A Vet's Review of Pets Best Pet Insurance

by Frances Wilkerson, DVM

This review discusses coverage and payout structure

To get the most from this review, please read the Guide to Pet Insurance first.
For a detailed look at Pets Best, see Pets Best's Comparison Sheet.



Overview

Pets Best has offered pet insurance since 2005. This review refers to the following plans: BestBenefit Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3



Coverage Overview

In general, Pets Best Pet Insurance covers examinations, diagnostics and lab tests, surgery, treatments, hospitalization, and prescription medications for accidents/injuries and illnesses as long as the condition is not pre-existing, has not occurred during the waiting period, and you have not reached your maximum payout limits.

Non-routine dental coverage is limited.



Coverage For Chronic Diseases & Continual Coverage For Chronic Diseases

Pets Best Pet Insurance offers chronic diseases coverage and continual coverage for chronic conditions as part of the base policy, as long as the condition is not pre-existing, has not occurred during the waiting period, and you have not reached your maximum payout limits.

At this time, Pets Best has limited coverage for hereditary & congenital conditions in certain states ...so if your pet develops a chronic hereditary or congenital condition and you live in one of those states, coverage may be limited.



Hereditary & Congenital Coverage

Full hereditary & congenital coverage is available in certain states.

In these states, seven conditions have a one-year waiting period from the policy effective date. These conditions are: cruciate ligament injuries, luxating patellas, portosystemic shunts, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans and cardiovascular defects.

The waiting period may be waived if a veterinarian confirms the condition is not present.

In the remaining states, Pets Best has no congenital coverage, does not cover certain hereditary conditions for pets enrolled after their 2nd birthday, and has limited payout for certain hereditary conditions.

Full Hereditary and congenital coverage is an important piece of coverage that must be part of any pet insurance plan (See: 5 Points of Coverage Your Pet Insurance Plan Must Have).

If you plan on using Pets Best for pet insurance, check to see if full hereditary & congenital coverage is available in your state.



Cancer Coverage

Pets Best Pet Insurance provides cancer coverage as part of the base policy, as long as the condition is not pre-existing, has not occurred during the waiting period, and you have not reached your maximum payout limits. However, the hereditary and congenital limitations in certain states make it difficult to know if a cancer caused by a hereditary or genetic disorder will be covered in those states.



Coverage For Breed Specific Conditions

Breed specific medical conditions often occur as hereditary/congenital issues.

In states with full hereditary & congenital coverage, coverage for breed specific conditions is high.
Note: In these states, there is a one-year waiting period for seven conditions: cruciate ligament injuries, luxating patellas, portosystemic shunts, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans and cardiovascular defects. The waiting period may be waived if a veterinarian confirms the condition is not present.

At this time, in the remaining states, Pets Best Pet Insurance does not cover congenital conditions and has limited payout for certain hereditary conditions. Coverage for breed specific conditions in these states is low.



Maximum Payout Structure

Pets Best has a maximum annual payout structure combined with a maximum lifetime payout structure. Pet Best offers a plan with a maximum annual payout of $20,000 with a maximum lifetime payout of $200,000 which will probably work for most people.





Summary of Coverage and Payout Structure

Gotchas

  • No congenital coverage, limited hereditary coverage, and limited payout for certain hereditary conditions in certain states
  • Offers cancer coverage, but the hereditary and congenital limitations in certain states make it difficult to know if a cancer caused by a hereditary or genetic disorder will be covered in those states
  • Non-routine dental coverage is limited



Good Points

  • Full hereditary & congenital coverage in certain states
  • No upper age limit for enrollment
  • Strong underwriter
  • Coverage when travel out of state or to another country
  • Provides continual coverage for chronic diseases



Additional Comments Regarding All Pet Insurance Companies:

  • Make sure you research what customers are saying about the company. A company may have the 5 components that should be part of a pet insurance plan, but the company may not be a hit with customers. Sites to check include but are not limited to, Yelp.com and PetInsuranceReview.com. Things to look for include but are not limited to: How fast are payments paid?, What are customers saying about the pre-existing conditions policy?, How often are claims denied and for what reason?, What is the customer service experience like?
  • Make sure you understand what the waiting periods are.
  • Make sure you understand their bilateral conditions policy.
  • Make sure you understand any requirements that you must adhere to to maintain coverage.
  • Make sure you read the terms and conditions to get a thorough understanding of all exclusions.
  • Make sure you understand how and when your premium can increase.
  • If you change plan levels, there is a possibility that all medical conditions present under the old plan will be considered pre-existing in the new plan. Make sure you ask the company if this is the case.
  • For some companies, pre-existing conditions can be based on symptoms alone, a diagnosis is not needed. For example, if your pet had a cough before you applied for pet insurance and this cough was discussed and written in the pet's medical record, there is the possibility that all future cough conditions, no matter what the cause, would be considered pre-existing - even if there was no treatment given. Make sure you ask the company if this is the case.
  • Pet insurance companies are businesses. The top priority of any business is to make a profit for their stakeholders. Pet insurance companies can and may change your rates and terms to meet that top priority. A change of business ownership or underwriters can also be a catalyst for changes in your rates and terms.

    When you purchase pet insurance make sure you have a realistic understanding of this and how it can affect you.


Additional Reviews:

AKC | ASPCA | Embrace | Figo | Healthy Paws | PetFirst | PetPlan | Pets Best | Trupanion | VPI | 24 Pet Watch


**Disclaimer:This review is meant to supplement not replace your own due diligence. Please read all terms and conditions of the pet insurance plan before you buy.

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