Banfield Pet Insurance Review
If you aren’t happy with the preventive care coverage available from pet insurers, you might be interested in a non-insurance alternative to make sure your pet gets the routine veterinary care he needs. Pet wellness plans from Banfield Pet Hospital are designed to cover preventive services like annual checkups, vaccinations, and important screenings for common diseases. Five different programs are available for dogs and cats of all ages, to be used at any one of the hundreds of Banfield locations in the United States.
- Covers common wellness and preventive services: Unlike traditional pet insurance, Banfield wellness plans cover preventive services like annual exams, screenings, and vaccinations.
- Tailored plans for young and adult pets: Puppies and kittens have different health needs than adult pets have. Banfield offers separate plans for the first six months of a pet’s life to address necessities like deworming and spay or neuter surgery.
- Simplified pricing structure: Getting a quote for pet insurance is far from straightforward when complex factors like annual limits and deductibles come into play. When you sign up for Banfield’s wellness program, all you need to do is choose a plan and you’ll be given a single monthly price.
- No waiting period: Coverage begins the day you purchase your Banfield wellness plan. With a standard pet insurance policy, you could be forced to wait anywhere from two days to two weeks before benefits go into effect.
- Doesn’t exclude pre-existing conditions: Virtually no pet insurance policy will cover pre-existing conditions, defined as any illness or injury your pet developed prior to coverage beginning. With Banfield, all conditions are considered equal, regardless of when they first appeared.
- Not an insurance plan: Banfield’s wellness plans are not an insurance policy. While the program offers discounts on most products and services not included in the plan, these discounts fall within the 5% to 20% range, significantly lower than the 70% to 100% reimbursement rate you’ll get from pet insurance. If your pet has a major health event, you could be on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars in vet bills, even after discounts have been applied.
- Doesn’t cover accidents and illnesses: As the name implies, the treatments included in Banfield’s wellness plans only involve wellness. You may be able to add custom coverage for certain chronic health conditions, however, these options aren’t well advertised and require a vet visit to discuss.
- Limited network size: Pet owners who enroll in a Banfield wellness program can only use the plan at a Banfield location. Currently, there are 975 Banfield hospitals in the United States, including PetSmart clinics.
- Only available for dogs and cats: Other pet wellness programs offer benefits for small mammals, reptiles, and other pets, but Banfield’s policies are only valid for dogs and cats.
Banfield offers five different wellness plans designed for different life stages and levels of care. Puppies and kittens under six months old can get tailored coverage with the Early Care and Early Care Plus programs. Older animals are eligible for three adult plans: Active Care, Active Care Plus, and Special Care.
While covered treatments vary by plan, there are a few common benefits included with each one. All Banfield wellness plans cover two physical exams per year, vaccinations, and a handful of common screenings. There’s no limit to the number of office visits that can be made in a year, although you may have to pay for your visit if you’ve exceeded the allotted number of annual exams.
Early Care and Early Care Plus plans add coverage for the intensive vaccination schedule required during a pet’s first few months of life, DNA health testing, and more frequent fecal exams and deworming. With Early Care Plus, your pet’s spay or neuter surgery will also be covered, a surgery that can easily cost more than $300 out of pocket. Services not included in the plan are discounted at a rate of 5% with Early Care and 10% with Early Care Plus.
For dogs and cats over six months of age, Banfield offers Active Care as a base plan for ongoing wellness. Pet owners can upgrade to Active Care Plus to include dental cleanings and urine testing; Special Care, the top-tier plan, also covers preventive X-rays, electrocardiograms, and eye pressure tests to screen for conditions like glaucoma. The discounts on additional services with Active Care, Active Care Plus, and Special Care plans are 10%, 15%, and 20%, respectively.
You may be able to add customized coverage to your Banfield plan with options like additional dental services and chronic care. These vary by location and require speaking to a veterinarian directly.
The table below outlines the types of care offered with each plan. Keep in mind that services not covered are usually eligible for a discount.
|Covered Treatment||Early Care||Early Care Plus||Active Care||Active Care Plus||Special Care|
Banfield pet wellness plans are priced comparably to what you might pay for a mid-tier level of coverage from a standard pet insurance policy. Whether the price is worth it depends on how many of the included services you take advantage of each year.
Banfield is a discount provider at Banfield accepted locations. Check with your provider before signing up.
The tables below show the monthly prices of each plan type, broken down by age group.
|Early Care||Early Care Plus|
|Puppy under six months||$35.95||$45.95|
|Kitten under six months||$32.95||$39.95|
|Active Care||Active Care Plus||Special Care|
|Dog over six months||$31.95||$42.95||$54.95|
|Cat over six months||$24.95||$37.95||$45.95|
Most pet insurers make you wait up to 15 days for accident and illness coverage, and extended waiting periods usually apply to certain orthopedic conditions. Banfield’s wellness coverage begins the day you sign up for a plan, eliminating waiting periods entirely.
Banfield will never exclude pets from care or coverage due to a pre-existing condition. With pet insurance policies, any condition that appears prior to coverage beginning or during a waiting period is considered pre-existing, and all related treatments will be denied coverage.
Even if your pet has a known long-term health condition at the time of enrollment, you’ll still get the same pricing and discounts as any other pet. In fact, Banfield offers additional coverage options for dogs with chronic conditions like diabetes and kidney disease, which can be purchased during a vet visit.
Banfield doesn’t impose any limits on the monetary value of benefits received. Covered treatments may be limited to a certain number per year; for example, you’re only allowed two free physical exams. Otherwise, you’re welcome to use the plan’s discount on as many visits and services as you need.
Only the listed services are eligible for 100% coverage with a Banfield wellness plan. Most other treatments are eligible for a discount, which varies depending on which plan you choose. There isn’t much that is excluded from this discount, which can also be used on flea and tick preventives, prescription medications, and even pet shampoos.
Use Banfield as a supplement to traditional pet insurance policies to help save even more on major medical costs.
Since Banfield isn’t a pet insurance provider, there are no claims to be made. Simply make an appointment at a Banfield veterinary hospital to use your plan’s benefits. Use the online MyBanfield account manager to view your pet’s medical history and see which services you still have available for the year.
Banfield offers standard phone and email support to pet owners who wish to enroll in a wellness plan. Once you sign up, you’ll also get access to 24/7 support with Vet Chat, a live web chat for help and advice. Additional online services include virtual health records and appointment scheduling for your local Banfield veterinary hospital.
As a non-insurance wellness provider, Banfield isn’t rated by any agencies like AM Best or J.D. Power, which use financial and customer satisfaction data to evaluate insurance companies. Banfield gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, although the company does have an exceptionally high number of resolved customer complaints.
Competition: Banfield vs. Pet Assure
Pet Assure is one of Banfield’s competitors in the pet wellness program space. Pet Assure’s plans are structured somewhat differently; instead of including a set number of covered services per year, Pet Assure offers a flat 25% discount on all types of medical care at participating veterinary hospitals. This makes Pet Assure’s plans significantly cheaper, just $11.95 per month for an adult dog compared to $31.95 for the cheapest Banfield plan.
Overall, we prefer Pet Assure for its flexibility and value. All types of animals are eligible, and families with multiple pets can pay a flat fee of $21.95 per month to cover every animal in the household. Pet Assure’s network is also nearly six times the size of Banfield’s, which is more convenient and gives you the ability to shop around for pricing.
|Animals Covered||Dogs and cats||All animals|
|Example Cost||$31.95 to cover an adult dog||$11.95 to cover an adult dog|
|Coverage Type||Wellness program||Wellness program|
|Network Size||975 locations||5,600 locations|
Banfield might be a good option for your pet’s ongoing wellness if you know you’ll use the included benefits religiously. However, the program doesn’t offer much protection if you face an accident or illness that results in unexpected vet bills, so you may want to consider purchasing additional catastrophic coverage with low monthly premiums just to be safe.
Our biggest reservation with Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plan is that the program is only valid at Banfield locations. Even with the plan discounts, you could end up paying more for certain services if Banfield’s pricing is significantly higher than that of other local veterinarians. Before signing up for a Banfield plan, check pricing at nearby veterinary hospitals to make sure you’ll be getting a fair deal.
We know that pet owners regularly face tough decisions regarding their animals’ well-being. That’s why we review both pet insurance policies and wellness plans to help you decide which type of program is best for the furry members of your family. Using our methodology for reviewing pet insurance companies, we compare pricing, coverage, and limits to find the best value and maximum possible benefits. We also consider convenience and customer satisfaction to make sure you’re really getting the most for your money.
PetMD. “Spaying and Neutering Dogs 101: Everything You Need to Know.” Accessed July 5, 2020.
Better Business Bureau. “Banfield Pet Hospital.” Accessed December 4, 2020.