Read the Exclusions

Out of 10

Based on the pretty good reviews here I was about to give PetFirst a try but thankfully read their exclusions prior to signing up. The most concerning exclusion is the second-to-last in their list and reads as follows:
"Continuous coverage of chronic and long term conditions that manifest in a previous policy year".

Which I understand to mean that if your pet were unlucky enough to be diagnosed with a chronic or long-term illness at the end of your policy year, this illness will not be covered anymore, even if you renewed your policy for another year.

I'd say: Buyer beware, because these kinds of illnesses are usually the ones that are the most costly and to discover that you do not have coverage for these anymore because your policy is up for renewal - I don't know. Sounds like a raw deal to me.

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Posted: 09/12/2008

Who did you decide to get?

Posted: 12/24/2008

what choice did you make??

Posted: 01/14/2009

This exclusion is pretty common in pet insurance - I have only found 2 insurances that have that coverage (but you have to pay for it), one is Embrace (who I am with now).

Posted: 01/16/2009

I've researched this insurance as well as Embrace and PetPlan US. Aida (below) said Embrace has that coverage. I called PetPlan US and they too cover your pet for life. Comparing Embrace & PetPlanUS, i'm going with PetPlan (same yearly premium but better coverage with a lower deductible) due to those reasonas as well as the high rating.

Posted: 07/21/2009

Im glad you did print this. I was with PetsHealthCare plan and I had a dog who developed kidney disease and they are the same as these people. Avoid any policy that has this. Its a major red flag. I have PetsBest having had VPI too and they are horrible. GoPetPlan I understand is the best but are pretty pricey.

Posted: 08/12/2010

There is a Continuous Care plan to ADD to the Petfirst Plans. They are only a few dollars on top of your premium but would provide the additional coverage IF your pet were to develop, let's say cancer.
Dog gets insured under plan. Six months into plan, the dog develops cancer and 80% of treatment is covered. However, all insurance plans have a renewal. Upon renewal the now existent cancer is considered pre-existing and would not be eligible for reimbursed treatment for the cancer. Now, if the owner had the additional plan, the renewal would continue the coverage of the cancer treatment for that pet.

Posted: 08/28/2009

I think you can now purchase a rider to get chronic conditions covered for life

Posted: 09/17/2009

I have this insurance. And it is good insurance. But how right you are that you have to read and understand the exclusions. I consider myself to be fairly intelligent but I didn't quite understand what the exclusion meant about the on-going coverage when I first signed up. You insure your pets so that you have continuous coverage from year to year. Pet First offers riders that do instate coverage of on-going conditions from year to year but to get the one that gives you the entire per incident coverage is costly. The rider costs more than the original policy. I did get it but I believe that I am now paying top dollar for this insurance. I'm wondering if I can get an overall better policy for all of the money I am paying. I think Pet First should offer the policy without this excludion for more than they charge with it but for less than you pay for both the policy and the rider.

Posted: 09/18/2009

During my research I found that Trupanion also covers chronic conditions for lifetime of pet.

Posted: 09/30/2009

I purchased a rider to cover hereditary and chronic conditions for life. When I did the math, PetFirst was cheaper for my dog even with the rider because I get $220 back each year for the routine care.

Posted: 03/24/2011

I agree with Sharlene relevant to VPI being horrible, at least from my experience. Made mistake 0f stating my cat had preexisting allergies to fleas and grass, my own diagnosis as he had never been tested for allergies. They put an exclusion and no skin allergies would ever be covered. Symptoms continued even in winter and positively no fleas. Vet completed paperwork and diagnosed a different type skin condition. Since he was in office and his annual shots were due in 2 months, Vet suggested we go ahead and complete the annual exam, tests, shots, etc. Spent $300+ and VPI reimbursed me $20! Considered diagnoses as preexisting. First visit was in 2009, second in 2010 but only 10 months between so they refused to pay. I canceled and am looking for another insurance. I will not make mistake of stating he is "allergic" to something. Switched food to Royal Canine Skin & Hair and all symptoms have gone away for some time now!

Posted: 02/12/2010

But PetPlan does not cover wellcare at all.

Posted: 10/24/2009

I wish I had read the fine print on my Pet First policy. My golden retriever came down with hypothyroid and had numerous blood tests and was put on meds. PetFirst paid for it all the first year diagnosed including into the second year of coverage. Then I submitted latest bill and they said they don't cover chronic conditions beyond the first year and it was only courtesy on their part they paid into second year.
Well chronic conditions always go beyond first year so I will be finding another insurer.

Posted: 10/26/2009

Thank you, now I must rethink between petplan and purina since my puppy is only 2 months...I have to plan for his future

Posted: 12/16/2009

I've been doing some research and I find that Pets Best is a really good company to go with. They pay 80% of the actual Vet bill, and do not use a fee schedule!!! They don't cover pre existing conditions like most other, and they don't cover congenital conditions, but my experience with their customer service has been wonderful and give me hope. They seem to be very up front and are willing to do what ever it takes to help you out. Their claims processing time has been just within a couple days. I love them!!

Posted: 12/18/2009

you state "continuous coverage on chronic and .....conditions that manifest themselves in a previous year"... Is there something that i missed? Doesn't continuous mean the coverage will continue eventhough the illness occurred in a prior year?

Posted: 09/16/2015

Responding to Mikester's 8/8/15 comment:I have a "Preferred Plus" policy for one dog; the monthly payments are $155.95 and the policy has never lapsed. My claim of $293.15 was DENIED IN FULL because PetFirst claimed that it was an existing condition that had been treated within the last policy year. My dog was limping on his right front leg--which had never before happened--x-rays were taken because of a suspected fracture. Instead, it appears he had a pinched nerve in his neck which caused the leg pain. Because he was diagnosed with spinal degeneration (in his hindquarters) last year, the claim for this incident was denied. PetFirst won't pay for the office visit, x-rays, pain meds, or muscle relaxant. Without an office visit or x-rays, how could this be diagnosed or treated? At the VERY least, I believe the office visit and x-rays should be covered. If this is not resolved to my satisfaction via the dispute procedure, I will cancel the policy forthwith.

Posted: 01/15/2010

"Continuous coverage of chronic...." is under the exclusions.... therefore it is exculded - meaning it is not covered.

Posted: 01/23/2010

just verified through the products site, you can add a rider to your policy now to cover Hereditary/Chronic/Congenital conditions. You have one of two options - 25% coverage or 100% coverage. of course the 25% coverage is the cheaper option of the two but for the family plan (I have three pets) the 100% option is $50/pet. My only beef is I have to add the rider for all three pets when only one may need it

Posted: 09/13/2013

So glad to have read this review. After having had a horrific experience with PetCare insurance I am shopping around for my next pet. Thank you.

Posted: 09/19/2013

I just did the same thing, and saw that dental is excluded, as well as for the first 12 months of your policy they will not reimburse you for ACL or CCL surgeries.
If I'm paying you this much per month, you better cover me!

I am thinking of going with Trupanion. Although they are expensive, the reviews are amazing, and I like that they have no limits.

Posted: 06/16/2010

To LW: Which insurance did you end up choosing? Pet or Purina?

Posted: 11/03/2010

But the riders are not available in all states--my state is excluded and I will be changing insurance because of this

Posted: 12/31/2011

Because a company offers a rider does not excuse the injustice of within same company upon renewal is declared preexisting. Human ins does not work that way and shouldn't. By people justifying and accepting the practice only contributes to pet owners being ripped off and pets not being medically cared for because they cant afford gets overrated fees and now the insurance company's charging overrated fees so were back to dogs being put to sleep because owner cant afford treatment or worse animal suffers ailments needlessly.

Posted: 08/08/2015

I was worried by some of the comments I read here, but I noticed this thread is really old so I checked the fine print on the PetFirst website and found this ... They must have changed their policy:
"Will a condition ever be considered pre-existing due to policy renewals?

Any approved claim related to a chronic condition will be covered under your policy for the lifetime of your pet, assuming you don't allow your coverage to lapse. Under one of these plans, a condition would only be considered pre-existing if it was present before you enrolled in a PetFirst Lifetime policy or if the condition manifested during the waiting period."

Based on the research I've spent all morning on, this is the best balance of benefits and affordability I've seen .... I'm going to sit on the quote for a day or so just in case a better recommendation crosses my desk (I've posted a couple of messages to social media) but if nothing else jumps out at me I'm going with PetFirst!!

Posted: 08/09/2016

There is no wellness though. I have OSPCA with a $200 deductible and everything else but dental. The wellness is a huge plus as all vaccines and medications are covered which pays for at least half the costs each year. PetFirst and Trupanion did not compare better than OSPCA. Just FYI.