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      October 23, 2018

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Trupanion Pet Insurance vs Pet First

Best Pet Insurance

To help you find the Best Pet Insurance, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Trupanion Pet Insurance and Pet First.

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Who has the Best Pet Insurance? Medical care is rarely cheap - and the same goes for our four-legged friends. While pet owners are grateful for advances in technology and medicine that make it possible to keep their "fur kids" healthy, these procedures and prescriptions often come with a hefty price tag.

Without pet insurance, a simple blood test can cost well over $200. Even a standard yearly checkup can set you back by hundreds of dollars. How's your wallet feeling now? Chances are, you would do almost anything to take care of your beloved pet - but you might find yourself having to make difficult choices, especially if your dog or cat experiences a traumatic injury or life-threatening illness.

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Best Reviews

2018

Pet Insurance Reviews

3.5 stars
Trupanion

TRUPANION Visit Site

Cost:

Average monthly premiums ranging from $31 to $124/month

Deductibles from $0 to $1000

Plan pays 90% of eligible medical bills

$35 enrollment fee

For more than 15 years, Trupanion has aimed to give pet owners peace of mind through easy-to-understand insurance coverage. All of Trupanion's pet insurance plans pay 90% of your total bill - a nice feature, compared with other companies' plans that only pay at 70-80%. Another advantage is that you can choose any licensed veterinarian in the country; select vets and animal hospitals participate in a direct pay relationship with Trupanion, saving you from having to pay up-front costs and waiting to be reimbursed.

Trupanion will first present you with three common plan configurations to choose from. Your monthly premiums will depend on the gender, age, and breed of your pet, as well as your zip code, so take these prices as a general guideline:

  • $750 deductible = $40.29/month
  • $200 deductible = $73.16/month
  • $0 deductible = $123.01/month

If none of the packages they give you fit what you want, you can use the customize tool to select the deductible and corresponding premium that you'd prefer. For our 7-year-old, medium mixed-breed male dog, the lowest premium we were quoted was $31.97 for a deductible of $1000. All plans come with a one-time enrollment fee of $35.

There are a few add-ons available with Trupanion. You'll find them at the bottom of your quote page, because the cost depends on the pet insurance plan you select. These extras include Recovery/Complementary Care (such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and behavioral modification) and Pet Owner Assistance (cremation/burial costs for accidental death, boarding fees for owner hospitalization, and so on). There is no option for including any kind of routine/wellness care.

As with any pet insurance plan, it's important to know what you're getting - and what you're not. First, your deductible is per-incident, not per year. So, if your deductible is $500 and your pet gets an ear infection in January and a UTI in May, you can expect to pay $1000 in deductibles before any coverage kicks in.

Also, Trupanion defines pre-existing conditions as "any illness, condition, or injury for which signs or evidence of their potential manifestation existed within the 18 months prior to the policy enrollment date, or during applicable waiting periods." Some customers complained that Trupanion uses the "potential manifestation" part to deny coverage - if you mentioned to your vet 12 months ago that your dog had thrown up and now she's got a condition for which vomiting can be a symptom, it may be rejected as a pre-existing issue.

Those complaints may be part of the reason that Trupanion's rating with the BBB is an "A" instead of an "A+" - but that's still a very solid reputation as an accredited company.

Trupanion makes understanding pet insurance easier than some companies by making sure you know what you're paying for, what's included, and what isn't. They also simplify things by paying all claims at 90%, limiting your decision-making strictly to how much you want to pay for your per-case deductible. Just be aware that their broad definition of pre-existing conditions may limit your ability to make a claim on your pet's illness.

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2.5 stars
Pet First

PET FIRST Visit Site

Cost:

Plans starting at $8.35/month

Per-incident deductibles of $50, $100, $250, or $500

Military and Animal Welfare Worker discounts available

Based in Indiana, Pet First has helped thousands of families to better afford their pets' veterinary costs since 2004. They partner with numerous animal shelters throughout the country, making it easier for new adoptive pet families to get insurance right away.

As you go through the quote process, you'll see several options for additional discounts. If you purchase your policy online (rather than calling their toll-free number or signing up at an animal shelter), you'll save $10 on your first payment. If you're an active/retired member of the military, you're eligible to save another 5% on your monthly premiums. Finally, if you are a veterinarian or any other kind of animal welfare worker, you're qualified for another discount - but the amount wasn't specified, and the discount didn't show up on our policy summary page. In order to get to the final policy total, we had to enter our credit card information - which we didn't particularly like. We'd like to see Pet First show the premium breakdown throughout the quote process and not make customers wait until after giving their payment information.

You're going to want any discounts you can get. Pet First consistently comes in higher than most of the competition. Kitten plans start at $8.35/month, which is double what the lowest-priced plans charge. Adding to your cost is the deductible: you'll pay that deductible on every claim, not as an annual maximum amount. In other words, if you have 10 claims in a year, you'll pay your $50, $100, or $500 deductible 10 times (if your total bill is over $500).

For our own four-legged friend - a 7-year old mixed breed, medium-sized male - we were given rates ranging from $15.55/month on the low end and $110.95 on the high end. The rate itself is comparable with other pet insurance providers, but when you figure that Pet First plans have a maximum annual limit of $10,000 and those every-time deductibles, their plans are much more spendy for the same monthly premiums.

Aside from cost, how does Pet First stack up against the competition? Every pet insurance company has people who complain about claims being denied - it's the nature of the business, whether you're dealing with pets or people. Pet First does have an A+ record as an accredited BBB company, which is encouraging. But, we found more than a few reviews from people who were encouraged to buy Pet First plans when adopting from an animal shelter; when those newly-adopted critters wound up developing problems not long thereafter, many of the claims were denied as pre-existing conditions.

At the end of the day, Pet First is just average when it comes to pet insurance, and you'll almost certainly spend more out of pocket because of their per-claim deductibles and limited annual reimbursement options. You'll probably get much more for your money with another provider of pet insurance policies.

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Continued from above

Just like their owners, pets can be protected with pet insurance plans that help ease the financial strain of medical care. Pet insurance has become very popular in the last few years, with dozens of companies offering to help you keep your pet healthy for a long time. But, every pet insurance plan is different with respect to deductibles and fees, covered services, and claims processing.

As you decide which pet insurance company is the best fit for you and your pet, keep in mind the following criteria:

  • Cost. What will you pay for your coverage? Is there a deductible, and is it annual or per incident? Will you pay any enrollment fees?
  • Coverage. What services and procedures are covered in the plan you have selected? Does it cover preventative measures like annual checkups? Are there any noteworthy exclusions? Does the company offer a variety of plans to meet your needs?
  • Reputation. Is the pet insurance provider rated by the Better Business Bureau? What do other customers say about their experience? Are claims paid quickly, or do you have to jump through a lot of hoops to file paperwork? Do many claims get denied? Are the company's customer service representatives knowledgeable and friendly?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Pet Insurance companies available today. We hope this information helps you find the best pet insurance plan for you and your animal companion!

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