PetFirst Pet Insurance Review

Pet Insurance May 2, 2022
Written by | Updated Jan 14, 2023
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PetFirst Pet Insurance Review

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As a pet owner, you know there will be certain costs you have to cover to keep your pet well. Every pet deserves an annual visit to the vet with the necessary vaccinations – these are costs you must expect.

What you don’t expect, however, are the vet bills related to accidents and illnesses which can add up to thousands of dollars over the life of your pet (or all in a single bill).

Veterinary care can be expensive, especially if your pet needs emergency treatment or surgery. Are you able to cover those costs with little to no warning?

If you’re concerned about how you’d pay for a high vet fee, you might want to consider pet insurance. Though it won’t cover everything, it gives you the peace of mind knowing you have a backup plan. In a difficult moment when your pet needs an expensive treatment, it could make all the difference.

Read on to learn what you need to know about PetFirst to decide if it’s the right option for you.

PetFirst Pet Insurance
Overall Score
  • Customizable Coverage. Choose a plan or customize your coverage as needed.
  • Quick Accident Coverage. Only a 25-hour waiting period for accident coverage.
  • Routine Care Available. Add Routine Care to your plan if desired.
  • Waiting Periods. Cruciate ligament and disc diseases have a 6-month waiting period.
  • Claims Denied. Many reviews mention customers with denied claims.
  • Customizable Coverage. Choose a plan or customize your coverage as needed.
  • Quick Accident Coverage. Only a 25-hour waiting period for accident coverage.
  • Routine Care Available. Add Routine Care to your plan if desired.
  • Waiting Periods. Cruciate ligament and disc diseases have a 6-month waiting period.
  • Claims Denied. Many reviews mention customers with denied claims.
Waiting Period
Policy Options
Customer Support

About PetFirst Pet Insurance

You love your pet like family, and your pet insurance company should respect that. PetFirst Pet Insurance knows your pet deserves the best which is why they’ve combined excellent pet coverage with top-quality customer service to ensure both you and your pet get exactly what you need.

Here are some of the benefits PetFirst has to offer:

  • Flexible, customizable pet insurance plans
  • Freedom to use any licensed veterinary facility
  • Multichannel support options available

PetFirst was recently acquired by MetLife in 2020, though it was founded over 15 years ago in 2004. This company has a strong track record of providing coverage to tens of thousands of pets and maintaining positive relationships with local humane societies and shelters.

Today, PetFirst Healthcare, LLC, a MetLife Company, is authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company. The headquarters are located in New York, New York.

PetFirst makes it easy to sign up for high-quality pet insurance – all you need to do is fill out their simple form with some basic information to get started.

Read on to learn the basics about PetFirst, their plans, and their coverage.

How Does PetFirst Pet Insurance Work?

Pet insurance is similar to health insurance for people, though there are some key differences. Typically, when you use your health insurance, you pay a co-pay and the plan pays your provider directly. Anything that’s left over after coverage will be billed to you.

When you use pet insurance, you pay for the service up-front (with the exception of some plans that pay your vet directly), then you submit a claim for reimbursement. You’ll still be responsible for a deductible and your plan may limit the amount you can be reimbursed with each claim or each year.

Here are the details you need to know for PetFirst pet insurance:

  1. Pet Insurance Plans

When it comes to their pet insurance plans, PetFirst offers several options. When you submit a request for a quote, you’ll be given three options. You’ll see the “Most Popular” option along with a “High Deductible Option,” and a third unnamed option.

As you may notice, the Most Popular option is slightly more expensive than the others, but the annual benefit limit is higher as well. The higher your deductible gets, the lower your monthly premium is, which explains why the High Deductible Option is the cheapest. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, or you simply want to peruse the options, use the Customize option to choose your annual benefit, deductible, reimbursement rate, and routine care benefit.

PetFirst offers annual benefit limits ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 with deductibles as low as $50 and as high as $500 (except the High Deductible Option which is $2,500). Reimbursement rates of 70%, 80%, and 90% are available with Routine Care Benefits ranging from $0 to $575 per year.

The PetFirst pet policy covers the following major categories:

  • Accidents & illnesses
  • Hereditary/congenital conditions
  • Chronic conditions
  • Surgery and hospitalization
  • Diagnostic tests, x-rays, ultrasound
  • Sick exam fees
  • Prescription medications
  • Emergency care and specialists
  • Alternative therapies

After a six-month waiting period, you’ll also be covered for intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), anterior cruciate ligaments, medical cruciate, posterior cruciate ligaments, and cranial crucial ligaments.

  1. Pricing

When you enroll in a pet insurance plan, your primary concern is the monthly premium – the amount you pay each month in exchange for coverage. This amount varies depending what type of pet you have and where you live. Additional factors like your pet’s age or health status may affect it as well.

The best way to find out how much PetFirst costs is to request a quote. To give you an example of two different pets, we’ll use a 3-year-old mixed-breed male dog weighing 50 pounds and a 2-year-old female mixed-breed cat. We used the customizable coverage option to get these quotes.

Here’s the breakdown of the dog plan pricing:

Customizable Coverage
Reimbursement %Annual Reimbursement LimitAnnual DeductibleMonthly Premium
With $250 Routine Care Benefits
Reimbursement %Annual Reimbursement LimitAnnual DeductibleMonthly Premium

Here’s the breakdown of the cat plan pricing:

Customizable Coverage
Reimbursement %Annual Reimbursement LimitAnnual DeductibleMonthly Premium
With $250 Routine Care Benefits
Reimbursement %Annual Reimbursement LimitAnnual DeductibleMonthly Premium
  1. Waiting Periods

Most pet insurance companies enforce a waiting period (or several) to prevent insurance fraud. The reason for this is that pet owners would otherwise be able to purchase a policy before taking their pet to the vet, knowing their pet is sick, and sending the bill to the plan.

At Pet First, there is a 25-hour waiting period for accidents – your plan will become eligible for claims at midnight the next day EST. For illnesses, there’s a 14-day waiting period. Cruciate ligaments and disc disease have a 6-month waiting period.

Keep in mind that not only will anything that happens to your pet during one of these waiting periods not be covered, but it will also become a pre-existing condition for your pet.

  1. Claim Limits

Some pet insurance companies set a limit on the amount you can request reimbursement for per accident or illness, though many have only annual benefit limits. With PetFirst, you only have to worry about an annual benefit limit, and you can even customize is if you like.

PetFirst plans have one of three annual benefit limits: $2,000, $5,000, or $10,000.

  1. Deductibles

A deductible is the amount you pay for covered services before the plan starts to offer reimbursement and they are your responsibility on top of your monthly premiums. PetFirst offers deductibles in four amounts: $50, $100, $250, and $500.

Here’s an example of how it works:

If you have a $100 deductible and you take your pet to the vet for a covered service with a total fee of $340, you’ll only be eligible for reimbursement on $240 of it.

  1. Medical History Review and Pre-Existing Conditions

No pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions. Though the exact definition may vary from one company to another, this generally refers to any condition for which your pet has shown signs or been diagnosed or treated prior to enrollment. Some companies stipulate that the condition can’t have happened within 12 to 24 months of enrollment.

To check for pre-existing conditions, PetFirst will need to view your pet’s medical records either after enrollment or upon filing your first claim.

Here is a full list of things that are not covered under PetFirst plans:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Elective procedures (like tail docking or ear cropping)
  • Expression or removal of anal glands, anal sacculitis
  • Breading or conditions related to breeding
  • Pet food, special diets, vitamins, and mineral supplements
  • Grooming costs and bathing
  • Parasite prevention and parasite treatment
  • Illness or injury related to racing, commercial guarding, or fighting
  • Routine wellness and preventive care
  • Organ transplants

When it comes to routine care, you can add coverage to your policy using the customizable coverage tool. Unless you add it, however, things like spay/neuter, routine exams, and vaccines won’t be covered.

  1. Optional Coverage

Though the primary benefit of pet insurance is that it helps offset unexpected vet costs, some pet owners want a comprehensive plan that includes coverage for routine wellness.

Here’s what PetFirst says about their offerings:

“When you want pet insurance coverage2 that helps with everyday costs related to vet checkups and other proactive health visits, PetFirst is proud to offer routine wellness care coverage for our policyholders… Pick from several optional routine wellness packages, which can be utilized to help offset some of the veterinary expenses you know you are going to incur.”

Rather than choosing from several wellness plan options, PetFirst allows you to decide how much you want to be eligible for in reimbursement each year. They offer five amounts: $125, $250, $400, $365, and $575. Each of these covers the same basic categories, just in different amounts.

  1. Pets Covered

PetFirst insurance is for dogs and cats only – they do not cover exotic pets or small animals at this time. Fortunately, if you have more than one dog or cat, you may get a multi-pet discount.

Here’s what PetFirst says:

“PetFirst’s Pet Insurance Plans are designed for your multi-animal household. With this option, you can insure up to three pets under the age of ten with one plan for a fraction of the cost of insuring them individually. Our multi-pet policyholders save an average of 30% compared to maintaining separate individual policies for each pet.”

Even if you only have one pet now, you can add a new pet to your existing policy later or transition into a family plan.

PetFirst Customer Reviews

Before settling on a pet insurance company, it’s a good idea to do your research. In addition to checking out the company’s website and comparing coverage, we recommend reading reviews to see what real customers are saying. In reading some reviews for PetFirst, we found that many were negative and even some of the positive weren’t overwhelmingly so.

It seems many customers are disappointed with the coverage and with denied claims, though others had no issue. We’d recommend doing some in-depth research before choosing this company.

Here are some positive reviews and negative reviews from real customers:

Positive Reviews

“This is the first pet insurance I’ve ever purchased. I did not want to purchase this insurance, but my spouse insisted upon my doing so. This insurance is for our cat and we took out the “Cost Conscious” plan. It looks like it offers standard treatments we expect our cat to continue needing with a more expensive emergency operation covered up to $2000. It was easy to navigate the site and the cards came in the mail pretty quickly. Luckily, our vet has dealt with this insurance before.”Patrick of Bradenton, FL

“We have a policy for both of our rescues. Decent coverage and you can change coverages mid policy. They have wonderful customer service representatives and payment options. They also provide clear and concise email communications.”Craig of New York, NY

Negative Reviews

“I recently adopted a 4th dog and this new dog came along with 30 days of free pet insurance for a trial run. I was super excited to see how it went with PetFirst since all of my other dogs have pet insurance and I pay a lot for it. PetFirst considered my new dogs bladder infection that he got a week after adoption “pre-existing” since he was “neutered by the shelter and it was probably the cause.” What a joke – even my vet laughed and how much of a reach that was.”Jessica of Colorado Springs, CO

“I got a free 30-day trial after adopting a kitten. The kitten ended up having a cold and the vet also recommended a fecal sample since they suspected a parasite. The test showed that he did have a parasite, and needed meds. I uploaded all paperwork including vet notes to the site and they denied the claim. They stated 3 different clauses to deny “preventative” and “routine” work. Clearly this company has a clause to deny everything… I didn’t continue coverage after the trial.”Chris of Phoenix, AZ

How Do You Sign Up?

Signing up for pet insurance is generally pretty simple – it all starts with a quote. You’ll just go to the PetFirst website and fill in some basic information so the company can find the perfect plan for your pet in your area.

Here’s the information you’ll need to provide:

  • Your pet’s species (dog or cat)
  • Your pet’s name and sex
  • Your pet’s age and color
  • Your pet’s breed (if known)
  • Your zip code and email address

After providing this information, PetFirst will ask if you’re interested in two optional discounts. The Animal Care Discount offers 10% off for vets, shelter personnel, and other pet care professionals. You may also find an additional discount for making your first payment online.

When you get to the quotes, you’ll notice three options. The first is a standard offering, the second a popular option with a higher annual benefit, and the third a high-deductible plan with a lower monthly premium. If none of these options seems like the right fit, you can scroll down and click “customize” to choose your annual benefit, deductible, reimbursement level, and routine care benefit.

Once you’ve made your plan selection, simply move on to the secure checkout and complete your payment. That’s all there is to it!

Is PetFirst Pet Insurance Worth It?

Before asking yourself whether PetFirst is the right choice, you need to decide if pet insurance is worth it for your pet. Pet insurance is a great option if you’re looking for a backup plan to help offset unexpected vet fees. If your pet is perfectly young and healthy, however, you may end up paying premiums without ever using the plan. That being said, there’s no knowing when something could happen.

In regard to PetFirst in particular, we have some concerns due to the wealth of negative reviews. Many customers have complained about issues with claims being denied, though some seem to be related to inaccurate interpretation of the exclusions. Either way, we have some concerns about the claims process and with how well customer service handles customers.

If you’re looking for a plan that offers customizable options, however, PetFirst is great. This company provides you with three plan options but if none fit the bill you can customize your coverage down to the last detail. We also love that PetFirst offers Routine Care at many different levels for pet owners who want a little bit of extra coverage for their pets.

Click Here to Get A Quote on PetFirst Pet Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns PetFirst pet insurance?

Today, PetFirst Healthcare, LLC, a MetLife Company, is authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company.

How to cancel PetFirst pet insurance?

You can cancel your PetFirst policy at any time as long as you submit it in writing via their cancel form. You can call customer service to request assistance with cancellation.

Does PetFirst pet insurance cover cremation?

Yes, PetFirst covers the cost of euthanasia and cremation due to illness or injury if it becomes necessary.

Does PetFirst pet insurance cover hip dysplasia?

Yes, PetFirst covers hip dysplasia as long as it is not a pre-existing condition. Keep in mind as well that your pet will need to finish the 6-month waiting period for orthopedic concerns before he will be eligible for coverage.

Does PetFirst pet insurance cover allergy testing?

Yes, PetFirst covers allergy testing as long as it is not a pre-existing condition.

Does PetFirst pet insurance cover blood work?

Yes, PetFirst covers diagnostic testing for accidents and illness as long as it isn’t for a pre-existing condition.

Does PetFirst pet insurance cover dental?

Yes, PetFirst covers dental treatment related to accident or illness, but they don’t cover routine dental care such as teeth cleaning. If you have the Routine Care plan, however, you may receive limited reimbursement for this service.

Does PetFirst pet insurance cover emergency visits?

Yes, PetFirst covers emergency visits for accidents and illness as long as it isn’t for a pre-existing condition.

Does PetFirst pet insurance cover neutering?

No, PetFirst doesn’t cover routine/wellness care like spaying/neutering. The only exception is if you have Routine Care coverage and then you’ll receive a limited reimbursement.

Does PetFirst pet insurance cover medication?

Yes, PetFirst covers prescription medication for covered illnesses and accidents, as long as they aren’t pre-existing.

Does PetFirst pet insurance cover prescription food?

No, PetFirst does not cover prescription pet food at this time.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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