Banfield Pet Insurance Review 2024

Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plans offer preventive care services at vet hospitals around the U.S.
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Written by Sarah Schlichter
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Banfield

Banfield Pet Insurance
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Annual max coverage

Not applicable

Reimbursement rates

Not applicable

Deductibles

None

Policy highlight

Includes unlimited office visits.

Pros

  • Could save you money on preventive care services.
  • Standalone wellness plan for those who don’t want accident or illness coverage.
  • 24/7 chat service staffed by veterinary professionals.
  • No deductibles.

Cons

  • Can be used only at Banfield pet hospitals.
  • Doesn’t cover treatment for accidents or illnesses.
  • Charges an enrollment fee.
  • You may have to keep paying for your plan even after cancellation.

Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plans cover annual checkups, vaccinations and certain diagnostic tests, but won’t pay to treat an injury or illness.

About Banfield pet insurance

Banfield, a chain of veterinary hospitals with locations around the U.S., doesn’t actually sell pet insurance. Instead, it offers wellness plans that pay for preventive care services at its clinics. Banfield calls these packages Optimum Wellness Plans, or OWPs.

Banfield offers a variety of plans for puppies, kittens, and adult cats and dogs. Depending on the options you choose, your plan may pay for services like office and telehealth visits, vaccinations, dental cleaning, deworming, and spay or neuter surgery. Unlike pet insurance, however, Banfield wellness plans won’t cover injuries, illnesses or emergency treatment.

A Banfield plan may be right for you if you live near one of the company’s hospitals and you plan to use a lot of preventive care services for your pet. But if you’re looking for a policy that will pay unexpected vet bills when your furry pal is sick or hurt, see our list of the Best Pet Insurance Companies.

Pros

Could save you money on preventive care services.

Stand-alone wellness plan for those who don’t want accident or illness coverage.

24/7 chat service staffed by veterinary professionals.

No deductibles.

Cons

Can be used only at Banfield pet hospitals.

Doesn’t cover treatment for accidents or illnesses.

Charges an enrollment fee.

You may have to keep paying for your plan even after cancellation.

Because Banfield’s wellness plans are so different from pet insurance policies, we can’t give the company a fair star rating based on the same criteria we use for standard pet insurers.

Plans and coverage

Banfield offers a variety of wellness packages to choose from, including a couple designed for puppies or kittens up to 6 months old. All plans come with access to Banfield’s 24-hour live chat service, which allows pet owners to get advice from veterinary professionals.

Wellness plans for adult dogs and cats

Banfield has three plans for adult pets. The base plan, Active Care, includes:

  • Unlimited office visits and two virtual visits.

  • A coaching session on nutrition.

  • Two full wellness exams per year, including evaluations of your pet’s teeth, heart and coat.

  • Routine vaccinations.

  • Diagnostic tests for issues such as Lyme disease (dogs), leukemia (cats) and heartworm (both).

  • Fecal exams.

  • Deworming medications. 

  • A 10% discount on most products and services not included in the package.

  • Interstate health certificates.

The next tier, Active Care Plus, includes all of the above plus one urine test and one professional dental cleaning per year. It also comes with a 15% discount on other Banfield services.

Special Care is the most comprehensive package. It comes with everything in the Active Care Plus package along with preventive X-rays and extra diagnostic tests. The discount on other Banfield services goes up to 20% with this package.

Wellness plans for puppies and kittens

Banfield’s base plan for younger pets, Early Care, is almost identical to the base adult package. It includes:

  • Unlimited office visits and two virtual visits.

  • A coaching session on nutrition.

  • Two full wellness exams per year, including evaluations of your pet’s teeth, heart and coat.

  • Routine vaccinations.

  • Diagnostic testing for issues like leukemia (kittens) or heartworm (puppies).

  • Fecal exams.

  • Deworming medications.

  • A 5% discount on most services not included in the package.

  • Interstate health certificates.

  • For puppies only, a canine DNA test to help you identify your pet’s breed(s) and learn about potential health risks.

Upgrade to the Early Care Plus package, and you’ll get a higher discount on excluded services (10% instead of 5%) and coverage for spay or neuter surgery.

Optional add-ons

You may be able to add extra services to your Banfield plan, such as:

  • Parasite medications to prevent ticks, fleas and heartworm.

  • Spay or neuter coverage for adult dogs and cats.

  • Canine DNA test for adult dogs. (Coverage for this one-time test is included in puppy plans.)

What’s not covered

Banfield’s plans don’t pay for anything besides the listed services. Most importantly, they don’t cover treatment for any accident or illness. For example, your plan may pay for a preventive test that reveals your cat has cancer, but it won’t cover any treatments you decide to pursue.

Banfield wellness plan vs. pet insurance

The main difference between Banfield wellness plans and pet insurance is what they cover. Pet insurance pays to treat unforeseen injuries and illnesses, which can be difficult to budget for. Meanwhile, Banfield wellness plans offer a way to spread out expected costs for checkups, vaccinations and other preventive care, with savings built in if you use all the services included in your package.

Most pet insurance plans require you to pay your vet upfront and then file a claim for reimbursement, but with Banfield, you won’t be charged for services that your plan includes. Nor will you be responsible for deductibles or copayments with a Banfield wellness plan.

Pet insurance plans often have annual coverage limits such as $5,000 or $10,000. Instead, Banfield puts limitations on certain services within its wellness plans, such as two virtual visits and one wellness coaching session per year.

Pet insurance plans are more flexible because you can generally use them at any licensed vet in the U.S., while OWPs will pay only for services at Banfield hospitals. Many pet insurers let you add wellness coverage to your accident and illness policy, but Banfield doesn’t offer the option to add accident and illness coverage to its wellness plans.

Learn more about what pet insurance covers.

Restrictions and waiting periods

Age restrictions: Puppy and kitten plans are available only to pets under 6 months of age. Otherwise, Banfield has no minimum or maximum age for enrollment.

Waiting periods: A waiting period is the time between when you buy your policy and when your coverage starts. You can start your Banfield enrollment online or by phone, but you’ll need to complete enrollment in person at a Banfield hospital. Once you’ve done so, your plan is effective immediately.

Sample rates

The cost of a Banfield wellness plan will depend on where you live and whether you have a dog or cat. Below are sample rates from Banfield for mixed-breed dogs in eight cities around the U.S. Rates reflect the base level of wellness coverage.

City

Monthly rate

Denver

$43

Grand Rapids, Mich.

$41

Jacksonville, Fla.

$41

Jersey City, N.J.

$53

Katy, Texas

$45

Los Angeles

$53

New York

$55

Seattle

$50

Below are sample monthly rates for cats in the same U.S. cities.

City

Monthly rate

Denver

$36

Grand Rapids, Mich.

$34

Jacksonville, Fla.

$33

Jersey City, N.J.

$44

Katy, Texas

$36

Los Angeles

$42

New York

$46

Seattle

$42

Unlike many pet insurers, Banfield also charges an enrollment fee when you first buy your plan. In the quotes we got, this fee was often higher than the monthly cost of the plan.

Discounts

Banfield offers $15 off the enrollment fee for those who already have an OWP and enroll another pet.

You can save 5% to 20% on many non-covered Banfield products and services, depending on which OWP you have.

State availability

Banfield wellness plans are available at Banfield hospitals, which are located in Washington, D.C., and every state except Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Availability may change at any time. Coverage may not be available to all pets in a given state.

Consumer experience

Website: On the Banfield website, you can get a quote for a wellness plan, find your nearest Banfield hospital and read information about pet health. Log in to your online account to access plan information, see your pet’s medical records and use the company’s 24/7 vet chat.

App: You can use the highly rated Banfield mobile app to see your pet’s medical records, live chat with a vet professional or customer service representative, find Banfield hospital locations, and view wellness plan details. The app is available for both iOS and Android.

Claims: Unlike standard pet insurance, Banfield’s plans don’t require you to file claims for reimbursement after paying for your pet’s care. Instead, you can typically schedule a no-fee office appointment and get your desired wellness services done when you come in.

Customer service: For general questions about your wellness plan, you can call or text Banfield at 888-649-2716, or email [email protected].

Getting a quote

To get an online quote from Banfield, first you’ll need to state whether you’ve been to a Banfield hospital before. If you have, you can log into your Banfield online account to speed up the process. If not, you can continue as a guest.

For those not already registered, the company will ask for a variety of information about your pet, including its name, breed, weight, birthday and even color (something most pet insurers don’t bother asking about). You’ll then need to select a Banfield location to use as your primary vet hospital.

On the next screen, you’ll see your options for wellness plans, including the monthly and annual cost of each. This page also lists the retail value of the services included in each package, plus the one-time enrollment fee you’ll need to pay to get the plan started.

Below that is a comparison table of the services each plan includes.

The next screen shows add-on options such as parasite control.

Once you’ve selected or opted out of add-on coverage, you’ll see a final breakdown of your costs and the amount due at your first appointment (when you’ll complete your enrollment).

Beyond this point, Banfield will ask for your personal information and credit card details, though you won’t be charged until your enrollment is confirmed in person.

How we review pet insurance

Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines that ensure fairness and accuracy to help you choose the financial products that work best for you. In our pet insurance reviews, we consider coverage, discounts, financial strength ratings from AM Best and more to determine our star ratings.

Our rating system rewards companies that cover a wide range of potential expenses, offer many ways to customize your plan and have a strong financial rating. Within the consumer experience category, we looked at features such as mobile app ratings and whether the company offers direct vet payments. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale.

Dive deeper with our criteria for evaluating pet insurance companies.

Frequently asked questions

You can cancel your Banfield wellness plan by calling the company at 888-649-2716. However, you may still owe money if the value of the wellness services your pet has already received under the plan is more than the amount you’ve already paid. In that case, you’ll need to either make your remaining monthly payments or pay the retail value of the services received, minus the payments you’ve already made. You’ll owe whichever total is lower.

Banfield’s plans cover preventive care, not emergency treatment. A Banfield hospital may be able to see your pet in an urgent situation, schedule permitting, but otherwise you’ll need to take them to an emergency vet. An emergency office visit counts as one of your unlimited office visits under the plan, but any medication or treatment wouldn’t be covered.

If you do have your pet treated at a Banfield location, your plan may entitle you to discounts of 5% to 20% on non-wellness services. The plan’s free 24/7 vet chat may also help you decide whether your pet needs emergency care.

It depends. When you get a quote, Banfield will show the annual cost of the plan and the retail value of all the included services. For example, in one of our quotes, Banfield said the retail value of a Cat Active Care plan was $918 per year, while our cost would be only $431.

However, to get the plan’s full value, you’d need to use most or all of the included services. If your pet doesn’t need diagnostic testing and goes to the vet only once for a checkup and a couple of vaccines, it would likely be cheaper to pay for their care out of pocket.

You’ll also want to include the one-time enrollment fee when weighing the total cost of a plan. For our sample cat, the enrollment fee was a whopping $71.95 on top of the $431 we would pay for the year.

Methodology

To find sample rates, NerdWallet gathered quotes for the base level of wellness coverage on Banfield’s website. Quotes reflect the monthly cost of a policy and do not include optional add-ons.

These are sample rates gathered for specific pets in select cities. Your own rates will be different.

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