Pet Insurance

Nationwide vs Lemonade Pet Insurance: Is Newer Better?

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Last Updated: December 14, 2023 | 5 min read | Leave a Comment

This content was reviewed by our licensed insurance agent, Michelle Schenker.

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When it comes to pet insurance, Nationwide had almost seven times the gross written premiums (GWP) amount of Lemonade in the U.S. in 2022.1 But bigger doesn’t always mean better. Nationwide Pet Insurance (formerly known as VPI) was founded in 1984 and was the first pet insurer, selling its first policy to Lassie, the heroic TV Collie. Nationwide has had decades to build its reputation and grow its customer base. Although Lemonade is only a few years old (founded in 2020), it is disrupting the pet insurance marketplace and is quickly increasing in GWP.

two pom puppies tilting their heads sitting on white sofa

Let’s compare Nationwide and Lemonade head-to-head and choose a clear winner. We explain our reasoning along with each company’s strengths and weaknesses to help you better understand what each has to offer.

NationwideLemonade
Policy CoverageLimitedLimited
Customer Service & ReputationGoodUncertain, New
Claim Processing Average4 Days2 Days
Average Policy PriceLowerAverage
Plan CustomizationsRestrictedMany
Overall Winnercheckmark
Get Nationwide QuoteGet Lemonade Quote
 Compare QuotesCompare Quotes

Policy Coverage

Policy Coverage Winner

The table below shows what Nationwide and Lemonade cover.

Note: Both companies cover emergency care, surgery and hospitalization, specialized exams and specialty care, X-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, cat scans, MRIs, rehabilitation, cancer, chronic conditions, euthanasia, hereditary conditions, congenital conditions, non-routine dental treatment, and prescription medications.

Neither covers pre-existing conditions, burial costs, pregnancy and breeding, or unnecessary cosmetic procedures.

NationwideLemonade
Illness Waiting Period*14 Days14 Days
Accident Waiting Period*14 Days2 Days
Hip Dysplasia Waiting Period*14 Days14 Days
CCL Surgery Waiting Period*12 Months6 Months
Behavioral TherapiesBrown checkmark (Yes)Extra Fee
Alternative/Holistic TherapyBrown checkmark (Yes)
Wellness Care For An Extra FeeBrown checkmark (Yes)Brown checkmark (Yes)
Exam FeesBrown checkmark (Yes)Extra Fee
CremationExtra Fee
UnderwriterNational Casualty Company
Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (California only)
Lemonade Insurance Agency LLC
A.M. Best RatingA+
A+
Unrated

*Waiting periods for California, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Washington are as follows:

  • Accidents - 0 days
  • Illnesses - 14 days
  • Cruciate Ligament Conditions - 30 days
  • Routine Care - 0 days

One of the key things that Nationwide and Lemonade differ in is how their plans are set up. Nationwide uses a benefit schedule for some of its plans, which outlines the maximum coverage amount you can expect to be reimbursed for each condition. Meanwhile, Lemonade’s plans are set up like other pet insurers, where the claim reimbursement is based on your vet bill and the deductible, payout, and reimbursement percentage for your plan. Nationwide also offers these types of plans, but they come with limited deductible and reimbursement percentage options.

Another significant coverage factor is that Nationwide doesn’t enroll pets for illness coverage after their 10th birthday. Nationwide is one of the only companies to have no bilateral exclusions, which can be a big factor for those of you with breeds predisposed to conditions like hip dysplasia or ACL tears. On the other hand, Lemonade has breed and plan restrictions for specific ages. Additionally, Lemonade is only available in 37 states and Washington, D.C.

Lemonade has a shorter accident waiting period and is more in line with the competition. However, Nationwide offers alternative/holistic therapy coverage. Each have their shortcomings, but ultimately we think Nationwide offers the better coverage without requiring extra fees.

Customer Service & Reputation

Customer Service Winner

Nationwide has various complaints regarding reimbursement concerns, unexpected renewal changes, drastic premium increases, the Major Medical benefit plans not having enough limits for each vet cost, stating a condition is pre-existing when it’s not related, and more. Finding negative reviews isn’t difficult for Nationwide across various departments.

However, Lemonade’s pet insurance plans have only been around since 2020, so it’s hard to say what you can expect from them over the long haul. So far, we’ve seen complaints of them claiming pre-existing conditions for unrelated things and having strict pre-existing conditions in general.

Both companies have high mobile app ratings and multiple ways to reach customer support. Because Lemonade has fewer complaint issues, we’ve deemed them the winner for this category.

Claim Processing

Claim Processing Tie

Nationwide averages four days for claim processing. This is shorter than many other companies in the industry, which often proves enough for it to win this category. However, Lemonade’s innovative claim processing technology makes things speedy too.

Lemonade averages a speedy two days for claim processing, a quick timeline compared to competitors. A big selling point for Lemonade is that it has an Artificial Intelligence (AI) -driven claim process. AI allows Lemonade to pay the most straightforward claims within seconds of submission. This has really disrupted the pet insurance space and caused competitors to look for ways to step it up.

Price Of Policy

Price Of Policy Winner

Nationwide has no enrollment fees but charges a $2 monthly transaction fee unless you pay your annual premium upfront each year. Lemonade doesn’t have any one-time or recurring transaction fees. 

Lemonade requires many add-ons for coverage that is often included in competitors’ plans (like Nationwide) without an extra fee. Lemonade has many discounts to help you save while Nationwide only has a multi-pet discount.

Your premium price quote is based on your pet’s details (age, breed, location, etc.). We recommend obtaining quotes from each company for your specific pet below. You can also visit our pet insurance comparison quotes to see a few sample prices we’ve gathered.

Comparing prices for Nationwide and Lemonade is difficult because they don’t offer the same plan types and options. On average, Lemonade is often among the least expensive quotes. But once you add in any add-ons with extra fees, the price can increase easily.

Coupons

Nationwide

Nationwide Pet Insurance offers the following discounts:

  • 5% off for 2-3 pets covered
  • 10% off for 4 or more pets covered

No promo code is needed. Use this link to take advantage of the best possible price.

Lemonade Pet Insurance

Lemonade offers the following discounts: 

  • 10% off if you bundle with your Lemonade renters, homeowners, auto, condo, or co-op insurance
  • 5% off for multiple pets 
  • 5% off if you pay annually

Use this link to take advantage of the best possible price. No promo code is needed.

Plan Customization

Plan Customization Tie

Finding a company with the coverage you need that fits your budget is crucial. Look below to see what plan options each of these providers offer. Be aware that both companies have plan customization limitations based on varying things, such as breed, age, location, etc. So all of these options aren’t always available for each dog.

NationwideLemonade
Deductible Options$250$100, $250, $500
Payout OptionsLimited Per Condition, Unlimited$5,000, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000, $100,000
Reimbursement Options50%, 70%, 90%70%, 80%, 90%
Accident-Only Plan

Lemonade has many customization options to help fit your coverage to your needs and budget, but they also have many breed restrictions for coverage. I tried getting a quote from both companies for my 10-year-old dog and Lemonade said they couldn’t insure my dog and Nationwide only offered accident coverage because of her age. Each company has their own pros and cons, which is why this category is a tie.

What’s The Verdict?

Overall Winner

Overall, Nationwide wins our comparison due to its established history and coverage. However, we always recommend getting multiple quotes from pet insurance providers, so it’s good to consider Lemonade too. And if a company with a shorter accident and CCL waiting periods is crucial to your decision, definitely keep Lemonade and some other key players in mind.

If you didn’t find what you were looking for, our experts dig even deeper into each company in our individual reviews of Nationwide and Lemonade.

Our experts have spent thousands of hours researching to bring you our comprehensive and frequently updated pet insurance reviews, including our top picks and details on each of the most popular pet insurance companies. We give awards for the best value, multi-pet discounts, fastest claim processing, and best newcomer. You’ll even see winners for exotic pets and cats.

Sources: [1] NAPHIA

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Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing, availability, and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.

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