Banfield – What’s Not Pet Insurance?

regal chihuahuaIf you’ve been looking for pet insurance, you’re probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of plans available. Accident-only, emergency, comprehensive, basic, senior, puppy, exotic, feline… The list goes on.

One thing you may have noticed, though, is most pet insurance plans either don’t include routine vet care or charge more for this coverage. If nothing else, you probably haul your pet to the vet every year for a checkup and vaccinations. Why don’t most pet insurance plans include these services?

Cost. There’s no margin of profit for the insurance company because you’ll use this coverage every year. Figure out how much you spent last year for routine vet care. Then look at the premiums for pet insurance plans to cover this. It’s about the same, isn’t it?

So why buy pet insurance for routine care? Guess Banfield asked the same question.


Turning pet insurance on it’s head, Banfield instead offers wellness plans to prevent illness before it happens. Offering convenient monthly payments, their plans provide all the routine vet care you need for an entire year. But like everything that sounds too good to be true, you need to take a closer look.

Banfield – What’s Covered

Up front, Banfield is quick to point out that their wellness plans are not insurance. They claim they’re better, by providing services in exchange for your “membership” fees. Note that Banfield offers pet care plans for dogs and cats only.

You’ll get unlimited free office visits and preventative services, including annual physical exam, vaccinations, worming, blood tests, spay/neuter, dental cleaning, and other procedures depending on the plan. For this, you will pay between $16 and $50 per month.

Other veterinarian services are available at a discount of up to 50%. You are limited to using any of the 800+ Banfield Pet Hospital locations across the US. In other words, you can’t use a vet outside their network.

Banfield – It’s Not Insurance

Conspicuously absent from the list of covered services, even for the Optimum Special Care Plan, is any provision for illness, accidents, or emergencies. Instead, these plans offer discounts on additional services. Likewise, heartworm preventatives and other medications are offered at a small discount.

If your pet contracts a serious illness or needs surgery, you could either take the 5% – 20% discount offered at Banfield, or seek treatment at another vet clinic at no discount. Faced with the need for immediate treatment, you wouldn’t have much time to make this decision.

Unlike most pet insurance, Banfield services have no co-pays or deductibles for the included services. There is a one-time initiation fee of $70. And you must pay all twelve months regardless of your pet’s situation. No cancellations, in other words, even if your pet dies.

You pay by the year, whether you use it or not. So once you’ve signed up, you should make the most of the coverage they provide.


Although pro-active pet healthcare is a great idea, your pet needs more than an annual visit to the vet. The ability to pop into your vet’s office anytime is an attractive option. But most vet visits between annual trips tend to be illness or accidents, which wouldn’t be included in your Banfield plan.

However, a wellness plan may be useful as a supplement to traditional pet insurance. Depending on the pet insurance plan you choose, the increased premiums for routine vet care may cost more than the annual fee to Banfield.

You’ll need to compare coverage options for both Banfield and the best pet insurance plan you find. You should also know how much you currently spend for routine vet care every year. Are you saving money?

Or do you simply need the peace of mind provided by an accident/emergency only plan from a pet insurance company? This may be the most affordable option for you.

It’s essential to know what is important to you and your pet’s needs before you make a decision. Buy the best pet insurance you can afford. Your pet’s future health depends on it.


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