Unlike most pet insurance companies, Banfield originally started as a pet hospital. This company was established in 1955 in Portland, Oregon, as Banfield Pet Hospital. The company was purchased in 1987 by Scott Campbell and Medical Management International, Inc. Eventually, the company’s shares were sold to Mars.
The company then teamed up with PetSmart, which allowed the company to bring vet care to visitors of the store. These clinics now offer standard veterinary care and usually have on-call vets.
In addition to regular veterinary care, the company also offers an Optimum Wellness Plan. While this plan does cover some veterinary expenses, it is not traditional pet insurance. Therefore, you need to be cautious when purchasing it to ensure it’s what you’re looking for.
The Importance of Pet Insurance
Pet insurance’s first job is to save you money on vet bills. By paying a premium each month, you ensure that the insurance company pays a portion of the larger vet bills. Typically, these larger vet bills result from an accident or injury, which is why they are difficult to budget for. Usually, this is the only sort of vet bill that pet insurance companies cover.
For wellness costs, like vaccinations, you’re typically on your own. However, some plans do offer a wellness coverage option that also covers these options.
When you have a pet, we typically recommend budgeting enough money to pay for known vet costs, such as vaccinations. It’s also helpful to have an emergency fund for unknown vet costs. However, it can be difficult to budget for a $5,000 vet bill because your dog ate something he shouldn’t have.
In these cases, vet insurance can be very helpful.
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How Much Does Banfield Pet Insurance Cost?
Banfield pet insurance is not traditional pet insurance, despite the name. This insurance only covers wellness costs, as well as the cost of chronic conditions. No illnesses or accidents are covered. There are three different tiers available, which increase in cost. The simplest plan only covers baseline health, while the next plan covers dental. The most expensive plan covers chronic conditions and works best for pets that need extra care.
Prices vary depending on the type of pet you have. Dogs usually cost more than cats. On average, dogs cost about $37/month, while cats cost $27/month. However, there are many factors involved, including the plan you choose.
Here’s a quick chart on some averages per species and plan:
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You also have to include a one-time startup fee for each plan of $59.95. This price is the same, no matter the species or plan option. According to Banfield hospital, these plans are much cheaper than the retail prices of everything they cover. However, that is assuming that your pet receives all the services these plans cover.
What Is Covered Under the Banfield Insurance Plan?
It is important to note that this plan is not traditional pet insurance. It only covers routine care and preventative services. Illnesses and accidents are not covered, and there is no rider to make them covered. Therefore, this option is only for those looking to have their pet’s annual vet visits and exams covered.
However, even then, not everything is covered. For instance, flea, tick, and heartworm prevention are covered for an additional cost. You can also get a free DNA test for an additional cost. However, these coverage options are not included with the base plan.
Here’s a list of services that are included with the base plan:
The wellness plan does not cover any cosmetic costs or pregnancy costs. It also doesn’t cover any treatment for pre-existing conditions, though that shouldn’t be a problem since they only cover preventive care.
How Are Claims Reimbursed?
Unlike other pet insurance companies, claims are not reimbursed with Banfield Insurance. Instead, when you show up at a Banfield location, these things aren’t charged to your account. Therefore, you don’t have to pay anything for them and don’t have to wait for reimbursement. However, this does mean that you have to use Banfield locations only.
This is not a plan that supports going to whatever vet you choose, though. If you don’t use Banfield locations, keep this in mind.
What Makes Banfield Plans Worth It?
The best part about the Banfield Plan is that you don’t have to pay anything when you take your pet to a Banfield vet for a covered expense. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about waiting for reimbursement or anything. If you already use Banfield for wellness care, it may not be a big step to purchase this wellness plan.
However, this plan doesn’t cover accidents and illnesses like traditional pet insurance plans. Therefore, if you’re looking for something to cover higher vet bills, this isn’t your option. However, the very basic plan does cover fecal exams, deworming, and other common wellness needs.
Furthermore, this plan does provide some discounts on prescriptions and other services. In some cases, your discount can be as high as 20%. Therefore, while this plan doesn’t directly pay for accident and illness costs, it can help lower those costs thanks to the discounts.
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Banfield pet insurance is not traditional pet insurance. Instead, this plan only covers wellness costs at Banfield medical centers. Therefore, this plan is best for those who use these centers for all wellness coverage and will continue to do so in the future. With this plan, all services covered are free during treatment.
Therefore, you don’t have to submit claims or wait for reimbursement. For many dog owners, this is a huge benefit.
However, Banfield pet insurance is a bit expensive. Still, the company claims the premium cost is much less than all the services it covers. However, not all owners will use all the services covered, especially with the higher plans.
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