In a Nutshell: Since 2005, Pets Best has made expensive vet visits more affordable. Every plan is catered and customized to the needs of the customer’s dog or cat. Insurance policies can be purchased early when the pet is still a puppy or kitten, or when they are older. Pets can be taken to any licensed veterinarian, and claims are easy to file online or on the Pets Best app. That means Pets Best customers can get reimbursed for their out-of-pocket pet care expenses more quickly. Policies cover accidents, illnesses, and routine care to keep pets in top shape. In addition to insurance, Pets Best also provides pet owners with resources on how to raise pets and advice for certain situations, such as traveling or grooming.
Bringing a pet into your home as a new member of the family is a magical experience. I was 15 when my sister and I realized we were getting two puppies for Christmas, and we were ecstatic.
Endless walks and trips to the dog park became an almost daily routine. Despite all of the stained carpets and accidents in the house, we loved our new furry friends.
At the time, I was too young to realize it takes more than just love, treats, and walks to take care of a dog.
There are vet visits for shots, getting a pet fixed and micro-chipped, and emergencies when our dog ate something it was not supposed to.
We didn’t have insurance and those costs added up. If families are not prepared to shell out the hundreds or thousands of dollars it takes to keep pets healthy, it can lead to tragic circumstances where the pet may have to be put down.
Putting down a pet because of the inability to afford its health care is known as economic euthanasia. It’s exactly the circumstance veterinarian and Pets Best founder Dr. Jack Stephens said he wants to put an end to.
Pets Best takes into account all of your cat or dog’s factors, such as breed and age, when crafting a policy. That way, families can make sure their furry companions are always covered.
Depending on the insurance policy they hold, pet owners are reimbursed the money they spent at the veterinarian. Several plans are available at different price points to keep the insurance accessible to all pet owners.
“The core benefit to pet insurance is it provides peace of mind to pet owners,” Walter Haugland, Pets Best’s Vice President of Marketing said. “That peace of mind can come from knowing you’re covered when there’s a big and unexpected expense, all the way down to running tests. We make sure we know and can make the best decision possible for our pets’ health.”
Plans that Get Pet Owners their Money Back Quickly
Adding a pet to the family is a very exciting milestone. Pets are there in our best and worst times, and it’s understandable to want to make sure they are getting the best care.
The price for that care can be expensive, and many people don’t realize how much having a pet really costs.
In a study done by Pets Best’s parent company, researchers found that pet owners can spend up to $55,000 during a pet’s lifetime. The study also revealed that nearly half of those pet owners underestimate the cost of having a pet.
Pets Best’s insurance policies take an innovative approach to paying for health care. Instead of trying to find an in-network veterinarian and getting approval for any procedures, Pets Best lets pet owners go to any licensed veterinarian to get any and all needed tests.
Pet owners will pay the initial bill so there is no time wasted in getting pets medical care, and Pets Best will reimburse the policyholder who paid the bill.
All that is needed for reimbursement on Pets Best’s end is a photo of the invoice. The picture can be uploaded in seconds through the Pets Best app and sent online on a computer, or through regular mail.
“It’s just submitting an invoice,” Haugland said. “We can process most claims very quickly. For general wellness visits, about half of them are automatically reimbursed.”
Resources for New and Experienced Pet Owners Alike
In 2020, Americans spent more than $103 billion on pet healthcare. That’s an increase of more than $6 billion from the previous year.
Pet adoptions since the start of the pandemic have shot up, with 70% of U.S. households disclosing they have a pet.
Pets Best wants to be a resource for those new pet owners. Its goal is to take what it’s learned from pet owners who insure through Pets Best and educate new pet owners.
“One of the things that we always hear from customers is that they had a prior pet experience with a high vet bill from an emergency,” Haugland said. “They tell us after they got another pet, they would never go without pet insurance. So we want to make new pet owners aware of what to prepare for.”
The company’s website offers articles and blog posts about the newest trends and research for taking care of cats and dogs. In addition, guides are available for every kind of pet owner, including the new dog owner’s guide, the new cat owner’s guide, and the senior pet owner’s guide.
Expansive Options and a 24/7 Helpline for Owners
The founder of Pets Best is no stranger to affordable solutions for pet health care. Dr. Jack Stephens is credited with the creation of the first pet insurance company in the U.S.
In 1980, Dr. Stephens founded Veterinary Pet Insurance. But in the early 2000’s, Dr. Stephens decided to leave the company he created to build a more modern pet insurance solution with Pets Best.
The new company offers fully customizable policies with one annual deductible, routine care coverage, and accident and illness exam fee coverage with no upper age limit.
Another hallmark of Pets Best’s service is its 24/7 helpline. The helpline remains one the company’s most important components, featuring unlimited calls for policy holders.
“The 24/7 helpline is really critical for us,” Haugland said. “I used it recently when my dog ate a peach pit. I called to find out if it’s poisonous and if I should go to the vet right away. Those kinds of things tend to happen on Saturday at midnight. It’s important that we try to offer a service beyond just the insurance.”
In 2019, Pets Best was acquired by Synchrony Financial and CareCredit.
With CareCredit, policy holders can apply for a credit card that can be used just for pet care costs and works with Pets Best’s insurance plans, making it easier to get reimbursements.
Pets Best’s online portal is easy to navigate with brand new features to keep track of a pet’s history. Pet owners can access the invoices they have uploaded as well as upload other medical history documents so everything is all in one place.
“It’s really important to us that the consumers get as much value as they can from the product,” Haugland said. “So that’s why we lean on things like an easy claims experience and being transparent and upfront with what’s covered and what’s not covered. We want to make sure people have a great experience and that they get what they signed up for.”