UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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Founded in 2003, 24PetWatch bills itself as a pet protection and pet insurance service. They provide microchip monitoring services and assistance with recovering lost pets as well as pet insurance plans for both dogs and cats.
Like many pet insurance companies, plans through 24PetWatch have a complicated underwriting and administration chain. The company itself is a subsidiary of Pethealth, Inc., and policies are sold through PTZ Insurance Agency (dba PIA Insurance Agency in California). Plans are underwritten by either North River Insurance Company and American Fire Insurance Company, both of which are part of Crum & Forster, subsidiary to Fairfax Financial. All of which adds up to the fact that 24PetWatch is merely a brand name.
24PetWatch insurance plans are available across the country and provide major medical coverage; wellness can be added as an additional option. Plans are also available in Canada.
U.S. headquarters is located in Buffalo, NY, and Canadian headquarters in Oakville, ON.
Pet Insurance Plans
24PetWatch has several levels of pet insurance plan available. Base plans cover major medical for accidents and illnesses, and wellness coverage is offered as an option that can be added to most of the plans. A stand-alone wellness plan is not offered.
What is Covered
Base plans cover a range of services related to accident and illness treatment and care. These include:
- Diagnostic tests
- Prescription medication
- Hereditary conditions
- Chronic conditions
A number of benefits are included in the plan at a schedule coverage rate that does not have a deductible or a coinsurance amount. These include:
- Boarding kennel fees
- Euthanasia and Cremation
- Trip cancellation
- Accidental death benefit
- Additional living expenses
- Lost pet recovery
Like all such plans, pre-existing conditions are not covered. There are also other common exclusions, including cosmetic procedures and breeding. Some services have specific limitations.
The varying plan levels allow selection of the deductible and the annual coverage limits. All plans have an 80% reimbursement level, subject to a maximum coverage amount for each individual service, that is pre-determined by the insurance company.
The Essential plan has $1,500 in annual coverage with a $100 deductible. The Wellness plan cannot be added to this plan.
The Extra plan doubles coverage to $3,000 and offers deductibles of either $100 or $250.
The Classic plan has an annual limit of $5,000 and offers deductible selections of $100, $250, or $500.
The Super and Champion plans have limits of $10,000 and $20,000 respectively, and each offers deductible options of $100, $250, $500, or $1,000.
Finally, there is an accident-only plan with a $20,000 limit and a $100 deductible. Like the Essential, there is no option to add Wellness to this plan.
The waiting period for coverage is next-day for accidents, but illness waiting periods depend on the plan level selected. Essential has the longest waiting period at 30 days, while the rest are 14 days. Certain illnesses have shorter waiting periods of only two days.
We ran our sample quote for a one-year-old mixed breed, medium sized dog in California. The recommended plan returned is the Classic, which came back at $49 a month. The base Wellness plan can be added at $10 a month, or the higher-end Wellness plan at $25 a month – these are flat rates across the board.
Kicking up to the highest plan level, Champion, with a $100 deductible, our rate went up to $70.51 a month. Essential, the least expensive option, came back at $25 a month.
We then ran a one-year-old mixed breed cat with the same parameters. The Classic plan came back at $23.42 a month. The most expensive option, Champion, is $33.11 a month, and the least expensive choice, Essential, is $12.92 a month. Rates for Wellness are the same as those for dogs, which is unusual.
Overall, we found the rates here a little high, although they do offer low deductibles. There is not an option for unlimited coverage, and even at a $100 deductible, the rates for $5,000 in coverage are not much lower than what we have seen elsewhere for unlimited.
Claims are submitted online through the customer portal or can be filled out on the website printed, and then faxed or emailed to the company. The option to submit a paper claim through the mail is not available.
All claims are handled on a reimbursement basis; this means that the customer pays the vet bill up front and then submits for reimbursement from the insurance company. This is a common procedure for most similar companies. The reimbursement is paid at 80% minus the deductible, up the maximum limit for that particular service.
24PetWatch offers online enrollment, and the company does not appear to require any vet exam prior to enrollment.
Enrollment age is from eight weeks old up to 10 years for dogs and 12 years for cats. The top-end enrollment age is a bit on the low side compared to other companies, which enroll older pets or in some cases have no limits on age at all.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
24PetWatch is not rated on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) page, with the explanation being that the complaints are handled by another BBB – but there are still five complaints on file here in the past three years. The official BBB file for this company is found under PTZ Insurance Agency, Inc., which has an A+ rating. There are 117 complaints on file here for the past three years, but this includes several other company names operating under this banner.
There are 149 reviews of 24PetWatch insurance on Consumer Affairs. 34 star ratings in the past year result in just over one star overall. A lot of the complaints here do not seem to be about the insurance program but actually regarding the company’s microchipping services. There do seem to be several complaints regarding the company’s 30-day free trial for insurance, where cancellations were not processed and the customer charged. We did not see much in the way of complaints about denied claims, which is what we usually see with an insurance company. This may be due to the confusion that can result from a company using so many different names for administration, underwriting, and branding.
Complaints on Yelp follow a similar pattern, although we did find a few positive reviews of the actual insurance plans.
The Bottom Line
24PetWatch has a good selection of plans, but they likely are not the best value for the insurance dollar when it comes to pet insurance. Since the company is primarily known for microchip services, reviews of the pet insurance program are hard to come by, and the various paths of underwriting and administration cause confusion. This makes it difficult to create any sort of solid recommendation for 24PetWatch as an insurance company.