You have insurance for you and your family, and covering even your pets can be a good thing. You need to be able to protect your precious fur companion to make sure that no matter what happens, you’re ready. If you didn’t realize you could get pet insurance, you’re in luck. This article is for you.

Banfield Overview

Banfield has been in business since 1955, thanks to the work of a veterinarian, Warren J. Wegert. He dreamed of bringing quality veterinary medicine to everywhere in the country, and Banfield Pet Hospitals were born.

Today, Banfield offers lots of services to help keep pets healthy and ensure their needs are met. Banfield’s concept is to offer a “membership” style insurance plan, helping to mitigate the cost of services by providing services through a monthly program.

Banfield is an enormous system with an A+ rating from the BBB. Although they have quite a few complaints for customers, the BBB lists them quite high. Banfield itself has always had a pretty good reputation for offering good preventative care and allowing pet owners to find the right veterinarian without stress.

2019 Banfield Pet Insurance Review

People do have some mixed opinions about Banfield hospitals, however. Many of the complaints stem from the veterinarian turnover and the lack of customer service from the central offices. However, pet owners with no outstanding issues do not seem to have the same problems.

Pros

  • Wellness plans cover preventative care
  • Covers cats, dogs, puppies, and kittens
  • Additional coverage options for special needs

Cons

  • No emergency care covered
  • Cannot go to other doctors or hospitals and use Banfield Wellness

What do customers like about Banfield?

“My wife and I have taken our pets, two dogs and a cat, to the San Bernardino Banfield for 18 years. The service we have received has been excellent. We have had no trouble scheduling appointments on short notice when we’ve needed them, and our waiting times for all appointments have been minimal.” Douglas S. (BBB)

“From the appointment-making process online, the first phone call to the scheduling staff in Palm Springs, to the annual Wellness Plans offered, my experience with Banfield Animal Hospital has been a solid 5 star experience”Liebling (Libby) B. (BBB)

“We recommend them to all our customers. We receive no money or discounts from any of our vendors, just so that we can judge them on their own merits. Banfield in Aurora OHIO is awesome!” Angela (Consumer Affairs)

What do customers dislike about Banfield?

“In my experience they hire vets fresh out of vet school. And it’s an administrative nightmare. I had a plan my first year of having a dog and they constantly were misdiagnosing him and ordering unnecessary tests.”Kelly1307 (Reddit)

“The Banfield wellness plan is for preventative care, not for accidents/injury. It’s a decent return on investment for getting puppy shots done (since they need to get so many done within the first couple of months) or for seniors since it covers dental cleaning, x-rays, bloodwork, etc.” – TentacleLove Goddess (Reddit)

How Does Banfield Pet Insurance Work?

Banfield is often referred to as insurance, but that title is a little bit misleading. Instead, Banfield offers a monthly membership model for preventive services, testing, or other services. The membership tiers allow you to handle your dog’s preventative care, helping stave off the costs of waiting until the last minute to handle things like checkups.

The basic services depend on the area or branch. When you contact your local branch, they can set up a full plan for you to consider both basic services and any special services your dog may need. Elderly dogs, for example, may require more bloodwork than puppies.

The plans break down kind of like this:

  • Active Care – Active care is the basic plan and includes things like two vet visits per year, vaccinations, basic diagnostic testing, two fecal exams, and two deworming protocols with unlimited office visits. You also receive a 10% discount on Banfield services and products.
  • Active Care Plus – Active care plus is designed to add a few additional services to your roster. It has all the same benefits as the Active Care option but adds dental cleaning and urine testing with unlimited office visits. You receive 15% off all other Banfield services and products.
  • Special Care – For seniors and dogs with special needs, Special Care includes all the services listed above but adds three preventative X-rays, an eye pressure test, an electrocardiogram, and unlimited office visits. You receive 20% off Banfield services and products.

Banfield also offers special tiers of packages for both puppies and kittens as well as a special option for adult cats:

  • Puppy Wellness Plan – This plan takes place during the first six months of your puppy’s life. There are two tiers of care. Puppy Wellness includes everything but spay/neuter services plus 5% off services and products. Puppy Wellness Plus includes spay/neuter and 10% off. After six months, your puppy graduates to one of the other plans.
  • Kitten Wellness Plan – The Kitten Wellness plan is similar to the Puppy except with a focus on cat health. The two tiers are the same.
  • Cat Wellness Plan – The Cat Wellness Plan offers three tiers, just like dogs, Active care, Active Care Plus, and Special Care with the same benefits. It emphasizes specialized cat wellness.

For Dog Wellness Plans, you have the option of five different customizations you can add to the plan:

  • parasite control
  • spay/neuter
  • Wisdom Panel (genetic testing for breed type and genetic illnesses and conditions)
  • additional dental option
  • chronic control

For Cat Wellness, you have the option of four customizations you can add to the plan:

  • parasite control
  • spay/neuter
  • additional dental option
  • chronic care options

To sign up for the right plan, contact a local branch who can talk you through the plan options, and help get you signed up. You cannot sign up directly from the internet because all plans are contingent on a veterinarian checking out your pet and making recommendations. The vet can deny certain plans or suggest options.

Once you’ve had your vet checkup and been given the ok, your plan can take up to four days to go into effect. After that, simply keep up with your yearly services and make any changes you need to through your veterinarian.

If you need to cancel your membership, you will be charged for any unpaid services already rendered. You must call the central office to cancel your membership, and it can take a few days. Be sure you get all the details during your cancellation, so you aren’t surprised by any fees you may still owe.

Banfield Pricing Details

Let’s go over a few different details that can help you decide if Banfield’s wellness options are a good fit for your budget and needs. Banfield’s wellness plans only cover the services you receive at Banfield pet hospitals, so make sure that’s going to be your regular place.

How much does it cost per month for their best plan?

The most comprehensive plan costs around $50 per month plus extra if you add any of their additional options and care packages. It covers a range of preventative care actions and can help you budget each month, especially if you’ve got a senior dog with different needs. If you add other options to your wellness plan, it could be a little more.

Are there any coupons, deals, or incentives to sign up?

Banfield doesn’t offer many coupons or deals, but when you sign up, you are eligible to receive a percentage off other services and products depending on your tier. The tiers offer 10%, 15%, and 20%, respectively. Banfield’s incentives tend to happen after you’ve signed up rather than before, but keep an eye on your local branch for local incentives or deals.

What’s the deductible? Is it annual or per visit?

Because Banfield isn’t technically insurance, it doesn’t have deductibles. Instead, your monthly membership fee covers the cost of the services listed in the plan you signed up for. It’s easy to calculate, and you always know what you’re going to pay for these plans.

Do you have to pay a co-pay, or are claims covered 100%?

More significant issues such as emergencies or other catastrophic events aren’t covered, but those services could be eligible for the percentage discount based on your tier. The option to add additional services could help mitigate the cost of claims that fall outside the coverage.

Banfield isn’t a traditional insurance service, so you’re only receiving services at a Banfield location. The wellness services offered there are included in your monthly membership fee.

Will the rates go up over time?

Rates may change periodically with inflation and treatment adjustments, but your price per month shouldn’t change without an outstanding reason. Banfield will contact you to let you know about any pricing differences happening in your area.

Banfield Coverage Details

Here’s what the plan covers and what to expect once you’ve gotten signed up.

Does it cover regular vet office visits and routine checkups or only unexpected emergencies?

Banfield Wellness programs cover regular services from Banfield. Your dog or cat’s preventative care includes quite a few steps, and Banfield is designed to make that planning easier month to month. Larger, emergency services are not covered, but you are eligible for percentages off with your wellness plan.

Does it cover dental and teeth cleaning?

The basic plan does not, but if you have Active Care Plus or Special Care, you do have once yearly dental cleanings included in the plan. For dogs with dental issues, your vet can determine if adding an additional dental plan to your wellness program is warranted.

The additional dental plan includes additional cleanings and can be beneficial for senior dogs or dogs in danger of other chronic illnesses. This allows you to take more regular care of teeth for dogs with special issues.

Does it cover hip dysplasia?

The Special Care plan includes a more in-depth diagnosis for things like skeletal issues. It contains three preventative X-ray viewings per year, which can help keep tabs on the signs of hip dysplasia. It doesn’t have a specific treatment or wellness option for the condition, however.

Does it cover spaying and neutering?

The basic wellness plans do not cover these services; however, for adult dogs and cats, you do have the option of adding that additional service to a wellness plan. Puppy and kitten wellness plans also have the option as part of their “Plus” plans. If you need this service, Banfield does make it easier to get it done.

Does it cover pre-existing conditions?

Because this is a wellness plan rather than traditional pet insurance, you are covering preventative care activities. You do have the choice of tiers so that you can better manage any pre-existing conditions with the help of your vet, and a vet will also examine your pet before anything is decided.

You can add certain plans such as dental or chronic illness packages to help manage issues your dog or cat may already be having.

Does it cover cancer?

Cancer is a serious diagnosis, and while this plan does cover some of the basic preventative care activities, it may not cover everything associated with cancer. However, some of the outside services at Banfield could be eligible for a percentage off, depending on your care tier.

Does it cover prescription medications?

It doesn’t cover prescription medications outright, but some of the products and services are 10%, 15%, or 20% off depending on your level of monthly service.

What else does it cover?

Here are a few basics within the coverage package:

  • preventative care services
  • checkups
  • dental cleaning
  • other standard checkup services

What else does it NOT cover?

If you need these things, this plan isn’t going to be the right one for you and your pet:

  • catastrophic care
  • cancer-specific care
  • emergency services
  • services performed outside Banfield pet hospital

Are there any restrictions on breed-specific conditions or age?

There are no restrictions pending a veterinarian checkup of your pet initially. Puppy and Kitten Wellness plans are only eligible during the first six months of life. Talk to your local branch to verify any age or breed-related restrictions at that specific location.

Is there a waiting period? How soon can I start using the insurance after I sign up?

They have a waiting period to allow a Banfield pet hospital veterinarian to check out your pet and approve the plan or suggest changes. Once that happens, your plan should take about four days to enter into the system. Once that happens, you should be eligible for their preventative care at your local Banfield branch.

Is it easy to cancel if I change my mind?

You have to call customer service to cancel your membership plan. It’s not difficult to do, but you’ll need to give it a few days to process. Check with your local branch about the amount of notice you need to cancel the membership before your card is charged for the month.

How does Banfield compare to other pet insurance companies?

Banfield is quick to point out that they are not insurance. Instead, they’re a wellness plan with monthly memberships allowing you to account for and budget for preventative services in a logical way. The plan gives you the chance to pay a low monthly fee instead of covering services all at once with no way to budget ahead of time.

Would you recommend this pet insurance company for dogs?

If you have a local Banfield branch that you trust, this could be an excellent way to ensure your pet has coverage for basic care. Banfield has a lot of negative reviews from BBB, many of which are concerned with high veterinarian turnover and lack of experience. If you trust your local branch, it could be an excellent way to budget for basic care.

It can also be a good way to get care if you don’t have much special care needed for your particular pet. Dogs and cats without any existing conditions or concerns could benefit from this membership plan to help make the cost more affordable. However, if you already have a veterinarian that you like, it’s probably not worth switching over.

What about coverage for other animals?

The membership plan only offers coverage for dogs and cats at this time. If you have another type of animal, you currently don’t have many options with this company — no word on whether that will change in the future.

It could be a good option if you have a kitten and no veterinarian yet, but for the same reasons, it might not be worth it to change over from a vet you already love.

Do they offer coverage for cats?

Yes. The cat wellness plans offer solutions and preventative care for kittens and cats. Choosing cat insurance can be tricky, but there are lots of options out there for different scenarios.

Do they offer coverage for horses, birds, reptiles, and other exotic animals?

There is no feature yet for other animals. Banfield mostly treats dogs and cats, and the plan is a basic wellness option only for them. It’s best to look elsewhere if you plan to have other types of pets.

Choosing pet insurance can be challenging, but Banfield gets the process of wellness right. For those of you who don’t already have a vet, this could be an excellent way to get your dog or cat health and wellness treatments they need without having to look far and wide for the right veterinarian’s office.

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