgery the following year, AKC would only pay a combined total of $8,000 toward both surgeries.
Pet owners in every state besides New York and Washington can choose a deductible between $100 and $1,000, a reimbursement rate of 70 percent to 90 percent, and an annual maximum of $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, or unlimited. These states do not have incident limits.
Accident-only plans can’t be customized. Pets in New York and Washington are given a deductible of $100, an incident limit of $3,000, an 80 percent reimbursement, and an annual maximum of $11,000. Pets in every other state are given a deductible of $100, a 90 percent reimbursement, and an unlimited annual limit.
All policyholders can use AKC’s 24/7 vet hotline. This can be accessed over the phone or through an online chat and can connect pet owners to licensed veterinarians. This is a great benefit for pet parents trying to determine whether to seek further veterinary care, or to get general health and behavioral advice.
After completing the claims form and sending an itemized invoice from the veterinarian, pet owners will be reimbursed by AKC for the chosen reimbursement rate. These items can be uploaded directly to the AKC customer portal, emailed to email@example.com, faxed to (919) 859-8193, or mailed to the following AKC address:
PO Box 37940
Raleigh, NC 27627
According to AKC’s website, claims are processed in three to five business days. All claims are reimbursed as checks and will arrive in the mail.
AKC has a number of waiting periods depending on the coverage. Accidents are covered two days after the finalization of any plan, diseases are covered after 14 days, and any cruciate ligament or disc-related conditions are covered after a 180- day waiting period. If your pet were to get sick or injured before the waiting period is over, you would have to pocket those costs, and the diagnosis would count as a pre-existing condition. Your pet would not receive coverage for it in the future.
To see how AKC’s quotes stacked up to those from its competitors, Insurify’s data team compared pet insurance quotes from Nationwide, Healthy Paws, and PetPlan.
Below are the pet insurance quotes for a two-year-old purebred golden retriever named Sally who lives in San Jose, California:
These are the pet insurance quotes for a one-year-old German shepherd named Jerry who also lives in San Jose, California:
These are the quotes for a three-year-old labradoodle named Sandy in San Jose. Mixed breed dogs usually have lower insurance premiums since they aren’t as susceptible to genetic conditions:
And for cats, these are the quotes for a five-year-old British shorthair named Simon, who lives in Houston, Texas:
Remember, cat insurance premiums tend to be cheaper than dog insurance premiums.
Finally, these are the quotes for a three-year-old Persian cat named Peri, who also lives in Houston, Texas:
AKC does not have any consumer reviews on its site, but it does have a link to Trustpilot, where it has 4.6 stars from 969 reviews. Positive reviews usually talk about great customer service representatives and the ease of submitting claims. A customer service representative replies to a majority of the reviews.
Trustpilot also has a handful of negative reviews from consumers who are unhappy with their service. Most of the negative reviews cite the denial of claims, reimbursement caps, and long waiting periods.
|Contact Portal||Contact form|
PO Box 37940
Raleigh, NC 27627-7940
AKC pet insurance policy rates depend heavily on your pet’s age, breed, and location. On average, AKC cost around $28 and $119 each month. Again, these rates are heavily subject to the aforementioned factors, as well as the insurance plan available in your state and the customizations chosen. Compared to other pet insurance providers, AKC has mid-range prices depending on the state. However, the lack of coverage in certain states and a long list of exclusions don’t bode well compared to other companies. AKC also has a $3 to $4 transaction fee, which is the highest across all providers. You should definitely compare pet insurance plans and prices before settling on one policy.
Pet insurance policies are primarily bought in preparation for unexpected accidents and illnesses, rather than current or prior health conditions. Coupled with AKC’s upper age limit on its comprehensive coverage, certain pets will get more out of AKC than others. Ideally, pet insurance policies should be purchased while a pet is still young. Puppies and kittens that are insured prevent early-onset illnesses from becoming pre-existing conditions. By registering young pets with AKC’s policies, they can be enrolled in the hereditary and congenital add-on. AKC will also not drop pets that are already enrolled in the comprehensive plan once they reach nine years old.
AKC seems to offer a thorough amount of accident and illness coverage. However, it requires customers to pay much more for coverages that would otherwise be included by other companies. Pet owners in New York and Washington are especially undercovered because of the per-incident cap and the long exclusion list. AKC does offer accident-only policies and allows policyholders to make changes in the middle of the billing cycle. But some customers feel like they pay too much for the coverage they receive and AKC denies too many claims. Whether AKC is the right choice for you comes down to what you can afford and what kind of coverage fits you and your pet best. That's why you should make sure you compare quotes before settling on a single pet insurance policy.
Samantha Vargas is a freelance writer for Insurify. She has a background in comparative English literature and film and has produced a variety of journalistic content for the University at Buffalo's independent student newspaper, The Spectrum. She currently works in Buffalo, NY while finishing her master's degree. She spends her free time baking and working with animal welfare groups.Learn More