Yesterday DogTipper had the chance to take part in a VIP Pet Blogger Intro to Pet Insurance webinar sponsored by Kroger and PetFirst Healthcare. From the comfort of the couch (accompanied by my two trusty researchers, who were sleeping on the job), I joined in the webinar to learn more about pet insurance in general and PetFirst Healthcare specifically.
I was familiar with the name but not that familiar with the specifics of PetFirst Healthcare so this was a good chance for me to learn more and to ask some questions (although I had such a cold I’m afraid I must have sounded like a bear to everyone on the call!) We don’t have a Kroger store near us so I hadn’t run across the insurance while shopping but the pet aisles of the Kroger family of stores (King Soopers, Ralphs, Dillons, etc.) feature information on the insurance. It’s also available online.
Some features of the insurance were really attractive to me:
- there’s one price for dogs, regardless of breed, age or where you live.
- the rate is set and won’t rise as your dog ages (although the rate can be adjusted for inflation of veterinary costs.)
- there’s an easy to understand list of exclusions so you can see what’s not going to be covered.
- after your $100 per incident deductible, the policy reimburses you 90 percent.
- family plans are available for multi-pet households (and these can be mixed dog-cat households with two or three pets per policy).
- the comprehensive plan includes wellness coverage (including teeth cleaning).
- your claim is reimbursed based upon what you pay at the veterinarian’s office.
- you visit your own veterinarian.
You’ll be able to enroll any dog, even one with preexisting conditions (although he won’t receive coverage for those preexisting conditions). For example, if your dog has diabetes, you can still enroll your dog; if he should then be bitten by a snake, that care would be covered.
One question I was very curious about (having shelter dogs) is how preexisting conditions are determined when you adopt a dog whose medical history is unknown. Here’s the answer: the insurance company looks at the records of your vet from that first claim. If you adopt a dog, take him to the vet and he receives a clean bill of health, you’ll use that record to then obtain your insurance. If a year later, he develops epilepsy, they’ll still look to that clean bill of health and determine the condition was not preexisting. (If, however, you waited a year, he developed epilepsy, then you tried to obtain insurance, the epilepsy would not be covered…an excellent reason to obtain insurance as soon as you can for dogs while they are healthy.)
The concern I did have is that the per incident cap is fairly low. Although the annual cap is generous (the Basic plan provides $7,500 of annual coverage, and the Preferred plan provides $12,000 of annual coverage), the per incident cap is $1,500 for the basic plan and $2,500 for the Preferred plan.
As with all pet insurance policies, it pays to sit down and look at all the details and see how they’ll fit with your family and your budget. Because of our participation in the webinar, Kroger is offering a special $15 discount for DogTipper readers. Enter the promo code 99-99-45-5534 when enrolling for a $15 discount. (We are not receiving any compensation for this or for writing about PetFirst.)
And be sure to check out the “Responsible Pet Owner Pledge” that certifies that pets are happy, healthy and safe and share the pledge with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or your blog.