We protect our family members and plan our finances, but sometimes we forget to consider the financial cost of taking care of pets. Pets can end up with lots of financial burdens if something happens. The last thing you want is to worry about treatment costs in your pet’s time of need.

Pet insurance may not be as common in the United States as it is in Europe, but we’re quickly finding out that it can give us peace of mind and allow us to make the best decisions for our pets without worrying about the cost. Once you know your expenses can be covered, it’s easier to do what you need to do.

Pet First offers insurance for dogs and cats at reasonable rates. Depending on your individual pet’s needs, you may be able to get the right coverage for a monthly premium that you can afford. Let’s take a look at what Pet First has to offer.

Brand Overview

Pet First began after one of the co-founders had to put a dog down in 2003. He never wanted any other pet owners to experience a financial concern as part of the decision-making process, so he decided to begin a pet insurance company.

Pet First is a fast-growing pet insurance option with quality underwriters making sure your policies are safe and secure. They offer adoption events, continuing education, and lots of love for both shelter pets and all animals.

They’re located in Indiana officially and have an A+ rating through the Better Business Bureau. They haven’t been in business quite as long as other options, but they have grown steadily over the past years and now offer a wide range of insurance options for dogs and cats.

The company offers simple plans through an easy to follow website and account system. They’ve expanded their team to add more agents and customer service representatives to handle inquiries and are very responsive to customer questions and concerns.

2019 Pet First Pet Insurance Review

Pet First does have some fans, but others haven’t been quite as pleased. Some of the complaints stem from not realizing that Pet First’s deductibles are calculated per-incident rather than per year. Each time you have an incident, a portion of your cost is considered a deductible.

Other than that, Pet First offers straightforward plans with a few different options to make sure you have a good balance between the affordability of your premium and coverage you need to get reimbursed.

Pros:

  • Good for young pets
  • No age or hereditary exclusions
  • Offers a routine care option

Cons:

  • The per-incident deductible can be surprising
  • No unlimited yearly reimbursement option

What do customers like about Pet First?

“Saved the life of three of my dogs over the 13 years I have been with them. Do not even think of not using them they are GREAT!!!’ Can not day [sic] enough positive things about them. They may cost a little more, but how much is the life and health of your best friend worth?” Vbirkenthal (Consumer Advocate)

“Pet First has been amazing! My German Shepherd has EPI. Meds are expensive! I send in a claim, and within 15 days, I have a check in the mail. The staff is helpful and always professional. Great company to deal with!” Kay R (Consumer Advocate)

“Claim service is fast and efficient. Paperwork is easy to understand. Premiums are reasonable.” Marla P (Consumer Advocate)

What do customers dislike about Pet First?

“Beware! Unlike most other pet insurance companies who offer a per year deductible, this company charges per-incident or diagnosis. You could end up having to meet multiple deductibles per year, depending on the health of your pet. Very disappointed.” Lisa H. (Consumer Advocate)

“This pet insurance is a huge scam. They deny your claim after you submit all required paperwork and even include more, just in case it’s not enough. I submitted the paperwork again with everything we had documentation of and was requested, including the vet’s notes and all adoption medical records. They again denied the claim.” Arthur (BBB)

How Does Pet First Pet Insurance Work?

Pet First offers insurance to both dogs and cats for catastrophic illnesses and non-routine incidents. To get a plan, simply fill out the online questionnaire for a quote or speak directly to an agent for your options.

Dog Insurance

For standard insurance, you have a few different options to help balance your monthly premium with your coverage options. You can choose your deductible between $50, $100, $250, or $500 per incident, not per year. You’ll need to sort out with an agent or with your own research what could be the best option for you here.

Pet First has lower yearly caps for insurance than some other companies. There’s no unlimited amount, but you can choose between $2000, $5000, or $10,000 annual caps as part of your coverage choices. The lower your yearly payout limit, the lower your premium will be.

You must also choose your copay amount, also called reimbursement. The plan offers 70%, 80%, or 90% reimbursement rates, and the lower the reimbursement, the lower your premium will be.

Cat Insurance

These apply to cat insurance as well. With both dogs and cats, your pet must be examined by a licensed veterinarian for any pre-existing issues that wouldn’t be covered under the plan. Once you’ve signed up, you must turn in that paperwork. There’s a 14 day waiting period, during which your pet is watched for signs of a pre-existing condition. When that waiting period passes, you’re good to go.

Puppies and Seniors

The plan offers a puppy option and a senior option for pet owners. Puppies can begin the plan as young as eight weeks and follow the same plan as adult dogs. There’s a waiting period and a series of choices for deductibles, copays, and reimbursement caps.

The plan offers senior coverage with the same types of vet checkups and copays. The plan covers hereditary conditions and common senior ailments, provided they aren’t pre-existing conditions. There’s no age limit, and your pet cannot be dropped from a plan because of age.

Routine Care

Pet First insurance is for emergencies and non-routine care. The company does offer a simple rider for routine care to help cover things like regular vet visits and dental cleanings. It also includes certain procedures such as spaying and neutering and microchipping services.

Reimbursement

Both pet insurance and the wellness option offer reimbursement for services. You can use your own veterinarian and never have to worry about whether your vet takes insurance. Once you pay for services, submit a claim through the website, and give any necessary paperwork. You should receive a reimbursement per your policy soon.

Pet First Pricing Details

Let’s take a look at what Pet First might cost you for certain levels of coverage.

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

As with many insurance plans, it’s difficult to say what your best plan might be because it depends on a lot of factors. A high reimbursement percentage with high yearly caps and a very low deductible could cost you over $100 per month. Plus, if you add on the wellness rider, you may have even more cost.

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

Pet First offers a few incentives to sign up. First, certain groups of people are eligible for discounts on premiums, including military families, animal care employees, and certain corporate employees whose companies offer pet insurance as a work benefit.

Pet First has a multiple pet discount, which is excellent for larger pet families and is one of the few pet insurance companies to offer a vanishing deductible. For each year your pet is claim free, you receive a $25 off discount for your monthly premium.

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

Pet First operates on a per visit deductible. You can choose between several deductible amounts between $50 to $500 per incident. If your pet is accident prone or could develop a chronic hereditary condition, you may be better off choosing the smaller deductible.

Each time your pet has an incident, your deductible kicks in. If your out of pocket cost is greater than the deductible, Pet First will cover the expenses at whatever percentage is chosen in your plan.

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

Your reimbursement rate is considered the copay. You can choose a percentage based on your budget needs. You have the option of 70%, 80%, or 90%, and reimbursements kick in after your per-incident deductible is met.

Will the rates go up over time?

Pet First doesn’t claim either way, but many customers have reported rate changes with things like pet age or reimbursement claims. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your monthly premium for signs of change and to contact your representative with any questions.

Pet First Coverage Details

Let’s go over what Pet First plans offer customers. You have quite a few choices with plans, but they do work very similarly to other insurance options out there.

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

The standard Pet First plan doesn’t cover any type of routine visit, but you have the option of adding a routine care rider to your plan to help cover those things. The basic plans are only for non-routine care and emergencies.

Does it cover dental and teeth cleaning?

The standard plan covers dental emergencies like extractions or periodontal disease, provided there was no pre-existing condition in the first place. Regular dental isn’t covered under the plan, but if you add their routine care option, your typical dental cleanings can be reimbursed with the right paperwork.

Does it cover hip dysplasia?

The plan does cover hip dysplasia and doesn’t exclude hereditary conditions from your pet’s coverage. Hip dysplasia cannot be a pre-existing condition, however, because those are excluded. If your dog is young but of a breed that is at risk for hip dysplasia, Pet First will still cover both your pet and the later occurrence.

Does it cover spaying and neutering?

The standard plan doesn’t cover spaying or neutering, but if you choose to add on the routine care rider, you’ll be covered for your spay or neuter procedure once your deductible has been met and based on your plan’s reimbursement options.

Does it cover pre-existing conditions?

The plan does not cover pre-existing conditions. Your pet must have a vet checkup to be fully accepted to the plan, and anything noted during that checkup or that comes up during the 14-day waiting period is considered a pre-existing condition.

If the pet experiences a curable condition as pre-existing, they are eligible for coverage for future issues once they’ve been symptom-free for a period of time, and it’s determined that the two incidences are not related.

Does it cover cancer?

It does cover cancer, but the cancer diagnosis must be made clearly after the start of the policy. Otherwise, it’s a pre-existing condition and subject to exclusions.

Does it cover prescription medications?

It will cover non-routine prescription medications for conditions that aren’t considered pre-existing. For routine medications, such as flea and tick treatments, you’ll need to add on the routine care rider for reimbursement.

What else does it cover?

It covers most non-routine procedures including emergencies and prescriptions

  • Accidents
  • Illness
  • Diagnostic fees
  • Prescriptions
  • Surgeries
  • Holistic and alternative therapies
  • Intervertebral disc disease (12 month waiting period)
  • Cruciate ligaments (12 month waiting period)

What else does it NOT cover?

Routine procedures are not covered without the wellness rider.

  • Breeding and pregnancy
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Injuries from fighting or guarding
  • Elective procedures
  • Routine procedures

Are there any restrictions on breed specific conditions or age?

Pet First has no age or breed restrictions, including hereditary conditions for specific breeds. Your pet will not be covered for anything that’s considered pre-existing, or that shows up during the waiting period.

Once that period passes, your pets are covered for life and cannot be dropped simply for hereditary or chronic conditions or once they reach a certain age.

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

Once you’ve signed up for the plan and Pet First has received your vet checkup, you must wait 14 days before making any claim reimbursements. Any conditions that show symptoms during that waiting period are subject to pre-existing conditions exclusions.

Is it easy to cancel if I change my mind?

It is easy to cancel. You’ll receive a prorated portion of your premium back for the month if you decide to cancel. However, while you can sign up online and make claims and payments online as well, you must submit cancellation requests in writing, or the company will be unable to process them.

How does Pet First compare to other pet insurance companies?

Other insurance companies work off a yearly deductible. When you’re getting your quote, be sure you don’t assume those low deductibles are paid annually and get a surprise. Many complaints online seem to be because customers didn’t realize that they were paying for a per-incident deductible.

It works very similarly to other pet insurance companies outside of that one detail. They have full coverage for dogs and cats and a wellness rider to offset preventative care.

Would you recommend this pet insurance company for dogs?

It’s a good option for dogs if you’re aware of how the deductibles work. It can offer some very affordable options and allow your dog coverage without breaking your wallet each month. As long as you know what you’re signing up for and you can find the balance of coverage and premium, it should be fine.

What about coverage for other animals?

It doesn’t have the option for coverage other than dogs and cats, so it’s best to visit elsewhere if you need coverage for other animals.

Do they offer coverage for cats?

It does cover cats. Cat insurance works similarly to dog insurance. You’ll choose your deductible amount, your reimbursement percentage, and your yearly cap. You’ll need a vet checkup for pre-existing conditions and will have to wait for 14 days for any further pre-existing symptoms to show up.

Cat insurance can be tricky, but you need to consider your financial burden when caring for cats. Make sure you consider all your options. 

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

They don’t have coverage for exotic animals, only dogs, and cats. For coverage in that area, you’ll have to find another company.

Pet First insurance offers coverage that’s both affordable and customizable for what you need. Pet First does require a per-incident deductible, which can be a shock for first-time buyers who are used to a more standard annual option, but once you come to terms with it, it can still work well.

Pet First can be an affordable and straightforward option with plans for routine care as well. If your dog or cat is young and relatively healthy, plans could be very affordable per month. Plus, the disappearing deductible options could be an excellent way to cut your costs.

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