Top5 Review

Nationwide Pet Insurance (Formerly Known as VPI) Review

Last updated November 15, 2018

Veterinary Pet Insurance, also known as VPI, was founded in 1982. It is one of the only pet insurance providers that doesn’t limit its coverage to just dogs and cats. In fact, it covers most types of birds, as well as reptiles, lizards and even snakes! Fun fact: VPI sold its first pet insurance plan to Lassie!

The company was acquired by Nationwide in 2015 and is now commonly known as Nationwide Pet Insurance. It offers three different pet insurance plans: Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical and Pet Wellness. The Whole Pet with Wellness plan is similar to traditional pet insurance companies and reimburses you a percentage of what you paid the vet for treatment. The Major Medical plan, however, has a maximum it pays for various conditions. It uses a benefit schedule to outline these maximums. No matter how much your veterinary bills may cost, you will never be reimbursed past the stated maximum.


Nationwide Pet Insurance

  • One of the least expensive pet insurance providers
  • Track claims in real time online and submit them through your smartphone.
  • Unlimited claims for Major Medical and Whole Pet with Wellness plans
  • One of the only pet health insurance companies to offer exotic pet insurance
  • Among the lowest monthly cost options


  • Wellness plans are not available in all states
  • High number of customer complaints due to delayed reimbursements
  • Cannot track claims in real time online (mobile only)
  • History of raising monthly premium rates as pets age
  • 12-month waiting period for ACL surgery
  • 14-day waiting period for Whole Pet with Wellness and Major Medical plans
  • 24-hour waiting period for Pet Wellness plan
  • Nationwide BBB page has an alert about fraudulent checks
  • Major Medical Plan has annual limits per condition
  • $2 transaction fee

Product Stats

Nationwide Pet Insurance

  • Underwriter: National Casualty Company (outside CA); VPI (in CA)
  • No exam period
  • Pre-existing conditions defined by Nationwide: “Any condition that began or was contracted, manifested, or incurred up to twelve months before the effective date of this policy or during any waiting period, whether or not the condition was discovered, diagnosed, or treated. A chronic condition is a pre-existing condition unless it began after the effective date of this policy.”
  • Hip dyslplasia is covered by Nationwide after a 14-day waiting period, but it has the following exclusions: “certain bone or joint conditions associated with (1) hip dysplasia, or any luxation or subluxation associated with hip dysplasia, (2) elbow dysplasia, (3) patellar luxation or subluxation, (4) osteochondritis dissecans, or (5) any fracture, luxation, or subluxation associated with aseptic necrosis of a femoral head, but we do provide limited additional coverage for specified ineligible conditions.”
  • No bilateral exclusions
  • Claims should be paid within 30 days after all documents are received.
  • Claims must be submitted within 90 days of treatment.
  • Submit your claim via fax, mail or mobile app.



Nationwide Pet Insurance

Unlike most pet insurance companies, Nationwide’s website doesn’t list everything that is and is not covered under its plans. Make sure to carefully review each plan before selecting one. Highlights of its plan options include:

Whole Plan with Wellness

  • Exams, lab tests and X-rays
  • Prescriptions
  • Surgeries and hospitalization
  • Chronic conditions
  • Hereditary conditions (no waiting period)
  • Wellness
  • Other

Major Medical

  • Exams, lab tests and X-rays
  • Prescriptions
  • Surgeries and hospitalization
  • Chronic conditions
  • Some hereditary conditions (waiting period applies)

Pet Wellness

  • Wellness exams and tests
  • Flea/heartworm prevention
  • Vaccinations

What Is Not Covered

For a full list of what is not covered, please refer to Nationwide’s plan restrictions as exclusions differ greatly depending on which plan you select. The most common exclusions, however, are:

Whole Plan with Wellness

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Grooming
  • Expenses not directly related to veterinary services (examples include waste disposal, tax, record access/copying and bank or credit card fees)

All Other Plans

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Congenital anomalies or developmental disorders
  • Hereditary disorders
  • Cruciate ligament injuries within first 12 months of coverage
  • Wellness, routine or preventative care

Exotic Pet Coverage

Nationwide is one of the only pet insurance companies that provides coverage for birds, rabbits, reptiles and other exotic pets. Plans cover accidents and illnesses as well as exams, lab fees, prescriptions, X-rays, hospitalization and more. It covers most birds and a range of exotic pets, including:

  • Amphibians
  • Chameleons
  • Chinchillas
  • Ferrets
  • Geckos
  • Gerbils
  • Goats
  • Guinea pigs
  • Hamsters
  • Hedgehogs
  • Iguanas
  • Lizards
  • Mice
  • Opossums
  • Potbellied pigs
  • Rats
  • Rabbits
  • Snakes
  • Sugar gliders
  • Tortoises
  • Turtles

Waiting Periods

Unlike many of the other pet insurance companies, PetFirst provides coverage nearly immediately for accidents.

  • 14 days: Whole Pet with Wellness and Major Medical plans
  • 24 hours: Pet Wellness plan
  • 12 months: Cruciate ligament events (like a torn ACL)


Nationwide Pet Insurance

Nationwide offers an unlimited annual maximum, 90 percent reimbursement (Whole Pet with Wellness) or benefit schedule reimbursement (Major Medical) and a $100 (Whole Pet with Wellness) or $250 (Major Medical) deductible. To get an exact price for your pet, refer to Nationwide’s quotes page. For your reference, however, please see below for some sample quotes. 

Sample Rates by Breed

To get an idea of the difference in monthly price for Nationwide’s different plans, as well as differences in price based on breed, age and location, here is sample pricing:

BreedLabrador RetrieverEnglish Cocker SpanielGerman ShepherdYorkshire TerrierYorkshire TerrierYorkshire TerrierMixed Breed Cat (Medium Hair)
Age28466 months6 months2
LocationIowa (Zip code: 50125)Illinois (Zip code 60604)California (Zip code: 90001)New York (Zip code: 10001)New York (Zip code: 10001)Iowa (Zip code: 50125)Ohio (Zip code: 44101)
Annual MaximumUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Major Medical Price Per Month ($250 annual deductible)$26.65$70.96$42.81$61.50$35.55$25.85$15.57
Whole Pet with Wellness Price Per Month ($100 annual deductible)$91.85$202.07$97.97$125.80N/AN/A$36.87
Major Medical + Wellness Plus (with no deductible)N/AN/AN/AN/A$53.55$43.95N/A

Nationwide Pet Insurance


Nationwide is among the least expensive pet insurance companies, which is a plus, but they have a reputation for raising monthly premium rates as pets get older, which is a major negative. We also read numerous complaints from existing customers about reimbursements coming in late.

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