Pets Best Pet Insurance Review
If you’ve ever wondered how technology will shape the future of pet insurance, look no further than Pets Best. This insurer is years ahead of competitors with digital tools that are designed to make pet ownership easier than ever. If that wasn’t enough, prices are among the lowest in the industry–and there isn’t really much of a catch. We reviewed Pets Best in detail to see if these innovative pet plans really live up to the hype.
Pets Best Insurance Services was founded in 2005 by Dr. Jack Stephens, the veterinarian who had previously started the first pet insurance company in the United States, VPI. The company set up headquarters in Boise, Idaho, and began selling policies to pet owners throughout the United States, but expanded to Japan in 2008. Pets Best became the first pet insurer to offer electronic claim filing in 2011 and spent the next several years continuing to grow, eventually reaching a total of 100,000 insured pets. In 2019, Pets Best was acquired by CareCredit, a healthcare financing platform.
- Extremely low premiums: Pets Best policies can be purchased for less than $10 per month for most younger pets.
- Convenient online tools: File claims digitally, communicate by chat, and get veterinary advice anytime via a 24/7 pet hotline.
- Flat-rate accident-only and wellness plans: All pets within the same species pay the same rate for accident-only and wellness coverage, regardless of age or breed.
- Several discounts available: Pets Best offers many different discounts that can be combined to help you save even more on premiums. Get a 5% discount for signing up online, enrolling multiple pets, or being a member of the military. You can also save as much as $24 per year by paying premiums upfront in an annual lump sum.
- Direct veterinarian reimbursement: When you set up Vet Direct Pay, Pets Best will pay your veterinarian directly for covered services so that you don’t have to front the cash.
- Complicated accident and illness plan structure: Three different accident and illness plans cover varying types of treatments, which may cause confusion.
- End-of-life expenses not covered: None of Pets Best’s plans cover end-of-life expenses like cremation or burial.
- Only two annual limit options: For accident and illness policies, choose between a $5,000 annual limit and an unlimited option. There’s no in-between.
Pets Best offers three general types of plans: accident-only coverage, accident and illness, and wellness benefits. The provider’s sole accident-only policy is not customizable; it comes with a $10,000 annual limit, a $250 deductible, and 90% reimbursement for all covered treatments. This low-cost policy is intended to foot the bill if something unexpected happens to your pet, including being hit by a car or eating something they shouldn’t. Illnesses are not covered.
There are three different accident and illness policies available through Pets Best, which have annual limit options of $5,000 or unlimited. Essential coverage provides a base plan that can stand on its own or act as a foundation for a more complete policy. This covers procedures, diagnostics, and treatments related to accidents and illnesses, although a few key services are missing. To get exam fees reimbursed, you’ll have to upgrade to the Plus plan. Alternative care coverage, such as chiropractic treatment and acupuncture, is only available with the Elite plan.
Any of these accident and illness plans can be supplemented with an optional routine care rider. These add-on policies, EssentialWellness and BestWellness, both cover preventive care, microchipping, and vaccinations up to specific limits. BestWellness adds spay/neuter surgery and dental treatment to the list in addition to overall higher limits on most services.
|Covered Treatment||Accident Only||Essential||Plus||Elite||EssentialWellness||BestWellness|
Age is typically a main contributing factor in determining the price of pet insurance, but Pets Best only charges age-based premiums for illness coverage. Accident-only plans are priced at a flat monthly rate of $6 for cats and $9 for dogs, regardless of age or breed. On the routine care side, both cats and dogs are charged $16 per month for EssentialWellness and $26 for BestWellness.
Our Expert Lisa Says
Age is typically a main contributing factor in determining the price of pet insurance, but Pets Best only charges age-based premiums for illness coverage.
Even accident and illness plans, which do fluctuate in price as your pet ages, are on the lower end in terms of premiums. Monthly costs for younger pets start in the range of $5 to $10 and rarely exceed $50 per month, even for premium coverage.
|Dog: 1 year||$9||$8.79 to $39.32||$10.26 to $45.87||$10.73 to $48.00||$16||$26|
|Dog: 3 year||$9||$8.79 to $39.32||$10.26 to $45.87||$10.73 to $48.00||$16||$26|
|Dog: 6 year||$9||$14.27 to $63.82||$16.65 to $74.45||$17.42 to $77.91||$16||$26|
|Dog: 12 year||$9||$37.81 to $169.10||$44.11 to $197.28||$46.16 to $206.44||$16||$26|
|Cat: 1 year||$6||$5.20 to $23.28||$6.07 to $27.15||$6.35 to $28.42||$16||$26|
|Cat: 3 year||$6||$5.20 to $23.28||$6.07 to $27.15||$6.35 to $28.42||$16||$26|
|Cat: 6 year||$6||$6.86 to $30.68||$8.00 to $35.79||$8.07 to $37.45||$16||$26|
|Cat: 12 year||$6||$17.78 to $79.51||$20.74 to $92.77||$21.71 to $97.07||$16||$26|
There is a three-day waiting period for injuries, including all services covered by accident-only policies. Illness coverage has a 14-day waiting period. The only exception is any injury related to the cruciate ligament, which won’t be covered until six months after the policy start date. All three of these waiting periods are right in line with the averages imposed by most pet insurers.
Pets Best is not alone in excluding pre-existing conditions from coverage. Any injury or illness that first showed symptoms before you purchased a policy or during a waiting period will not be reimbursed at any point in the future.
Pets Best cautions that if an existing policy is canceled and a new one is begun, any conditions that were covered under the previous policy will be considered pre-existing going forward.
Pets Best only offers two options for accident and illness coverage limits: a low-limit $5,000 plan and an unlimited policy. These limits are near polar opposites, so pet owners looking for a compromise somewhere in the middle will need to either go up or down. When examining quotes, we noted that upgrading to an unlimited plan was just a few dollars extra per month in most cases, so pet owners may find that sticking with a $5,000 limit simply doesn’t make financial sense.
Most types of veterinary care are available through at least one Pets Best policy, but there is one glaring exception. End-of-life expenses such as cremation or burial are listed as exclusions in every Pets Best policy document, which means you’ll have to pay out of pocket in the tragic event that you lose your pet. We’re not sure why Pets Best doesn’t offer this type of coverage in any of its six different plans.
As the first pet insurer to offer a fully digital filing experience, Pets Best is ahead of the pack when it comes to claims. Online filing is available via the provider’s website or the Pets Best mobile app. You can also opt to have your veterinarian get reimbursed directly from the insurance company by setting up Vet Direct Pay. With this option, you won’t have to find the temporary funds to pay upfront, and your vet will be fully compensated for their services within five days.
Our Expert Lisa Says
As the first pet insurer to offer a fully digital filing experience, Pets Best is ahead of the pack when it comes to claims.
The Pets Best customer service phone line and live chat are staffed during business hours six days a week. As an insured pet parent, you’ll also have access to a 24/7 pet helpline staffed by veterinary experts to get assistance on anything from training questions to emergency care instructions.
Curiously, Pets Best doesn’t advertise an email customer service option. But with so many other convenient contact methods, this isn’t much of a loss.
Pets Best has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, although there are a significant number of complaints from the past two to three years. Many of the more recent complaints share a common theme of pet owners frustrated by long claim processing times of up to a month, significantly lengthier than the five days Pets Best advertises.
Policies are underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company, which is not rated by mainstream agencies such as AM Best. However, financial analysis firm Demotech has thoroughly evaluated the company and given it an A (Exceptional) financial stability rating.
The policies advertised by pet insurance companies are frequently underwritten by third parties. Before signing up for coverage, make sure to research the policy underwriter to check that the company is financially solvent enough to pay claims.
Competition: Pets Best vs. Figo
Pets Best and competitor Figo both charge nearly the same for comparable coverage from a mid-tier plan. The policies include similar treatments and services, so it may look like a tie at first glance. However, Figo doesn’t even offer the option to purchase wellness coverage, so if this is something you decide you want later, you’ll be out of luck entirely. We’d go with Pets Best just to have the option to add policy benefits in the future.
|Animals Covered||Dogs and cats||Dogs and cats|
|Example Cost||$26.57 to insure a two-year-old dog with 90% coverage, no annual limit, and a $500 deductible||$25.81 to insure a two-year-old dog with 90% coverage, no annual limit, and a $500 deductible|
|Coverage Type||Accident and illness||Accident and illness|
Injuries: Three days;
Illnesses: 14 days
Injuries: Three days;
Illnesses: 14 days
Combining industry-leading low prices and customizable coverage options, Pets Best provides pet owners with a cost-efficient way to get exactly the amount and type of insurance they need. The provider offers convenient online services that allow you to file claims digitally and even have your veterinarian reimbursed directly for covered visits. Between great value and top-notch service, it’s hard to find anything not to like about Pets Best.
Our methodology for reviewing pet insurance companies takes several different aspects of coverage into consideration. Policy pricing is a major factor, especially when compared to the services and treatments included. We evaluate each plan’s coverage and limitations, and we examine policies for fine print regarding exclusions. We weigh third-party assessments and if complaints have been made, we find out the reasons. Finally, we consider customer satisfaction and service, including how long insurers take to reimburse claims and whether they offer a direct payment option for veterinarians.