Investopedia publishes unbiased product reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from advertisers. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money.
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. 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.
Learn more: See who made our list of the best pet insurance companies.
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 2015, when the name was retired and the company officially became a branch of Nationwide.
Comprehensive benefit options
Coverage for most family pets
No plan customization
Complicated reimbursement structure
Limited online services
- 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 pay upfront.
- High premiums: A trade-off of better coverage options, Nationwide pet policies are more expensive than average.
- No plan customization: While the majority of 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 amounts of coverage 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 not all policies can be purchased via the provider’s website.
A major upside to Nationwide pet insurance is that the provider offers policies to cover not just dogs and cats, but 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 in order to find out which options are available. For dogs and cats, Nationwide offers three standard pet insurance plans: Major Medical, Major Medical With Wellness, and Whole Pet With Wellness. These plans represent a wide price range with varying levels of coverage depending on your needs.
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. We found that pricing was especially steep for older animals, particularly dogs over the age of five.
Keep in mind that Nationwide does offer a 5% discount to families that insure multiple pets, and you can save around $20 annually by paying for the entire year upfront.
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 for treatment of 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 unlimited annual benefits. Just remember that this is Nationwide’s most expensive plan, so the added convenience will cost you.
Since each of the three Nationwide pet policies offers a different amount of coverage, some plans exclude more than others. Major Medical, the most basic plan, doesn’t cover any type of preventive care, most diagnostic tests and medications, and certain specific services such as holistic treatments.
On the other end of the scale, Whole Pet With Wellness 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 account and submit claims directly via their computer or smartphone. A PDF claim form can also be downloaded from the Nationwide website to be submitted by email, fax, or snail mail. Most claims are processed within 30 days, a bit longer than the norm.
Overall, the claims process isn’t horrible, but it still leaves something to be desired. In this digital age, most competitors are moving toward more convenient ways to file claims using technology and AI, but Nationwide doesn’t seem to be on board yet.
Alongside a somewhat antiquated claims system, Nationwide’s customer service options are fairly limited. The only listed contact methods are via phone or email, which are only monitored during certain hours six days a week. This is a far cry from the 24/7 service offered by other pet insurers through live web chat, text, and social media.
Progressive carries a longstanding legacy in the insurance world and is highly rated by several different agencies. The provider has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and holds a financial stability rating of A+ (Superior) from AM Best. The 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study by J.D. Power placed Nationwide second behind Geico among large insurers, indicating a positive overall purchase experience from customers.
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 injuries 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 was more than 20% 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.
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.
How We Review Pet Insurance Carriers
When you invest in pet insurance, the last thing you want is to find out your pet’s expensive vet bill isn’t covered by the policy. Our pet insurer reviews prioritize value and benefits, taking into consideration the price, limitations, and exclusions of each policy. We also consider the service and convenience offered by each provider if you have questions or need to file a claim. Finally, we analyze various third-party ratings to gauge the company’s overall reputation in the industry.