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PetFirst Pet Insurance Review

What’s New In 2021 for PetFirst Pet Insurance

How Has COVID-19 Affected PetFirst Pet Insurance

PetFirst Pet Insurance has had to adapt to the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, like any other business. While the company isn’t one of the biggest in the business, the entire pet insurance industry is experiencing growth.

The pandemic hasn’t negatively affected the market’s ability to grow, and there are enough insurance companies that there isn’t a risk of a monopoly. As with the rest of the industry, PetLife Pet Insurance is likely to experience a growth rate of about 16% through 2028.

New Products or Changes

PetFirst Pet Life hasn’t made many changes or added new products in the last year. Like many other businesses, the company is watching the pandemic closely. Their customer support team is available as normal to help you file a claim or make changes to your policy.

Pet parents can contact PetFirst Pet Insurance via phone, email, and social media. The call center is open seven days a week.

PetFirst Pet Insurance in the News

West Palm Beach recently announced that 50 dogs are available for adoption from the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. PetFirst Pet Insurance has partnered with the rescue to offer 30 days of insurance for free to new pet parents.

2021 Latest PetFirst Pet Insurance Reviews

It’s important to consider reviews of PetFirst Pet Insurance. While the company hasn’t made significant changes recently, looking at newer reviews can provide a good idea of how the company is currently operating.

One customer on Yelp said the company has been easy to work with, even when having to file a claim. Another customer said PetFirst is helpful when it comes to choosing a policy. However, other reviewers have had issues with getting coverage and finding affordable plans.

Unfortunately, the Consumer Affairs website only gives PetFirst two out of five stars. Customers state the company makes it difficult to get a claim approved. PetFirst won’t cover pre-existing conditions, and they will assume certain conditions are pre-existing even if symptoms don’t develop before coverage begins.

Out of 102 reviews on the Better Business Bureau, PetFirst averages 1.13 out of 5 stars. PetFirst is BBB accredited, but its rating is a C-. The company has closed 276 complaints in the last year and 734 complaints in the last 3 years.

PetFirst is a part of MetLife, so some of the complaints aren’t for the pet insurance company. However, the most common problems with the parent company are related to billing and the insurance product.

The choice of whether pet insurance is worth it typically comes down to coverage limits and cost. Pet parents interested in insurance to pay for accidents and illnesses should weigh the pros and cons of several pet insurance companies to find the one with the right coverage for their dog, cat, or exotic pet at the appropriate price point.

One way to do this is to read reviews like this to learn details about various companies offering pet insurance. Each company has common features with some rising above the rest with unique coverages and add-ons to make the cost of insurance worth it to offset the costs of vet care.

In the crowded field of pet insurance providers, it’s hard to stand out. But PetFirst is unique.

This insurer, backed by MetLife, does not have long waiting periods for hip dysplasia, patella issues or orthopedic conditions compared to other pet insurance companies.

PetFirst pet insurance also has no upper age limit for enrolling and does not require a pre-enrollment vet exam. These qualities have made PetFirst a leading choice for pet parents with older dogs and cats.

But will this company pay your claims when needed? In this PetFirst pet insurance review we’ll examine the details of this Jeffersonville, Indiana-based insurer to see if you should buy a policy.

Table of Contents:

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Highlights of PetFirst Pet Insurance Coverage

Before we dive into plan options, benefit limits, deductibles, and PetFirst’s wellness care add-on, let’s look at some important highlights. These are PetFirst selling points, so let’s determine whether they’re true or false.

Exam Fee Reimbursement

Pet insurance companies rarely pay for exam fees. Vet exams range from $50 to $150 for your regular vet, and up to $300 for veterinary specialists.

  • Claim: PetFirst pays exam fees.
  • Our research shows: It’s true that Pet First covers exam fees, which means your reimbursement after visiting the vet could be higher. But if it excludes the procedure or medical condition from your policy, the policy will not cover the exam fee.

 

 

Medication Coverage

Some companies exclude prescription coverage.

  • Claim: PetFirst pet insurance pays for medications. Like exam fees, if your pet takes medication regularly, PetFirst insurance could save you money.
  • Our research shows: This is true, but your reimbursement rate and deductible would apply, which could lower your payout. Also, if the medication treats a condition that’s not covered by your policy, PetFirst will not reimburse you for the medicine.

Covers Older Pets

Many pet insurance plans have minimum and maximum ages for enrollment.

  • Claim: Pet First has no upper age exclusions. Even your senior pet receives full medical coverage. This is attractive if you’re enrolling your pet later in life since some insurances have upper age limits.
  • Our research shows: This is true, but keep in mind no pet insurance covers pre-existing conditions. If your aging pet has several chronic conditions he or she has suffered from prior to buying the insurance policy, PetFirst will not pay on those vet visits. Also, pet insurance costs more for older pets.

So yes, PetFirst will sell you a policy on your older pet, but the coverage will cost more and it could cover fewer conditions.

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Pet First Pet Insurance Holistic Care Included

Some pet insurance companies exclude holistic and alternative therapies or require higher premiums for a plan that covers this kind of veterinary care.

  • Claim: Holistic care is included in all three standard plans with PetFirst at no extra cost.
  • Our research shows: This is true; PetFirst will reimburse you for alternative therapies as long as they treat a covered condition or procedure. Also, pre-existing condition limitations apply, as do benefit limits, deductibles, and reimbursement rates.

Waiting Periods

All pet insurance providers impose a waiting period which starts when you buy the policy. Until the waiting period ends, you can’t get reimbursed for a vet bill.

  • Claim: PetFirst pet insurance has generously short waiting periods.
  • Our research shows: PetFirst Pet Insurance has shorter waiting periods than most companies. You could file a claim for accident coverage for a vet bill dated the day after you bought the policy.

The 14-day waiting period for illnesses includes elbow and hip dysplasia which most companies do not cover for 6 to 12 months.

Ligament repair (ACL, CCL, MCL, PCL, etc.) and Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) will require a 6-month waiting period.

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

PetFirst Pet Insurance Plans

Now let’s look at PetFirst’s plans of care. Many pet insurance companies divide their products into accident coverage, illness coverage, and wellness or routine care coverage.

PetFirst Pet Insurance offers a different approach. All of its plans reimburse for accident and illness care. You could add on wellness coverage for an additional cost each month.

PetFirst divides its plans by their performance and cost:

  • Cost-Conscious: Caps annual benefits at $2,000
  • Most Popular: Caps annual benefits at $5,000
  • Additional Coverage: Caps annual benefits at $10,000

All of these plans start out at a reimbursement level of 80% but you can adjust to 70% to save money on premiums or increase to 90% for the most robust coverage.

Pet First also offers several options for deductibles, which will affect the premium. Having a low annual deductible means you pay less out of pocket, but you pay more per month in premium. If you increase the deductible, you’ll save in premium but be responsible for more of the vet costs for covered conditions.

All of these plans cover the following:

  • Accidents
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Congenital conditions
  • Hospitalizations
  • Surgeries
  • Diagnostic Tests
  • Exam Fees
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Medications
  • Holistic Care & Alternative Therapies
  • Emergency Care

All of these plans exclude the following:

  • Pre-existing conditions (conditions acquired during the waiting period are considered pre-existing)
  • Elective procedures
  • Removal of anal glands or anal sacculitis
  • Breeding (or health conditions related to breeding)
  • Food, including special dietary needs
  • Grooming costs including medicated baths
  • Parasite prevention and treatment
  • Illness or injury resulting from racing, coursing, commercial guarding, or organized fighting
  • Routine wellness & preventative care (dental care, spaying / neutering)
  • Organ transplants

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Adding on Routine Wellness & Preventative Care

Many pet insurance plans don’t cover routine care, but Pet First Pet Insurance offers wellness insurance options that you can add to your policy.

PetFirst’s routine coverage is offered at three four different annual benefit levels: $125, $250, $400, or $575, to reimburse you for:

  • Routine vet exams
  • Vaccinations
  • Flea and heartworm prevention
  • Microchipping
  • Behavior training
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Routine health screens

If you’re considering PetFirst’s routine care riders, keep in mind the reimbursement maximums for each of the treatments listed.

Each kind of treatment has its own maximum. For example, the $250 routine care benefit will reimburse you only $50 per year for vaccinations:

Routine Coverage

       

Routine vet exams

$15

$25

$35

$75

Vaccinations

$25

$50

$75

$100

Flea/heartworm & microchip

$50

$60

$100

$100

Behavior training

$35

$50

$75

$120

Spay/neuter & teeth cleaning

$50

$100

$150

Routine screens

$15

$15

$100

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Pet First Pet Insurance Limitations

Like any pet insurer, PetFirst pays claims within the framework of your policy’s limitations, which include benefit limits, deductibles, and reimbursement rates.

Benefit Limits

Look closely at any pet insurer’s benefit limits as you compare insurance plans. This condition limits the amount of money you can be reimbursed during a year or throughout the lifetime of your pet.

As noted above, PetFirst offers three different benefit limits: $2,000, $5,000, and $10,000. These are the maximum amounts Pet First Pet Insurance will reimburse you per policy year.

PetFirst does not impose a per-incident or per-illness benefit limit but the annual limits can still restrict your policy’s performance if your pet gets sick or injured more than a couple times per year.

Reimbursement Method

PetFirst can set your reimbursement rate at 70%, 80%, and 90% for covered procedures and vet visits. Most of the best pet insurance providers have similar reimbursement structures.

Only Figo offers a 100% reimbursement level of all the pet insurance companies that we reviewed.

A plan with 90% reimbursement costs the most in monthly premiums than a plan with 70% or 80%. The higher premium is a trade-off for having more coverage per claim and larger payouts.

Deductible

Pet First is among a handful of pet insurers that charge per-incident deductibles instead of annual deductibles. You can choose a per-incident deductible of 

  • $50 
  • $100
  • $250
  • $500

Per-incident deductibles are lower, but you may have to pay the deductible more than once per year if your pet has a variety of ailments and accidents.

Per-incident deductibles can pay off when your pet has a single, chronic condition. For example, if your dog has a recurring ear infection, you pay a deductible for the first claim only. After that, your deductible is met for the next ear infection of the year.

However, if your dog recovers from the ear infection but has a bladder stone and needs a scan, you’ll have to meet the deductible all over again before PetFirst will pay that claim.

PetFirst allows you to upgrade or downgrade coverage, including your deductible, at any time during your policy. This is not common among pet insurers. Most only allow changes at renewal or require a new policy if coverage is changed.

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How Much Does PetFirst Pet Insurance Cost?

PetFirst’s plans currently start at $17 per month for dog insurance and $9 per month for cat insurance. These prices are lower than average, but they provide the most basic level of accident and illness coverage with no wellness coverage.

A more generous plan from PetFirst will cost significantly more, often costing more than comparable plans from other pet insurers.

However, PetFirst offers some nice discounts which can get premiums back in line with the industry average:

Available Discounts:

  • $10 to $20 off for pet parents who purchase their pet health insurance policy online at petfirst.com.
  • 5% to 10% corporate employee member discount
  • 10% animal care employee discount
  • 5% military discount
  • 5% discount when adding another pet
  • 10% discount on your third pet

By paying your entire annual bill upfront, you can save $24 per year ($2 per month).

PetFirst offers the option to pay monthly or annual premiums through an automatic debit of your checking account or using a major credit card. For people who prefer the added protection of a credit card or use points rewards, the option to pay premiums with a credit card for pet insurance is not always common among companies. This is another way Pet First sets itself apart from pet insurance competitors.

To get an idea of how Pet First stacks up against the competition, let’s take a look at how it compares to popular companies, including Healthy Paws pet insurance.

PetFirst vs Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Compared

PetFirst offers a number of discounts and flashy low rate offers vs Healthy Paws. Currently, Healthy Paws are the company to beat if you have a young crossbred dog or cat. 

Check out how Pet First compares to its competitors:

Petplan vs. PetFirst Pet Insurance

PetFirst vs. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

How To File A Claim

Like almost any pet insurance provider, Pet First does not pay your vet directly. The company reimburses you after you pay the vet bill.

After paying the vet, you’d submit a claim form along with medical records and receipts within 90 days. Pet First requires SOAP notes, or medical chart notes, which is not the same as the summary you receive at checkout.

If you’re filing the first claim with PetFirst, be prepared to provide all vet records from your pets last 12 months of visits in addition to the current claim records. 

If your pet was adopted, you will also need to provide adoption paperwork and vet records from the facility when filing the first claim.

There are several ways to submit your claim and veterinary records, including:

  • PetFirst’s online MyPets portal
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Standard mail

Once the company has processed your claim, PetFirst Pet Insurance will send you a reimbursement check by mail, usually within two weeks of the date the company receives your request for reimbursement.

On the surface, Pet First’s claims process is hassle-free. But customer reviews on Yelp and BBB show a lot of customers have been disappointed by rejected claims.

In most cases, claims are denied because of pre-existing conditions, failure to complete the waiting period, or un-met deductibles. However, any covered condition goes towards your annual deductible, so be sure to submit all bills, even if you haven’t met the deductible and don’t qualify for reimbursement.

Before buying your policy, make sure you understand how the plan works. As you compare pet insurance, always read the fine print.

Pet First Pet Insurance Enrollment and Waiting Period

PetFirst has the shortest waiting period for accidents and illnesses. Pet insurance rarely covers genetic conditions like hip dysplasia within the first year of enrollment.

But PetFirst covers it after only 14 days. Here’s a breakdown of the company’s waiting periods:

  • Accidents: 1 day
  • Illnesses: 14 days
  • Hip dysplasia: 14 days
  • Patellar luxations: 14 days
  • Cruciate ligaments: 6 months
  • Intervertebral discs and other disc diseases: 1 year

Petfirst Pet Insurance has a painless and lenient enrollment process when compared to other pet insurance companies.

First, they do not require a vet exam before enrolling. And their accident coverage begins at midnight on the day of enrollment.

There is no fee to cancel.

Your dog or cat must be at least 8 weeks old to enroll and as we mentioned, there is no upper age limit for your pets.

As is standard for most pet insurance providers, PetFirst gives you a 30-day free-look period.

The free-look period means that if you change your mind after enrolling, you can get a full refund. This helps if you are not sure if your dog or cat’s illness is a pre-existing condition and have time to confirm.

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PetFirst Pet Insurance Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Does PetFirst Cover Cruciate Ligament Issues?

Yes, all of PetFirst’s plans cover cruciate ligament issues throughout the life of your pet after the 6-month waiting period — as long as they aren’t pre-existing conditions.

If the condition is pre-existing — even if it begins during the 6-month waiting period — PetFirst will not cover it.

Does Your Pet Need A Vet Exam To Qualify For Coverage?

No. PetFirst does not require a vet exam to qualify for your coverage to begin.

Does PetFirst Pet InsuranceOffer Any Discounts?

If you enroll multiple pets in a family plan, you can save an average of 30%.

Opt to pay a whole year’s bill at once and save $24.

Have a healthy pet? You may qualify for a one percent discount off your premium for every year your dog or cat goes claim free.

You can also purchase online and receive up to $20 off your purchase.

Does PetFirst Cover Spaying And Neutering?

PetFirst does not cover the cost of spaying and neutering unless you opt into the wellness care rider.

You’ll need to have the rider already in place in order to receive reimbursement for spaying and neutering. You couldn’t adjust your plan to buy the rider during the same year of the procedure.

What Is A Pre-Existing Condition?

Good question. Pre-existing conditions are accidents or illnesses that have shown signs of being present before the start of your pet’s coverage (or during the policy’s waiting period).

You don’t need a formal diagnosis for a condition to qualify as pre-existing.

All pet insurance companies will not include a pre-existing condition.

Who Decides If a Condition is Pre-Existing?

PetFirst reviews each claim individually. Pre-existing conditions may be eligible for PetFirst Pet Insurance review if your vet hasn’t observed any signs or symptoms for a while.

How Do You Get In Touch With PetFirst?

You can either go to their site or give them a call Monday through Friday, 8 am to 9 pm Eastern time and Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm Eastern. Call toll free: 866-937-7387.

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