1. If you look at the ratings, the only one higher is PetPlan USA. Pet First has an excellent rating!2. Routine care coverage is built into PetFirst. There is no routine care coverage for PetPlan.
3. Low premiums and deductibles are standard with Pet First. Rates do NOT go up with claim submission. PetPlan's monthly premium is twice as much as PetFirst.
Yes, pre-existing conditions are excluded from the insurance, but most insurance plans have this. If you pet already has a condition, use PetPlan and pay more. If your pet doesn't have a condition, you now can have an affordable comprehensive policy.
Here's how I see it:
The disadvantage to most pet insurance is that they don’t cover pre-existing conditions. Most people ask about insurance once their pet has been diagnosed with a life long problem. Most insurance will not cover that problem.
Pet insurance also does not cover long-term conditions that “manifest in a previous policy year.” This is true for every pet insurance policy that I’ve evaluated. This seems sad, but it’s not that bad. Let’s take diabetes for example. Upon initial evaluation of a newly diagnosed diabetic you may spend $200. You pay the $200 to the veterinary office, and then get 90% of the $150 remaining after the $50 deductible. Your pet comes back for more bloodwork and evaluation in regards to the diabetes in 1 month. The same diagnosis of diabetes applies, but it’s still covered and paid up to the “per incident” limit. For the basic plan, this is $1500. You’ve already paid your deductible, so 90% of this next visit is reimbursed and so on and so forth as long as you own the policy on this pet until $1500 has been paid to you for the diagnosis of diabetes over the course of time. Once the limit has been met and more health care is needed, they no longer pay. For this reason, I recommend the middle plan, called the preferred plan with the $2500 per incident limit. $2500 of coverage for one diagnosis is more complete for most problems. Some orthopedic conditions that happen may exceed this with a specialist, but it is still much more complete coverage.
The other thing to consider is secondary problems. If we take our first example, diabetes, we know that urinary tract infections are more common in diabetics. If a diagnosis of urinary tract infection occurs, it is separate with a PetFirst insurance plan (It's considered an excluded coverage with some other insurance companies). It is paid at 90% after the deductible is met even if it’s a result of the other condition, diabetes. Once the infection is deemed cleared upon re-evaluation of the urine sample, another infection may happen, but it too would be covered. It was cleared, and then happened again, so again applies to the $50 deductible and 90% coverage again the next time. You don’t have to worry about lifetime diagnosis per incident caps unlike other long-term conditions.
Routine care benefits are on services and products should be done each year for the pet’s health. For example, a cat’s annual vaccines may cost somewhere between $60 and $95 depending on their age eligibility for the three year rotation vaccination program in our office. There are no deductibles on routine care, so reimbursement would be what you paid up to $70. If you did all of the yearly needs for a pet (worm checks, bloodwork, teeth cleanings, etc…), you would be reimbursed $220 for the year for the pet. An average pet with the basic plan pays about $25 per month for the insurance. That’s $300 for the year. When you keep your pet healthy with the routine preventative care, you get $220 back (assuming your pet needed and you elected to do all of the routine care benefits covered); thus spending only $80 to cover your pet for any other visit. If your pet had all of the routine care and had another visit that cost over $139, you are getting reimbursed more than you paid for the insurance for a year. If your pet ever came in for anything else during the year, that visit is covered at 90%. Let’s say your pet got a urinary tract infection. You may spend $200 in exam, urinalysis, meds, etc… There is a $50 deductible, then 90% of the remaining ($150) is paid. In this example, that’s $135 that is reimbursed. Insurance does allow you to afford the best care for your pet.