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Nationwide Review

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BestMoney Staff
Bestmoney Staff
Jun. 18, 20214 min read

Nationwide summary

Over half a million pet owners choose Nationwide as their pet insurance provider. Besides dogs and cats, you can also insure your birds and exotic pets. The tiered plans come with lots of perks.

Pros

  • Insures exotic pets
  • No networks, so you can see your regular vet
  • Wellness coverage available

Cons

  • Limited coverage for hereditary conditions
  • Payouts limited by benefit schedule on most plans

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Nationwide Highlights

  • Most popular pet insurer in the US.
  • Insures exotic pets.

What’s Included In Your Pet Insurance

Unlike other insurers, Nationwide doesn’t just cover dogs and cats. It also covers birds, rabbits, reptiles and other unusual species, including chinchillas, hamsters, pigs and sugar gliders.

You can choose from 3 tiers of coverage: 

  • The Pet Wellness Plan
  • The Major Medical Plan
  • The Whole Pet With Wellness Plan

All 3 plans cover vets worldwide, which means you can stick to your vet or specialist of choice, and travel without worrying about being out of network.

The Pet Wellness plan is the cheapest and most basic plan. It covers microchipping, vaccinations, annual wellness exams and bloodwork, de-worming and flea and heartworm prevention.

The second tier, the Major Medical plan, covers accidents and illnesses (including cancer), as well as chronic conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes and IBS. Cover includes exams, lab tests, x-rays, surgery, hospital stays and prescriptions. However, you’ll have to pay for annual wellness separately.

The Whole Pet With Wellness plan is the most expensive tier, but also has the most complete coverage. Besides annual wellness, accidents and illness, it also covers neutering, cesarean sections, therapeutic foods and nutritional supplements.

Crucially, both the Major Medical plan and Whole Pet With Wellness plan cover surgery for torn ligaments. This is one of the most common injuries in dogs, but it’s rarely covered by pet insurance providers.

TreatmentWhole Pet with WellnessPet Wellness
DewormingYesYes
Eye infectionYesNo
Fecal testYesYes
GingivitisYesNo
Muscle sprainYesNo
Spay or neuterYesNo
Wellness examYesYes
VaccinationsYesYes
MicrochipYesYes

Limits and Deductibles

Nationwide’s policies have a single annual deductible. Pay it once and you’re covered for the whole year, no matter how many times you claim.

However, payouts on the Major Medical Plan and the Pet Wellness Plan are made according to a benefit schedule. You’ll always get a fixed payout determined by the schedule, capping reimbursement on a certain amount for each condition or service, regardless of the amount you spent. The Whole Pet with Wellness plan offers payments based on 90%, so you’ll pay for the plan with higher payouts when you need them.

This isn’t ideal if you need a certain amount back, because benefit schedule payments may be based on expected fees that do not fit your vet’s actual prices. You could end up with out-of-pocket expenses.

Value For Money 

Nationwide isn’t the cheapest pet insurance provider, with accident and illness coverage starting at $35 a month.

That said, you’ll receive a higher standard of basic coverage than most other baseline plans from other providers. Nationwide offers you the freedom to see the vet or specialist of your choice and only a single annual deductible.

Age Limits 

Nationwide won’t insure pets that are 10 years old or over, except for the Whole Pet with Wellness Plan, which has no age restrictions.

This age limit is relatively low and there are other companies offering insurance for pets up to 14. That said, once your pet is insured, he’ll stay insured even after it passes the age limit unless you decide to cancel the policy. It’s also cheaper to insure a younger pet, so the best way to get your best friend insured through his old age, is to sign him up when he’s a puppy.

The Fine Print: What Isn’t Covered Under The Policy 

Nationwide’s exclusions are straightforward and easy to understand. Like most pet insurance providers, it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions.

It does unfortunately classify most congenital anomalies as pre-existing conditions. This means that problems caused by breed-specific traits such as brachycephaly and kinked tail (brachycephalic breeds include Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs and Persian cats, just to name a few), will not be covered. Certain cancers may also not be covered, if it’s shown that they’re caused by congenital anomalies or hereditary traits of your pet’s breed.

Under the Major Medical plan, there is a 12-month waiting period for cruciate ligament surgery and hereditary condition cover. You’ll need to opt for the Whole Pet With Wellness plan for the waiting period to be waived, or get coverage before your pet has expected medical concerns around the corner. 

Conclusion

Nationwide is one of the few pet insurers on the market to cover exotic pets. The basic plan has some great perks in terms of what it covers and the veterinary helpline is really helpful for off-hours medical needs. The main downside is the benefit schedule payout system for the two cheaper plans. You should also be aware of certain breed specific conditions, as problems caused by those common traits might not be covered.

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BestMoney Staff
Written byBestmoney Staff

Our editorial staff consists of writers who are knowledgeable about financial services. We specialize in simplifying the process of choosing the right provider for your needs.

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  • author
    KC
    Sep 30, 2020
    Payroll deducted for 6 months

    Payroll deducted for 6 months. Finally got around to using Nationwide Pet Insurance and it is a total scam. You will get denied for not supplying Complete Invoice, All Medical Records, All Soap Notes, All Lab Results and More. They will not reach out to your Vet like other pet insurance companies do, they expect you to collect and upload all these docs with each claim. While their competitors only require an invoice, and if they need more info they will reach out the clinic to get the docs to complete the claim. Not to mention when you compare rates for actual coverage. Nationwide will charge you the same rate for 1/3 the coverage of their competitors. In other words i used to pay $126 for 2 dogs that only covered up to $8K per dog. I went to Nationwides competitor and now pay $109 for 2 dogs and get up to $30K per dog. Like the other guy said, your better off just saving the money you would have paid Nationwide Pet Insurance. That way you wont have to deal with their customer service talking to you like their paying you to be their customer.

    ...

  • author
    April Wisniewski
    Apr 10, 2015
    don't waste your money!!

    VPI has sucked $40 out of me a month for the past 4 years. They cover basically nothing, and if they do, it's after a $50 deductible leaving you with zilch. Recently they had the nerve to send me a reimbursement check for $.04!! You're better off putting money aside each month. If I realized they were a Nationwide Company I would have never used them in the first place.

    ...

  • author
    Jake Havenridge
    Apr 07, 2015
    Helped me cover some pretty serious bills.

    Last winter my dog decided it would be smart to eat a christmas garland. After a week or so of him acting weird, I took him to the vet and the metal part had become entangled in his digestive tract. We were going to have to pony up $3k to have surgery. Without VPI I'm not sure if we could have had the surgery. Reimbursement was super easy, we just had the vet fill out the paper work and we were good. Since then, I've recommended VPI to anyone who will listen, so if you're listening, give them a shot. I'm glad I did!

    ...

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