PetPartners Pet Insurance Review & Complaints: Pet Insurance

PetPartners Pet Insurance offers pet insurance plans for cats and dogs, and they are the official pet insurance company for the American Kennel Club. It offers two base plans to which a variety of endorsements can be added for customized coverage.

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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 place to get it.

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Written by Eric Stauffer
Founder & Former Insurance Agent Eric Stauffer

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Mar 7, 2022

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Financial Strength

Originally founded in the UK, PetPartners has been operating in the United States since 2002. They offer pet insurance plans for cats and dogs. They are the official pet insurance company for the American Kennel Club (AKC).

What is PetPartners?

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 public.

PetPartners is 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. The plans are underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company.

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What types of pet health insurance products are offered?

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 nearly all pet health 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.

What Benefits Are There?

The first thing we noted on the benefits listed for the coverage was that the company 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. This is not the most effective coverage option in this case.

The insurer also operates on an incident limit basis for any other pet insurance claim, 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.

What Endorsements Are Available?

There are three endorsements that can be added to the base pet insurance policy.

Defender and Defender Plus are preventative care endorsements, with two different levels of scheduled benefits for routine and preventive care.

ExamCare is an endorsement that adds coverage for that will take care of any exam fee or office visit fee that you incur. 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, which may require repeated veterinary service. Most other plans we have seen provide at least some coverage for this type of illness as part of the base plan.

Does the company offer competitive rates for its products?

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 at 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, which may make alternative health insurance protection a better choice for your family.

How are claims handled?

Claims are handled on a reimbursement basis, like most pet insurance companies, after all deductibles and limits.

The website has a 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 claim’s 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.

You can use the online portal to manage and update your policies, but in order to file a claim, you will need to download a claim form and send it by email, fax, or mail.

We also evaluate the components that will affect your experience with the company, including the claims process and how they offer customer service.

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How can pet parents enroll?

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 (American Kennel Club) branded, you do not have to be a member to enroll your pet.

Waiting periods for insurance coverage are three days for accidents 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.

Are the ratings and consumer reviews positive?

PetPartners, Inc. has an A- rating with the Better 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 complaints 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 Pet Insurance 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.

On the other hand, reviewers on Trustpilot praise the company for its excellent customer service and fast claim reimbursement.

The Bottom Line

In 2002, PetPartners sold its first pet insurance policy in the U.S. and has the distinction of being the exclusive provider of pet health insurance for the American Kennel Club (AKC).

PetPartners’ policies have a few more exclusions than most insurers 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 providers – 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.

Be advised that, since pet insurance coverage usually excludes all pre-existing conditions, the medical records help identify any conditions the pet had before coverage began.

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