What We Like
Petfirst Pet Insurance is a reputable company and pays claims quickly, usually within two weeks. They also have several plans available, which makes customizing the plan to your pets’ needs simple. Their website is clear about what is and is not covered, so that helps take the guesswork out of figuring out what your veterinary bill will be. Petfirst has been providing insurance to pets and their families for 15 years. Here are some of the things that we like about the company:
- No maximum age. While most pet insurance plans max out at 14 or 15 years old, Petfirst does not have an upper limit. This is good for pet owners with small dogs and cats, who often live longer than 14 or 15 years.
- Routine care rider. The company offers the option of a routine care rider, which can reduce yearly expenses for a wellness checkup or vaccinations.
- Many different benefit plans. You get to choose your deductible and yearly maximum from a fairly wide range of options, making it possible to get a lower monthly premium or a higher maximum.
- Quick claim turnaround. Claims are processed within two weeks, making it fast and easy to get your reimbursement.
- No vet exam required to start coverage. Instead, Petfirst requires 12 months of veterinary records to be submitted. This can be simpler for those with pets who are not due for an annual visit.
- Short waiting periods. For most types of coverage, the waiting period is only 14 days, which is short among others in the industry.
What We Dislike
Just like other pet insurance companies, Petfirst Pet Insurance has a few characteristics that might be considered drawbacks. Here are some of the things that didn’t make our “favorite features” list:
- Per-incident deductibles. This can be a pro or a con; we list it as a con because it makes it nearly impossible to determine what your out-of-pocket deductible costs will be in any given year. A pet who has one episode of illness will only rack up one deductible, but a pet owner whose cat or dog has several different health issues over the course of a year will have to meet the deductible several times.
- Yearly maximums. Petfirst will cover up to a certain amount per year, depending on the annual maximum chosen. A pet with an extensive veterinary need (such as cancer with ongoing chemotherapy or a serious surgery) can use up their maximum and would be left with no further coverage until the next year begins.
- Fairly high premiums. The monthly premiums for Petfirst skew a bit higher than other companies with comparable coverage.
- Long waiting periods for some health issues. Claims involving the cruciate ligaments and intervertebral disc disease will not be covered until after a 12-month waiting period.
The key to avoiding unpleasant surprises with any pet insurance company is understanding what is and what is not covered. Petfirst has a comprehensive explanation on their website to help you make your decision about whether they are the right pet insurance company for you.
What Is Covered?
- Accidental injuries
- Hereditary illnesses
- Congenital illnesses
- Chronic illnesses
- Short-term illnesses
- Diagnostic tests
- Examination fees
- Imaging (x-rays, ultrasounds)
- Prescription medication
- Emergency care
- Alternative therapies
What Is Not Covered?
- Pre-existing conditions
- Elective procedures
- Routine wellness visits
- Behavioral training
- Injuries that result from abuse, racing, organized fighting, etc.
- Anal gland expression
- Breeding, pregnancy, whelping
- Pet food
- Vitamins or supplements
- Parasite and heartworm prevention
- Parasite treatment and treatment of illnesses caused by parasites
- Dental care
Routine Care Rider Information
You have the option of signing up for a wellness plan through a rider in addition to your regular policy. This rider will cover some of the preventative and wellness-related services that most pets need. Some of the types of coverage that a rider provides include:
- Routine vet visits and screening
- Routine dental care
- Preventative medications for parasites and heartworm
- Behavioral training
How Much Does Petfirst Pet Insurance Cost?
Petfirst Pet Insurance offers a range of plans to suit your monthly budget as well as the type of coverage you think is best for your pet. We will give a few examples of what coverage costs for an adult dog and an adult cat, but your quote will likely be different, as coverage costs are based on the type of pet you have, their age, where you live, and other factors. One consideration to keep in mind is that if you choose a higher annual maximum or a lower deductible, you will pay more per month; on the other hand, if you choose a lower annual maximum or a higher deductible, you will pay less per month.
Our first hypothetical pet that we requested a quote for is a 2-year-old medium-sized mixed-breed dog. For a $2,000 annual maximum, a $250 deductible, and 80 percent coverage, the monthly premium was just over $12. Raise the annual benefit to $5,000, and the monthly premium goes to $21. Adding a $150 routine care benefit rider added about $6 to the monthly premium, and adding a $400 routine care benefit rider added $30 to the monthly premium.
The second hypothetical pet that we got a quote for is a 4-year-old mixed breed cat. The least expensive premium ($250 deductible and $2,000 annual maximum) is just over $6. The price goes up to $9 by choosing the $5,000 annual maximum. Both of these have 80 percent coverage. Adding the routine care benefit riders had the same effect as adding them for our hypothetical dog; the monthly premiums rose by about $6 for a $125 benefit and by $30 for a $400 benefit.
Discounts, Coupon Codes, Promotions
When you enter your information to receive a quote, you will be offered two discounts:
- Animal Care Discount. This is a 10 percent discount given to veterinarians and shelter personnel. If this applies to you, claim that discount and save 10 percent.
- First Payment Discount. For your first payment, you will get $10 to $20 off, depending on which state you live in.
- Corporate Benefit Discount. If you work for a company that has signed up to provide Petfirst Pet Insurance as a benefit to employees, you will be entitled to 5 to 10 percent off of your monthly premiums. Talk to your employer to find out more.
- Military Discount. Those who are serving or who have served in the military can claim their 5 percent discount.
- Multiple Pet Discount. If you have more than one pet, you will save 5 percent on your second policy and 10 percent on your third and subsequent policies.
- Vanishing Deductible. If you do not make any claims over the course of a year, your next year’s deductible will be $25 lower. This is stackable, so if you have several years with no claims, you will have a lower and lower deductible each subsequent year (until you make a claim).
Before purchasing any pet health insurance, it is helpful to read through what recent customers have to say. We have compiled some positive and negative reviews for you to peruse as part of doing your due diligence.
Those who left positive reviews praised Petfirst for their quick response times and the peace of mind they feel having their pets covered.
I have this insurance on 2 dogs and am so thankful I do. My younger dog thankfully has not needed it. I almost cancelled it bc it did not cover my older dogs pre existing conditions (hypothyroid, ear, and dry eye) however I’m so glad I didn’t. He ended up having immune hemolytic anemia and possibly cushings and they reimburse me for everything. I would not have been able to provide him the same care without PetFirst. – Shannon, 8/22/19, Yelp
It’s there when you need it and no hassle about payment. Vet sent in prognosis bills and within a week I got results.
Without it I might not have zasu anymore. – Joseph, 2/15/19, Yelp
The negative reviews that Petfirst has received seem to focus mainly on disagreements over whether something should be covered and at what rate. This is a fairly common issue among all pet insurance companies.
Our dog underwent a surgery, we submitted a claim with all the receipts and necessary papers. Claim was classified as routine (a surgery, really?!) and denied. Scammers. Cancelling my policy now, lost money on this useless insurance by paying a year policy in advance+surgery bills out of pocket. – Taisiya, 7/25/19, Yelp
I adopted a dog, took him to the vet to get checked out, then later took him for an X-Ray, but not before confirming with PetFirst over the phone that it would be covered. Guess what; once my claim has been submitted and promptly denied, they claimed it was pre-existing, even tough the cough was most likely just cannel cough and taken care of before the X-ray. When I got in touch with them via chat, they were the most unhelpful and claimed they can’t give 100% guarantee over the phone. Then why say yes? Why not just say we can’t promise it will be covered? Same thing happened with my cat previously when something that was noted “covered” on their site ended up being denied. It’s my bad for giving them a second chance. – Viktoria, 11/24/18, Yelp
The Final Verdict
Petfirst Pet Insurance is a reputable company that has been covering pets since 2004. They have quick turnaround times for claims and their policies seem to be explained well on their website. They offer a variety of different types of plans and coverage depending on a customer’s needs. There are some issues noted with determining whether something qualifies as a covered procedure, and it’s important to keep in mind that the deductibles are per-incident. There are also annual maximums (which you choose when signing up for a plan). Our final verdict is that it is a good choice for those who don’t mind the deductible and maximum policies and also for those who can take the time to read through all of the inclusions and exclusions to minimize any potential confusion or disagreement.