Did you know that Nationwide sells pet insurance, and its first customer was Lassie? We don’t know about you, but we think it’s pretty cool that Lassie’s pet parents loved her enough to get pet insurance. This first sale by Nationwide (formerly known as VPI) quickly grew into multiple sales throughout California and now the rest of the United States.
Nationwide pet insurance can be a little overwhelming to understand. It offers a more traditional type of pet insurance plan as well as one with a benefit schedule (we’ll explain more on this later).
To learn how top-ranked pet insurance carriers work, visit our is pet insurance worth it guide.
Read below to unravel the complexities of these plans, get a better understanding of how it all works, and learn how it could benefit you.
Nationwide Pet Insurance
- Track claims in real-time online and submit them through your smartphone
- Unlimited payout limits for Whole Pet with Wellness plans
- One of the only pet health insurance companies to offer exotic pet insurance
- BBB rating: A+
- Optional wellness plan (not available in all states), must be purchased in conjunction with pet insurance
- 5% multi-pet discount for 2-3 pets (10% for 4 or more pets)
- Covers your pet if they travel outside the U.S. with you
- High number of complaints overall (finding negative reviews is not difficult)
- 12-month waiting period for CCL (ACL) surgery for Major Medical plan
- Major Medical Plan has annual payout limits per condition
- $2 transaction fee for monthly payment
- Allows 30 days for claim repayment
- Age restrictions for pets older than 10 years old
Don’t like the score you’re seeing? Our experts have analyzed over a dozen pet insurance providers. Check out our pet insurance reviews to learn more about this year’s top-ranked companies.
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- Underwriter: Nationwide Casualty Company (Outside CA), Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA only)
- A.M. Best rating: A+ (both companies)
- No exam period
- No bilateral exclusions (a condition or disease that affects both sides of the body)
- Claims process:
- No time limit for claim submission
- Submit your claim via the Pet Account Access page, fax, mail, or email
- Pays claims within 30-days after receipt of all documents (averages 4 days)
- Direct deposit and check reimbursement available
- Ranked as the best pick for exotic pet insurance
- Some of the most common claims submitted by Nationwide customers are:
- Doesn’t offer pre-approval of estimates/procedures in advance of treatment
- An average annual rate increase due to aging of pet is approximately 12%
Defined by Nationwide as:
Pre-existing condition means any condition for which a veterinarian provided medical advice, the pet received treatment for, or the pet displayed signs or symptoms consistent with the stated condition prior to the effective date of a pet Insurance policy or during any waiting period.
Customer Service Hours
- Phone, email, and live chat: Monday-Friday 5am-7pm PST and Saturday 7am-3:30pm PST
- 14 days: Whole Pet with Wellness and Major Medical plans
- 24 hours: Pet Wellness plan
- 12 months: Cruciate ligament events
- 0-12 months*: Hip dysplasia
*Depends on the plan you choose.
Nationwide has four different plan options:
- Whole Pet with Wellness
- Whole Pet
- Major Medical with Wellness
- Major Medical
The Whole Pet plan is similar to other pet insurance companies in that it reimburses a percentage of what you paid the vet for treatment.
On the other hand, the Major Medical plans differ significantly from the competition because they use a benefit schedule for any given condition or treatment that outlines the maximum amount you can expect as reimbursement, regardless of how much your vet charges you.
Benefit Schedule vs Usual Pet Insurance Repayment
Nationwide uses a benefit schedule to outline the maximum coverage amount that a pet parent should expect to be reimbursed per incident when they make a claim. Visit the website to see an example of Nationwide’s benefit schedule for pet insurance.
This is different from other pet insurance companies where the claim repayment calculation is based on your vet’s receipt, and thus, the amount you actually paid your vet vs a figure reflected in the benefits schedule that may not cover what you paid.
We asked Nationwide why it chooses to use a benefit schedule since it’s the only pet insurance company we review that does this. Nationwide responded with the following:
In general, benefit schedule plans are subject to less frequent rate increases since the per condition limits make losses more predictable for the insurer. Inflation, changes within veterinary industry and frequency and/or severity of claims received have less of an impact. Therefore, benefit schedule plans can be priced lower, while still offering benefits for a wide variety of conditions. Those in areas with a higher cost of veterinary treatment, may see lower reimbursement on a benefit schedule plan; however, those in areas with a lower cost of veterinary treatment may find that a benefit schedule plan meets their needs and provides more robust reimbursement.
Please know that none of the pet insurance providers in our comparison cover pre-existing conditions or cremation and burial costs. All of them cover the following items when deemed medically necessary: x-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, cat scans, MRIs, rehabilitation, specialized exams, surgery, hospitalization, emergency care, specialty care, hydrotherapy, chronic conditions, cancer, diagnostic treatment, alternative/holistic therapy, and euthanasia. However, there may be limitations to this coverage, so please check your policy.
|Condition||Covered By Nationwide|
|Exam Required To Set Health Baseline|
|Wellness Care Available For An Extra Fee|
|Non-Routine Dental Treatment|
|Breed, Whelping, Pregnancy|
|Cosmetic Procedures (e.g., Tail Docking, Ear Cropping, Dew Claw Removal) Unless Medically Necessary|
The cost of each policy is unique to your pet and depends on many variables, including your pet’s age, breed, location, health conditions, and more. You can go directly to Nationwide’s site to get a better estimate of what your specific price would be. The sample quotes below are from December 2020.
|Breed||Labrador Retriever||English Cocker Spaniel||German Shepherd||Yorkshire Terrier||Mixed Breed Cat (Medium Hair)|
|Location||Iowa (50125)||Illinois (60604)||California (90001)||New York (10001)||Ohio (44101)|
|Major Medical with Wellness ($250 deductible, limited benefits per condition)||$46.82||$113.74||$70.23||$92.37||$31.03|
|Major Medical ($250 deductible, limited benefits per condition)||$28.82||$95.74||$52.23||$74.37||$13.03|
|Whole Pet (90% reimbursement, $250 deductible, $10,000 annual limit)||$61.52||N/A||$82.02||N/A||$26.63|
You can get personalized price quotes for your pet(s) from reputable companies when you fill out just one short form. Also, visit our pet insurance quotes page to see how the cost of Nationwide stacks up against the competition.
Below are two reimbursement stories for you to see how claims could be handled if you chose Nationwide.
- Dog Breed: Weimaranter
- Age: 2 months old
- Plan: Whole Pet with Wellness
- Diagnosis: Hypertrophic osteodystrophy, allergic reactions, and foreign object
- Treatment Cost: $7,770
- Nationwide Reimbursed: $6,609
- Cat Breed: Siberian
- Age: 1 year old
- Plan: Major Medical Plan
- Diagnosis: Urinary blockage
- Treatment Cost: $14,168
- Nationwide Reimbursed: $6,432
I’m shocked two see negative reviews for Nationwide’s pet insurance. I’ve have multiple great experiences with them each year. Most recently, my 8-year old Dane mix (Cooper) tore his ccl. Consistent with my past experiences, Nationwide processed every claim related to this injury within one week. While my monthly bill is similar to car insurance, it’s worth every penny. I can’t imagine life without Nationwide. I highly recommend their top tier coverage (low annual deductible and 90% reimbursement). – Matthew F., Yelp 12/14/2020
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, ConsumerAffairs 9/30/2020
I have one of Nationwide’s most expensive and comprehensive plans which includes what they call “wellness and prevention.” My dog went in for routine dental cleaning. The doctor recommended that for her particular case that she NOT be put under general anesthesia. Nationwide won’t cover the procedure UNLESS I put her under anesthesia. Therefore, they only will cover this basic necessary wellness and preventative procedure if I put her at risk by making her go under anesthesia even though it goes against the doctor’s recommendation. I can either pay out of pocket or put my dog at risk, those are the options Nationwide gives me. That’s just WRONG. Nationwide does NOT care about our pets. Avoid at all costs please. – Guy B., Yelp 12/21/2020
I pay for the top tier insurance for my pet. It’s remarkable the reasons they come back with a denial of claims. Today I called to inquire about why a routine dental cleaning was denied. They told me it was a pre-existing condition. Hows that? How is a routine dental cleaning a pre-existing condition? I cancelled the policy and what made matters worse is that they didn’t even attempt at keeping me as a customer. I would avoid this company at all costs. – Brian, ConsumerAffairs 8/11/2020
Nationwide also offers pet insurance for exotic pets, and is the only pet insurance company we know of that offers exotic pet insurance.
Exotic pet parents can get back up to 90% on vet exams and treatment, including preventative care. Plans average $11 per month for reptiles, $13 per month for birds, and $19 per month for rabbits.Premiums can vary based on your pet’s species, age, and state.
What Pets Are Available For Coverage?
Below is a table including pets that are and aren’t available for coverage.
|Available For Coverage||Not Available For Coverage|
|Birds||Farm animals (e.g., horses, cows, sheep, and goats kept for milk or meat production)|
|Reptiles and amphibians (e.g., snakes, lizards, chameleons, iguanas, tortoises, turtles, axoloti)||Kangaroos|
|Miniature pigs||Fennec fox|
|Goats||Wallaroo (wallaby and kangaroo mix)|
|Sugar gliders||Primates (e.g., spider monkey)|
|Other small mammals||Degu|
|Madagascar hissing cockroach|
|African giant millipede|
What Is Covered?
- Common injuries
- Illnesses (e.g., cancerous conditions)
- Treatment for internal or external parasites
- Teeth trimming/floating/filing if associated with disease
- Reproductive diseases and egg production disorders
- Congenital or hereditary diseases
- E.cunculi, trichomoniasis, and other viral, bacterial, and fungal infections
- Behavioral conditions including self-mutilation or regurgitation
- Surgical removal of reproductive organs, expression, or removal of scent glands
- Vitamins and mineral supplements prescribed to treat an eligible condition
- Routine care, examinations, vaccinations, and dentals (only if wellness coverage is purchased)
Most Common Claims
Find out what the most common claims are for exotic pets, so you have an idea of what type of expense you could have covered for your unique pet.
Nationwide has insured various types of birds at different ages, including a 90-year-old macaw. A variety of conditions are commonly claimed for birds including infections and reproductive conditions to self-mutilation and soft tissue trauma.
Rabbits are among the most popular pet for Nationwide’s exotic policy. An average of $5,000 worth of claims are submitted annually for conditions like ileus (i.e., gastrointestinal status), overgrown teeth, conjunctivitis, arthritis, and cystitis/urethritis.
Common claims for small mammals totaling almost $10,000 include skin masses, hoof/horn diseases, overgrown teeth, gastrointestinal status, bacterial infections, and urinary tract issues.
The most popular insured reptile for Nationwide are bearded dragons. Common claims for the species include internal parasites, enteropathy, upper respiratory infections, and bacterial infections. The oldest reptile insured by Nationwide is a 100-year-old tortoise.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding Nationwide pet insurance we’ve received from our readers.
As you can see in our what does pet insurance cover guide, spaying and neutering (desexing) isn’t covered through accident and illness pet insurance policies. However, it may be covered by one of Nationwide’s wellness plans.
According to Nationwide, you can cancel anytime at my.petinsurance.com or by letting them know in writing. Their member mailing address is P.O. Box 2344, Brea, CA 92822-2344. They have a 100% money-back guarantee if you cancel within 10 days of when your policy went into effect and if Nationwide hasn’t reimbursed you for any claims to-date (terms may vary by state). If you decide to cancel later on, they will refund your unused premium on a pro-rata basis.
If you’d like a replacement for your Nationwide pet insurance policy, take a look at our pet insurance reviews to see which pet insurance companies we’ve selected in our top three.
Yes, Nationwide has a mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Note that it’s not only for pet insurance customers, it’s for managing all your Nationwide insurance accounts. Note that they have discontinued support of the VitusVet app, so if you’re seeing a site say that’s their app, they’re wrong.
Check out our video explaining why we think it would be wise to get pet insurance for your furry companion.
Interested in seeing how Nationwide stacks up against other popular pet insurance companies? We’ve written comparison articles for you to see how Nationwide and other leading pet insurance companies compare in coverage, customer service and reputation, claim repayment timeline, plan customization, and price.
From what we’ve uncovered, we feel that Nationwide strong-arms you into purchasing the Whole Pet with Wellness plan because it’s the only package that offers both prevention and illness coverage.
The lower packages are reasonably priced for the amount of coverage you get, but we’re not sure they cover enough to justify having pet insurance at all. And the price for the Whole Pet with Wellness plan is pretty high. We think there are better options available. To learn about your other choices, take a look at our pet insurance reviews.
Are you considering getting pet insurance from Nationwide?