The American Kennel Club (AKC) offers accident and illness and accident-only policies for cats and dogs. Although coverage is sparser than that offered by other providers, the company makes up for it with a number of additional paid insurance riders. AKC’s premiums are on the low end, but the monthly fees quickly add up with add-on services.
- PROS & CONS
- KEY TAKEAWAYS
Accident-only coverage available
No veterinary exam required for enrollment
Thirty-day money-back guarantee
Unlimited annual coverage limit
Complicated waiting periods
Confusing policy builder and add-ons
- AKC offers pet insurance with additional riders for cats and dogs.
- AKC members get free accident and illness insurance for 30 days.
- Save on monthly service fees by paying premiums annually.
- Year Founded 2003
- Deductible $100 to $1,000
- Types of Services Available Accident-only insurance, accident and injury insurance
- Additional Features Wellness, end-of-life, exam fee, and hereditary condition riders
- Official Website www.akcpetinsurance.com
AKC Pet Insurance has been offering affordable pet insurance policies since 2003 through its partnership with PetPartners, Inc., and is the exclusive insurance provider of the American Kennel Club. The company offers customizable pet insurance with flexible pricing and add-on riders to extend coverage beyond the basics.
We reviewed AKC’s coverage details and exclusions, add-on services, discount pricing, rates, customer service, ratings, and more to help you decide if its plans are right for you.
Company Overview: Affordable Pet Insurance With Add-On Coverage
PetPartners was created in the 1980s to provide pet insurance to the Great Britain Kennel Club. In 2002, the company branched out to the United States and became the exclusive pet insurance provider for the American Kennel Club under the name AKC Pet Insurance.
AKC provides basic accident and injury insurance as well as accident-only insurance for cats and dogs. The company offers deductibles from $100 to $1,000 as well as annual limits from $2,500 to unlimited.
AKC’s consumer ratings are mixed. Trustpilot gives the company a Great rating while Yelp rates it below average. Yelp reviewers complain that AKC denies many claims and takes a long time to pay them out. On the other hand, reviewers on Trustpilot praise the company for its excellent customer service and fast claim reimbursement.
AKC’s policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company which has an A- rating for financial stability from AM Best.
Policies Available: Accident and Illness
AKC offers both accident and illness and accident-only insurance. The following services are covered in all accident and illness plans and in the accident-only plan provided the conditions are not illness-related:
- Laboratory tests, X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans
- Prescription medication prescribed by a veterinarian
- Extractions to permanent broken teeth due to an accident
- Hydrotherapy and physical therapy
- Emergency ground pet ambulance transportation
- Euthanasia (when advised by a veterinarian to alleviate suffering)
Accident and Illness Insurance
AKC’s accident and illness insurance coverage is more complicated than many other providers. You can choose a fully customizable Companion Care plan, which lets you mix and match deductibles, annual coverage, and reimbursement amounts to create a plan that suits your needs.
This plan offers the widest range of deductibles and annual coverage limits we’ve come across so far.
- Annual deductible: $100, $250, $300, $400, $500, $600, $750, $1,000
- Annual coverage limit: $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, Unlimited
You can also choose the Basic Companion Care plan, which offers an annual deductible of $100, an 80% reimbursement rate, and a maximum reimbursement limit of $500 per incident with unlimited incidents per year.
AKC requires a two-day waiting period from the start of your policy before you can file an accident claim and a 14-day waiting period for an illness claim. The company also requires a 180-day waiting period before you can file claims for IVDD and cruciate ligament-related conditions.
AKC will reimburse you for 100% of your premium within your first 30 days of coverage as long as you haven’t been reimbursed for any claims. This only applies to new policies, however, and not renewals.
AKC members can try a basic accident and illness policy for free for 30 days.
AKC offers an accident-only policy called AccidentCare that it recommends for older pets. If you already have a pet enrolled for accident and illness insurance, AKC will maintain that coverage as your pet reaches the age of nine and beyond. However, new pets nine years old or older are only eligible for AccidentCare coverage.
This plan comes with a $100 deductible, 90% reimbursement rate, and an unlimited annual coverage limit.
Thirty-Day Pet Insurance Coverage for AKC Members
AKC members can also try out a basic accident and illness plan free for 30 days. The plan will automatically terminate at the end of 30 days, though you can continue coverage by enrolling in an annual Companion Care or Basic Companion Care plan.
Due to its shorter term, the AKC member coverage only has a waiting period of one day for accidents and five days for illnesses. Other features include a $100 annual deductible, a $500 incident limit with unlimited incidents, and an 80% reimbursement rate.
Other Add-Ons: Multiple Riders
AKC offers a number of paid riders that extend the coverage of its policies. Unfortunately, most simply add coverage options that many other providers offer as standard.
Additional riders can add up, so keep a close eye on your total cost as you build the policy you want.
In addition to accident and illness insurance, AKC offers optional wellness care plans that will reimburse you for preventive and routine pet care. You can choose between the Defender plan or the DefenderPlus plan for an additional fee per month. Both plans offer fixed reimbursement for certain services and, unlike wellness plans offered by other insurers, do not have annual coverage limits.
The prices below indicate how much AKC will pay out for each service depending on whether you choose the Defender or DefenderPlus plan.
|Service||Defender Plan||DefenderPlus Plan|
|Heartworm test of FELV screen||$25||$30|
|Blood, fecal, parasite exams||$50||$70|
|Urinalysis or ERD||$15||$25|
Exam and Office Visit Coverage
Unlike many other pet insurance providers, AKC doesn’t reimburse you for exam fees related to covered conditions. Instead, you need to buy the ExamPlus plan. Pricing is determined by the details of the animal covered as well as the policy you choose. Coverage is based on your deductible, annual, limit, and reimbursement and includes reimbursement for the following services:
- Primary care vets
- Emergency hospitals
- Specialty clinics
Hereditary and Congenital Coverage
While nearly every pet insurer excludes pre-existing conditions, most make an exception for inherited or congenital conditions. Unfortunately, AKC requires you to pay extra to have these conditions covered by your policy. Coverage is based on your deductible, annual, limit, and reimbursement, and only pets under the age of two can enroll.
The following services are covered:
- Heart disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Eye disorders
Final Respects Coverage
AKC offers add-on coverage for end-of-life expenses, which is rare among the pet insurers we reviewed. Only pets under the age of five are eligible to enroll. There is no deductible or co-payment, but coverage is limited to a maximum of $300 for the following:
Unique Features: Prescription Coverage
AKC covers the cost of veterinary prescribed medications for covered conditions, making this a nice addition to AKC’s policies. Coverage is based on your deductible, annual limit, and reimbursement level.
Unique Features: Alternative & Holistic Care Coverage
AKC offers alternative, holistic, and behavioral care coverage with some plans depending on your state. Covered behavioral issues include anxiety or compulsive behavior, like excessive licking, pulling at fur, or destructive behavior, and covers the following services:
- Herbal therapy
Plan Exclusions: Pre-Existing Conditions
As with most pet insurance, AKC won’t cover any claims related to pre-existing conditions or for any of the following in its accident and illness and accident-only policies:
- Hereditary or congenital conditions
- Exam fees
- Routine and wellness care
- Costs related to breeding
- Elective or cosmetic procedures
Cost: Low Premiums With Pricey Add-Ons
AKC’s premiums are definitely on the low side compared to a number of pet insurers we reviewed. However, once you start selecting add-ons, AKC may not seem like a bargain.
Here’s a breakdown of two policies we built using AKC’s online quote builder.
Accident and illness insurance for a mixed-breed, three-year-old, female dog with $15,000 coverage, a $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement came to $35.69 per month. Costs increased between $37.69 and $62.69 per month after adding on:
- Defender: $16.00 per month
- DefenderPlus: $27.00 per month
- ExamPlus: $5.65 per month
- SupportPlus: $2.00 per month
Accident and illness for a domestic longhair, one-year-old, male cat with $15,000 coverage, a $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement came to $18.21 per month. The monthly cost went up anywhere from $27.9 to $39.09 after adding on the same additional services as above.
Your cost will change based on the add-on services you select as well as the age of your pet and the plan you choose.
AKC offers a 5% discount for each additional pet you insure, which is a little lower than what other pet insurers offer. You can also pay your premiums upfront annually rather than monthly to save on monthly service fees.
Customer Service: Phone, Chat, Email, and 24/7 Help Line
AKC makes it easy to submit a claim using its online portal. You can also download, fill out, and submit a claim form via email, fax, or mail. You can use the customer portal to access your policy documents, change payment methods, check on the status of claims, and more. AKC typically processes claims within three to five business days of receiving all required documents.
AKC offers email, live chat, and phone support Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST.
You also get access to a 24/7 vet helpline that will connect you to licensed veterinary professionals via phone or chat for medical advice and answers to any general health, behavioral, training, and nutrition questions any time of the day or night.
Competition: AKC vs. Figo
We compared AKC Pet Insurance with Figo Pet Insurance, which offers a similar policy builder and add-ons for additional coverage that other insurers offer as standard.
On the surface, both policies look nearly identical in terms of cost. Both allow you to customize an accident and illness policy with a wide range of deductibles and both require a paid rider to add basic coverage for vet exams.
Keep in mind, though, that AKC requires you to pay extra to cover hereditary condition issues and only offers its rider to pets under the age of two. Figo offers hereditary condition coverage as standard in its accident and illness policies with no age restrictions.
|Animals Covered||Dogs and cats||Dogs and cats|
|Example Cost||$27.32 to insure a two-year-old dog with 80% coverage, a $10,000 annual limit, a $500 deductible, and veterinary and exam fee coverage||$27.17 to insure a two-year-old dog with 80% coverage, a $10,000 annual limit, a $500 deductible, and veterinary and exam fee coverage|
|Coverage Type||Accident-only, accident and illness, wellness||Accident and illness|
|Waiting Period||Accidents: Two days Illnesses: 14 days||Accidents: Three days Illnesses: 14 days|
|Network Size||Any licensed vet in the U.S. and Canada||Any licensed vet in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada|
On the whole, we found that AKC’s process for building a pet insurance policy isn’t worth the effort or the savings. While the basic premiums are on the low end, by the time you add on the riders to give you the coverage you want, you’ll be paying almost as much as you would with practically any other pet insurer.
AKC gives the illusion that its add-on riders make it more competitive, but in reality, all they do is add features that other pet insurers already include, like coverage for accident and illness exams and hereditary conditions.
AKC could improve by making much of their rider coverage standard and letting customers build their own policies. However, the wide range of deductibles and annual limits the company offers is more than enough to make them stand out above their competitors.
Trustpilot. “AKC Pet Insurance Is Rated ‘Great’ with 4.2 / 5 on Trustpilot.” Accessed July 15, 2021.
Yelp. “AKC Pet Insurance - Raleigh, NC.” Accessed July 15, 2021.
AM Best. “AM Best Places Credit Ratings of Independence Holding Company and Its Subsidiaries Under Review With Developing Implications.” Accessed July 15, 2021.