Nationwide is a very large, well-established insurer that offers three different types of pet insurance options. Coverage is comprehensive but more expensive than some other providers.
- Pros and Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
Comprehensive benefit options
Coverage for most family pets
Minimal plan customization
Complicated reimbursement structure
Limited online services
- Nationwide has been around since 1925 and offering pet insurance since 2008
- Offers comprehensive coverage but high premiums
- Three different pet insurance plans available
- 5% to 10% discount available to families who insure multiple pets
- 14-day waiting period before policyholders can file a claim
Many pet parents may already know Nationwide for their auto and home policies. The company has been around since 1925, originally selling car insurance but eventually expanding to a full scope of both personal and business coverage. In 2008, Nationwide purchased national pet insurer Veterinary Pet Insurance to begin offering policies to animal lovers. Coverage continued to be sold under the Veterinary Pet Insurance brand until 2014 and 2015, when the name was retired, and the company officially became a branch of Nationwide.
- Year Founded 1925
- Waiting Period 14 days
- Deductible $250
- Customer Service Forms Phone, email
- Customer Service Telephone (800) 540-2016
- Company Website https://www.petinsurance.com/
The trouble with pet insurance policies is that they rarely cover as much as you need them to. Insurers tend to make things confusing with plans that seem quite affordable but include long lists of exclusions, upselling customers with riders that offer more complete benefits for a higher monthly rate.
Nationwide distinguishes itself by offering straightforward policies with a single price that is higher than competitors but won’t leave you guessing; what you see is exactly what you get. So while you might experience sticker shock from Nationwide’s expensive premiums, these policies are certainly worth considering if you haven’t been impressed with coverage options from other providers.
- Comprehensive benefit options: Whether you want coverage for basic care or specialty procedures, you’ll find an option for nearly every type of veterinary treatment imaginable.
- Coverage for most family pets: In addition to dogs and cats, Nationwide covers birds, reptiles, small mammals, and other exotic pets.
- Discounts available: Save money on your policy when you enroll multiple pets or when you enroll as part of group voluntary benefits.
- High premiums: A trade-off of better coverage options, Nationwide pet policies are more expensive than average.
- Minimal plan customization: While most competitors will let you choose from a range of deductible and benefit options, Nationwide doesn’t provide much flexibility here.
- Complicated reimbursement structure: Most policies include different coverage amounts for each treatment instead of simply reimbursing a certain percentage of all covered services. This may be confusing to some pet parents.
- Limited online services: Nationwide doesn’t offer a live chat customer service option, and the website experience is on the basic side.
A major upside to Nationwide pet insurance is that the provider offers policies to cover dogs and cats and most household pets. Plans are available for birds, reptiles, small mammals, including hamsters and rabbits, and even goats and potbellied pigs. However, large animals such as horses aren’t currently eligible for coverage.
Plans vary by species, and owners of exotic pets may need to call to find out which options are available. Nationwide offers three standard pet insurance plans for dogs and cats: Major Medical, Major Medical With Wellness, and Whole Pet. These plans represent a wide price range with varying levels of coverage depending on your needs.
|Covered Treatment or Feature||Major Medical||Major Medical With Wellness||Whole Pet|
|Cut or bite wound||✓||✓|
|Open skin infection||✓||✓|
|Spay or neuter|
|Use any vet, including specialty and ER||✓||✓||✓|
With so many services and treatments covered under Nationwide’s pet plans, it should come as no surprise that premiums are on the high end of industry norms. Disappointingly, Nationwide doesn’t offer an easy way to reduce costs by adjusting coverage levels, such as taking on a higher deductible or reducing annual limits. Only one of the three plans lets you change the reimbursement level, but the starting point of its price is already on the high side. We found that pricing was especially steep for older animals, particularly dogs over the age of five.
Rates will increase with your pet's age, so it's best to see what rates will be in the future before you buy coverage.
Remember that Nationwide offers a 5% to 10% discount to families that insure multiple pets, depending on how many you have. Enrolling as part of group benefits also saves you 5%.
Nationwide enforces a 14-day waiting period on both injuries and illnesses, which means you won’t be eligible for reimbursement for any related treatments until two weeks after you start paying premiums. This is a pretty standard waiting period for illnesses, but it’s a long time to wait for accident coverage. Most competitors begin offering the latter two or three days after the policy start date.
On a more positive note, owners who opt for a plan with wellness coverage can start taking advantage of preventive care benefits just 24 hours after the policy goes into effect.
Like all pet insurance policies, these plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions that your pet had before coverage began or that occur during a waiting period. However, Nationwide has a more relaxed definition of “pre-existing condition” than many of its competitors. If you can show veterinary records proving a pre-existing condition was cured for a minimum of six months, it may be eligible for coverage if it reappears.
Coverage limits can be tricky with Nationwide’s pet plans. Major Medical and Major Medical With Wellness don’t carry a policy-wide annual limit but instead define allowances on a per-procedure basis. For example, chemotherapy benefits are capped at $2,400 each year, but the policy will only pay a maximum of $235 annually to treat cataracts. Nationwide has published a full list of benefits for further reference.
If decoding a complex reimbursement structure sounds like too much work, you can instead opt for Whole Pet With Wellness, which includes $10,000 in annual benefits. Just remember that this can be Nationwide’s most expensive plan if you select 70% or 90% reimbursement.
Since each of the three Nationwide pet policies offers different coverage, some plans exclude more than others. Major Medical, the most basic plan, doesn’t cover any preventive care, most diagnostic tests and medications, and certain specific services such as holistic treatments.
Owners of exotic pets may need to get a custom quote.
On the other end of the scale, Whole Pet is the most comprehensive policy available through Nationwide, and the listed exclusions are few and far between. Almost everything is covered except for pre-existing conditions, grooming and boarding, cosmetic procedures, and breeding.
Nationwide offers a few different ways to file claims. Customers can log into their accounts and submit claims directly via their computer or smartphone. You can even take a picture of the invoice with your phone. A PDF claim form can also be downloaded from the Nationwide website to be submitted by email, fax, or snail mail.
Nationwide’s customer service options are fairly limited. The only listed contact methods are via phone or email, which are only monitored six days a week during certain hours. This is a far cry from the 24/7 service offered by other pet insurers through live web chat, text, and social media.
Nationwide carries a longstanding legacy in the insurance world and is highly rated in many areas. The provider holds a financial stability rating of A+ (Superior) from AM Best. On the other hand, J.D. Power rated Nationwide last in its 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.
Competition: Nationwide vs. Progressive
Nationwide and Progressive are both major providers of auto, home, and other types of insurance and have entered the pet insurance market in more recent years. Nationwide’s offerings are a bit more expansive, covering a significantly greater number of species with policies that include more comprehensive benefits.
But there are also many advantages to Progressive; the waiting period for accidents is just three days compared to Nationwide’s 14, and policies are generally more customizable. When we looked at policies that covered accidents, illnesses, and wellness benefits, Progressive tended to be cheaper, even with the monthly cost of adding a wellness rider to its basic accident and illness policy. All this gives Progressive the edge over Nationwide.
|Animals Covered||Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, small mammals||Dogs and cats|
|Coverage Type||Accident, illness, and wellness||Accident, illness, and wellness|
|Waiting Period||Accidents: 14 days
Illnesses: 14 days
|Accidents: Three days
Illnesses: 14 days
Nationwide packages a full range of veterinary benefits into three different all-inclusive pet insurance policies, offering better transparency with a single price and no need to factor in the cost of additional riders. With that said, Nationwide’s premiums are steep for pet insurance, and the provider doesn’t offer many ways to bring that cost down.
To further complicate things, rates are likely to increase sharply with each year that your pet ages. Before settling with Nationwide, we’d suggest getting quotes from competitors for similar levels of coverage, not just at your pet’s current age but two or three years into the future, as well.
We review both pet insurers and discount memberships using our methodology for reviewing pet insurance to help pet parents decide which type of plan is best for their furry family. We look at the type of services and pets covered, taking note of any exclusions or restrictions that might affect eligibility. With this information, we compare pricing using standardized quotes to find out which providers offer the best value. We also look at customer service methods and reviews, including the process for receiving reimbursement, and any available digital tools.
Business Wire. “AM Best Places Credit Ratings of Nationwide Indemnity Company Under Review With Positive Implications, Affirms Credit Ratings of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Its Key Operating Subsidiaries.” Accessed Aug. 9, 2021.
J.D. Power. "Auto Insurance Shopping Surged during Pandemic in 2020 but Little Brand Differentiation Apparent, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Aug. 9, 2021.