What Does PetFirst Cover?
As far as coverage goes, PetFirst’s coverage is robust, with no per-incident or per-lifetime restrictions. It covers hereditary, chronic and congenital conditions, surgeries and hospitalization, alternative therapies and more. Interestingly, PetFirst covers exam fees and hip dysplasia, which are often excluded in accident and illness pet insurance plans.
There’s a short list of conditions and treatments PetFirst doesn’t cover: routine care is available as a separate plan, pre-existing conditions are out, while Cruciate Ligaments and Intervertebral Disc Disease have a 12-month waiting period before they’re covered. On the whole, though, PetFirst coverage will give you the peace of mind you’re looking for by purchasing a plan that insures your cat or dog.
PetFirst Reimbursement and Deductibles
The deductible system that PetFirst has set up is slightly different than most deductibles you’ll find with other pet insurers. While most pet insurers require you to pay an annual deductible, PetFirst’s deductible is per condition – once you’ve paid the deductible for that condition you become eligible for coverage for that specific condition.
We found the per-incident deductible less accommodating than an annual deductible: in an unlucky year with multiple pet injuries or illnesses, you’ll end up paying the deductible multiple times. The rest of PetFirst’s reimbursement process is very straightforward by pet insurance industry standards. Monthly premiums are affordable, you can choose an annual cap of $2,000, $5,000, or $10,000, and reimbursement rates of 70%, 80%, or 90%.
One of the things we really liked about PetFirst was how easy they make it to submit a claim. You can file a claim through your MyPets user account, or by email, fax or snail mail. If you’re not sure what documents you need to file a claim, the PetFirst website lists the required paperwork on multiple pages.
PetFirst Waiting Periods
PetFirst claims it has the shortest waiting periods throughout the pet insurance industry. While we haven’t been able to ascertain if that’s actually true, we can say that they do have very speedy waiting periods. Illness coverage kicks in 14 days after coverage starts, and accident coverage starts at midnight (EST) the day you sign up.
There are, however, 12-month waiting periods for specific pet diseases, including cruciate ligament conditions and Intervertebral Disc Disease. Nevertheless, hip dysplasia – often excluded from doggy insurance plans due to the high rate of dogs that develop this condition – has no extra waiting period at all.
How Much Does PetFirst Cost?
There are a number of variables that can influence how much you’ll end up paying for PetFirst – your premium is determined by the age of your pet, their breed, weight and gender, as well as by the deductible and rate you choose. The per-incident deductible is the wildcard here: if your pet suffers from numerous illnesses and accidents over a given year, the per-incident deductibles can hike up your price.
For our four-year-old mixed-breed dog Andrew, with an annual cap of $5,000, a $250 deductible and a reimbursement rate of 80%, our monthly premium cost $33.54. There’s a lot of wiggle room in setting up your monthly premium, though. If you set a lower annual cap, for instance, your premium will go down.
Customer Service and Satisfaction
One of the very first things we like to check when we sign up with a new pet insurance company is the efficiency and friendliness of its customer support staff. We know that when our pet isn’t feeling well we don’t always think particularly rationally, and we want to make sure the people staffing the phones understand our policy and can walk us through whatever questions we have.
With PetFirst, customer service is top notch. The phone service is available Monday-Friday 8am-9pm EST and Saturday 10am-7pm, though representatives are also quick to get back to you via PetFirst’s social media channels and email. Each time we’ve had an interaction with a PetFirst customer service agent it’s been pleasant and our issue has been quickly resolved, letting us focus on the welfare of our pets instead of on bureaucracy.
Our Rating - How Pawsome Is PetFirst?
PetFirst gets two paws way up from us. Not only is the pet insurer’s coverage extensive and its customer service impeccable, but its website gives you a very good idea of what you can expect from your insurance policy. In general, we found the website to be an excellent resource, spelling out exactly what’s covered and offering in-depth pet health tips and information to help you stay on top of your pet’s health.
For us, the only real downside of PetFirst was the per-incident deductible, because in the unlikely event that your pet gets different illnesses in one year those costs start to add up. All in all, though, PetFirst does exactly what is says: provides hassle-free healthcare coverage for your cat or dog at a budget-friendly price.