PetFirst Pet Insurance Review

Reasonably priced basic coverage for dogs and cats

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PetFirst

 PetFirst

overall rating
4.0

PetFirst is great for pet owners looking for a practical generic policy with no gimmicks or frills.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Low deductibles

  • Accident coverage begins within 24 hours

  • Professional and multi-pet discounts

  • Helpful online resources

Cons
  • Low annual limits

  • Short trial period

  • Scheduled wellness benefits

  • No accident-only plan

  • Potential data privacy issues

Key Takeaways
  • PetFirst offers one accident and illness policy and an optional wellness rider, but both are highly customizable with flexible terms.
  • Injury benefits begin within 24 hours of when you purchase coverage.
  • Customer service is available seven days a week by phone, web chat, and email.
  • Discounts are available to homes that enroll multiple pets and also to certain professionals.
Company Overview

PetFirst was started in 2004 as just two employees working out of an office in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The company grew exponentially over the years, reaching $1 billion in premiums in 2017 and becoming the policy administrator for AIG and Allianz. In 2020, PetFirst was purchased by MetLife, a major insurance carrier that has offered its own pet policies for more than two decades. So far, no official announcement has been made as to whether PetFirst will continue as a standalone brand or eventually be absorbed into MetLife.

  • Year Founded 2004
  • Waiting Period One to 14 days
  • Deductible $50 to $500
  • Customer Service Forms Phone, chat, email
  • Customer Service Telephone (855) 270-7387
  • Company Website https://www.petfirst.com
Top Rated For

PetFirst is a carrier that makes pet insurance easy with straightforward yet personalized plans. Since 2004, PetFirst has provided coverage to tens of thousands of pets across the United States, but a recent acquisition by MetLife may mean that big changes are in store for this provider. If you’re thinking about PetFirst for your pet’s veterinary care needs, this review will walk you through the pros and cons of coverage.

Pros Explained

  • Low deductibles: PetFirst offers plans with deductibles starting at just $50 per year.
  • Accident coverage begins within 24 hours: Injury-related vet bills are eligible for coverage starting the day after you sign up for a plan.
  • Professional and multi-pet discounts: Professionals who work in certain fields, including with animals, are eligible for a 10% discount on their pet’s policy. Multi-pet families can also save 5% or more.
  • Helpful online resources: PetFirst’s website is equipped with a robust resource center for pet insurance information and breed-specific health tips.

Cons Explained

  • Low annual limits: The maximum annual limit with a PetFirst policy is $10,000.
  • Short trial period: PetFirst only gives you 14 days to decide whether you’re happy with the service.
  • Scheduled wellness benefits: Each preventive care treatment carries its own annual limit if you purchase a wellness rider.
  • No accident-only plan: If you’re only looking for basic emergency coverage, you’ll need to look to different providers.
  • Potential data privacy issues: When we tried to access our own saved quotes on the PetFirst website, we were shown forms with other customers’ personal details already filled out.

Available Plans

PetFirst offers just one accident and illness policy, but the coverage options it includes are extensive. All the essential components of vet visits related to illnesses and injuries are covered, from the exam fee your veterinarian charges at each appointment to the procedures and medications needed for treatment. PetFirst suggests three different combinations of annual limits, deductibles, and reimbursement levels, but pet owners also have the option to customize these to meet their needs.

To cover routine visits, PetFirst also makes a wellness plan available that reimburses specific types of preventive care. These include checkups, vaccinations, screening tests, and behavioral training. Routine care riders can be purchased with total annual benefits between $125 and $575, although each treatment carries its own limit within this amount.

Covered Treatment Accident and Illness Coverage Routine Care Rider
Exam fees  
Procedures  
Lab tests  
Medication  
Continued treatment  
Genetic conditions  
Preventive care  
Microchipping  
Spay/neuter surgery  
Vaccinations  
Dental treatment  
Behavioral treatment  
Specialists  
Alternative/holistic care  
Medical boarding  
Cremation/burial  

Plan Pricing

PetFirst policy pricing is generally affordable, although premiums can quickly rise for older pets. It’s also important to note that annual limits run lower than competitors. Cheaper plans have smaller limits, higher deductibles, and provide lower reimbursement percentages than the more expensive ones. PetFirst’s instant quote tool makes it easy to see how premiums fluctuate as you adjust coverage to meet your budget.

  Accident and Illness Coverage Wellness Coverage
Dog: 1 year $12.46 to $66.11 $7.69 to $43.57
Dog: 3 year $12.46 to $66.11 $7.69 to $43.57
Dog: 6 year $17.90 to $105.42 $7.69 to $43.57
Dog: 12 year $45.85 to $307.22 $7.69 to $43.57
Cat: 1 year $8.75 to $39.33 $7.69 to $43.57
Cat: 3 year $8.75 to $39.33 $7.69 to $43.57
Cat: 6 year $11.85 to $61.73 $7.69 to $43.57
Cat: 12 year $27.78 to $176.76 $7.69 to $43.57

Waiting Periods

One of the most unique features of PetFirst coverage is that accident benefits begin the day after you purchase your policy. Most pet insurers don’t begin this coverage for several days, occasionally up to two weeks. Illness benefits go into effect after a 14-day waiting period, which is fairly typical for the industry. Intervertebral disc disease and cruciate ligament injuries are both excluded until six months after the policy start date due to the high costs associated with treating these conditions.

Pre-Existing Conditions

As with any pet insurance provider, PetFirst excludes pre-existing conditions from coverage under its accident and illness plan. Any illness or injury that shows symptoms before your policy start date or during the applicable waiting period will be ineligible for reimbursement for the lifetime of the plan. This also applies to conditions that arise from an event that occurred prior to coverage beginning. For example, if your dog slips and falls before the policy start date and appears fine at first but develops signs of an injury once coverage is in effect, any related claims will be denied.

Coverage Limits

PetFirst’s available coverage limits are fairly restricted with just three amounts to choose from: $2,000, $5,000, and $10,000. This is on the relatively low end, as many carriers start limits around $5,000 and offer unlimited annual benefits as the most premium option. On a more positive note, PetFirst doesn’t impose any lifetime maximums for reimbursement.

Note

One of the hardest parts of choosing pet insurance is deciding how much annual coverage you need. This is something you may want to discuss with your vet to ask about the total costs of treating some of the most common illnesses and injuries.

Plan Exclusions

PetFirst doesn’t include anything out of the ordinary in its list of policy exclusions. Cosmetic procedures, parasites, and any condition that arises from breeding your pet are all ineligible for coverage. Of course, preventive care is also excluded unless you purchase a wellness rider.

Claims

Enrolled pet parents must file a claim within 90 days of treatment by submitting a copy of the itemized invoice from your vet’s office. PetFirst offers four ways to submit a claim: online through the MyPets customer portal or by filling out a claim form and sending it via email, postal mail, or fax. PetFirst processes claims within 10 to 14 days. Unfortunately, no direct deposit reimbursement is available as of yet, so you’ll have to wait to receive a check in the mail with the amount you’re owed.

The first time you file a claim with PetFirst, the company will ask for vet records going back at least 12 months. Before you sign up for coverage, review these records with your veterinarian to ask about any previously treated conditions that could be considered pre-existing.

Customer Service

PetFirst customer service is easily accessible through phone, email, and web chat. Phone lines are open seven days a week during daytime hours, making PetFirst one of the few pet insurance customer service departments to be available on Sundays.

You’ll find loads of helpful resources on the PetFirst website, including answers to questions you might have about your pet’s health and breed-specific guides to common conditions and concerns. The website also includes an instant quote tool that helps you compare and select coverage. However, we did experience one concerning error. On more than one occasion, we were taken to a form pre-filled with another customer’s personal details when we tried to retrieve a saved quote we had requested for our sample pet’s profile.

Third-Party Ratings

To help evaluate pet insurers’ reputations within the industry, we review third-party ratings related to customer service and financial stability. PetFirst receives an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and has been accredited since 2006. The policy underwriter, Independence American Insurance Company, has an A- financial stability rating from AM Best.

Competition: PetFirst vs. Progressive

PetFirst and Progressive are both popular among pet owners looking for low-cost coverage. Each provider offers low limits and generally inexpensive policies that start at less than $0.50 per day. When we compared pricing on low-limit plans with a small deductible, we found that premiums were nearly equivalent. However, we’d go with PetFirst due to the company’s more convenient customer service options and wider variety of policy terms.

  PetFirst Progressive
Animals Covered Dogs and cats Dogs and cats
Example Cost $32.39 to insure a two-year-old dog with 70% coverage, a $5,000 annual limit, and a $50 deductible $33.67 to insure a two-year-old dog with 70% coverage, a $5,000 annual limit, and a $50 deductible
Coverage Type Accident and illness Accident and illness
Waiting Period Injuries: One day;
Illnesses: 14 days
Injuries: Three days;
Illnesses: 14 days
Network Size Unlimited Unlimited
Verdict

PetFirst doesn’t offer anything particularly groundbreaking when it comes to policy terms, service, or digital tools. But the provider’s plans are easy to navigate, and many pet owners will find peace of mind with ample educational resources and seven-day support at their disposal. The only major constraint with PetFirst is its policy limits, so make sure you don’t need more than $10,000 in annual coverage before settling on a plan.

Methodology

Our methodology for reviewing pet insurance uses a variety of data points to compare pet insurers like PetFirst, including policy terms, coverage options, and limitations. We use pricing information to score each provider’s value and help you decide which is the best option for your pet. We also review third-party rating data to see what opinions customers and industry professionals have about each carrier.