Nationwide Pet Insurance took over the Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) brand in 2014, but they were behind the scenes as the underwriter for that insurer since 1982. That said, they are the longest-running pet insurance company, but if online reviews are to be trusted at all, then we have to tell you that they are considered far from the best.
We took a look at Facebook reviews and comments, Yelp reviews, asked vets and did our own research on their site to bring you our review.
Yelp: 2/5 stars
Facebook: 3.7/5 stars
Nationwide has two different plans: Whole Pet with Wellness and Major Medical
Whole Pet Coverage
Under their Whole Pet plan, you get coverage for accidents and illnesses, hereditary and congenital conditions, cancer, the ability to use any vet, included specialty and ER coverage, dental diseases, prescription diets, supplements and more. There is no waiting period for ACL (both knees), fecal tests, deworming, microchip, cleanings, testing and preventive care. They call this their nose-to-tail coverage, and judging by the online reviews, the responses people get for claims are a mixed bag, mostly related to preexisting conditions. They also have free, 24/7 access to the Vethelpline, so you can call and see if your concern warrants an in-person vet visit before you head down to the vet.
Their Major Medical plan operates off a benefit schedule, which you can download off their website. What this means is, while you can use any vet, there is a maximum amount per condition that they will pay (called an allowance) for a primary diagnosis and a secondary diagnosis for most major medical conditions you can think of, including infections, neurology, cardiovascular, intestinal and more. They also have a very extensive list of conditions they won’t cover – a lot of these appear to be breed-specific, but others are more common such as polycystic kidney disease and hip dysplasia. It seems as though if you are to choose the Major Medical plan in order to save money on your monthly premium, you will be left out in the cold if your pet experiences a wide variety of fairly commo conditions.
With both of these plans, this assumes a $250 copay and unlimited annual maximum.
Standard Poodle Quote
We did a quote for ‘Bob,’ our Standard Poodle. We were able to get him the Whole Pet plan plus wellness, $250 deductible and no annual maximum for $109.29 per month. This is on the higher end of prices and we were unable to manipulate different parts of the quote like deductible or maximums to give us an adjusted premium. For the Major Medical plan, our monthly premium came in at $53.47 a month.
Yorkshire Terrier Quote
We always like to get a variety of quotes for different age and size animals, so we put in ‘Willa,’ a two-year-old Yorkshire Terrier. She gets cheaper insurance almost every time, and with Nationwide it is no exception. Her Whole Pet plan would cost you $47.70 per month and Major Medical rang in at $25.92.
Giant Dog Quote
We also like to get quotes for giant dogs, Newfs or Great Danes or similar, so we put in ‘Stan,’ a four-year-old Newfoundland. Monthly cost for Whole Pet is $95.04, and Major Medical is $52.66. We wanted to experiment a bit and pretend Stan is a senior dog. Wow – what a difference. When Sam is nine years old, his Whole Pet goes up to $166.13 per month and Major Medical is now $88.46. Since senior pets need a lot more care, especially in the giant dog category, but we didn’t expect this much of a jump.
Nationwide also requests as a part of the enrollment process that you disclose whether or not your pet has had vomiting or diarrhea in the last six months, allergies or infections, abnormal urinary problems and/or any abnormal growths. If you say ‘yes’ to any of these, you will then be asked to enter more details such as dates and a description of the condition or diagnosis.
With Nationwide, you have the option to pay annually or monthly, and if you elect to pay annually, you can save $20 due to monthly processing fees. You can choose to pay online once a month or have the payment auto-debited for your convenience.
Nationwide has plans with no annual limit, meaning you pay your deductible one time in a 12-month policy year and that is your obligation under Whole Pet. With Major Medical, you will be responsible for any difference between what Nationwide has previously agreed to pay via their benefit schedule and what your vet actually charges. Of course, there are exceptions to this if Nationwide feels that something is a pre-existing condition, but if you enroll your pets when they are young and healthy you should have a good experience.
All plans have a $250 deductible, and that is per policy year. While the monthly cost of the Whole Pet seems prohibitive, remember that some other policies may have a lower monthly premium but they have a per-incident deductible. That means that $250 you spent for one trip, you will have to spend it again for any new conditions that pop up in that policy year.
The Whole Pet plan operates off a standard 90 percent reimbursement, and you can see any vet. The Major Medical works off a benefits schedule, so you will need to make sure your vet’s pricing is in line with their benefits schedule, or you are in for a surprise.
This is where Nationwide seems to struggle and where they can improve. Being around since 1982 is a good thing, but at the same time, they seem to have had a challenge with online review sites where customers can go online in real time and vent about their claim frustration.
On the positive side, Nationwide appears to be paying attention to what customers say online and have started responding to complaints, have added an app for faster processing and claim tracking, and are adding features to their plans and websites to make customers and their pets happy.
Nationwide offers good coverage with quick payouts and no arguing under their Whole Pet plan, but customers seem to have an issue with their Major Medical policies. It may make more sense to pay more each month to get the better coverage, or to go with another insurer who has better or similar coverage for a lower monthly rate.