Costco Canada members can use their benefits to get a hefty discount on premium pet insurance, but check with competitors first to make sure you can’t get an even better price elsewhere.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
First month free
Costco members get 10% to 15% off normal rates
Flat-rate premiums for all ages
Includes Blue Ribbon Benefits package
Lifetime renewal guarantee
Only available in Canada
Limited options for terms
Lengthy underwriting process
No digital claim filing options
Low-value wellness plan
- Costco pet insurance is provided by Pets Plus Us.
- Policies are only available to pet owners located in Canada.
- Costco members qualify for their first month free on top of a 10% to 15% discount based on membership status.
- Coverage options include accidents, illnesses, wellness, and additional services.
Costco is a membership-based wholesale club with locations in 12 countries. Canadian members can benefit from discounted pet insurance provided by Pets Plus Us, an Ontario-based insurer that has been writing pet policies since 2012. In 2016, Pets Plus Us was purchased by Pethealth Inc., a major pet insurer across all of North America. Policies are underwritten by the carrier, Northbridge General Insurance. Through their partnership with Costco, Pets Plus Us offers members significant discounts on pet insurance coverage.
- Year Founded 1983
- Waiting Period Two to 14 days
- Deductible $100 to $700
- Customer Service Forms Phone, email
- Customer Service Telephone (833) 326-7826
- Company Website www.petsplusus.com/partner/costco
With 100 locations across Canada, Costco is growing in popularity as a one-stop destination for discounted wholesale groceries and goods. But did you know that your Costco membership can also get you discounted pet insurance? Offered in partnership with Canadian pet insurer Pets Plus Us, this exclusive perk isn’t available to U.S. Costco members. We took a look at the coverage offered to see whether it’s worth taking advantage of.
- First month free: As a Costco member, your first month of premiums will be waived when you sign up for coverage.
- Costco members get 10% to 15% off normal rates: Gold Star and Business members receive 10% off regular pricing; Executive members are eligible for 15% off.
- Flat-rate premiums for all ages: Premiums don’t increase as pets get older, although you may have to pay a higher deductible.
- Includes Blue Ribbon Benefits package: Full coverage comes with perks like 24/7 helplines, a pet concierge, and a subscription to Modern Dog or Modern Cat magazine.
- Lifetime renewal guarantee: Costco guarantees that benefits will renew every year for the duration of your pet’s life.
- Only available in Canada: You’ll need a Canadian zip code to sign up for coverage.
- Limited options for terms: Annual coverage caps and deductibles are limited for accident and illness plans. Accident-only policies aren’t customizable at all.
- Lengthy underwriting process: Costco’s underwriter takes extra time to review your pet’s medical records and check for pre-existing conditions.
- No digital claim filing options: Your only options to submit claims are by email, mail, or fax.
- Low-value wellness plan: Wellness benefits only match the amount you put in each year. The plan’s sole purpose is to distribute the cost of preventive care.
Costco’s pet insurance offerings through Pets Plus Us consist of an accident-only and an accident and illness policy. Both cover nearly identical treatments; the main difference is that accident-only benefits are only applicable to injuries.
Pet owners who purchase an accident and illness policy also have the option to sign up for wellness benefits. However, these plans aren’t comparable to traditional insurance coverage. A preventive care plan simply means choosing how much you plan to spend on your pet’s wellness each year and spreading that amount into 12 monthly payments. For example, if you pay $650 toward preventive care throughout your policy’s year-long term, you’ll only get $650 in benefits. It’s essentially just a savings account that can only be spent on your pet’s routine veterinary care.
All plans come with a complimentary Blue Ribbon Benefits package, a subscription that normally costs $8.95 per month. This includes access to a number of 24-hour pet help lines, including PetHelpFone for emergency veterinary advice, the Post Poison Help Line, and the Compassionate Care Line, a counseling service for pet parents who are struggling to cope with a furry family member’s serious illness or death. A pet concierge is also available to help connect you with products and services you need, and you’ll even get a subscription to Modern Dog or Modern Cat magazine.
|Covered Treatment||Accident Only||Accident and Illness||Wellness|
*Only covered for injuries
Costco’s pet insurance pricing is on the expensive side, partially due to the limited terms offered with each plan. Unlike most other carriers, pricing is left stable for pets of all ages; even illness coverage doesn’t increase as your pet gets older. Instead, deductibles go up as pets pass certain milestones. For example, a $67.53-per-month policy for a one-year-old dog carries a $300 annual deductible, but a 12-year-old dog would pay the same price for a $700 deductible.
|Accident Only||Accident and Illness||Wellness|
|Dog: 1 year||$22.06||$67.53 to $119.61||$20.83 to $104.17|
|Dog: 3 year||$22.06||$67.53 to $119.61||$20.83 to $104.17|
|Dog: 6 year||$22.06||$67.53 to $119.61||$20.83 to $104.17|
|Dog: 12 year||$22.06||$67.53 to $119.61||$20.83 to $104.17|
|Cat: 1 year||$19.73||$40.53 to $75.20||$20.83 to $104.17|
|Cat: 3 year||$19.73||$40.53 to $75.20||$20.83 to $104.17|
|Cat: 6 year||$19.73||$40.53 to $75.20||$20.83 to $104.17|
|Cat: 12 year||$19.73||$40.53 to $75.20||$20.83 to $104.17|
*Prices in CAD
In line with most pet insurers, Costco starts offering accident benefits after two days of coverage. Illnesses are included once you pass the 14-day mark. Any additional benefits that don’t fall into the category of injury or illness, such as the Blue Ribbon Benefits package, also begin after 48 hours.
Many pet insurers impose extended waiting periods of six months to a year on certain conditions like cruciate ligament injuries and intervertebral disc disease. These aren’t anything you need to worry about with a Costco pet plan.
Pre-existing conditions are always excluded from coverage under a pet insurance policy. Any symptoms that your pet shows before coverage begins (or the applicable waiting period ends) will be considered pre-existing, regardless of whether a veterinarian has diagnosed a condition. To make sure they don’t miss any potential pre-existing conditions in your pet, Costco’s policy underwriters take a fairly in-depth look at your pet’s veterinary records and may even request specific lab tests from older pets to screen for underlying illnesses.
Costco’s accident-only policy comes with $5,000 in benefits per year with no option to choose a higher or lower limit. With accident-only coverage, you can pick from annual limits of $7,500 or $15,000. The most flexible plan in terms of coverage limits is the wellness plan, which starts at $250 per year and is available in $100 increments up to $1,250.
Policy exclusions with Costco pet insurance are declared on an individual basis depending on the results of the underwriting process. The plan you receive will spell out any conditions that have been determined to be pre-existing and won’t be eligible for reimbursement. This takes the guesswork out of whether or not your bill will be covered when you submit it to the insurance company.
Any claims made under a Costco pet policy are submitted directly to Pets Plus Us, the company that services the plans. The provider’s website lists a series of forms that you should have your veterinarian fill out depending on the type of claim, like an accident and illness claim, emergency medical claim, or wellness care claim. Your completed form can be submitted along with a copy of the paid receipt by email, fax, or mail. Reimbursements are made by paper check or direct deposit.
Pets Plus Us doesn’t disclose how long claims take to process. Since you need to pay all veterinary bills upfront, you may get stuck waiting for several days or weeks to be reimbursed. To speed up the process, submit your claims by email and sign up for direct deposit. This can shorten the reimbursement process by many days.
The Pets Plus Us customer service phone line is only operated Monday through Friday during daytime hours. Questions and concerns can also be submitted via email. However, these channels only need to be used if you need assistance with a claim. Remember that pet policies come with 24/7 help line access; if your pet experiences an emergency and you need advice, someone will be available at any time of the day or night.
Our review looked at ratings for Costco’s pet insurance partner, Pets Plus Us. The provider holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau with very few customer complaints over the past three years. The policy underwriter, Northbridge General Insurance Company, has an A rating for financial stability from AM Best.
Competition: Costco vs. Petplan
Costco claims to give pet owners significant savings on insurance. But when we compared pricing to competitor Petplan, premiums were almost 20% higher for identical coverage. Petplan also gives owners the opportunity to customize coverage to your exact preference, with a sliding scale of annual limits and deductibles to choose from. Between more competitive pricing and better options, we’d have to go with Petplan in this case.
|Animals Covered||Dogs and cats||Dogs and cats|
|Example Cost||$92.87 to insure a two-year-old dog with 80% coverage, a $15,000 annual limit, and a $300 deductible||$75.81 to insure a two-year-old dog with 80% coverage, a $15,000 annual limit, and a $300 deductible|
|Coverage Type||Accident and illness||Accident and illness|
|Waiting Period||Injuries: Two days;
Illnesses: 14 days
|Injuries: 15 days;
Illnesses: 15 days
Costco’s partnership with Pets Plus Us sounds like a great deal, but as with any type of insurance, you should always compare multiple quotes for your pet to make sure you’re really getting a fair price. Since Pets Plus Us doesn’t raise premiums as your pet ages, older pets may find a better deal here than with other insurers, while coverage for younger pets could be on the pricey side.
How We Review Pet Insurance Carriers
We compare pet insurers by evaluating and scoring their coverage options, terms, and limitations. Using a standard pet profile, we gather policy pricing data to see which carriers offer the best value. We also size up each company’s customer service offering using a combination of our own research and third-party ratings.
Learn more: Read our Pet Insurance Review Methodology here.
Better Business Bureau. “Pet Plus US.” Accessed November 29, 2020.
AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and Its Core Subsidiaries." Accessed November 30, 2020.