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Pets Best Insurance Review 2019

BravoDollar Editor rating:

Pet insurance is a relative newcomer to the insurance world. TV star Lassie was the first dog to get a pet insurance policy in the U.S. in 1982, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Despite that, there are many different pet insurance companies to choose from. One large-scale player in the pet insurance world is Pets Best Insurance. Read on to find out more about the company, some of its pros and cons and how it stands up to other pet insurers. 

About Pets Best Insurance:

Pets Best Insurance was founded in 2005. It has something of an emotional backstory. The company was founded by veterinarian Dr. Jack Stephens. In 1979, Dr. Stephens had to perform euthanasia on a dog. The owners were not prepared for the financial impact of diagnosing and treating the dog, so they elected euthanasia instead. The story goes that the daughter of the family who owned the dog saw Dr. Stephens in the store and said, “You’re the man who killed my dog.”  

Since 1981, Dr. Stephens has been working in pet insurance, launching the first pet insurance company in North America. He later founded Pets Best Insurance to improve pet insurance and make it more relevant for pet owners. The main mission of Pets Best is to end what’s called “economic euthanasia” by making sure owners are prepared for the expenses of owning a pet.

The company itself is administered and offered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC. It’s underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company (APIC), a New York insurance company, and Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC), a Delaware insurance company. 

Pros:

  • There is no age restriction: pets of any age can receive coverage.
  • The two-tier wellness plans allow for greater routine care coverage and more customization of your plan.
  • The claims process allows you to simply take a photo of your vet’s invoice from within Pets Best’s mobile app. You can also submit claims via email, fax or mail.  

>>MORE: Pet Insurance that Covers Preventative Care

Cons:

  • Pets Best Insurance is fairly strict about their waiting periods before coverage begins. Accidents have a three-day waiting period, illnesses have a 14-day waiting period and cruciate ligament conditions have a six-month waiting period. 
  • Like all pet insurance companies, Pets Best does not cover ongoing pre-existing conditions.  
  • The company only covers dogs and cats; there is no coverage for exotic animals like birds or reptiles. 

>>MORE: Finding the Best Pet Dental Insurance

Pets Best Insurance Ratings:

According to testimonials on the Pets Best Insurance website, customers are happy with the prompt and friendly service.   

Pets Best Insurance also currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). However, customer reviews with the BBB state considerable issues with getting coverage for conditions. Many complaints revolve around being denied due to pre-existing conditions or having communications delayed. All customer complaints with the BBB currently stand as answered or resolved.  

Pets Best Insurance only has a two-star rating on Yelp, however. Some reviewers state they are happy with the fast payment and have not had premiums spike drastically due to the number of claims submitted. Others are not happy with the “maximum per incident” amount. Still others complain about ACL damage not being covered without a waiting period. One reviewer stated that prices go up quite drastically as the dog ages. Others feel the claim process takes too long, with some people waiting over one month or more. Still others are unhappy with how quick the company is to label illnesses like skin infections as pre-existing.   

Consumer Advocate rates Pets Best Insurance with a 3.9/5 (very good) rating. They like the coverage for prescriptions, exam fees and alternative therapies, as well as the wellness plan with two levels.   

How Much Does Pets Best Insurance Cost?

In general, Pets Best Insurance quotes are cheaper than those of similar pet insurance companies. It costs $35-48 a month to ensure your dog with Pets Best with unlimited annual benefits and $250 annual deductible.

There isn’t much price difference between Texas and Florida or between small/medium (Labrador Retriever) and big dog (German Shepherd). The price difference between a young (1 year old) and an older dog (5 years old) is not as significant as usually seen in other pet insurance companies.

  • Texas, small/medium dog, 1-year-old: $35 per month – unlimited annual benefit – $250 annual deductible 
  • Texas, small/medium dog, 5-year-old: $48 per month – unlimited annual benefit – $250 annual deductible
  • Texas, big dog, 1-year-old: $36 per month – unlimited annual benefit – $250 annual deductible
  • Texas, big dog, 5-year-old: $48 per month – unlimited annual benefit – $250 annual deductible
  • Florida, small/medium dog, 1-year-old: $33 per month – unlimited annual benefit – $250 annual deductible
  • Florida, small/medium dog, 5-year-old: $44 per month – unlimited annual benefit – $250 annual deductible
  • Florida, big dog, 1-year-old: $33 per month – unlimited annual benefit – $250 annual deductible
  • Florida, big dog, 5-year-old: $45 per month – unlimited annual benefit – $250 annual deductible

How Does Pets Best Insurance Quotes Compare with Others?

In order to compare Pets Best Insurance prices with other companies, we also looked at Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation and VPI Pet Insurance. We also compared two locations: Texas and Florida. Plus, we looked at the difference between Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds for the dog size. Last, we compared the difference between a 1-year-old dog and a 5-year-old dog. 

In order to keep comparisons even, we compared the prices on plans that do not cover exams, since Healthy Paws does not cover those. That meant the essential plan for Pets Best and the whole pet plan for VPI. You can see the results below:   

   Pets Best Insurance Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & FoundationVPI Pet Insurance:
Texassmall/medium dog 1-year-old$35$36$71
5-year-old $48$51$103
big dog1-year-old$36$36$71
5-year-old $48$51$103
Floridasmall/medium dog 1-year-old$33$42$80
5-year-old $44$55$96
big dog1-year-old$33$39$80
5-year-old $45$51$96

As you can see, all companies don’t shift too dramatically (if at all) between breed for pricing. For the location, Pets Best is just a hair more expensive in Texas. All of the companies show a significant increase in monthly cost when the animal is aged five instead of one at the $250 deductible level.  

Pets Best shows the least expensive monthly prices out of all of the companies. It’s considerably less expensive than VPI, and it has an unlimited annual benefit, unlike VPI’s $10,000 annual benefit.    

>>MORE: Health Paws Pet Insurance Review ; VPI Pet Insurance Review

How to Get a Quote from Pets Best Insurance:

Getting a free quote from the company seems more like a pre-screen than other companies. You can enter the usual information, like the pet’s name, age, whether they are a dog or cat and breed. Then the quote system asks if your pet has a list of diseases. You also should report any other conditions that the pet has been treated for. You can see how the screen looks below:

From there you enter pretty standard personal information, like your full name, zip code, email, and an optional phone number. It also asks if you’re a military member. This is what the lower part of the quote screen looks like: 

If you don’t want to enter too much personal information as you’re just checking out preliminary quotes, the system allows you to enter initials for your name. Once you hit the “get your quote” button, this screen shows up:

The chart at the bottom does a nice job of outlining what’s all covered between the different plans. At the top, it’s nice that you can adjust your annual limit, annual deductible and reimbursement level. For instance, the annual limit can either be unlimited or $5,000. When you move the field to $5,000, the page updates in real-time showing what your monthly payments would be under that plan, as you can see below:

These are both for the accident and illness plans. If you’d just like to have accidents covered through Pets Best Insurance, you can select that option at the very top of the page. Then you get this screen: 

The only drawback is that the site makes it hard to navigate between different quotes using the back button on your browser, since each quote carries its own ID number. You have to start a new quote process entirely when you want to compare situations. The option for that is way at the bottom of the page.  

But overall, the Pets Best Insurance website does a great job of making the quote process easy and outlining your benefits. It’s also a responsive page that allows you to easily customize your plan.  

Coverage Options:

The plans are in three tiers, the essential, plus and elite. All three plans cover:

  • Accidents
  • Illnesses
  • Cancer
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Emergency care
  • Surgeries 
  • Rx meds

The plus plan covers the above, plus accident and illness exam fees.  

The Pets Best Insurance elite plan covers all of the above, plus rehabilitative, acupuncture and chiropractic coverage.  

As mentioned above, you can choose between an unlimited annual limit or a $5,000 annual limit. You can also choose a wide variety of deductible amounts ranging from $50 to $1,000.  Reimbursement levels also cover 70 percent, 80 percent or 90 percent.

You also have the option of two levels of routine care add-ons. The company offers BestWellness for $26 per month or EssentialWellness for $16 per month. You can see a comparison below:   

As you can see, the main difference between the two is BestWellness covers spay/neuter and teeth cleaning, while EssentialWellness does not. BestWellness also has higher limits on the services it covers.

For dental insurance, Pets Best Insurance covers new periodontal disease cases under its main BestBenefit accident and illness plans.

The Bottom Line:

  • Pets Best Insurance has a heart-felt background of being founded by a vet who wanted to reduce the frequency of “economic euthanasia.” 
  • Like any company reviews online, reviews for Pets Best Insurance are mixed. While it has only two starts at Yelp, it has an A+ with the BBB.
  • It’s cheaper per month than the other two companies we compared, Healthy Paws and VPI Pet Insurance, for comparable deductibles.
  • Getting a quote through the Pets Best Insurance website is a breeze. The site also allows you to adjust annual limits, reimbursement and deductible amounts to see in real-time how that affects your monthly payments.
  • The three tiers of plans and two tiers of routine care coverage allow you to get a customized amount of coverage for you and your pet.
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1 Comment

  1. Although most people have had a good experience with Pets Best insurance, I was financially and emotionally devastated by their lack of communication, support, and compassion for me and my dog. I signed my dog up for Pets Best insurance after a dear friend of mine recommended them to me. My dog was approaching 7.5 years old and had no current health issues, so I thought it best to sign her up before she developed any. My dog presented with lameness during the waiting period, and it was unclear to me and my veterinarian what the cause was. The diagnosis was unclear, but it was suspected to be an injury based on the X-Ray. About three months after the waiting period ended, my dog was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and was recommended to undergo chemotherapy and amputation of the diseased limb, which would have given her another year of life as opposed to two months (without treatment). I thought to myself, “thank goodness I purchased pet insurance!” Actually, I have no one to thank and definitely NOT Pets Best. Pets Best settled that the cancer was linked to the lameness that presented a few months prior during the waiting period, so they labeled cancer as a pre-existing condition, even though my veterinarian records revealed NO EVIDENCE of a cancer diagnosis BEFORE or DURING the policy waiting period. Pets Best even had my veterinarian records to prove that there was no evidence of a pre-existing cancer diagnosis. Therefore, I would have been stuck paying for all medical costs IN FULL. The limb amputation alone would have cost me $1,000-$2,000 and chemotherapy would have been $400 per session. My dog needed at least weekly chemotherapy which meant that I would be paying, out-of-pocket, $1,600 per month, or $19,200 PER YEAR, JUST FOR THE CHEMOTHERAPY. That is half of my net salary! I am a mental health professional working in the non-profit sector, so this is a HUGE burden on my heart and my finances. I had to make the heart-wrenching decision to euthanize my beautiful dog because I could not afford her care. Pets Best discriminated against my dog without full consideration. My dog had a healthy medical record with NO EVIDENCE of pre-existing conditions, and they had the veterinary records to prove it. Based on Pets Best treatment of me and my pet, I don’t believe that Pets Best cares about the well-being of their customers and their pets. It’s clear to me that Pets Best will find any way that they can to NOT pay for your pet’s medical treatments by prejudicially asserting that any presenting accidents/illnesses were due to a pre-existing condition. I have lost trust in Pets Best and will NOT insure with them, ever again, and will NOT recommend them.


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