K9sOverCoffee | Peace of Mind with PetsBest Medical Dog Insurance

Peace of Mind with Pets Best Dog Insurance!

I’m a planner. I’m also not huge on negative surprises & will take preventative steps whenever & for whatever I can. This habit, of course, also applies to our pups Missy & Buzz.

One of the items I had put onto our Puppy-to-do list before they came to live with us was to come up with a plan of action should our puppies ever need expensive veterinary treatment.

The two options which presented themselves seemed pretty straight forward: either (1) opening a puppy emergency savings account and being very disciplined in making the required monthly deposits, or (2) getting dog insurance.

I spent an entire weekend in 2011 researching this topic, and noticed that there were a few different insurance providers to choose from. I consequently created a spreadsheet with all the providers I could find online, and began my comparison.

After weighing the pros & cons of each provider as well as of the two options of saving vs. buying insurance, I ultimately decided to prefer the financial peace of mind an insurance provider would give us, and enrolled the pups  with PetsBest/Pet Insurance for Dogs and Cats.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any kind of compensation for this review ~ neither in product-form nor in $$$-form! This is solely me expressing my personal opinion! PetsBest is not responsible for the content of this article.

Pets Best: Best Benefit Accident & Illness Plan, Level 1

We currently pay a monthly rate of $76.02 for both dogs, with a $200 annual deductible per dog, and a reimbursement level of 90% (Best Benefit Accident & Illness Plan, Level 1).

It comes with an annual coverage of $5.000 per dog, a lifetime coverage of $100.000 per dog, and holistic coverage of $350 per year and per dog. Hereditary & congenital conditions are included, as well as cancer treatment.

Is it really worth it?

We signed up for their Direct Deposit Program (the reimbursed money goes straight into our bank account), and have had to use them several times by now:

1) Missy had a gastrointestinal issue which required her to be seen and treated by our vet in 2012. She must have ingested something which didn’t agree with her, and manifested itself in a loss of appetite (she is a slave to her stomach, so this was a sure indicator that something wasn’t right).

The vet took X-Ray images of her which didn’t show anything, and also ran her blood work which showed some mild abnormalities (liver & gallbladder appeared to be “bothered” by something).

Long story short: Missy received an anti-nausea injection and antacid. The vet bill ended up being about $740, of which PetsBest covered $392 after having applied the $250 Deductible and our $98 co-pay (back then we had a $250 deductible).

2) Missy’s entire cancer treatment beginning in October of 2014.

  • Cost of the initial blood sample of the lump we found on her: $187.20.
  • X-rays at our vet’s: $293.
  • Initial Consultation with Dr. Ruslander, one of the Oncology Specialists at the VSH (Veterinary Specialty Hospital) in Cary, NC: $150.
  • CT Scans at the VSH: $1.559.
  • Cost of Tumor Removal: $2.420
  • Four (4) chemotherapy sessions @ $770 each = $3.080.
  • GRAND TOTAL $7,689.20

Of those $7,689.20, PetsBest reimbursed us $6,177.18 after having charged us two $200 deductibles (one per yearly coverage), and our 10% co-pay of all invoices. We ended up paying $1,512.02 out of pocket.

We had to “eat” the entire third chemotherapy cost, as Missy’s annual allowance of $5.000 had been reached by the time she got her third chemotherapy treatment.

Thankfully, her new yearly coverage started soon after, so we started back at a $0 balance (PetsBest’s yearly coverage begins the day you enroll your dog, and lasts exactly for one year as of that enrollment date. You are responsible for any vet costs that exceed the yearly limit you chose, in our case the $5.000).

3) We discovered a tiny, minuscule mass on Buzz’s chest during Missy’s cancer treatment, and didn’t take any chances with it whatsoever, but had it removed by our vet Dr. Schaller.

Cost: $375.82, of which PetsBest reimbursed us $152.10 after our $200 annual deductible and our 10% co-pay.

4) Buzz fractured his tooth on a hard beef bone (one of those smoked ones from the grocery store – never again-, also during Missy’s cancer treatment…), which was so bad that the entirety of his tooth had to be removed. Cost: $374.65. PetsBest reimbursed us $250.59.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Buzz with his extracted tooth

The $$$ from PetsBest were deposited into our bank account within 2-7 days (days, not business days!) after our respective expenses.

We definitely got back what we paid in premiums since early 2012 ~ the $2,800 we invested in Missy & Buzz’s medical insurance have paid for themselves.

We would have had a much harder time coming up with the cost for Missy’s cancer treatment had we not had medical insurance for the pups.

Needless to say, we are very pleased with our decision of getting dog insurance (I vetoed hubby’s  initial “Do you really think it’s necessary?”) and are confidently recommending PetsBest!

Here is a list of things to consider when shopping for a medical doggie insurance provider:

• Different benefits
• Reimbursement percentage of the vet bill
• Incident Limit $ amount
• Yearly Limit $ amount
• Lifetime Limit $ amount
• Deductible $ amount
• When does Illness coverage start?
• When does Accident Coverage start?
• Are congenital (birth or growth defects) and hereditary (condition passed down from parent or breed) conditions covered?
• Holistic coverage?
• Are there enrollment/admin/processing fees?
• Does the Premium increase with age?
• How long is the processing time for claims?
• Can payments be made quarterly, semi-annually, or annually to save?
• Discounts for multi-family pets or other incentives?
• Make sure the dog insurance covers your state! You can find out if they do by getting a quote on the respective website.
• Also helpful: Read Reviews!
• I found a helpful website which offers insight & reviews of different providers: www.petinsurancereview.com.

The following sums up my results of the provider comparison in 2011:

1. Pet First Healthcare

Lifetime Accident & Illness Plan:
• Yearly Accident & Illness Coverage: $5.000 – $20.000 year
• Per Incident Limit: n/a
• Deductible: between $50 – $500/payable to vet per incident
• Reimbursement: between 70% – 90%
• Lifelong coverage for breed-specific, hereditary, chronic and congenital conditions
• Optional Routine Care, Prescription Food, & Breeder’s Coverage can be added on
• Routine Care Limit: $125/year

Standard Accident & Illness Plan: • Per Incident Limit Options: between $500 – $1.500
• Annual Benefit Limit: between $1.000 – $7.500
• Deductible: between $50 – $100/payable to vet per incident
• Reimbursement: between 80% – 100%
• Discount for multiple dogs: Yes (15%)

Supplemental Benefits:
• Advertising & Reward Costs if lost or stolen, local newspaper ads: $300 max
• Kennel & Boarding Feeds (if owner is hospitalized for more than 96 hours): $300 max
• Holistic Coverage: No
• Annual Payment is available for savings of about $100.
• Direct Deposit Option: Unsure

2. Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)

• Annual Deductible: between $100 – $500

Medical Plan Comprehensive:
• $14.000 max annual benefit
• Optional Routine Care can be added on (between $250-$400 annual max benefit)

Medical Plan Economical
• $7.000 max annual benefit
• Optional Routine Care can be added on (between $250-$400 annual max benefit)

• Holistic Coverage: No
• Discount for multiple dogs: Yes (5%)
• Direct Deposit Option: Unsure
• 10 day-money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line: Monthly Premiums increase with age. Very unclear & undetailed.

3. ASPCA

• Max Yearly Benefits: n/a
• Max Incident Benefit: between $2.500 – $7.000
• Annual Deductible: between $100 – $500
• Reimbursement: between 70% – 90%
• Optional Wellness Coverage can be added on.
• Holistic Coverage: No
• Discount for multiple dogs: Yes (10%)
• Direct Deposit Option: Yes
• Quarterly, Semi-Annual, and Annual Payment is available for savings.

Bottom Line:

Premium increases with age. Additional $10.50 Annual Issuance Fee. Illness coverage starts 30 days after enrollment. Hereditary & congenital coverage starts 6 months after enrollment, ligament & knee injuries start 12 months after enrollment. Dogs age 9 and older at enrollment time are not eligible for Continuing Care, covering chronic conditions.

4. Trupanion

• Deductible: between $0 – $1.000
• Reimbursement: 90%
• No payout limits (not per claim, incident, or year. Also no lifetime payout limit)!
• Supplemental Benefits can be added on.
• Holistic Coverage: Yes
• Discount for multiple dogs: No
• Direct Deposit Option: Yes
• Only monthly payment option available.
• 30 day money-back-guarantee.

Bottom Line: Premium does not increase with age (however, dog’s age at enrollment dictates premium for lifetime; therefore least expensive when insured between 8 weeks – 1 year of age). One time $25 admin fee (or optional charity donation). Accident coverage begins 5 days after enrollment date, illness coverage begins 30 days after enrollment date. Claim form must be submitted within 90 days of treatment. Every insured pet receives a free tag with their policy number engraved on it.

5. PetsBest

• Annual Deductible: between $0 – $1.000
• Reimbursement: between 70% – 100%
• Annual Limit: between $5.000 – $20.000
• Lifetime Limit: between $100.000 – $200.000

• Optional Wellness Routine can be added on
• Holistic Coverage: Yes
• Discount for multiple dogs: Yes (5%)
• Direct Deposit Option: Yes
• Quarterly, Semi-Annual, and Annual Payment is available for savings.
• BBB Accredited Business.

Bottom Line: Illness Coverage starts 14 days after policy date. Accident coverage starts 3 days after policy date. Dogs must be at least 7 weeks old when enrolling. No enrollment or processing fees, but as of 2014 a $2 transaction fee every month.

6. Embrace

• Annual Accidents & Incidents Limit: between $5.000 – $15.000
• Annual Deductible: between $100 – $1,000
• Reimbursement: between 65% – 90%
• Lifetime payout maximum: $50.000
• Supplemental Benefits can be added on (Rx drug coverage, wellness rewards).
• Multiple Dog Discount Yes (5% per dog).
• Annual Payment is available for 5% annual savings.
• Spayed/neutered Discount (5%).
• Military Discount (5%)
• PennHIP Discount (5%).
• Healthy pet Deductible: every claim free year lowers the deductible by $50.
• Holistic Coverage: Yes
• 30 day money-back guarantee.
• Direct Deposit Option: Yes

Bottom Line: Waiting period 14 days for accidents & illnesses, 6 months for orthopedic coverage. Age limit of 8 years for enrollment start for mixed breeds, and 6 years for purebred dogs. Lifelong coverage for all breeds once enrolled. No annual fees or monthly payment fees.

7. AKC Pet HealthCare

• Deductible: $75 or $125
• Reimbursement: up to 90%
• Per Incident Limit: between $1.500 – $5.000
• Policy Limit: between $8.000 – $13.000
• Annual Limit: n/a
• 5 plan options to choose from:
1. Companion Select (accident coverage only)
2. Companion Plus (accident & illness coverage)
3. Defender and DefenderPlus wellness coverage (reimbursement for preventive care, no deductible, no co-insurance)
4. Inherited Plus (inherited & congenital illnesses)
5. ExamCare (cost of exam fees for a current covered illness)
• Discount for multiple dogs: Yes (5% for each dog)
• Annual Payment option is available for savings.
• Direct Deposit Option: Unsure

Bottom Line: 1 day waiting period for accidents after enrollment date. 30 day waiting period for illnesses after enrollment date. Dogs must be between 8 weeks – 9 years of age in order to enroll. No enrollment fees. Claims must be submitted within 180 days of emergency. They are processed within 30 days of receipt.

8. Healthy Paws

• Annual Deductible: between $100 – $500
• Reimbursement: between 70% – 90%
• Annual or Incident Limits: n/a
• Lifetime Coverage Limit: n/a
• No Supplemental Benefits.
• 30 day money-back guarantee.
• iPhone App available.
• Payroll Deduct available.
• Direct Deposit Option: Unsure
• Annual Payment Option for Savings: Unsure

Discounts:
• Animal Welfare Volunteers (10%)
• Military Service (10%)
• Member of Association or Alumni Organization (10%)
• Membership Groups such as AAA, Costco, AARP (10%)
• Employer Sponsored Plans (15% if Employer sponsors Healthy Paws Plan for all employees in the company

• BBB Accredited Business.

Bottom Line: Dogs must be between 8 weeks – 14 years of age in order to enroll. 15 day waiting period for accidents & illnesses after enrollment. No enrollment fees. Claims are processed within 7-10 business days and reimbursed within 3 days of receiving medical records.

12 month waiting period applies to Hip Dysplasia coverage for dogs under age 6 (Hip Dysplasia is not covered for dogs older than age 6 when enrolling). Vet Exam Fee is not covered. Rates will slightly increase every year due to “increasing cost of new technology”.

9. PetPlan

• Deductible: between $50 – $200 per illness or injury
• Reimbursement: between 80% – 100%
• Annual Limits: between $10.000 – $22.000
• Supplemental Benefits can be added on (but no Wellness option).
• 3 Plans to choose from (Gold, Silver, Bronze).

Discounts:

• Online Enrollment Discount (5%)
• Multiple Pet Discount: Yes (10%)
• Medical Services Pet Discount (10%)
• Veterans & Serving Military Discount (10%)
• Veterinary Professionals Discount (15%)
• Employee Benefit Plan Discount (10%)
• Strategic Partner Discount (5%)

• Holistic Coverage: Yes
• Direct Deposit Option: Unsure
• 30 day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line: Monthly $3 processing fee per pet (unless choosing quarterly, semiannual, or annual payment plan). The monthly payment option requires the payment of a deposit equal to 2 months of premium. 24 hour waiting period for accident & injury coverage after enrollment. 14 day waiting period for illness coverage after enrollment. 6 month waiting period on cruciates & patellas. Dogs must be at least 6 weeks old in order to enroll.

10. Pet Partners


• Deductible: between $100 – $1,000
• Incident Limit: between $1.500 – $6.000
• Annual Limit: between $5.000 – $16.000
• Reimbursement: between 80% – 90%
• 3 Plan options to choose from:
1. Diamond Plan
2. Emerald Plan
3. Sapphire Plan


• Supplemental Benefits can be added on (Defender & DefenderPlus).
• Holistic Coverage: No
• Monthly or Annual Payment Plans available.
• Discounts: No
• 30 day money-back guarantee.

 
Bottom Line: Dogs must be 8 weeks or 9 years of age in order to enroll. No waiting period for injuries & preventive coverage. 5 day waiting period for accident coverage. 30 day waiting period for illness coverage. Claims are processed within 14 days of receipt. No enrollment fees. 
 

11. 24 Pet Watch


• Deductible: $100
• Incident Limit: between $1.500 – $5.000
• Lifetime Limit: between $18.000 – $16.000
• Reimbursement: 70%
• 3 Plans to choose from
1. Standard
2. Select
3. Elite


• Supplemental Benefits can be added on (wellness & routine care).
• Monthly and Annual Payment Plans available.
Discounts:
• Multiple Pet Discount: Yes (5-10%)
• Microchip Discount (5%)
• Group Benefit Discount (10%)
• Medical Service Pet Discount (10%)


• Holistic Coverage: Unsure
• Lost Pet Recovery Services.
• BBB Accredited Business.

Bottom Line: Dogs must be 8 weeks or 8 years of age to enroll (or 6 years for select breeds ~ long list). 14 day waiting period for illness coverage. Not very detailed.

12. Purina Care Pet Health Insurance was acquired by 24 PetWatch in April 2013 and is no longer in business.

13. Pet Premium



• Annual Deductible: between $100 – $500
• Incident Limit: between $2.500 – $7.000
• Reimbursement: between 70% – 90%
• 4 Plans to choose from:
1. Accident Coverage
2. Accident & Illness Coverage
3. Accident & Illness Coverage, and Hereditary & Congenital Conditions, Alternative Therapies and Behavioral Treatment
4. Pet Premium’s Coverage at highest benefits


• Supplemental Benefits can be added on.
• Holistic Coverage: No
• Annual Payment Plan available (low savings amount of $16).
• Multiple Pet Discount: Yes (10%)
• 30 day money-back guarantee.
• Direct Deposit Option: Yes

 

Bottom Line: Monthly/quarterly/semiannual billing fee of $1.50 (is waived with annual payment). Dogs must be between 8 weeks and 12 years of age in order to enroll (8 years of age for continuing care). Premium goes up with age! No waiting period for accident & wellness care after enrollment. 30 day waiting period for illness coverage after enrollment. 12 month waiting period for ligament and knee conditions. Claims are processed within 14 days or less. 270 day time frame to file claims. Reimbursement within at least 30 days.

Attention: “Unless you have Continuing Care, conditions that occurred in the previous plan period will not be covered in the next plan period, unless 180 days have passed since cure and last treatment.”

Do you have medical insurance in place and have had to use it? What was your experience like? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!

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We’re joining the Pet Parade Blog Hop, hosted by Rascal and Rocco and their co-hosts Jan’s Funny Farm, Bionic Basil, Love Is Being Owned By A Husky and Barking From The Bayou!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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17 responses to “Peace of Mind with Pets Best Dog Insurance!”

  1. Elaine Avatar

    Thanks for doing so much legwork on the comparisons of these insurance companies. I hate doing that kind of research, it’s so time consuming but it definitely pays off for an investment like this. We don’t have insurance for Haley, but I’m definitely going to be getting it for our next dog. I think in general, pet insurance options have improved quite a bit over the last 10 years.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      I’m glad that you find the information helpful! I remember sitting down at the kitchen table at my in-laws’ where we were for an extended weekend, having several cups of coffee & reading up on these different insurance providers.

      I think pet insurance can really help someone out tremendously if their pup gets into a serious accident or develops a major illness. Of course it’s impossible to predict your pup’s future, but it ended up being a wise investment for us.

      It sounds like you’re right regarding the pet insurance options; I remember my mother in law being surprised at all the options I mentioned. She didn’t get dog insurance for her pups as there really weren’t many options years back.

  2. DZ Dogs Avatar

    THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!!
    I’ve been going back and forth on this subject, right now finances are an issue but the more I think about it the more I think it’s a good idea!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      You are most welcome 🙂 I’m so glad you liked the article ~ we were juggling our finances as well, but were able to squeeze the extra payment in somehow. Had we not had the insurance when Missy’s cancer surfaced, we would have had to take out a loan to cover the costs.
      Granted, we still had to front the money, BUT PetsBest reimbursed us so quickly that we could just use an entire paycheck, knowing that the reimbursement would come in quickly. *Huge sigh of relief*

  3. Kate Obrien Avatar
    Kate Obrien

    Great summary. We got insurance a few years ago. Luckily we haven’t really had to use it. Jack’s IBD was unfortunately not covered because it was diagnosed before we got the insurance.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you, Kate. Good for you that you have insurance for your pups. That’s definitely the one downside of having insurance in place: It usually won’t cover pre-diagnosed illnesses.

  4. alasandra Avatar
    alasandra

    Thanks for laying out the information so well.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you Alasandra, hope you or someone you know will be able to use it!

  5. Playful Kitty Avatar

    Wow. You’ve gotten some really great benefits from your pet insurance. That’s great! Thank you for laying out all of the information!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      We sure have ~ and they haven’t dropped us yet 😉 Thank you for stopping by ~ hope the info will come in handy for you!

  6. Jan K, Wag N Woof Pets Avatar
    Jan K, Wag N Woof Pets

    This sounds like a good plan. We have never had insurance for the pets. I’ve just often felt that insurance can really be a racket (of any kind, not just pet). When we adopted Luke we got one month of free insurance to try. He had some issues and they did pay one small claim. I wasn’t overly impressed though, so did not renew it. Trust me, I’m kicking myself now for not looking into it more, researching other companies, since he’s been diagnosed with luxating patellas and if we have to have surgery it will be quite expensive.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      PetsBest seemed to offer the “best bang for our buck”, and they haven’t disappointed us: I wanted to get a discount for having insurance for more than one dog, definitely wanted to have the direct deposit option into our bank account, and wanted to go with a company who wouldn’t increase their prices once the pups got older.
      Their very quick claim turnaround is the icing on top of everything else ~ AND you can submit & upload claim paperwork online; at the very beginning, I had our vet receptionist fax the claim paperwork to our insurance, but now I am doing it from my smartphone while either still sitting at our vet’s office, or while in the car before going back home. It is so very convenient 🙂
      I hope you won’t have to have the surgery done 🙁

  7. Catherine Armato, Dogs Luv Us Avatar

    Wow, what an incredibly thoughtful and thorough review of your decision to obtain pet insurance and how it has worked out for you. This is such helpful information for so many people, including us. Thank you for so generously sharing the information you gathered and your experience with pet insurance. I’m sharing so others can benefit from this info.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you very much for the compliments, Catherine, and for sharing the article 🙂 I wrote it hoping it might help fellow dog owners make an informed decision. I am very glad that it seems to be doing that 🙂

  8. DZ Dogs Avatar

    Here I am again…just wanted to again say THANK YOU!! Finances are still tight but being that we want to continue to do doggy sports and with Ziva’s recent injury *hopefully nothing serious* we’re again thinking we really should just get insurance…Great post!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Hello again 🙂 I really hope Ziva’s leg will heal & feel better with some rest. Have you looked into the different insurance companies to see which ones would suit your needs best? Keep in mind that most will not cover any preexisting conditions!

      1. DZ Dogs Avatar

        Yup i’m currently in the process of researching. On a good note, Ziva seems to be fine now. We’re still going to see the vet tomorrow for a re-check just to be sure.

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