Nationwide Pet Insurance Review

Pet Insurance Oct 22, 2020
Written by Kate Barrington | Updated Oct 22, 2020
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Nationwide Pet Insurance Review

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Life is expensive, there’s no way around it.  You work hard to make sure you can pay your bills and meet your responsibilities, but sometimes life throws you a curveball.

As a pet owner, you anticipate certain costs to feed your pet and to keep up with routine wellness. When an unexpected illness or injury gets tossed into the mix, you may find yourself struggling to afford it.

No pet owner should have to choose between getting their pet the treatment they need and being able to pay the rent or cover other financial obligations. Pet insurance isn’t an end-all solution, but it may give you the peace of mind you need knowing you’ll have a fallback if something unexpected happens.

Nationwide is one of the biggest insurance companies out there and their pet insurance offers excellent coverage. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Nationwide to decide if it’s the right option for you and your pet.

Nationwide Pet Insurance
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
  • Mobile Claims. Submit claims via smartphone and track them in real time.
  • Three Plan Choices. Choose from different coverage options with/without wellness.
  • Exotic Pets Covered. Nationwide offers coverage for birds, rabbits, reptiles, and more.
Cons
  • Inconsistent Coverage. Wellness plans may not be available in all states.
  • Waiting Periods. Customary 14-day waiting period but 12 months for ACL.
  • Monthly Fees. Pay a $2 transaction fee per monthly payment.
Pros
  • Mobile Claims. Submit claims via smartphone and track them in real time.
  • Three Plan Choices. Choose from different coverage options with/without wellness.
  • Exotic Pets Covered. Nationwide offers coverage for birds, rabbits, reptiles, and more.
Cons
  • Inconsistent Coverage. Wellness plans may not be available in all states.
  • Waiting Periods. Customary 14-day waiting period but 12 months for ACL.
  • Monthly Fees. Pay a $2 transaction fee per monthly payment.
Price
Coverage
Waiting Period
Policy Options
Customer Support

About Nationwide Pet Insurance

What has become Nationwide Pet Insurance began in 1980 as Veterinary Pet Services, Inc. This company was founded with the help of 750 independent veterinarians to create the first original pet health insurance product for American pets. The first policy was sold to TV’s Lassie and quickly spread throughout California. The company went nationwide with their plans in 1985.

In 1998, VPI became the first pet insurance company to offer routine care coverage for things like annual vaccinations, wellness visits, dental care, and heartworm prevention. Two years later in 2000, they became the first company to cover birds, rabbits, reptiles, and other exotic pets.

By 2006, VPI had become the largest pet insurance provider in the nation, covering more than one million pets. They celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2007 with the launch of two levels of enhanced preventive care coverage: CareGuard Core and Premier. The company joined the Nationwide family in 2008 and continued to expand their offerings for pets. The Veterinary Pet Insurance brand was retired in 2015 when the company officially became Nationwide.

Today, Nationwide pet insurance treats companion animals as more than just pets. Read on to learn the basics about Nationwide, their plans, and their coverage.

How Does Nationwide Pet Insurance Work?

When you have an unexpected illness or injury, you have the peace of mind knowing your health insurance will cover at least some of the cost. If your pet gets sick, shouldn’t you have the same option? Pet insurance doesn’t work in quite the same way as health insurance for humans, but the idea is similar – it helps you deal with unexpected veterinary costs.

The way pet insurance usually works is that you pay a monthly premium in exchange for coverage. When you need to use the plan, you’ll take your pet to the vet as usual and then submit a claim. After your deductible is covered, the plan will reimburse you for a certain percentage of covered costs – usually 70% to 90%. Nationwide offers three plan options with different types and levels of coverage.

Here are the details you need to know for Nationwide pet insurance:

  1. Pet Insurance Plans

Nationwide offers three pet insurance plans: Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical, and Pet Wellness. The first of these is their most comprehensive option, including coverage for diagnostics and treatment as well as wellness benefits. The second plan covers illness and injury, while the third plan covers wellness such as exams, tests, parasite prevention, and vaccinations.

The Nationwide pet policies cover the following major categories:

  • Accidents/Injuries – This includes everything from accidental poisoning or simply sprains to serious illnesses or ACL ruptures.
  • Hereditary/Chronic Conditions – Nationwide offers coverage for chronic illnesses like allergies and arthritis as well as hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia.
  • Diagnostic Testing – All diagnostic testing is covered for accidents and illness, including blood tests, ultrasound, and imaging.
  • Surgery/Hospital Stays – Procedures including surgeries, endoscopies, and chemotherapy are covered as well as hospital stays necessary for treatment.
  • Medications/Supplements – Nationwide covers prescription medications necessary for the treatment of covered conditions when recommended by a veterinarian.
  • Alternative Therapies – Your pet can receive holistic or alternative treatments including acupuncture, chiropractic care, or even laser therapy.

Though many pet insurance providers offer a single comprehensive plan, Nationwide enables you to customize your coverage. The Whole Pet with Wellness plan is their most comprehensive, covering wellness care in addition to total accident and illness coverage.

If you’re only looking for accident and illness coverage, choose the Major Medical plan. To offset the cost of preventive care and wellness visits, the Pet Wellness plan might be right for you.

Here’s a quick review of the coverage Nationwide pet insurance offers:

Whole Pet with Wellness Major Medical Pet Wellness
Exams (accident/injury) X X
Lab Tests & X-rays X X
Surgeries X X
Hospitalization X X
Chronic Conditions X X
Hereditary Conditions X X
Wellness Exams X X
Flea/Heartworm Prevention X X
Vaccinations X X
Alternative Therapies X

All pet insurance plans have exclusions, but it is particularly important to do your research when considering a plan from Nationwide since there are three options to choose from.

No pet insurance plan covers pre-existing conditions. This usually refers to a condition for which your pet showed signs/symptoms or was diagnosed by a veterinarian prior to the effective date of your policy, or during the waiting period. You’ll need to refer to your policy for specific details, especially when it comes to hereditary conditions. The Whole Pet with Wellness plan and the Major Medical plan cover hereditary conditions, but Major Medical requires a waiting period.

2. Pricing

Nationwide does their best to keep their coverage affordable by offering pet owners the ability to customize their plan. If you’re only interested in accident and illness coverage, you can choose the Major Medical plan. If you want to include wellness, there’s that option as well.

The best way to find out how much Nationwide costs is to request a quote. To give you an example of two different pets, we’ll use a 3-year-old mixed-breed male dog weighing 50 pounds and a 5-year-old mixed breed cat.

Here’s the breakdown of the dog plan pricing:

Whole Pet with Wellness

Reimbursement % Annual Reimbursement Limit Annual Deductible Monthly Premium
50% Unlimited $250 $44.51
70% Unlimited $250 $59.34
90% Unlimited $250 $71.18
Major Medical with Wellness
Defined annual benefits for accidents, illnesses,
and hereditary conditions
$250 $51.53
Major Medical
Defined annual benefits for accidents, illnesses,
and hereditary conditions
$250 $33.53

Here’s the breakdown of the cat plan pricing:

Whole Pet with Wellness

Reimbursement % Annual Reimbursement Limit Annual Deductible Monthly Premium
50% Unlimited $250 $29.26
70% Unlimited $250 $39.02
90% Unlimited $250 $48.77

Major Medical with Wellness

Defined annual benefits for accidents, illnesses,
and hereditary conditions
$250 $37.63

Major Medical

Defined annual benefits for accidents, illnesses,
and hereditary conditions
$250 $19.63

To help you save money on your monthly premiums, Nationwide offers a 5% discount on multiple pets. If you have a bird or exotic pet, you’ll need to call Nationwide for a quote.

  1. Waiting Periods

Pet insurance plans typically require a waiting period before the policyholder can file a claim. This is designed to reduce the risk of insurance fraud. In other words, you can’t wait for your pet to get sick then purchase pet insurance to help cover the costs you already know you’re going to incur. It’s designed to offset the cost of unexpected veterinary fees.

Nationwide requires the following waiting periods:

  • 14 days for Whole Pet with Wellness and Major Medical
  • 24 hours for Pet Wellness
  • 12 months for cruciate ligament injuries

If you purchase a Pet Wellness plan on January 1st, your plan will become effective on January 2nd. For Whole Pet with Wellness and Major Medical plans, policies purchased January 1st will become effective on January 15th. Orthopedic injuries typically have a longer waiting period, in this case 12 moths.

  1. Claim Limits

Most pet insurance companies limit the amount they will pay on a specific claim, per year, or over the lifetime of your pet. It’s important to research these claim limits before you select a plan, especially if you have some idea what conditions your pet might be prone to developing over time. The annual reimbursement limit for Nationwide pet insurance depends on the plan you choose.

The Whole Pet with Wellness plan reimburses up to 90% with unlimited annual benefits. If you don’t want to pay for such a comprehensive plan, you can save by choosing the Major Medical with Wellness plan or simply the Major Medical plan. Either option will pay a specific amount annually for specific accidents, illnesses, and hereditary conditions.

For example, the Major Medical plan offers a primary diagnosis allowance of $505 for colitis in dogs and a secondary diagnosis allowance of $200.

  1. Deductibles

A deductible is a set amount you’re responsible for covering as the policyholder before the plan starts to pay benefits. This amount applies annually and may extend over several vet visits – you won’t be able to submit a claim until you’ve met the deductible. Nationwide pet insurance plans have a $250 annual deductible for all reimbursement rates.

  1. Pre-Existing Conditions

No pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions. These are generally defined as conditions for which your pet has been diagnosed or treated or has shown signs and symptoms of prior to the effective date of the policy or within the waiting period. Some insurance companies specify pre-existing conditions within 12 months of the effective date while others don’t provide specifics.

  1. Optional Coverage

Most pet insurance plans only cover accidents and illness – things you can’t anticipate. What makes Nationwide different is that they offer this option but also have more comprehensive plans available that include wellness. They also offer a standalone Pet Wellness plan.

Here are the sample options for Pet Wellness plans:

  • Basic Plan – Two physical exams per policy term at $25 per exam, $50 annual limit. Scaling coverage for behavioral exams/treatment, heartworm prevention, nail trims, microchip, and one additional test per policy term. Spay/neuter and dental are not covered.
  • Plus Plan – Two physical exams per policy term at $30 per exam, $60 annual limit. Scaling coverage for behavioral exams/treatment, heartworm prevention, nail trims, microchip, and one additional test per policy term. Spay/neuter and dental are not covered.
  • Max Plan – Two physical exams per policy term at $40 per exam, $80 annual limit. Scaling coverage for behavioral exams/treatment, heartworm prevention, nail trims, microchip, and one additional test per policy term. Spay/neuter surgery covered at $200 and dental at $250.

The benefit of these plans is that they don’t have deductibles or co-pays. Wellness plans may not be available in every state, so you’ll need to request a quote to find out if it’s available to you. If you want the maximum degree of coverage, consider the Whole Pet with Wellness or Major Medical with Wellness plan.

  1. Pets Covered

Nearly all pet insurance companies offer coverage for cats and dogs. Nationwide Pet Insurance is different in that they also cover birds and exotic pets.

Nationwide Customer Reviews

When shopping for pet insurance, it’s important to do your research and to compare the options. In addition to comparing coverage, it’s always a good idea to see what other customers think about the brand. Here are some positive reviews and negative reviews from real customers:

Positive Reviews

“I’ve had my German Shepherd insured through Nationwide since 2015 (when they were Veterinary Pet Insurance). The annual premium appears to be set such that, if you do for the year are wellness visits to the vet *and* you purchase the usual meds (flea, tick, heartworm), you will recover the cost of the premium — that is, you break even for the year. That’s actually a pretty good deal, because if there are any unanticipated issues, then you’re likely going to be saving money.” – Vincent of Carlisle, MA

“When I decided to have my first dog, I knew I had to consider the cost of caring for him. It wasn’t just the initial check up, spading (which there are a lot of organization that will help with the cost) but the long term care I was concerned with. Being a senior on a fixed income, I knew that even the yearly check ups, getting nails clipped, heart worm medication and flea and tick protection would be costly. If there were sick visits on top of all that, my budget would never recover and I would end up in debt. I always said I would never have a pet if I couldn’t afford to care for him properly. My son told me about Nationwide Pet Ins. He had it and it reimbursed him 90% of all the expenses. Well I signed on. They reimbursed the money within a week to 10 days. It was a little stretch for me because my fixed income isn’t very high, but well worth it to have a companion. I never had to worry about taking care of him.” – Patricia of Taunton, MA

Negative Reviews

“I have had my dog insured with Nationwide since I got him as a 6-month old puppy in 2008. Nationwide’s predecessor was VPI Pet, and my vet recommended VPI Pet in 2008. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so the premiums were relatively reasonable in the beginning because I chose a policy that did not cover wellness visits, but did cover accidents and illnesses. The premiums have increased very substantially each year but my dog is now 12 years old, and I renewed the coverage because I felt if I would ever need it, it would be now. He recently required a costly diagnostic test for a liver disorder – I got a check for $99. Just canceled the policy for a refund of the paid-in-advance premium at least. Save your money – start a savings account and annually deposit what you would pay in premiums each year. You’ll be much further ahead.” – Barbara of West Bend, WI

“I first started with this company when I had my first dog. They were pricey then but I figured it is worth it for my dog. They reimbursed as they said they would for the most part with some sporadic random declines. When she died, we got another family pet from the shelter. She is a mixed breed medium sized dog. We were always prompt with payment/never ever missing one in all of this time. During the pandemic in Feb/March my card was cancelled because it was being used by someone other than me. There was no notification sent to me that my policy was going to be cancelled or that I had missed a payment (no email or phone call).” – Eva of Port Washington, NY

How Do You Sign Up?

Signing up for pet insurance is usually pretty simple, though you may have to complete a waiting period and the company may need to review your pet’s medical records to see if any additional waiting periods apply. To find out how much a pet policy will cost, you simply have to provide some basic information to get a quote online – the same is true for Nationwide.

Here’s the information you’ll need to provide:

  • Your zip code where your pet lives
  • Your pet’s type (dog, cat, bird/exotic pet)
  • Your pet’s name and breed
  • Your pet’s size range
  • Your pet’s age in years
  • Your email address

Once you fill in your pet’s information, you’ll have the option to add more pets for a 5% multi-pet discount. When you’ve finished adding pets, simply click the “Next” button.

From there, you may need to provide some additional information about your pet including sex, spay/neuter status, and age. You’ll also need to say whether your pet has had a veterinary exam in the last 12 months.

Nationwide requires you to disclose whether your pet has had the following:

  • Surgeries (other than spay/neuter)
  • Lumps, bumps, or growths
  • Illnesses, injuries, or diseases
  • Allergies or infections

They also ask whether your pet is currently or has ever been on medication other than flea and heartworm prevention. Nationwide asks if your pet has been insured with Nationwide or the underwriter Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) before and you’ll be asked for your vet’s name as well.

To complete the enrollment, provide your billing and payment information. Nationwide gives you the option to pay annually to save $20 in monthly processing fees or to be billed in automatic monthly charges with a $2 installment fee.

Is Nationwide Pet Insurance Worth It?

Whether Nationwide pet insurance is worth the cost is entirely up to you. Premiums are a little on the pricey end, though there are several coverage levels to choose from. If you’re looking for a plan that offers wellness coverage, Nationwide is one of the few you’ll find.

Though Nationwide offers several different plans, coverage seems to vary greatly from state to state. You should do your research to make sure the plan you want is available and double-check the exclusions and things that might apply to your pet. Unfortunately, there are many negative customer reviews for this company, especially when it comes to resolving issues, so keep that in mind.

At the end of the day, there’s no guarantee that pet insurance will be worth it. If your pet ends up getting sick or has an accident, it could be your saving grace. If he stays healthy, it may simply be money thrown away. Decide how much you’re willing to gamble and whether you can afford to give your pet the treatment he needs if he needs it suddenly.

Click Here to Get A Quote on Nationwide Pet Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Nationwide pet insurance?

Nationwide pet insurance is the same company that offers broad coverage for home and auto insurance. Nationwide is underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (VPI).

How to cancel Nationwide pet insurance?

You can cancel your Nationwide plan at any time by letting the company know in writing. If you cancel within 10 days, you’ll receive 100% of your money back. If you cancel later, the unused portion of your premium will be refunded.

Does Nationwide pet insurance cover cremation?

No, Nationwide doesn’t cover cremation.

Does Nationwide pet insurance cover hip dysplasia?

Yes, Nationwide covers hip dysplasia as a hereditary condition under their Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical with Wellness, and Major Medical plans. It is not covered as a pre-existing condition.

Does Nationwide pet insurance cover allergy testing?

Yes, Nationwide covers allergy testing under their Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical with Wellness, and Major Medical plans. It is not covered, however, if it is a pre-existing condition.

Does Nationwide pet insurance cover blood work?

Yes, Nationwide covers diagnostic testing including blood work under their Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical with Wellness, and Major Medical plans. It may also be covered under their Pet Wellness plan.

Does Nationwide pet insurance cover dental?

Yes, Nationwide covers dental injuries and disease under their Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical with Wellness, and Major Medical plans. Dental cleanings are covered under the Pet Wellness plan.

Does Nationwide pet insurance cover emergency visits?

Yes, Nationwide covers emergency visits under their Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical with Wellness, and Major Medical plans.

Does Nationwide pet insurance cover neutering?

Yes, Nationwide covers spaying and neutering under their Whole Pet with Wellness plan.

Does Nationwide pet insurance cover medication?

Yes, Nationwide covers prescription medications under their Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical with Wellness, and Major Medical plans. Prescribed nutritional supplements may be covered as well as prescribed therapeutic diets. Heartworm and flea prevention are covered under the wellness plans.

Does Nationwide pet insurance cover prescription food?

Yes, Nationwide covers prescription diets under their Whole Pet with Wellness and Pet Wellness plans.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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