PetFirst Pet Insurance was started in 2004 by two friends and colleagues based in Jeffersonville, Indiana. (Notably, one of its co-founders was the former CEO of the Kentucky Humane Society.) It’s now among the most rapidly growing pet insurance companies in North America: PetFirst recently expanded their business into a larger headquarters, so as to have a home base to continue their rapid growth.
They describe their mission as follows: “To imbue our product with financial and emotional value for every customer, associate, and partner.” PetFirst also engages in charity activities like hosting adoption events around the country, and the company partners with shelters nationwide.
Plan Coverage, Cost, & Benefit
With PetFirst insurance, all you need to do is visit the vet (any vet, not just particular providers in their network), send PetFirst your claim, and receive money back. Claims are typically processed in two weeks or less.
PetFirst offers separate insurance plans for cats and dogs. Both plans cover:
- Illnesses (including congenital, hereditary, and chronic conditions)
- Diagnostic tests
- Exam fees
PetFirst offers a $2,000 Plan, $5,000 Plan, or $10,000 Plan. These numerical amounts refer to the annual benefit amount that each plan offers. Its plans vary in cost by state.
For instance, in New York state, the $2,000 Plan starts at $17 per month; the $5,000 Plan starts at $24 per month; and the $10,000 Plan starts at $40 per month.
In Florida, meanwhile, these plans start at $11.95, $15.95, and $24.95 per month, respectively. It’s different for each state.
PetFirst’s cat insurance is centered around allowing you, the policyholder, to choose your cat’s treatment plan based on treatment needs, rather than on cost considerations. Likewise, the dog insurance offered by PetFirst covers all breeds of dogs, and reimbursement is based on what you pay at the vet, not by any pre-defined cost for specific conditions/procedures.
What Isn’t Covered by PetFirst?
As with all other pet insurance providers, pre-existing conditions are not included in coverage. Here are some of the other procedures not covered by PetFirst:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Elective procedures
- Breeding and pregnancy costs, or breeding-related conditions
- Grooming costs/bathing (medicated baths included)
- Parasite prevention and treatment, and parasite-transmitted illnesses
- Orthodontics and endodontics
- Removal of deciduous (baby) teeth
- Routine wellness/preventative care, including dental cleanings
- Organ transplants (ex. kidney transplants)
- Special diets or vitamin/mineral supplements
- Anal gland expression or removal
Coverage for certain conditions only begins after the first 12 months. These include intervertebral disc disease as well as anterior, posterior, and cranial cruciate ligaments.
Routine Care Rider
PetFirst does offer an optional wellness care add-on for policyholders. Wellness care can help pet owners offset some of the routine and preventative costs not covered by the standard plan. For example, PetFirst’s Routine Care Rider can help cover the costs of things like vaccines, dental cleaning, microchipping, spaying and neutering, flea treatment and medications, and even behavior training.
PetFirst has three different wellness care riders available.
Routine Care 125 ($8.50 to $11 per month)
- $15 for Vet Exam
- $25 for Vaccinations
- $50 for Prevention (flea, tick, heartworm) & Microchipping
- $35 for Behavior Training
$125 Total Benefit Amount
Routine Care 250 ($15.30 to $19.80 per month)
- $25 for Vet Exam
- $50 for Vaccinations
- $60 for Prevention (flea, tick, heartworm) & Microchipping
- $50 for Behavior Training
- $50 for Routine Maintenance (spay/neuter, teeth cleaning)
- $15 for Routine Screens
$250 Total Benefit Amount
Routine Care 400 ($22.10 to $28.69 per month)
- $35 for Vet Exam
- $75 for Vaccinations
- $100 for Prevention (flea, tick, heartworm) & Microchipping
- $75 for Behavior Training
- $100 for Routine Maintenance (spay/neuter, teeth cleaning)
- $15 for Routine Screens
$400 Total Benefit Amount
Pros and Cons
- High Better Business Bureau rating (A+)
- Reviews on their Facebook page vary, averaging out to 3.7 out of 5 stars
- Claim submission online
- Accepts all breeds of dog
- No upper age limit for pets covered
- Multiple pet discounts of 5% to 10% depending on the number of policies, as well as other useful discounts
- No lifetime limits
- Breeding dogs are not covered
- Claims processing tends to be slow
- Best plans are costly
- 100% negative BBB reviews
- Poor reviews on Yelp, reviewers often note that it seems like nearly everything is unfairly included in the category of a “pre-existing condition.”
- Customer service is hard to contact on weekends.
The fact that so many consumers have shared their negative reviews of the company online is a major red flag for PetFirst and its services. However, it may be wise to take these reviews with a grain of salt, as it’s very possible that those who take the time to go online and review PetFirst and other pet insurance companies are those who’ve had negative experience.
It’s impossible to know whether these strongly negative experiences are representative of the company’s behavior overall. All this is to say that you should do your research and think carefully before buying a PetFirst insurance policy.