Nationwide offers comprehensive pet insurance that combines accident and illness insurance with wellness coverage with fixed coverage limits. The company offers a plan to suit any need but charges a bit more for the convenience of its pre-made policies.
- PROS & CONS
- KEY TAKEAWAYS
Comprehensive accident, illness, and wellness coverage
Coverage available for birds and exotic animals
No plan customization
Complicated benefits schedule
- Nationwide offers pre-made pet insurance policies that combine coverage for accidents, illness, and preventive care.
- Wellness coverage can be purchased without a policy.
- Policies offer comprehensive coverage, but at high premiums.
- Year Founded 1926
- Deductible $250
- Types of Services Available Accident and illness insurance
- Additional Features Wellness plans
- Official Website www.petinsurance.com
Nationwide has been providing a wide range of insurance policies for about a century, adding a comprehensive suite of pet insurance policies in 2009. Although the company keeps its policies simple by offering pre-made plans with set limits to suit any need, its premiums are on the higher side of its competitors.
We reviewed Nationwide’s coverage details and exclusions, add-on services, discounts, rates, customer service, ratings, and more to help you decide if its plans are right for you.
Company Overview: An Industry Leader New to Pet Insurance
Nationwide began in 1926 as a small mutual auto insurer owned by its policyholders. It has since grown to become one of the largest insurance companies in the world, offering home, auto, life, and pet insurance as well as retirement plans and specialty health services.
In 2009, Nationwide purchased Veterinary Pet Insurance and began offering pre-made pet insurance policies combined with wellness coverage plans for cats and dogs as well as pet insurance for birds and exotic animals.
Nationwide offers four pet insurance policies, all with a set $250 deductible, two with up to a 90% reimbursement, and one that offers no annual limit. Two plans offer a set dollar amount of coverage per service, so you’ll know exactly what’s covered and what’s not.
Nationwide Pet Insurance has only below-average ratings on Yelp and Consumer Affairs. Most negative reviews cite a back-and-forth experience with the company to provide documents for claims as the reason for their complaints. Positive reviews, on the other hand, state how easy Nationwide makes it to file and get reimbursed for claims.
Nationwide’s policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company.
Policies Available: Accident and Illness
Unlike many other pet insurers that let you customize your policy, Nationwide offers a selection of just four plans, all with set deductibles, reimbursement amounts, and annual coverage limits.
The company’s "whole pet with wellness" plan comes with a $250 deductible, 90% reimbursement, and unlimited annual benefits. The "whole pet" plan, comes with the same $250 deductible, up to 90% reimbursement, but it has a $10,000 annual benefits cap. The "major medical" and "major medical with wellness" plans also have a $250 deductible, but will only reimburse you for a set amount per incident for certain conditions as shown in this benefits schedule.
The following table shows which services and conditions are covered by each plan:
|Service||major medical||major medical with wellness||whole pet||whole pet with wellness|
|Accidents and illnesses||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Use any vet, including specialty and ER||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|RX therapeutic diets & supplements||✔||✔|
|24/7 vethelpline access||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Flea and heartworm prevention||✔||✔|
|Spay or neuter||✔|
Nationwide requires you to wait 14 days from the date of enrollment before you submit an accident or illness claim. It also won’t cover claims related to cruciate ligament injuries until 12 months after the start of your policy.
Although Nationwide doesn’t claim to have an age limit for insuring pets, a statement on its FAQ page says, “As long as your pet is enrolled before age 10 and you keep your policy continually in force (translation: don't let it lapse or expire), we promise not to drop your pet.” With that said, we were able to build a policy for a 12-year-old purebred dog, though at a fairly high premium.
Nationwide also lets you purchase preventive and routine care coverage without enrolling in an insurance policy.
Other Add-Ons: Wellness Coverage
With other pet insurance providers, coverage for preventive and routine care is available as a rider that can only be added to an existing policy. Nationwide, however, lets you purchase a standalone wellness plan without a pet insurance policy.
Premiums for each plan are based on the type of pet, plan, and the state you live in. You will need to speak to an agent to get a quote and enroll in a wellness plan.
Both plans offer a set amount of coverage per service as shown in the following table.
|wellness basic||wellness plus|
|Physical exam (two per policy term)||$50 ($25 max per exam)||$60 ($30 max per exam)|
|Behavior exam and/or treatment||$30||$30|
|Vaccination or titer||$50||$75|
|Heartworm or FeLV/FIV test||$30||$35|
|Flea control or heartworm prevention||$50||$75|
|One additional test: health screen (blood test), radiograph (X-rays), or electrocardiogram (EKG)||$50 (one test per policy term)||$75 (one test per policy term)|
|Maximum annual benefit||$400||$500|
|Estimated cost||$12 to $18 per month||$17 to $22 per month|
Other Add-Ons: Avian & Exotic Pet Plan
In addition to cats and dogs, Nationwide offers pet insurance for birds and 21 types of exotic pets, from amphibians to turtles. Nationwide doesn’t offer pricing on its website for its Avian & Exotic Pet Plan, so you’ll have to call and talk to an agent to get a quote and enroll for coverage.
Unique Features: 24/7 Vet Helpline
As is becoming more common with full-service pet insurance providers, Nationwide offers a 24/7 phone hotline. You can contact a veterinarian any time of day and night and ask general or urgent health questions.
Plan Exclusions: Pre-Existing Conditions
Nationwide excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions as is typical with pet insurance policies. Additional exclusions are based on the type of policy you choose.
For instance, Nationwide’s "major medical" plan doesn’t cover elective procedures, pre-existing conditions, and most diagnostic tests. "Whole pet with wellness" has the fewest exclusions, however, covering most things besides grooming and boarding, cosmetic procedures, and non-prescription food and supplements for health maintenance.
Cost: Fixed Plans With Higher Premiums
Although Nationwide keeps things simple with pre-made policies that offer fixed coverage and deductibles, its premiums are on the high side.
Coverage for a mixed-breed, medium-sized (31–50 lbs.), three-year-old, female dog that lives in Minnesota with unlimited annual coverage*, a $250 deductible, and 90% reimbursement is priced as follows (all monthly):
- major medical: $32.91
- major medical with wellness: $53.25
- whole pet with wellness: $76.38
Coverage for a domestic longhair, one-year-old, male cat that lives in Minnesota with unlimited annual coverage*, a $250 deductible, and 90% reimbursement is priced as follows (all monthly):
- major medical: $14.08
- major medical with wellness: $34.42
- whole pet with wellness: $38.93
* Both Major Medical and Wellness plans reimburse based on a defined benefits schedule per condition.
Pricing may change due to your location, age of pet, and breed, Nationwide also offers a 5% discount when you insure two or more pets. This is a little less than many other insurers that offer a 10% discount for multiple pets or for each pet you add.
Be sure to check your policy’s benefits schedule so you know exactly how much you’ll be reimbursed for each service.
Customer Service: Basic Phone Support
Nationwide falls behind the competition in terms of filing claims. Although you can take a picture of your invoice and submit it online or using your smartphone, the company doesn’t offer a mobile app or any kind of chat support. You can also download and print a PDF claim form and submit it by fax, email, or mail. Claims are typically processed within 30 days.
Basic customer support is only available by email or phone, Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PT.
Competition: Nationwide vs. Progressive
We compared Nationwide to Progressive since both are large insurance agencies offering similar pet insurance coverage with set plans and similar premiums.
Although Progressive offers a choice of pre-made policies similar to Nationwide, it does let you customize your deductible, annual limit, and reimbursement on each policy. Both companies also offer wellness coverage with similar annual limits and set reimbursement for preventive and routine care services.
On the whole, we found Progressive to be a better deal. Its policies are easier to understand, cheaper, and offer more coverage. For instance, Progressive covers more alternative care treatment and also offers reimbursement for spaying and neutering in its wellness plan, whereas Nationwide only offers it in its highest-priced "whole pet with wellness" plan.
|Animals covered||Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, small mammals||Dogs and cats|
|Example cost||$76.38 to insure a 3-year-old, medium-sized dog that lives in Minnesota with 90% reimbursement, unlimited annual coverage, a $250 deductible, and wellness coverage||$45.04 to insure a 3-year-old, medium-sized dog that lives in Minnesota with 90% reimbursement, unlimited annual coverage, a $250 deductible, and $305 in wellness coverage|
|Coverage type||Accident and illness, wellness||Accident-only, accident and illness, wellness|
|Waiting period||Accidents: 14 days Illnesses: 14 days||Accidents: Three days Illnesses: 14 days|
|Network size||Any licensed vet in the world||Any licensed vet in the U.S. and Canada|
Overall, Nationwide’s pet insurance lags a bit behind the competition. Although the company tries to make things simple by offering specific plans with fixed limits, its premiums don’t seem like a fair tradeoff based on our methodology.
We also found it hard to determine exactly what and how much each plan covered due to Nationwide’s complex benefits schedule. The company could have just as easily listed the services it covers with no caps, so all you’d have to worry about is your deductible and annual limit.
For the price you pay, we would like to have seen some additional coverage options for alternative treatments, dental care, end-of-life coverage, and similar services either included in Nationwide’s plan or as add-on riders. A better multi-pet discount would also be nice since a flat 5% for two or more pets is on the skimpy side in today’s market.
In short, we couldn’t justify the cost of Nationwide’s premiums despite the company’s efforts to create simplified plans. There are certainly other providers out there who make it easy to customize a policy and to understand exactly what you do and don’t have to pay.