UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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PetPartners was founded in the 1980s in the U.K., a pet health insurance plan developed specifically for the Kennel Club of Great Britain. In 2002, PetPartners was launched in the U.S. and was originally available only to members of the American Kennel Club (AKC). In 2004, they expanded to offer coverage to members of the Cat Fanciers Association, an in 2009 began offering plans to the general public.
PetPartners are still the exclusive provider of insurance to AKC members, through AKC Pet Insurance Plans. The company sponsors grants through their Animalatarian program that honors those who work to better the lives of animals.
The U.S. headquarters is located in Raleigh, South Carolina, but products are available across the country. Plans are underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company.
PetPartners offers two base plans to which a variety of endorsements can be added for customized coverage. Their plans cover both cats and dogs.
What is Covered
Companion Select is an accident-only plan, and it does not cover any sort of illnesses. Coverage is offered for any accident-related treatment, including hospitalization, surgery, and medication.
Companion Plus is a full accident and illness plan. It expands coverage to include illnesses, including cancer treatment.
Neither of these plans covers routine care, inherited illnesses, or exam fees, but each of these three can be added as an endorsement.
This plan has a long list of exclusions, and it excludes some things that most other plans cover. Pre-existing conditions are excluded as a standard part of all pet insurance policies, but PetPartners also excludes things like:
- Behavioral treatment
- Prescription foods
- Dental care unless the result of an accident
- All alternative treatments
While some other companies do exclude these things, many include at least some of them.
The first thing we noted on the benefits listed for the PetPartners plans was that they put a lifetime cap of $2,000 on cruciate treatment per leg. This is the first time we have seen a cap like this listed on a policy, and it is an important thing to note as cruciate repair can cost twice that, per leg.
PetPartners also operates on an incident limit basis for all other claims, but in this case, the policyholder can select that limit. In addition to an annual limit for all claims, the incident limit applies to each separate condition or injury annually. Ongoing conditions will have a rollover of the incident limit if treatment moves into the new calendar year.
Incident limits start at $2,500 and go up to $8,000. Annual limits range from $3,000 to $16,000. Deductible options range from $100 up to $1,000.
While the website says that the plan covers up to 80% of costs, there is not an option to select a reimbursement level, unlike most pet insurance plans.
There are three endorsements that can be added to the base plan.
Defender and Defender Plus are preventative care endorsements, with two different levels of scheduled benefits for routine care.
ExamCare is an endorsement that adds coverage for exam fees and office visit fees. These are sometimes included with other pet insurance plans, sometimes excluded, and sometimes an option as they are here.
InheritedPlus is the final endorsement, which provides coverage for inherited and congenital illness. Most other plans we have seen provide at least some coverage for this type of illness as part of the base plan.
We ran a quote for a one-year-old mixed breed dog in California. The recommended plan came back with a $2,500 incident limit, $8,000 annual limit, and $250 deductible. The rate for this plan is $31.33.
Adding ExamCare increases the rate by $4.08 a month; adding InheritedPlus increases the rate by $8.08 a month. We were also offered Defender and Defender Plus at $16 and $26 a month respectively. Thus, the rate for this plan with all endorsements including the lower level Defender plan comes up to $59.49 a month.
For the highest level of coverage, with the lowest deductible, the monthly rate came out to $93.92, including all endorsements and DefenderPlus. The least expensive plan option was quoted at $4.50 a month – that is without endorsements and a deductible so high compared to the coverage limits that it is hardly worth taking out a policy.
We also ran a quote for a one-year-old mixed breed cat. The base rate given the same recommended coverage levels came out to $26.42 a month, with the option to add ExamCare for $3.42 a month and InheritedPlus for $6.83 a month. The flat rates for the Defender plans remain the same. This plan with all endorsements including Defender comes to $52.67 a month.
We again ran the highest level of coverage for a rate of $83.34 a month, and the lowest level for a rate of $3.75 a month.
In general, we found these plans to be expensive given the double limits and the exclusions on the policy.
Claims are handled on a reimbursement basis, like most pet insurance companies, after all deductibles and limits.
The website has the claim form available for download, which can then be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the company. According to the site, most claims are processed within 30 days of being received.
Noted in the claims section is something we have seen in the fine print elsewhere – claims are reimbursed based on “reasonable and customary charges” for that service – and not for the actual billed amount. That means you will be reimbursed based on what the company has determined is the average amount for that service, even if you paid more.
Dogs and cats can be enrolled in Companion Select at any age, but Companion Plus has an upper age limit of nine years old, the lowest we have seen anywhere. Dogs can be enrolled at eight weeks old and cats at ten weeks old.
Although PetPartners is AKC branded, you do not have to be a member to enroll your pet.
Waiting periods are three days for accident and 14 days for injuries, with an added 180-day waiting period for cruciate injuries. The site doesn’t indicate any requirement for a vet exam at enrollment time.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
PetPartners, Inc. has an A- rating with the Bette Business Bureau (BBB), with five complaints on file in the past three years. Those five complaints are cited as the reason for the lowered rating, although that does not appear to be a high complaint volume even for a smaller company.
There are nine reviews on Google, and an overall 4.1-star rating. As that number implies, most of the reviews are positive. Only a few of the reviews contain any actual comments, however, and most are just a star rating with no explanation.
On Consumer Affairs, PetPartners is listed under the AKC brand and has 374 reviews. Of the 107 ratings submitted in the last year, the company has a nearly 5-star rating overall. 84 of those 107 ratings are five-star. A look through the reviews shows a lot of people who had claims handled quickly and easily. We did not see the usual litany of complaints surrounding pre-existing conditions.
The Bottom Line
PetPartners’ policies have a few more exclusions than most and are expensive. The company is also a little more confusing to select than most given the double limits. That said, their reviews are glowing and we do not see any of the complaints that are common to pet insurance companies – and that goes a long way towards adding value to the policy. For anyone who prefers to pay a little more for the peace of mind of a reputable company, PetPartners is worth a look – just be sure to read the fine and print and know what the coverage and limits are.