AKC pet policies are best for younger animals and for pet owners who want more of a say in the type of coverage they’re paying for.
Based on our review of nearly two dozen pet insurance companies, AKC was not one of the best companies we found. To see other options that may be better, visit our list of the best pet insurance companies.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
Wide range of optional add-ons
Discount for enrolling multiple pets
Offers a 30-day free trial
Benefits for AKC members
Low-coverage base policies
Best for young pets
Complicated waiting periods
Lacks online claim filing
- The AKC offers just one core accident and illness policy, but this can be supplemented with a selection of five riders.
- Plans are administered by Pet Partners, a pet insurance specialist.
- Owners of older animals may find limited options based on their pet’s age.
- If you register your pet with the AKC, you’ll get 30 days of coverage for free.
The American Kennel Club, or AKC, was founded in 1884 by a group of enthusiasts from various dog clubs around the United States. The organization soon became a nationwide network of member clubs representing various regions and breeds, holding dog shows, and providing official registration for animals. In 2003, the AKC joined with Pet Partners to begin offering dog and cat insurance policies both to AKC members and the general public. Pet Partners and AKC Pet Insurance were purchased by the IHC Group in 2017, but no significant changes have been made to coverage.
- Year Founded 2003
- Waiting Period Two to 14 days
- Deductible $100 to $1,000
- Customer Service Forms Phone, chat, email
- Customer Service Telephone (866) 725-2747
- Company Website https://www.akcpetinsurance.com
Most dog owners are familiar with the AKC, a membership club that registers dogs and hosts thousands of shows that culminate in the annual televised AKC National Championship. But many are unaware that the organization offers pet insurance plans to both dogs and cats, even those that aren’t members of the club. The AKC’s accident and illness policies can be highly personalized to suit your pet’s needs with customizable terms and several optional add-ons.
- Affordable premiums: The cheapest AKC plans cost just a few cents per day for both cats and dogs.
- Wide range of optional add-ons: Build the policy you want with five different riders to choose from.
- Discount for enrolling multiple pets: Multi-pet households will get a 5% discount for enrolling their pets together.
- Offers a 30-day free trial: Don’t like what you see? Get your money back within the first month of coverage so long as you haven’t filed a claim yet.
- Benefits for AKC members: New AKC members get 30 days of accident and illness coverage for free when they register their dog. Waiting periods are significantly reduced.
- Low-coverage base policies: Many of the AKC’s pet plans appear extremely cheap, but they don’t cover most of the treatments included with standard policies.
- Best for young pets: If you try to enroll a pet at age five or older, you’ll find increasingly limited options for coverage.
- Complicated waiting periods: There are four different waiting periods to keep track of for different types of conditions.
- Lacks online claim filing: All veterinary claims must be made by filling out a form manually and submitting it through email, mail, or fax.
The AKC’s base plan, CompanionCare, is an accident and illness policy that covers the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illnesses. The policy will pay for items like medication and specialist visits, but not the exam fee incurred just by having a vet look at your pet. For this and other additional coverage, you’ll have to supplement the policy by choosing from five available riders. The table below outlines the specific types of coverage included in the CompanionCare base plan and each optional rider.
Individually, the AKC’s plans and riders are relatively inexpensive, but it’s important to keep in mind that piecing together the coverage you want could quickly add up. For example, CompanionCare alone with mid-level coverage only costs $12.86 per month for a three-year-old cat. Add in exam fees, hereditary illnesses, end-of-life expenses, and basic preventive care, and you’ll end up paying $33.64, nearly three times the original price.
|Dog: 1 year||$10.67 to $41.63||$1.48 to $5.77||$1.31 to $5.11||$2.00||$17.00||$29.00|
|Dog: 3 year||$10.63 to $41.50||$1.47 to $5.75||N/A||$2.00||$17.00||$29.00|
|Dog: 6 year||$16.58 to $64.76||$2.30 to $8.98||N/A||N/A||$17.00||$29.00|
|Dog: 12 year||$46.02||$5.61||N/A||N/A||$17.00||$29.00|
|Cat: 1 year||$6.20 to $24.23||$0.86 to $3.36||$0.76 to $2.97||$2.00||$17.00||$29.00|
|Cat: 3 year||$5.72 to $22.34||$1.48 to $3.10||N/A||$2.00||$17.00||$29.00|
|Cat: 6 year||$7.94 to $31.01||$1.10 to $4.30||N/A||N/A||$17.00||$29.00|
|Cat: 12 year||$19.13||$2.33||N/A||N/A||$17.00||$29.00|
Waiting periods with the AKC are a bit complex. The policy will begin paying for injuries after two days and illnesses after 14 days of coverage, which is what you might expect from a typical pet insurance plan. However, alternative and holistic treatments aren’t covered for 30 days, and those who purchase the HereditaryPlus rider will also have to wait an entire month for applicable genetic diseases to be covered. Finally, conditions that affect intervertebral discs and cruciate ligaments are excluded from coverage for the first 180 days that the policy is in effect.
Pre-existing conditions, which are any injuries or illnesses that first show signs before coverage begins or during a waiting period, aren’t covered by the AKC. This is a universal limitation among all pet insurance policies. Since the AKC enforces four different waiting periods, you’ll need to know which waiting period applies to each condition to determine whether or not it might be considered pre-existing. For example, if your pet shows the initial signs of intervertebral disc disease four months after coverage begins but a veterinarian doesn’t diagnose the condition until seven months after the start date, the AKC will consider it pre-existing since symptoms occurred during the applicable six-month waiting period.
With pre-existing conditions, the determining factor for whether treatment will be covered is the date on which symptoms first appeared, not the date that a diagnosis was made.
The range of annual coverage limits offered by the AKC is much more flexible than those from the vast majority of competitors. For lower premiums, you can choose an annual limit as low as $2,500. Options extend all the way to unlimited coverage, meaning there’s no cap on the dollar amount of services you can receive each year. Monthly payments will increase if you choose a higher annual limit.
Since the AKC’s plans are fairly piecemeal, it’s important to understand the exclusions associated with CompanionCare accident and illness coverage. The base policy on its own won’t cover exam fees, hereditary conditions, preventive care, or end-of-life expenses such as cremation or burial. Each of these items can be included in your policy, but you’ll need to select them by purchasing additional riders.
Modifying a policy once its effective date has passed is difficult if not impossible. Before purchasing any pet insurance plan, make sure you’ve selected all the supplemental coverage you think you’ll need. You probably won’t be able to add any riders until your policy renewal date arrives after a year has elapsed.
There are some specific exclusions based on your pet’s age when you first sign up for a plan. HereditaryPlus is only offered to young pets that get coverage before their second birthday. SupportPlus becomes unavailable once they reach the age of five, and illness coverage is removed entirely for newly enrolled animals that are nine or older.
Although policies are branded as AKC pet insurance, claims are filed with Pet Partners, the insurer that services these plans. Pet Partners has yet to get on board with digital filing methods that are becoming increasingly popular in the insurance industry. This means that every time your pet goes to the vet, you’ll need to fill out the Pet Partners claim form by hand and submit it via email, postal mail, or fax. The AKC states that most claims are processed within five days of receipt.
AKC pet insurance customers can get assistance by phone, email, or live chat directly through the provider’s website. All three of these contact methods are staffed Monday through Friday during daytime hours and on Saturday mornings. If an issue arises outside of these times, you’ll have to send an email or wait until offices reopen.
Pet Partners administers all AKC plans, so we looked at this company’s third-party ratings in our review. The provider gets a respectable A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and notably few customer complaints compared to many competitors. Independence American Insurance Company, a member of the IHC Group and the underwriter for most policies, is only given a financial stability rating of A- from AM Best. This isn’t necessarily a bad score but indicates that the company may have a lower ability to pay out claims in the event of financial distress.
Competition: AKC vs. ASPCA
Similar to the AKC, the ASPCA is an animal advocacy organization that offers pet policies through a partnership with an outside insurer. While the AKC chose Pet Partners as its policy administrator, ASPCA plans are serviced by Crum & Forster. ASPCA policies are more inclusive and have coverage for costs such as exam fees built into their terms. However, when we compared mid-tier plans for a two-year-old dog, the AKC came out significantly cheaper–even with the addition of riders for exam fees and end-of-life expenses. For dogs and cats, we’d recommend the AKC, although horse owners should note that the ASPCA offers equine policies that aren’t available from most pet insurers.
|Animals Covered||Dogs and cats||Dogs, cats, and horses|
|Example Cost||$40.02 to insure a two-year-old dog with 90% coverage, a $10,000 annual limit, and a $250 deductible||$46.95 to insure a two-year-old dog with 90% coverage, a $10,000 annual limit, and a $250 deductible|
|Coverage Type||Accident and illness||Accident and illness|
Injuries: Two days;
Illnesses: 14 days
Injuries: 15 days;
Illnesses: 15 days
The AKC gives pet owners a great deal of control over their plans, with custom terms and a selection of riders. However, when comparing AKC pricing to other competitors, it’s important to make sure that you factor in the cost of policy supplements, as simply looking at base plans won’t provide a full picture. You should also take your pet’s age into consideration, as the AKC is more restrictive than others when it comes to providing coverage to older pets.
Our methodology for reviewing pet insurance companies includes a standardized scoring system that weighs many different aspects of coverage. We look at policy terms such as covered treatments, exclusions, and the range of limits and deductibles available, comparing these to pricing for pets of various ages. We also evaluate the components that will affect your experience with the company, including the claims process and how they offer customer service. Data from third-party agencies such as AM Best and the Better Business Bureau also play a small role in each carrier’s overall score.