Overview of Our Findings
As America’s largest and most trusted pet insurer among Fortune 100 pet insurance companies, Nationwide Pet Insurance is a solid choice for pet owners who value ease of use and the security that comes from being backed by its parent company, Nationwide Insurance.
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Breadth of Coverage
Nationwide Pet Insurance offers insurance for mixed breeds and a comprehensive list of purebreds for both cats and dogs, which can be obtained directly from their website. For select purebreds, all birds, and exotic animals, you are required to call their 1-800 number to obtain coverage.
Almost all ages of pets are insurable with Nationwide, although the rates may be slightly higher for older pets. Coverage is available nationwide. Very old ages (i.e., 17 to 18 years) are accepted through the site’s sign-up, though a warning is displayed saying coverage may be denied due to advanced age.
Three basic levels of coverage are provided for most situations. All plans allow you to use any vet, including specialty and ER. The prices for each plan are dependent upon your pet’s type and age, as well as your location.
The least expensive level is the Major Medical plan, which covers accidents and illnesses, some hereditary conditions, cancer, and access to a 24/7 help line. This plan includes a $250 annual deductible, with set annual benefits for each condition. This plan seems to average between $35 and $50 per month depending on your pet type and age.
The mid-level plan, Whole Pet, adds dental and behavioral treatments, as well as prescription therapeutic diets and supplements. Alternative and holistic treatments are also covered under this plan. 90% reimbursement is included on this plan with a $250 annual deductible, and a $10,000 total annual benefit. This plan averages between $50 and $90 per month depending on your pet’s type and age.
Whole Pet with Wellness is the most expensive and comprehensive plan offered by Nationwide Pet Insurance and includes (in addition to everything covered in the previous two plans) wellness exams, vaccinations, flea and heartworm prevention, blood work, and urinalysis. This plan also includes a $250 annual deductible, with unlimited annual benefit. This plan averages between $85 and $170 per month, depending on your pet type and age.
The website states that you can call for more deductible and product options, and accident coverage for cruciate ligament injuries begins after 12 months. A discount is applied for multiple pets coverage.
Pre-existing conditions are not covered in any plan type.
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Accessibility of Products
While pricing is dependent upon the type and age of your pet as well as your location, the lowest coverage options tend to cost under $50 a month, with many in the $30 range.
You can pay for the policy online with a credit card or auto debit from your banking account. Auto deductions are not mentioned during the payment process. An annual payment option is available, which saves $20 in monthly processing fees. Group discounts are available through participating companies and organizations.
If you decide to cancel before 10 days of the policy effective date, you’ll be refunded 100% of your money, and if you decide to cancel after 10 days, you will be refunded your unused premium. You are free to switch plans at any time.
To file a covered claim, you pay the bill and then submit it for reimbursement using Nationwide’s claim form available at their website. The form can be returned via email, fax, or physical mail.
Since the Nationwide Pet Insurance website walks you through a convenient wizard to find your plan and pricing, you cannot simply view pricing or plans side by side to compare at a glance without answering a few questions.
After entering a few very basic questions about your pet, including breed and age, the appropriate plans for your type or breed are displayed side by side for comparison. However, if your pet is a bird or exotic pet, you are required to call their 800 number for a quote.
The website offers plenty of information to help you decide which policy is best for you, even including a very handy comparison tool where you can select other leading pet insurance companies to compare directly, feature by feature, with Nationwide.
Ease of Use
When shopping for policies, you are requested to answer very basic questions such as pet type, age, and location before at least two and most of the time three policy levels are presented for review. Once you select a product, you are asked to complete more details about your pet, such as history, pre-existing conditions, and more before the policy is finalized. The entire process requires just a few minutes to complete. Links are provided allowing you to easily drill down into policy details.
The website has a mobile-friendly version as well as a downloadable app called VitusVet for even easier access to information, policies, and submitting claims. You can also apply for electronic payment of claims through an easy-to-use account portal.
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Content on the website indicates that the company cares about the welfare and wellbeing of pets everywhere. For example, clever pet-related puns and adorable pet pictures are included throughout the site. A pet magazine-style newsletter, Companion, is available from the home page, as well as health-related downloadable infographics and a page to upload pet birthday pictures. A Facebook Page provides an opportunity to learn more about the company and participate in pet-related discussions.
The company began offering group discounts through participating companies and organizations in 1999. In 2003, they worked with leading pet food manufacturers to build awareness of the importance of a healthy diet to maintaining good health.
Nationwide Pet Insurance is currently conducting a campaign to donate up to $50,000 to the Animal Cancer Foundation, donating $5 for each pet cancer e-card users send (available at their website), or every picture or post shared on social media using #CurePetCancer.
Nationwide Pet Insurance sponsors an annual “Hambone Award” for the most unusual pet insurance claim. The veterinary practice that treated the winning claim receives a Nationwide-funded $10,000 award through the Veterinary Care Foundation to treat pets whose owners cannot afford payment. They also hold an annual “Wacky Pet Names” contest at the website.
Fortune 100 company Nationwide, the parent company of Nationwide Pet Insurance, began in 1925 as a small, policyholder-owned auto insurer, and has since grown into one of the largest financial services and insurance companies worldwide. Nationwide Casualty Company is the company’s underwriter outside of California, and in California it’s Veterinary Pet Insurance Company.
Formerly Veterinary Pet Services, Inc. (VPS), this company was the first company nationwide to offer pet insurance, and TV’s “Lassie” was their first customer in 1982! VPS pioneered the field of pet wellness insurance, introducing coverage for wellness treatments such as dental care, vaccinations, and heartworm treatment and prevention. The company was also the first to offer policies for birds, rabbits, and exotic animals in 2000.
VPS joined with the Nationwide family of companies in 2008 and became officially known as Nationwide Pet Insurance in 2015. It has since grown to become the largest pet health insurer in the nation.
Nationwide Pet Insurance is an Industry Member of NAPHIA, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.