Top5 Review

PetFirst Pet Insurance Review

PetFirst is a pet insurance company based in Jefferson, Indiana, that provides coverage to both dogs and cats. Founded in 2004, the company is known to have an easy enrollment process and offers customizable plans. It is our top choice for Pet Insurance For Immediate Needs.

Overview

Immediate Coverage

PetFirst does not require a vet exam prior to coverage, and accident coverage begins within 24 hours of registration (although illness coverage has a two-week waiting period).  This is why it’s our top choice for people who want coverage ASAP, rather than having to wait weeks for coverage, which is what some pet insurance companies require.

No Upper Age Limits

Unlike some pet insurance companies, PetFirst does not have any upper age limits on enrollment. If you want to enroll your 15-year-old cat in PetFirst, you are more than welcome to. The policy will likely be more expensive than one for a younger cat, but at least you are able to obtain coverage.

Discounted Rewards System

PetFirst rewards you for keeping your pet healthy and accident free: It offers a discount for every year that you do not make a claim!

Pros

Petfirst pet insurance dog and cat eating out of the same bowl

  • Wellness plan option: Most pet insurance providers do not offer a wellness plan option, so this is a big differentiator for Petfirst. A wellness plan is what covers routine exams and preventative care and can be added under a Routine Care Ryder.
  • No vet exam required for enrollment: Most pet insurance providers require your pet to be checked out by a vet before being enrolled in a pet insurance plan. Petfirst does not.
  • Accident coverage begins the day after enrollment: Most pet insurance providers make you wait a few days or even weeks before your accident coverage kicks in. Petfirst has the shortest wait period we’ve found.
  • BBB rating: A:  A BBB A rating is important as it further illustrates customer satisfaction and in an unbiased way.  In a sense, it’s a “proven” score. According to the Better Business Bureau, “BBB ratings represent the BBB’s opinion of how the business is likely to interact with its customers. The BBB rating is based on information BBB is able to obtain about the business, including complaints received from the public. BBB seeks and uses information directly from businesses and from public data sources.”
  • No transaction or one-time fees: Most pet insurance companies have a nominal administration fee that is required when you first enroll. PetFirst does not.
  • No upper age limits: Most pet insurance providers cap the age they will provide coverage for. PetFirst does not, and understands that the older your pet, the more in need of pet insurance they are.
  • Discounts: PetFirst offers a variety of discounts:
    • Military Discount: Military members (both active and retired) are eligible for a 5 percent discount on their pet insurance policies
    • Claim-free year discount: Just like auto insurance providers, Petfirst rewards you for keeping your pet safe, injury and illness free. You’ll receive a discount for each year you do not make a claim.
    • Online discount: If you book your pet health insurance policy online, PetFirst will give you a discount somewhere in the range of $10-$20 for your first month.
    • Corporate Employee Member Discount: More and more corporations are offering pet insurance as a perk to its employees. Employer or member groups that have signed up to provide PetFirst Pet Insurance as a voluntary benefit for employees are able to offer its members five to ten percent off their pet insurance premiums.
    • Animal Care Provider Discount: This ten percent discount applies to any veterinary or animal welfare employees (vet clinics, animal rescue organizations and shelters).
    • Multiple Pet Insurance Policies: If you have more than one pet you want to insure, PetFirst will provide a five percent discount on your second policy, and ten percent discount on your third policy and beyond.

Cons

  • 14-day waiting period for illness: This is pretty standard for most pet insurance providers. PetFirst does not require a vet exam prior to enrollment, so the goal with a waiting period is to prevent people from enrolling their pets in pet insurance after they have become ill or injured.
  • 12-month waiting period for CCL surgery: If one leg has a CCL (ACL) injury prior to enrollment, the other leg will not be covered even if there are no prior issues. It is considered a pre-existing condition.
  • Preventative dental cleanings are not covered: While PetFirst does not cover cleanings, it does cover the treatment of periodontal disease.
  • Must purchase routine care coverage for behavioral therapy coverage: While we appreciate PetFirst covering behavioral therapy, it should be noted that routine care coverage must be purchased first
  • The upper tier plans are pricier than competitors’: Price is important when selecting a pet insurance plan, but it’s not the most important factor. Depending on factors such as where you reside and the age and breed of your pet, PetFirst may have more expensive monthly premiums for its more inclusive plans. 
  • Company does not offer unlimited coverage: PetFirst offers three key plans, with annual max’s of $2,000, $5,000 and $10,000.
  • Must be at least eight weeks old to be covered: Pets shouldn’t be adopted prior to eight weeks of age, as they should still be with their mothers. However, it should be noted that if you do adopt a pet younger than eight weeks, your pet will be ineligible for coverage until it reaches eight weeks.

Product Stats

Ad for PetFirst showing happy dogs and cats

  • Underwriter: New Hampshire Insurance Company and The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania 
    • A.M. Best rating: A
  • Exam period:
    • Unlike many pet insurance companies, PetFirst does not require a vet exam prior to coverage. Accident coverage begins at midnight the day of enrollment, and illness coverage begins 14 days after.
  • Pre-existing conditions defined by PetFirst:
    • PetFirst distinguishes between curable and incurable pre-existing conditions, which benefits your pet. Incurable pre-existing conditions typically require lifelong care and will not be eligible for coverage if your pet is already experiencing symptoms or has been diagnosed prior to the effective date of their pet insurance policy.
    • “Curable pre-existing conditions are issues that can be completely resolved. These type of pre-existing conditions are eligible for coverage once they have been completely resolved and free from symptoms for a period of time.”
  • There are three plan levels to choose from, each of which has an increasing annual benefit maximum:
    • The base plan starts at an annual coverage of $2,000, with $5,000 and $10,000 limits available at the next two levels.
    • Deductible options range from $50-$500, and the reimbursement level can be 70, 80 or 90 percent on any of the plans.
  • Claims are processed within 14 days: The standard claims procedure is to pay your vet bill up front and then submit the claims form with all relevant invoices and receipts.
  • Healthy pet discounts and premiums: PetFirst offers healthy pet discounts every year you don’t make a claim. It does not increase premiums due to the amount of claims made, either.
  • Cancelation fees: There are no fees to cancel your pet insurance plan.

Features

Golden Retriever puppy being examined by vet

What Is Covered

  • Accidents
  • Illnesses (including hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions)
  • Hospitalizations
  • Surgeries
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Exam fees
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Medications
  • Holistic care and alternative therapies
  • Emergency care

After a 12-month waiting period, your pet is also covered for the following:

  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Anterior cruciate ligaments
  • Medical cruciate
  • Posterior cruciate ligaments
  • Cranial cruciate ligaments

What Is Not Covered

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Elective procedures
  • Expression or removal of anal glands or anal sacculitis
  • Breeding or conditions related to breeding
  • Pet food, special diet, vitamins or mineral supplements
  • Grooming costs and bathing (including medicated baths)
  • Parasite prevention, parasite treatment and illnesses transmitted by parasites (including fleas and ticks)
  • Orthodontics, endodontics and removal of deciduous teeth
  • Behavioral training
  • Illness or injury which arises out of racing, coursing, commercial guarding or organized fighting of your pet
  • Routine wellness and preventative care
  • Organ transplants

Waiting Periods

Unlike many of the other pet insurance companies, PetFirst provides coverage nearly immediately for accidents.

  • Accidents: Routine care and accident coverage begins at midnight following the activation of your pet’s policy.
  • Illness: Coverage begins 14 days after the policy effective date.

 

Costs

Petfirst dog and cat

Sample Rates by Breed

As different breeds tend to have different ailments and injury, PetFirst’s monthly rates vary based upon the breed of your pet. Your pet’s age and physical location can also affect your monthly rate. Below are sample rates for common breeds so you can get an idea of the variances. To get an exact quote for your pet, contact PetFirst. You will be able to enter your pet’s information to obtain a base quote and then make changes to reimbursement rate, annual deductible and annual limit to see how that will affect your monthly rate. 

Breed

Labrador Retriever

English Cocker Spaniel

German Shepherd

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

Mixed Breed Cat

Age

2 years

8 years

4 years

6 years

2 months

2 months

2 years

Location

Florida

(zip code: 33134)

Illinois

(zip code: 60290)

California

(zip code: 90001)

New York

(zip code: 10001)

New York

(zip code: 10001)

Illinois

(zip code: 60290)

Washington D.C.

(zip code: 20001)

Price Per Month

$24.95

$59.95

$94.00

$84.00

$68.00

$114.95

$51.95

Reimbursement Level

80%

80%

90%

90%

90%

90%

80%

Annual Deductible

$250

$250

$250

$250

$250

$250

$250

Annual Limit

$2,000

$2,000

$10,000

$10,000

$10,000

$10,000

$10,000

Deductible

Reimbursement rates, annual benefit and annual deductible amounts vary, but unlike some pet insurance providers, they are not dependent upon the age of your pet at enrollment. Additionally, you can select the rates you would like. 

PetFirst recommends three base plans but also gives you the option to change the annual benefit, deductible and reimbursement rates, all of which can affect price. The plans are as follows:

  • Lowest Monthly Premium
    • Annual benefit: $2,000
    • Deductible: $250
    • Reimbursement: 80 percent
  • Mid-Tier Plan
    • Annual benefit: $5,000
    • Deductible: $250
    • Reimbursement: 80 percent
  • Top-Tier Plan
    • Annual benefit: $10,000
    • Deductible: $250
    • Reimbursement: 80 percent

Petfirst pet insurance animals

Conclusion

We appreciate the fact that accident coverage from PetFirst starts immediately, no vet visit is required prior to coverage and there are no upper age limits. However, while we appreciate the customizable plan options, we are disappointed PetFirst does not offer unlimited lifetime coverage rates like some pet insurance companies.

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