Updated January 11, 2021
Reading time: 8 minutes
Owners looking for a wellness plan add-on
Pet parents looking for low monthly premiums
Those looking for discounts
Those looking for expansive coverage
Pet parents looking for good routine coverage options
Pet owners who live in rural areas that are susceptible to parasites
Pet parents know that their fur babies can come with a hefty price. They know that a portion of their next paycheck is dedicated to their dog or cat, whether it’s for a fancy new food or the latest in dog toy technology.
But when it comes to an unexpected illness or injury, pet parents might not be prepared for the emotional and financial costs these may claim. The rising cost of veterinary and specialist care can put pet owners in a tight spot, and some might not be prepared for an unexpected vet bill.
That is why so many pet owners turn to pet health insurance for peace of mind when it comes to these difficult situations. Health problems can creep up on even the healthiest pets, but finding a policy with the best coverage for your family can really make a difference in the treatments available.
Pet insurance can help by reimbursing pet parents for up to 100 percent of their qualifying vet bills. These policies can help with a lot of medical and wellness expenses, depending on the company and policy. These include routine vet visits, emergency care, dental care, prescription medications, and food, surgery, rehabilitation, and alternative therapies.
You’d do anything for your pets, and that includes giving them the best possible healthcare. Finding the perfect pet insurance plan can guarantee the best care for your best friend.
PetFirst is available in all 50 states, but not in U.S. territories.
PetFirst requires a copy of your pet’s 12-month medical history before your first claim to determine pre-existing conditions. If these can’t be provided or you refuse to disclose them, PetFirst will not process your claims.
PetFirst, which is a part of MetLife, Inc., has three plans that vary in annual maximum payout and offers a build-your-own plan option. Each policy covers accidents; most illnesses; hereditary, congenital, and chronic conditions; alternative therapies; prescription medications; and emergency care.
That means that PetFirst will reimburse you if your dog or cat were to contract a condition that required expensive treatments, like cancer or hip dysplasia. PetFirst will also cover the expense of ailments like cruciate ligament injuries, intervertebral disc disease, broken bones, inflammatory bowel disease, parvo, and gallbladder disease. PetFirst also doesn’t require policyholders to spay or neuter their pets and treats associated medical conditions, like prostate or uterine problems.
All three of PetFirst ’s set plans have a $250 deductible and an 80 percent reimbursement. PetFirst ’s cost-conscious plan is the cheapest option and offers a $2,000 maximum yearly payout. The most popular plan costs a bit more and provides a $5,000 maximum yearly payout. The additional coverage plan costs the most per month and offers a $10,000 annual maximum.
The build-your-own plan lets pet parents customize the annual maximum amount, the deductible, and the reimbursement level. That means that policyholders can control how much they pay each month and how much coverage they receive. There is no upper age limit on any of PetFirst ’s policies.
PetFirst also offers a routine care add-on in addition to the accident and illness plan. This add-on offers wellness and preventative veterinary coverage like annual vaccines, behavioral training, microchipping, and routine dental care.
Policyholders can choose between five different plans that vary between $125 and $575 in routine coverage. The selected amount splits between exam fees, vaccines, parasite control, routine dental or spay/neutering, regular testing, deworming, and microchipping.
Depending on the policy you choose or create, PetFirst can help cover most instances of unexpected accidents and illnesses. Policyholders can receive up to a 90 percent reimbursement for veterinary services by any licensed veterinarian, specialist, or emergency clinic.
According to PetFirst ’s website, it won’t exclude coverage, regardless of breed, old age, or breed-specific conditions.
PetFirst ’s accident and illness coverage is pretty expansive when it comes to unexpected health issues. This coverage includes treatments for cancer, parvo, urinary tract infections, periodontal disease, cataracts, renal failure, and kennel cough. It also covers chronic conditions that appear after the beginning of your policy like diabetes, arthritis, epilepsy, and onset blindness. In emergencies, PetFirst ’s coverage will also cover emergency clinic fees for things like surgery, anesthesia, X-rays, and euthanasia.
That can be combined with PetFirst ’s wellness add-on to create a comprehensive pet health insurance plan that includes routine care like vaccines and teeth cleanings.
Like every other pet insurance company, PetFirst will not cover elective or cosmetic surgeries, breeding-related conditions, or pre-existing conditions. PetFirst also does not include the expression or removal of anal glands, prescription food or supplements, grooming, organ transplants, or diseases associated with parasites. That means that if your cat contracts Lyme disease from a tick, PetFirst will not reimburse you for the treatment.
PetFirst ’s insurance coverage offers basic coverage for your favorite feline. It can be combined with a wellness add-on to create a comprehensive pet health insurance bundle.
The accident and illness coverage can be great for both indoor and outdoor cats. The coverage is pretty expansive and can be used to reimburse pet parents for veterinary expenses from any licensed veterinarian, specialist, or emergency clinic. That includes instances of chronic, congenital, or hereditary conditions, prescription medications, diagnostic testing, and therapies.
PetFirst will cover common ailments like ear infections or toxoplasmosis. It will also include not-so-common conditions like colitis, renal failure, and liver disease. Policies also cover unexpected injuries like foreign body ingestion or lacerations.
According to PetFirst ’s website, it won’t exclude coverage regardless of breed, age, or breed-related conditions. It will also cover diseases related to unneutered pets, like mammary tumors or prostate issues.
Unfortunately, PetFirst ’s list of treatments that aren’t covered is a bit longer than other insurance providers. No pet insurance company will cover pre-existing conditions. But PetFirst will also not cover elective surgeries, breeding expenses, the expression or removal of anal glands prescription food or supplements, organ transplants, or disease associated with parasites. That means that PetFirst will not reimburse you for treatments for tick paralysis, Lyme disease, murine typhus, or cat scratch disease, among others.
PetsFirst does not offer insurance for birds or exotic pets. Currently, Nationwide is the only pet insurance company to provide pet insurance for exotic animals.
PetFirst ’s flexibility comes from its build-your-own plan option, but there aren’t many options to pick between. Pet owners can use this tool to customize annual maximum payout, deductible, reimbursement level, and annual maximum for routine care. That lets pet parents adjust the amount they want to spend each month, but since there aren’t many options, these choices might mean sacrificing a lot of coverage.
PetFirst ’s three set plans all include an 80 percent reimbursement rate and a $250 deductible. The monthly premium goes up depending on the maximum annual payout of $2,000, $5,000, or $10,000.
Policyholders using the build-your-own tool can also pick a maximum annual payout of $2,000, $5,000, or $10,000. The higher the maximum payout, the more you pay each month. But choosing a $2,000 maximum payout could mean putting yourself at risk to pay a lot more out of pocket. If your dog required a $6,000 surgery after being hit by a car, you would still have to pay $4,000 out of pocket.
Pet owners can choose between deductibles of $50, $100, $250, or $500. That means that your pet insurance coverage will only kick in after you’ve spent the chosen amount on treatments that are also covered by your policy. The higher your deductible, the less you pay each month.
The build-your-own plan also lets pet parents choose the reimbursement level. It offers 70 percent, 80 percent, and 90 percent reimbursements, which is the percentage of the vet invoice the company will pay back. That means that if you were to pick a 70 percent reimbursement, you would still pay 30 percent out of pocket for all veterinary expenses.
If policyholders are interested in adding the routine care add-on, they can choose between maximum yearly payouts of $125, $250, $400, or $575. But PetFirst decides how much of the annual maximum goes to specific treatments. That means that if you were to choose a $125 payout, PetFirst would only pay $25 towards vaccinations and $15 towards exam fees, which might not be worth the extra cost.
PetFirst might have relatively basic policies, but what makes it stand out are all the discounts it offers. PetFirst offers $10 off the first month for pet owners that register online. It provides corporate group benefits of 5 to 10 percent off for any company that wants to offer the insurance as an employee benefit. Animal care employees like veterinarians, shelter staff, or animal rescue organizations are given an additional 10 percent off. PetFirst also has a multi-pet discount. Families with two pets are offered 5 percent off, and every additional pet receives 10 percent off.
Another significant discount is PetFirst ’s disappearing deductible. For every year that your pet doesn’t have to file a claim, PetFirst will take $25 off your annual deductible. That means that if you have a $50 deductible and don’t submit any claims for two years, you will have a $0 deductible.
PetFirst will reimburse each claim after receiving a copy of its completed claim form and an itemized vet invoice within 90 days of treatment. These can be uploaded to PetFirst ’s website, emailed to SubmitClaim@ petfirst.com, faxed to (877) 281-3348, or mailed to the following PetFirst address:
PetFirst Pet Insurance 400 Missouri Avenue Jeffersonville, IN 47130
According to PetFirst ’s website, 80 percent of all claims are processed within 10 days.
PetFirst has various waiting periods depending on the coverage. Accidents are covered after 25 hours from the finalization of your plan. Illnesses are covered after 14 days, and cruciate ligaments and disc diseases are covered after 12 months. That means that if your cat were to jump out of a window two days after you buy your plan, you would be reimbursed for that veterinary care. But if your dog was diagnosed with an anterior cruciate ligament tear after three months with your policy, you would not be reimbursed for any expenses. It would also become a pre-existing condition and wouldn’t be covered for any future cruciate ligament issues regardless of the waiting period.
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: :
Finally, 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 diseases:
And for cats, these are the quotes for a three-year-old British shorthair named Simon, who lives in Houston, Texas:
And these are the quotes for a five-year-old mixed breed long-haired cat named Wesley, who also lives in Houston, Texas:
PetFirst has multiple pages on its website that let policyholders share reviews and testimonials of its service. PetFirst embeds Google reviews and holds a 4.3-star rating with 466 reviews. All the reviews on the website are positive and usually discuss quick reimbursements and the simplicity of the process.
Other sites like Trustpilot paint a different picture. PetFirst has a 1.6-star rating with 204 reviews. These reviews talk about claim denials and the difficulties faced while trying to cancel memberships.
|Customer Service||1 (855) 270-7387|
|PetFirst Pet Insurance|
400 Missouri Avenue
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
PetFirst ’s policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, New Hampshire Insurance Company, or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania.
PetFirst’s health insurance depends heavily on the breed and age of your pet(s) and where you live. On average, PetFirst’s insurance plans average around $33 and $60 a month. But according to PetFirst’s website, this cost can be brought down to $1 per month by combining all of its discounts. However, not everyone is eligible for all the available offers. In comparison to other pet insurance providers, PetFirst’s prices are relatively higher, without any of the discounts, and don’t offer a lot of flexibility. It’s important to compare pet insurance plans and prices before settling on one policy.
One of the more prominent complaints on PetFirst’s reviews was regarding the denial of claims. Many pet insurance companies can deny specific medical treatments based on the pre-existing conditions clause. By claiming to not cover pre-existing conditions and not offering to reinstate coverage for “cured” conditions, pet insurance companies can deny claims that they deem to be related to pre-existing conditions. That means that if you had brought your puppy to the vet for diarrhea and the vet couldn’t determine an official diagnosis, insurance could deny any gastrointestinal issue claims. That could potentially mean losing coverage for anything from giardia to canine abdominal cancer. That is why it’s important to look at consumer reviews before purchasing any policy.
PetFirst offers a basic amount of coverage for cats and dogs and has multiple discount opportunities to keep costs low. It also provides a disappearing deductible program, which could mean saving a lot of money. But the list of conditions that it won’t cover is significantly longer than many of its competitors. It’s one of the few companies that won’t cover diseases associated with parasites or the cost of euthanasia as the result of pre-existing conditions. Some policyholders claim that these exceptions make it difficult to use and that it’s hard to cancel any memberships. Whether PetFirst is a good choice comes down to what you can afford and what kind of coverage best fits you and your pet. 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