PetFirst Insurance Review

Customizable pet insurance with transparent pricing and great discounts

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PetFirst

 PetFirst

overall rating
4.0

Our Take 

PetFirst offers cost-effective accident and illness insurance for dogs and cats plus additional routine care coverage for preventative pet care. It’s widely accepted throughout the U.S. and the company makes it easy to customize insurance plans and offers discounts for multiple pets and enrolling online.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No caps or use limits

  • Customizable coverage

  • Discounts for multiple pets

  • Accident coverage available in 24 hours

Cons
  • 14-day trial period

  • Low annual limits

  • No accident-only plan

  • Six-month wait time for some health issues

Key Takeaways
  • PetFirst offers accident and illness insurance as well as routine care coverage with flexible terms and pricing.
  • Injury coverage is available within 24 hours of enrolling.
  • PetFirst’s policies auto-renew each year with no need to reapply.
  • You can raise or lower the deductible or reimbursement level at any time without penalties.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 2004
  • Average Cost $17 to $200
  • Types of Services Available Accident and illness insurance
  • Additional Features Routine care rider, multi-pet discounts
  • Official Website www.petfirst.com

PetFirst is a provider of accident and illness insurance for dogs and cats. You can choose up to $10,000 of annual coverage, deductibles as low as $50, and reimbursement from 70% to 90% for services covering accident and illness treatment. PetFirst also lets you configure coverage so you can create a custom pet insurance plan for your budget and needs.           

We review PetFirst’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: Flexible Accident, Illness, and Routine Care Coverage

Founded in 2004, PetFirst provided pet insurance for tens of thousands of cat and dog owners in the U.S. The company also has a strong focus on building community and supporting local humane societies and shelters.

PetFirst offers basic accident and injury insurance, reimbursing pet owners between 70% to 90% of their vet bills. As with most pet insurance, premiums are based on the age and type of animal. PetFirst makes it easy to get an exact quote by entering your pet’s information online and adjusting coverage, deductibles, and reimbursements until you find the coverage and price you want.

PetFirst insurance is accepted at all licensed veterinarians in the U.S., including emergency animal hospitals and specialists. The company also offers discounts for insuring multiple pets, enrolling online, and for every year you don’t file a claim.

Trustpilot gives it a low rating, though more than half of reviewers rate the company as Excellent. Complaints range from PetFirst increasing rates without notice to poor customer service. Consumers Affairs showcases similar complaints from reviewers.    

Despite the mixed reviews, PetFirst policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, which has an A- rating for financial stability from AM Best.           

Policies Available: Accident and Illness

PetFirst offers basic accident and illness coverage for cats and dogs with an interactive plan builder that helps you create a package that meets your needs and budget.

After entering the basic information about your pet, you’ll get a plan with your monthly premium payment. From there you can adjust your coverage based on the following choices: 

  • Annual coverage limit
  • Annual deductible
  • Reimbursement for vet bills 

Your premiums will be higher with older animals and increase as younger animals age. PetFirst does automatically renew your coverage year after year, however, so there’s no need to requalify.

PetFirst also has a relatively short waiting period. Like most pet insurance companies, if you file a claim before the waiting period (24 hours for accidents and 14 days for illness), those will be considered pre-existing conditions and your claim will be denied, even if it’s something that would normally be covered. However, any claims for covered services filed after the waiting period should be approved. 

There’s no waiting period for downgrading coverage, but you will have to wait another 14 days if you upgrade. 

In addition to accidents and illness, PetFirst covers these claims: 

  • Hereditary, congenital, and chronic conditions
  • Hospitalizations
  • Surgeries
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Exam fees
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Medications
  • Holistic care and alternative therapies
  • Emergency care

 After a six-month waiting period, your pet is also covered for: 

  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligaments
  • Medial Cruciate
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligaments
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligaments

Other Add-Ons: Routine Care Coverage 

In addition to accident and illness insurance, PetFirst offers optional Routine Care Coverage that helps with vet checkups and other preventative pet care. You can choose from one of five annual coverage limits between $125 to $575. Each tier offers a set dollar amount that PetFirst will pay for specific appointments. 

The prices below indicate how much PetFirst will pay for each service depending on what annual limits you choose. 

Service Coverage Per Policy Term
Wellness Exam $15 - $75
Vaccinations $25 - $100
Prevention: Heartworm test, Microchip ID, Flea/Tick meds $50 - $150
Behavior Training $35 - $120
Maintenance $0 - $150
Health Screens $0 - $100

Plan Exclusions: Standard Exclusions for Pre-Existing Conditions 

As with most pet insurance, PetFirst won’t cover any claims related to pre-existing conditions. It will, however, cover illnesses connected to hereditary and congenital conditions.

PetFirst also does not cover the following in its accident and illness coverage:

  • Elective procedures
  • Anal gland expression
  • Pet food, special diet, vitamins, or mineral supplements
  • Breeding or conditions related to breeding
  • Grooming and bathing, including medicated baths
  • Parasite prevention and treatment
  • Illness or injury from racing, coursing, commercial guarding, or organized fighting
  • Routine wellness and preventative care, behavior training
  • Organ transplant   

PetFirst offers discounts for insuring multiple pets, enrolling online, and for every year you don’t file a claim.

Cost: Customizable Coverage Plus Discounts

One of the things we liked about PetFirst is its transparent and customizable pricing. You can easily adjust coverage options using the simple online tool, so there’s no need to email or call for a quote. You even get $10 off your premium for enrolling online. 

PetFirst also offers a 5% discount for adding a second pet to your insurance and 10% off each one after that. Additional discounts include saving $36 by paying a whole year upfront and $25 off your deductible for each year your pet goes claim-free. Finally, PetFirst will refund any fees you paid within the first 14 days of coverage if you’re not satisfied for any reason.

Accident and Illness Coverage 

PetFirst offers too many combinations of annual limits, deductibles, and reimbursements to create a comprehensive pricing chart. Instead, we outline two insurance scenarios we plugged into PetFirst’s quote calculator.

12-year-old female black Labrador Retriever 1-year-old male mixed cat (under 20 lbs.)
  • $2,000 of annual coverage

  • $250 deductible

  • 80% reimbursement

  • $95.34 per month

  • $2,000 of annual coverage

  • $250 deductible

  • 80% reimbursement

  • $11.69 per month

  • $10,000 of annual coverage

  • $500 deductible

  • 80% reimbursement

  • $70.17 per month

  • $10,000 of annual coverage

  • $500 deductible

  • 80% reimbursement

  • $9.32 per month

  • $2,000 of annual coverage

  • $250 deductible

  • 90% reimbursement

  • $111.90 per month

  • $2,000 of annual coverage

  • $250 deductible

  • 90% reimbursement

  • $13.25 per month

Routine Care Coverage Pricing

Using the same animals as above, we found that Routine Care Coverage costs an additional $6.92 to $32.29 per month for the dog and between $6.92 and $39.21 per month for the cat, depending on the annual coverage limit selected.

Service Coverage Per Policy Term
Wellness Exam $15 - $75
Vaccinations $25 - $100
Prevention: Heartworm test, Microchip ID, Flea/Tick meds $50 - $150
Behavior Training $35 - $120
Maintenance $0 - $150
Health Screens $0 - $100

Customer Service: Email, Live Chat, and Phone Seven Days a Week 

PetFirst offers extensive email, web chat, fax, and phone support as well as an online portal where you can submit or check on the status of claims and change your plan at any time. Phone support is available Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST.     

PetFirst processes claims in 10 to 14 days and typically pays out reimbursements within 30 days after receiving all documentation and paperwork from you and your veterinarian.

You can easily adjust coverage options using the simple online tool, so there’s no need to email or call for a quote.

Competition: PetFirst Pet Insurance vs. Nationwide 

As a recognized leader in the insurance industry, it’s no surprise that Nationwide offers pet insurance. It’s a combined accident and illness insurance with a wellness plan that covers more than PetFirst’s Routine Care Coverage, like prescription diets and supplements and dental cleanings.

Nationwide also doesn’t have set annual limits for any of its plans and instead sets individual limits based on the procedure. This makes it much harder to get a reliable quote and know how much you'd expect to pay for your insurance. 

While Nationwide is an established insurance leader with almost 100 years of insurance and customer service experience, we recommend PetFirst if you’re looking for flexible and transparent pricing and competitive rates.

  PetFirst Nationwide
Animals Covered Dogs and cats Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, small mammals
Example Cost $62.02 to insure a 3-year-old medium-sized dog with 90% reimbursement, $10,000 annual coverage, a $250 deductible, and $250 in wellness coverage $72.56 to insure a 3-year-old medium-sized dog with 90% reimbursement, no annual coverage limit, and a $250 deductible
Coverage Type Accidents, illness, wellness Accidents, illness, wellness
Waiting Period Accidents: 24 hours
Illnesses: 14 days
Accidents: 14 days
Illnesses: 14 days
Network Size Any licensed vet in the U.S. Any licensed vet in the U.S.
Flexible Accident and Illness Insurance at Competitive Rates

Based on our methodology, PetFirst’s customizable and transparent pricing, short wait time, generous discounts, and competitive rates make it a great choice for accident and illness coverage. We also like its low-priced wellness rider.

We do have some concerns over the company’s mixed reviews, however. Its 14-day money-back guarantee also doesn’t offer much time to test its services. To work around this, you could start out with low to modest coverage and upgrade with no penalty once you’ve seen PetFirst’s pet insurance in action.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Trustpilot. "PetFirst Pet Insurance." Accessed October 12, 2020. 

  2. ConsumerAffairs. "PetFirst." Accessed October 12, 2020.