This content was reviewed by our licensed insurance agent, Michelle Schenker.
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Nationwide had the most gross written premiums (GWP) for pet insurance in the U.S. in 2022, with $860.6 million. Pets Best writes less than half of Nationwide’s, with $365 million GWP.1 But just because Nationwide has more than double the amount of GWP than Pets Best, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better.
Nationwide Pet Insurance was born when the massive insurance company purchased VPI, a company that had been founded in 1984 as the first pet insurance company). Due to its longevity, it’s had 15 years or longer (depending on the company you are comparing it to) to accrue customers and a reputation. However, when Pets Best busted into the pet insurance marketplace in 2005, it created a lot of uproar, especially since it was founded by Dr. Jack Stephens, the very same guy who founded VPI 21 years earlier! Offering some of the lowest prices with comprehensive coverage got everyone’s attention, and Pets Best quickly became a popular choice for lots of pet owners.
Our article compares Pets Best and Nationwide head-to-head, and we 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.
Visit Pets Best’s Website | Visit Nationwide’s Website
|Policy Coverage||Extensive||More Limited|
|Customer Service & Reputation||Good||Good|
|Claim Processing Average||7-14 Days||4 Days|
|Average Policy Price||Lower On Average||Lower On Average|
|Plan Customizations||Many Options||Restricted Options|
|Visit Website||Visit Website|
The table below shows what Pets Best and Nationwide 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, cremation and burial costs, pregnancy and breeding, or unnecessary cosmetic procedures.
|Illness Waiting Period*||14 Days||14 Days|
|Accident Waiting Period*||3 Days||14 Days|
|Hip Dysplasia Waiting Period*||14 Days||14 Days|
|CCL Surgery Waiting Period*||6 Months||12 Months|
|Wellness Care For An Extra Fee|
|Exam Fees||Extra Fee|
|Underwriter||American Pet Insurance Company|
Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC) (CA only)
|National Casualty Company|
Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (California only)
|A.M. Best Rating||Unrated|
*Waiting periods for Maine are as follows:
- Accidents - 0 days
- Illnesses - 14 days
- Cruciate Ligament Conditions - 30 days
- Routine Care - 0 days
One of the key areas where Pets Best and Nationwide differ 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, Pets Best’s plans are set up like other 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. People who live in more expensive areas like New York City or San Francisco would likely incur higher vet bills than someone in a rural area in Iowa. So having a set benefit schedule for all customers may make more sense for pet owners who live in areas with a lower cost of living.
Another significant coverage factor is that Nationwide doesn’t enroll new pets after their 10th birthday. On the other hand, Pets Best enforces no maximum age restrictions for new pets.
Although Nationwide covers alternative/holistic therapy and exam fees at no extra cost, we dock them for their benefit schedule and maximum age restrictions. Because of this, Pets Best wins this category.
Policy Coverage Winner: Pets Best
Customer Service & Reputation
Pets Best’s biggest complaint is its long claim processing times at present. Pet parents are impressed with Pets Best’s thorough coverage and lower prices, which is why so many sign-up. However, this results in a large volume of filed claims, overloading their system and delaying claim processing. Pets Best says they’re actively hiring and training more people to return to a more competitive claim processing timeline.
As for Nationwide, there are various complaints regarding reimbursement concerns, unexpected renewal changes, drastic premium increases, and more. Finding negative reviews isn’t difficult for Nationwide, and they’re related to numerous departments/concerns, which is why Pets Best wins this category.
Customer Service & Reputation Winner: Pets Best
Pets Best averages 7-14 days for claim processing, which is longer than many others in the industry. However, Pets Best also offers an option to pay vets directly, so you don’t have to wait for reimbursement. This may be a good option if you don’t want to wait for your claim to be processed. But be sure to confirm your vet can work in this manner before you make any assumptions.
Nationwide averages four days for claim processing. This is shorter than Pets Best and many other companies in the industry, which is why it wins this category.
Claim Processing Winner: Nationwide
Price Of Policy
Pets Best and Nationwide have no enrollment fees, but both charge a $2 monthly transaction fee unless you pay your annual premium upfront each year.
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 and comparing coverage to understand the true value you would get for the price. You can also visit our pet insurance comparison quotes to see a few sample prices we’ve gathered.
Comparing prices for Pets Best and Nationwide is difficult because they don’t offer the same plan types and options (not an apples-to-apples comparison). If you opt for Nationwide’s benefit schedule plan, you’ll most likely see a lower monthly premium than Pets Best. However, if you opt for a traditional-style pet insurance plan, prices for both companies often fall around the same price point. This is why we’ve declared this category a tie.
Price Of Policy Winner: Pets Best & Nationwide (Tie)
Pets Best offers the following discounts:
- 5% off for multiple pets
- 5% off for military members and their families
Use this link to take advantage of the best possible price. No promo code is needed. You can also visit our dedicated Pets Best promotions page to learn more.
Nationwide Pet Insurance offers the following discounts:
- 5% off for 2-3 pets covered
- 10% off for 4 or more pets covered (may include exotics like birds, rabbits, etc.)
No promo code is needed. Use this link to take advantage of the best possible price.
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.
|Deductible Options||$50, $100, $200, $250, $500, $1,000||$250|
|Payout Options||$5,000, Unlimited||Limited Per Condition, Unlimited|
|Reimbursement Options||70%, 80%, 90%||50%, 70%, 90%|
Pets Best has many customization options to help fit your coverage to your needs and budget. On the other hand, Nationwide uses a benefit schedule for some plans, which limits your customization options. And for its other plans, Nationwide still has minimal customizations. This is why Pets Best wins this category.
Plan Customization Winner: Pets Best
What’s The Verdict?
Overall, Pets Best wins our comparison due to its thorough coverage, slightly better reputation, and customization options. However, we always recommend getting multiple quotes from pet insurance providers, so you might still consider Nationwide too. And if fast reimbursement is crucial to your financial situation, definitely keep Nationwide 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 Pets Best and Nationwide.
Overall Winner: Pets Best
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:  NAPHIATagged With: Reviewed By Insurance Agent, Vs