AKC Pet Insurance Review

Affordable pet health insurance with multiple add-ons

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AKC Pet Insurance

AKC Pet Insurance

Investopedia’s Rating
4.0

Our Take

AKC Pet Insurance offers an affordable service, but the base plan has many exclusions; to adequately protect your furry friend, you may need to buy coverage riders, which increases the cost significantly.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable plan options

  • Free 30-day trial

  • Fast claim turnaround time

  • Discounts available

Cons
  • Base plan excludes many conditions

  • Multiple waiting periods

  • Accident-only coverage for pets nine years and older

Key Takeaways
  • AKC Pet Insurance offers a base accident/illness plan and add-on plans to increase coverage.
  • Get 70%, 80%, or 90% reimbursement of covered expenses depending on your chosen plan.
  • Insurance through AKC is managed by a third party, PetPartners, and underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company.
Company Key Facts
  • Year Founded 2003
  • Kinds of Plans Accident/injury with multiple add-ons
  • Number of Plans 1 plan with 5 riders
  • Payment Plan Options No
  • Customer Service Chat, email, phone: (866) 725-2747
  • Official Website akcpetinsurance.com

Pros Explained

  • Affordable plan options: AKC Pet Insurance offers a competitively priced base plan known as CompanionCare. There are five plan levels, all with the same medical coverage—they differ only in the annual coverage limits and deductible amounts.
  • Free 30-day trial: AKC Pet Insurance offers a free 30-day trial of all plans; customers can cancel during that time without being charged a premium unless a claim has been filed.
  • Fast claim turnaround time: The average time to receive reimbursement after filing a claim and submitting all paperwork is five days.
  • Discounts available: The AKC offers discounts for being a breeder, buying AKC-registered puppies, insuring multiple pets, and insuring dogs that earn certifications like “Canine Good Citizen.”

Cons Explained

  • Base plan excludes many conditions: Though affordable, the AKC’s base plan does not cover exams, genetic conditions, preventative care, dental care other than accidents, and burial and cremation costs.
  • Multiple waiting periods: Accidents and illnesses, preventative care, genetic conditions, and some specific conditions, such as cruciate ligament injuries, all have different waiting periods that delay coverage.
  • Accident-only coverage for pets nine years and older: Although senior pets are accepted, only accidents are covered for newly enrolled pets that are nine years and older—illness coverage is not provided. Previously enrolled pets that age past nine years old will not lose coverage.

Introduction

AKC Pet Insurance offers a variety of pet insurance coverage, starting with a simple base plan, CompanionCare, that includes several add-ons. Getting adequate coverage through add-ons could be expensive, but there are quite a few discounts available to make AKC’s policies more affordable.

Want to see some other options? Take a look at our choices for the best pet insurance providers.

Company Overview

A trusted name, The American Kennel Club organization was founded in 1884 to encourage interest and quality standards in dogs. It was formed by a group of enthusiasts from various dog clubs around the United States. To offer pet health insurance to their members and other pet parents, the AKC partnered with PetPartners in 2003. In 2017, both companies were purchased by Independence Holding Company as part of its pet health division. 

AKC Pet Insurance plans cover only dogs and cats; exotic pets are not covered. Quotes, as well as customer service and account management, are easily accessed online through the website. As an additional convenience, the company offers a mobile app for both iPhone and Android users.

Before deciding on a pet health insurance plan, always research which conditions are not covered. See our Plan Exclusions section below.

Available Plans

The AKC’s pet insurance starts with a base accident/illness plan, CompanionCare, and then offers additional coverage via add-ons. Take note that newly enrolled pets over nine years old are not eligible for illness coverage, but if you enroll before your pet turns nine and there are no interruptions in coverage, you’ll keep the illness coverage.

Here are the covered treatments under the basic plan and the wellness add-ons:

Covered Treatment Illness/Injury Plan Wellness Plans 
Live vet chat 24/7 ✓ (in some cases)  
Wellness exams 
Vaccinations    ✓ 
Lab tests  ✓   
Heartworm/blood/fecal exam    ✓ 
Heartworm/tick/flea prevention, deworming    ✓ 
Surgery   
Spaying/neutering    ✓ (DefenderPlus only)
Rehabilitation/alternative care  ✓   
Prescription medication/supplements ✓   
Behavioral problems ✓   
Non-routine dental ✓   
Teeth cleaning    ✓ (DefenderPlus only)
Allergies

Coverage types and amounts, along with rider availability, may vary by state.

Available Riders/Add-Ons

  • Wellness Plans: Two wellness plan levels are available: Defender and DefenderPlus. Defender covers many basic preventative care treatments, while DefenderPlus adds some extra coverage and reimbursement, as shown above. 
  • Exam Coverage: Add this rider to get your pet’s medical exams covered by AKC. The coverage will reimburse stated amounts for exams at primary care vets, emergency hospitals, and specialty clinics. Only visits for covered treatments are eligible; wellness exams are not included.
  • Hereditary Coverage: This rider covers congenital and hereditary conditions that are excluded from the base plan, including heart disease, elbow and hip dysplasia, arthritis, diabetes, and eye disorders. Your pet must be under the age of two to be enrolled.
  • Final Respects Coverage: After your pet’s passing, this add-on will cover end-of-life expenses such as burial, cremation, urns, and memorials. This rider is not available in all states, and your pet must be under the age of five to be enrolled.
  • Breeding Coverage: The Breeding Coverage rider provides reimbursement for accidents, illnesses, and complications related to breeding, pregnancy, whelping, or nursing. This coverage is available for male and female dogs.

Waiting Periods

Possibly one of the biggest downsides to AKC Pet Insurance, the waiting periods are varied and somewhat confusing. For injuries that result from a mishap or accident, the plan will pay after a two-day waiting period. For illnesses, coverage begins 14 days after acceptance into the plan. 

However, adding to the complexity:

  • Alternative and holistic treatments aren’t covered for 30 days. 
  • Certain conditions, including spinal issues and injuries to cruciate ligaments, are not covered until 180 days have elapsed. 
  • Coverage by the Exam Coverage and Final Respects riders may be subject to waiting periods.
  • Coverage by the Hereditary Plus and Breeding Coverage add-ons is subject to a waiting period of 30 days.
  • There is no waiting period for treatments covered by the wellness add-ons.

Cancellation Policy

AKC Pet Insurance policies may be canceled at any time by sending a notice in writing or by phone, at (866) 725-2747. If not canceled, the plan will auto-renew annually.

All customers get a 30-day free trial—if you cancel within the first 30 days without filing a claim your full premium will be refunded without penalty.

Plan Exclusions

The base plan for AKC, CompanionCare, comes with quite a few exclusions. This policy only covers accidents and illnesses; no preventative care is covered. Other treatments and situations excluded from the base plan include:

  • Exam fees
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Genetic and inherited conditions
  • Vaccinations
  • Spaying and neutering
  • End-of-life expenses
  • Dental illnesses, root canals, and crowns
  • Prescription diets
  • Bilateral conditions after the first side is diagnosed

Pre-Existing Conditions

With AKC, conditions are considered pre-existing if the pet has shown symptoms in the 12 months preceding enrollment.

AKC considers a condition to have occurred when the pet first shows clinical signs, not when it is actually diagnosed. This means if you’re looking to cover a condition you suspect your pet might have, and waiting for coverage before visiting the vet, the condition may very well not be covered.

If your pet had a condition and 365 days pass with no signs or symptoms, AKC may no longer consider it to be a pre-existing condition.

Pre-existing conditions are considered present at the time the pet shows symptoms, not when they are officially diagnosed.

Plan Pricing

AKC Pet Insurance offers only one accident and injury plan, which comes with varying annual maximum coverage amounts ranging from $2,500 to unlimited. There is no lifetime maximum benefit. Premium costs vary depending on a number of personal factors, like the age and breed of your pet, along with your location. Any riders you include will add to your premium.

For the basic accident/illness plan, annual deductibles range from $100 to $1,000. Once the required deductible is met, eligible veterinary expenses will be covered at your chosen reimbursement level: 70%, 80%, or 90% (reimbursement percentages are often referred to as coinsurance).

A quote can be easily obtained online or by calling the company. There are also sample plans with terms and conditions.

You can get a 5% discount for insuring multiple pets. In an effort to support responsible breeders, AKC offers discounts for puppies bought from breeders who participate in various AKC programs. The discount is 10% off a full-term pet insurance policy, and it’s given to members of the AKC Foundation’s “Breeders with HEART,” “Breeders of Merit,” and “Canine Good Citizens” program.

The higher the reimbursement level chosen, the higher the premium will be.

Claims

AKC Pet Insurance makes filing reimbursement claims easy. There is a simple claim form that must be filled out. Then you may mail, email, fax, or use the online customer portal to submit the claim. All required documents must be submitted before the claim will be assessed. Reimbursement is available via mailed check or direct deposit.

AKC Pet Insurance has a very rapid claim turnaround time, with an average reimbursement wait of only five days.

Customer Service

Customer service for AKC Pet Insurance is available by phone at (866) 725-2747:

  • Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST
  • Saturday: 10 a.m to 3 p.m. EST

You can also send an email using the online web form. Mail can be sent to:

PetPartners
PO Box 37940
Raleigh, NC 27627-7940

Third-Party Ratings

AKC’s insurance is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, which has an A- (Excellent) rating from AM Best. This indicates the company is financially stable and should be able to pay out claims without a problem.

In our independent survey of pet owners, AKC Pet Insurance customers had both positive and negative comments, but most reviews were favorable. One customer expressed concern over the company’s claim denial rate, but several were happy with the fair prices and solid coverage.

Alternative Choices 

There are some key things to investigate when looking to purchase health insurance for your pet. You need to be clear on what treatments and situations are and are not covered (look for plan exclusions). Different companies have different riders and add-ons to explore.

Understand how much you’ll pay each month for your premium, along with any additional fees or out-of-pocket expenses you may incur. A lower premium may look attractive at first, but if essential needs aren’t covered or you must buy additional coverage, costs may quickly increase. Be sure to check the reimbursement percentage, and see how that changes depending on the plan options you choose.

If AKC doesn’t seem like the company for you, see our choices for the best pet insurance plans available today.

Competition

  AKC Lemonade  Odie 
Annual Deductible Options $100, $250, $300, $400, $500, $600, $750, $1,000 $100, $250, $500, $750 $50–$1,000
Reimbursement Percentage  70%, 80%, 90%  60%, 70%, 80%, 90%  70%, 80%, 90% 
Average Claim Turnaround Time  5 days  12–18 days  12–17 days 
Illness Waiting Period  14 days  14 days  14 days 
Injury Waiting Period  2 days  2 days  3 days 
Exam Coverage  Add-On  Add-On  Add-On 
Dental Illness Coverage  No  No  Yes 
Max Enrollment Age Limit  None 14 years  None

Final Verdict

The best thing about AKC Pet Insurance is that the policies are very customizable to fit the needs of your particular pet. The plans and riders offer coverage for different life events and life stages, from breeding to end-of-life care. But the lack of exam fee coverage and other exclusions in the base plan may be a big hurdle—those extras could add up. And for those with older pets, AKC may not be the best choice given its age restrictions.

Our Methodology: How We Review Pet Insurance Carriers

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of pet insurance companies. We rated 25 providers and collected over 2,000 data points, including information about plan options, company features, and fees and limits, to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions for their pet insurance needs.

Our full pet insurance methodology, including our data collection process and weighted data points, is available for review.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. AKC Pet Insurance. "About Us." 

  2. PetPartners. "PetPartners Pet Insurance." 

  3. PetPartners. "Our Story." 

  4. AKC Pet Insurance. "Exam Cost Coverage." 

  5. AKC Pet Insurance. "Hereditary Congenital Coverage." 

  6. AKC Pet Insurance. "Final Respects." 

  7. AKC Pet Insurance. "Breeding Coverage." 

  8. AKC Pet Insurance. "Sample Policy Terms and Conditions."

  9. AKC Pet Insurance. "Wellness & Routine Care Coverage." 

  10. AKC Pet Insurance. "CompanionCare Terms and Conditions." 

  11. AKC Pet Insurance. "Frequently Asked Questions." 

  12. AKC Pet Insurance. "Breeder Discounts." 

  13. AKC Pet Insurance. "Contact AKC." 

  14. Independence American Insurance Company. "Why Us."