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Petplan Review

Petplan Insurance costs are between $11-$15 per month, with more expensive Petplan Insurance coverage coming in at $56 per month. A recent change in underwriters led to waiting period and premium increases, with the average Petplan Insurance waiting period falling anywhere between five and 14 days.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Jul 25, 2020

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With a history that goes back to 1976, Petplan is one of the oldest pet health insurance companies around. They are an international company providing coverage for cats and dogs in several countries.

About Petplan

Petplan was created in the U.K. in 1976 and came over to the United States in 2003 when a couple recently moved from England founded Fetch, Inc. in response to a large vet bill for their cat. The Philadelphia-based company was licensed to sell Petplan products that same year. Petplan further expanded into Canada in 2011, and now also operates in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, and France.

Policies through Petplan are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance, a part of Allianz Global, in both the U.S. and in Canada. Today they are the biggest pet insurance company in the world.

Petplan is the official pet health plan provider for the AARP. Their philanthropic initiatives include donations to pet charities for every policy sold and in memory of every plan member to pass away. Policyholders receive the company’s Fetch! Magazine as well as access to 24/7 assistance from veterinary experts to answer questions.

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Petplan Insurance Policies

Petplan’s policies are designed to cover dogs and cats of all ages.

What Is Covered

Like many pet insurance companies, Petplan is designed for unexpected illness and injury and does not cover preventative care. They advertise more comprehensive coverage than their competitors, and covered services include:

  • Diagnostic tests
  • Treatment of covered injuries or illnesses
  • Surgery
  • Prescriptions
  • Treatment of hereditary and chronic conditions
  • Treatment for periodontal disease
  • Vet exam fees
  • Alternative therapies

Although the list of covered services is longer than those we have seen at other pet health plans, there are still some exclusions. The biggest one is common to all pet health plans – they do not cover pre-existing conditions.

While some other plans do not cover hip dysplasia, or have a waiting period for coverage, Petplan does offer coverage.

Benefits

Petplan allows their policies to be customized by coverage limit amount, deductible, and percentage of coverage.

Coverage limits range from $5,000 to unlimited, while deductibles have a wide range of choices starting at $100 and going up to $1,000 in increments of $50. Reimbursement level is either 70%, 80%, or 90%.

This range of coverage choices allows for a lot of tweaking to fit the policyholder’s budget and coverage needs.

Over in the FAQ section is a statement that some conditions have a per condition deductible rather than just the annual deductible. This deductible applies to each condition once per the calendar year, any following claims within that year for the same condition will not be subject to that deductible again. We were unable to find details as to the amount of the deductible.

Rates

Like all pet insurance, the size, breed, age, and location of the pet all impact rates. We ran quotes for both a dog and a cat for comparison

We used a sample of a one-year-old mixed breed dog in California. The recommended policy coverage came back with a $300 deductible, a $15,000 annual limit, and a reimbursement level of 80%.

We compared this to the highest level of coverage – unlimited, with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement, which came back at $56.74. We have seen lower rates for unlimited coverage with a lower deductible at other companies, although Petplan does include some coverage the others do not – like dental coverage – that add value.

We also ran a one-year-old mixed breed cat through the quoting system. At the same recommended coverage level that the system had selected for our first quote, we were given a rate of $22.51 for the cat.

At the high end of the coverage choices, the rate went up to $32.87 a month.

We then compared both our dog and cat quote at the lowest available coverage level the system would allow us to select. That offered a limit of $2,500 at 70% reimbursement, with a $1,000 deductible. The rate came back at $15.88 a month for our dog and $11.33 a month for our cat.

This low-end coverage is clearly not worth it; after the deductible and the 70% reimbursement level, it provides only $1,050 in coverage annually. At those rates, much better coverage is available elsewhere.

All of these rates include a 5% discount for enrolling online.

Overall, Petplan’s rates are on par with most of their competitors. We have noted that they do offer some standard coverage that others do not, so the importance of that coverage may make a difference to some pet owners. It should also be noted that there is a per condition deductible, as we mentioned above, that reduces the amount paid for each claim, and again affects the value of the policy.

Claims

Petplan does not offer direct online claim filing, on their website, but they do offer it on their mobile app. Policyholders can, however, download and print a personalized claim form from the website after logging into their account. That form can then be sent in via email, fax, or regular mail.

Like most pet health insurance companies, claims are paid by reimbursement. That means that the policyholder must pay the vet bill directly and can then submit to have the insurance company pay back the covered portion.

Petplan requires all claims to be completed within 30 days of receiving all the required information, but the website states that the usual claim processing time is 5 to 14 days.

Worth noting is the pre-authorization option they offer, which can expedite claims and also reduce any concern regarding how much coverage the plan will offer for any given service. This can avoid the common issue of surprise denials we have seen in many pet insurance complaints.

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Enrollment

Enrollment can be done entirely online or over the phone. Petplan does not require any medical records, although a medical history questionnaire is part of the enrollment process.

Dogs and cats of 6 weeks of age and older can be enrolled; there is no upper limit on age. The age of the pet will, however, impact rates.

Waiting periods on the policies depend on the underwriter and are either 14 or 15 days. The policies also have a specific waiting period for cruciate and patella injuries, although this can be waived only with a veterinarian exam certifying no existing problems with the knees.

There is no fee to enroll, and there is a 30-day money back guarantee on all policies.

Ratings and Consumer Reviews

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) page for Petplan appears under the name Fetch, Inc., and the company has an A+ rating. There have been 40 complaints filed in the past three years, which is low for such a large company. Of the complaints listed 12 were closed in the past 12 months.

There are 19 reviews on Consumer Affairs, most of which are negative. They cite increasing rates and denied claims, common complaints with similar companies.

The bulk of the reviews for this company can be found on Yelp, where there are 367 reviews for an overall 3-star rating. The negative reviews here seem to reflect the same complaints listed above – rates going up unexpectedly and claims being denied. Mixed among the negative reviews are a solid number of positive reviews reflecting a good claim and customer service experience.

We did find a note from the company explaining that the rate increase was due to a change in underwriters. In some of the cases of claim denial, there appears to be some misunderstanding regarding coverage and exclusions.

The Bottom Line

Petplan has been around a long time and offers more comprehensive coverage than some competitors, but their rates are a bit high for the limits offered, and they also have dual deductibles. Their reputation seems relatively good, but the change in underwriters that led to premium increases appears to have reduced customer satisfaction somewhat. If you are not on a tight budget and want the most items possible covered on your pet insurance plan, Petplan might be for you. Budget shoppers might find a better rate elsewhere.

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About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

3 Comments

  1. If your Pet develops a chronic condition or has an expensive accident, they will increase your deductible by 5 times from $150 to $750 and reduce your copay from 90% to 70%. My cat is 3 and he is now not insurable.

    Petplan insurance is a total scam. I choose them because for a much higher premium each month, they had a 90% co-pay.

    They do NOT pay the vet directly and only reimburse, which is a big problem when you have a big claim.

    Other company’s have lower premiums, pay the vet directly but have a lower copay.

    After tons of research, I chose to switch to Petplan with my 2 new adopted kittens because of the copay.

    I thought the higher copay and similar deductible was worth the hassle of no direct billing.

    (I pay about $40.95/month each for the 2 cats’ insurance, which I thought was a good investment – $911.06/year for both).

    It takes weeks to get reimbursed and you have to float the entire vet cost for emergency treatment while you wait for a cheque in the mail. It is really quite stressful.

    After 3 years of premiums on both my cats, I have been told that they are GUTTING my policy.

    Because Obsidian, my 3 year old cat, had a claim in the first year that was large over $5K; and another one for about $700 this year due to an accidental fall, I received notice today that they are completely gutting his policy at the end of this month when it renews.

    They are raising my deductable from $150 to $750, and dropping the copay from 90% to 70%. and dropping my maximum lifetime claim amount from $20K to $15K

    It is there in the fine print on page 12.

    On their website, they claim: “Coverage for chronic conditions
    Petplan Canada covers injuries, illnesses and chronic conditions, even those that affect a pet into old age.*

    For many pets, that protection can make all the difference. When you consider that 30-40% of all pet insurance claims received by Petplan are for chronic conditions that can last beyond 12 months,* it’s easy to see how choosing the right insurance coverage for your dog or cat is one of the most important decisions you can make.”

    What they don’t tell you is that the coverage is worth pretty well nothing if you do make a claim because they reserve the right to change the deductible, max coverage and copay at their discretion.

    He now has ongoing medication of about $300 a year, but no other follow up needed. No anticipated surgery.
    They don’t cover general checkups.

    So in order to make the deductible each year, I would have to have at least $975 in emergency vet bills just to claim a single dime.

    I was told when I signed up that they would raise premiums every few years, as per usual guidelines for age, but not told that they basically would make my cat uninsurable if he ever had a big claim.

    Because of his neurological issues, he would not qualify for a new insurance plan.

    They like to have these great happy stories about people who had their pets saved because they had insurance, but the reality is that those customers will have their coverage gutted or cancelled as soon as you make a claim.

    I wonder how many of their happy customers are happy a year or two later when their coverage is gutted?

    I was one of those formerly happy clients raving about them. Not anymore.

    So if your cat or dog develops a chronic condition, don’t count on insurance paying out for the rest of their coverage life.

    within a year or two THEY WILL CHANGE ALL THE TERMS AND REDUCE YOUR SAFETY NET TO ALMOST NOTHING. What a SCAM.

    My advice, if you do use Petplan, think of it as monthly payments for one-time use policy for a single large expense or incident and then a few months honeymoon time until your renewal.

    Then no more insurance.

    Reply
  2. You failed to mention that PetPlan takes the 20 percent copay off your deductible, no matter if they paid a penny out or not.

    What this means to me is that I’m paying more than a $500 deductible.

    And it’s taking a much longer time to meet that deductible, which in turn means they don’t have to pay as often.

    Reply
  3. I am an insurance broker ( over 35 years in the biz). I have 2 rescue cats ( 2 years old). Recently I submitted a claim with one of my boy cats and this company denied the claim stating a pre-existing condition – it wasn’t a pre-existing condition – so their next excuse was well you don’t have his full vet paperwork since birth – said no he is a rescue – their reply – well then we treat that as a pre-existing condition. So this company is prejudice against rescue animals – but as a broker, I know how the insurance game works – Petplan is just an MGA and I know how to get to their paper ( XL Catlin and Allianz) – I am also writing to the FSCO and the insurance bureau of Canada. If you read the reviews, I find it mentioned several times about them denying claims from rescue animals…..can’t believe you support a company that does not support providing health insurance to rescue animals.

    Reply

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