Top5 Review

Nationwide Pet Insurance (Formerly Known as VPI) Review

Veterinary Pet Insurance, also known as VPI, was founded in 1982. The company was acquired by Nationwide in 2015 and is now commonly known as Nationwide Pet Insurance. Nationwide is our top pick for Best Pet Insurance For All Pets (Not Just Dogs and Cats). It is the only pet insurance provider on our list 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!

Overview

Pet Insurance Plans

Nationwide offers three different pet insurance plans in addition to its exotic pets’ 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.

Pros

Nationwide Pet Insurance provides coverage for all types of animals

  • One of the least expensive pet insurance providers: If the cost of monthly premiums is the most important factor for you when comparing pet insurance plans, Nationwide is a good choice for you, as it offers some of the best rates around.
  • Submit claims through your smartphone: Like most pet insurance providers, Nationwide has an easy to use app and allows you to submit your claim both via the app and online, rather than have to deal with collecting paperwork and mailing them in (although, this is still an option if you prefer).
  • Track claims in real time: There’s nothing worse than filing paperwork for reimbursement and having no idea where it stands, or when you’ll receive your money. Nationwide’s app allows you to track your claim in real time, so you’ll know exactly what the status is of your claim and when to expect your reimbursement.
  • Unlimited claims for Major Medical and Whole Pet with Wellness plans: Unlimited claims means no annual or per incident limits on claims. If your pet racks up $50,000 in bills in one year, Nationwide will reimburse you. Some pet insurance companies have limits in the $2,000, $5,000, and $10,000 range.  
  • One of the only pet health insurance companies to offer exotic pet insurance: If you have an exotic animal and want health insurance for it, Nationwide is not only the best option but one of the only options.

Cons

  • Wellness plans are not available in all states: Wellness plans are what cover routine and preventative veterinary care. Most pet insurance companies exclude wellness plans, or offer them for an additional fee. If this is something you are concerned about, contact Nationwide to see if wellness plans are available in your state.
  • A high number of customer complaints due to delayed reimbursements: This is a strong negative for us. We like reimbursements to come as quickly as possible. If you’re in the same boat, then perhaps Nationwide is not the best pet insurance provider for you.
  • Cannot track claims in real time online (mobile only): If you have a smartphone, then this is a non-issue for you. However, if you do not have a smartphone and want to track your claims in real time, you will not be able to.
  • History of raising monthly premium rates as pets age: This is, unfortunately, a negative for many pet insurance companies. If you want to ensure your pet insurance company does not raise your rates due to your pet’s age, then Nationwide is not the best pet insurance company for you. However, please be aware that other factors such as veterinary inflation rates can cause annual raises.
  • Not BBB rated: Nationwide pet insurance is not rated by the Better Business Bureau. While this is not necessarily a negative, it makes it harder to know about the company’s reputation. Additionaly, it is the only pet insurance provider on our list that has not been rated by the BBB.
  • Waiting Periods:
    • 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

Product Stats

A happy Bernese Mountain Dog with his owner

  • 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.

 

Features

Nationwide Pet Insurance Boxer

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

Nationwide’s Whole Plan with Wellness reimburses you based on the treatment cost. When you file a claim, you will be reimbursed a percentage of what you paid your vet. Some companies exclude exam fees and other preventative treatments – Nationwide’s does not. Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan considers itself to be “the most extensive coverage available—anywhere.” Specifically, it covers:

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

Major Medical

Nationwide’s Major Medical pet insurance policy is less inclusive than its Whole Plan with Wellness policy and has a set limit for each condition regardless of the actual cost of treatment. 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. It covers:

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

Pet Wellness

Not all pet insurance companies provide wellness coverage, and some only offer it as an add-on after you have purchased a more comprehensive pet insurance plan.  Nationwide is different. It offers combined plans, as well as an individual wellness plan. If you choose the wellness plan, it will cover:

  • 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)

Costs

Nationwide Pet Insurance Pug Puppy

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 thinks that awesome pets deserve awesome insurance

Conclusion

Nationwide is among the least expensive pet insurance companies on our list, 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. While the company does have a few negatives, it also boasts positives, among them its Wellness Plans. Most pet insurance providers do not reimburse you for routine exams. Alternately, if they do offer a wellness plan, it is only offered as an add-on to a more comprehensive plan. Nationwide allows you to purchase a simple Wellness plan, no strings attached or hidden requirements.

If you have an exotic pet, we highly recommend Nationwide. And, if you are looking for a cheap monthly premium and are okay with a lengthy reimbursement process, then Nationwide could be the best pet insurance company for you. However, if you prefer speedy payments, we recommend you look at pet insurance companies with a better track record.

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