Your furry, fluffy, or feathery pet isn’t just a possession — he or she is a member of your family. You probably also know that veterinary care can quickly get expensive, especially as your pet ages. Pet insurance can help you cover everything from routine vaccinations for a new kitten to acupuncture for an older pet with movement issues.
One of the largest insurance providers in the country, Nationwide, doesn’t just offer insurance for your car and your home — it can also protect your pet as well. We’ll take a look at Nationwide pet insurance and help you decide whether one of its packages is right for your family.
- What is Pet Insurance?
- What States Can You Get Nationwide Pet Insurance?
- What Pets Does Nationwide Cover?
- What Coverage Options Does Nationwide Provide?
- Nationwide Pet Insurance Rates
- Nationwide Pet Insurance Claims
- Nationwide Pet Insurance Customer Service
- Nationwide Ratings
- Is Nationwide Right for Your Pet?
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is a type of coverage you can buy for your pets that covers veterinary care if your pet gets injured or sick. You pay your insurance provider a monthly premium and in exchange, your insurance provider helps cover a portion of your pet’s veterinary care costs. Pet insurance is similar to a mix of human health insurance and other types of reimbursement insurance.
Your policy agreement includes details on 3 specific numbers: your deductible, your reimbursement level and annual maximum payout.
Just like with human health insurance, your deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in and starts covering your veterinary bills. Depending on which insurance provider you choose, you may need to pay a deductible per incident or per year.
Your reimbursement level is the percentage of your pet’s veterinary bills that your insurance provider will pay after you reach your deductible limit. As a general rule, the more you pay each month in your premium, the higher your reimbursement level. Some of the best pet insurance plans even offer 100% reimbursements after you pay your deductible.
Your annual maximum is the limit that your insurance provider will pay toward your pet’s vet bills. You must cover the remaining amount out of pocket if you reach your annual maximum.
Let’s say that you have a pet insurance plan for your dog with a $500 deductible, an 80% reimbursement level and a $5,000 annual maximum. After you get a policy, your dog needs medication that costs $1,000.
In this instance, you’d pay your $500 deductible, and then your insurance provider would cover $400 of the remaining $500 — 80% of the cost of care after your deductible. You pay $600 and your insurance provider pays $400. A few weeks later, your dog needs a surgery that costs $2,000. Because you’ve already reached your deductible, you’d only pay 20% of the total surgery cost, $400. Your insurance provider covers the rest.
Pet insurance is like auto insurance or homeowner’s insurance in that most programs are reimbursement based. You pay your vet at the time of service, file a claim with your insurance provider and your insurance provider covers a percentage of what you paid.
Your pet’s treatment may be fully reimbursed or only partially reimbursed, depending on the specifics of your plan. The best pet insurance plans also offer reimbursements for preventive care, like vaccinations and flea collars.
Most pet insurance plans allow you to see any veterinarian you want. You usually don’t need to use an in-network vet when your pet needs care. This means that if you already have a longstanding relationship with your vet, you don’t need to worry about building a rapport with a new vet.
Unlike human health insurance, pet insurance providers don’t need to provide coverage for preexisting conditions. Though some insurance providers may offer coverage for curable preexisting conditions, most won’t insure you if your pet already has an incurable disease when you sign up for coverage. Insurance companies are also free to pick and choose which conditions they cover and which they don’t. Some common exclusions include:
- Behavioral issues
- Dental diseases
- Hip dysplasia
You should also research common diseases for your pet’s breed to make sure that he or she is covered under the plan you choose.
Most policies include a waiting period to prevent pet owners from buying insurance for animals who have preexisting conditions. Your waiting period is an initial period that begins after you sign onto a policy where you don’t have coverage. Your pet’s insurance goes into effect after the waiting period expires. Most waiting periods last between a few days to a few weeks but can vary by insurance plan type and insurance provider.
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What States Can You Get Nationwide Pet Insurance?
Nationwide pet insurance is available in all 50 states.
What Pets Does Nationwide Cover?
Unlike most pet insurance providers who only cover dogs and cats, Nationwide offers coverage for a wide range of animals, including:
- Guinea pigs
- Potbellied pigs
- Sugar gliders
This inclusive list makes Nationwide a top choice if you have an exotic pet that you need to cover.
What Coverage Options Does Nationwide Provide?
Nationwide offers 3 tiers of coverage: Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical and Pet Wellness.
- Whole Pet with Wellness: Whole Pet with Wellness is Nationwide’s most comprehensive plan and covers a wide range of illnesses and routine treatments, including surgeries, accident and emergency care, vaccinations, flea and heartworm prevention. This plan covers 90% of your veterinary bills after you meet your deductible and has the fewest restrictions.
- Major Medical: Nationwide’s Major Medical plan covers only emergency and non-routine care. Things like accidents, surgeries, prescriptions, and some hereditary conditions are covered. Conditions related to pregnancy, vaccinations, and wellness check-ups aren’t covered under this plan. After you reach your deductible, the Major Medical plan offers you a percentage payout depending on the type of disease or illness.
- Pet Wellness: The Pet Wellness plan is Nationwide’s most affordable and limited plan, offering coverage for only routine treatments and preventive care. Things like heartworm prevention, fecal tests and deworming treatments are included here, but major surgeries and emergency care are not.
Every plan has some exclusions. Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan excludes preexisting conditions, grooming, behavioral training and any expenses not related to immediate medical care (like boarding or taxes). The Major Medical and Pet Wellness plans also include their own list of exclusions. You can view Nationwide’s complete list of excluded services and illnesses on its website.
Nationwide Pet Insurance Rates
Let’s take a look at some sample data on plan types and costs.
|Maine Coon||Premium||$97.83 per month|
|Bengal||Premium||$97.83 per month|
|Domestic Shorthair||Premium||$56.88 per month|
|Ragdoll||Premium||$97.83 per month|
|Labrador Retriever||Premium||$94.92 per month|
|Bulldog||Premium||$216.34 per month|
|German Shepherd||Premium||$164.78 per month|
Nationwide Pet Insurance Claims
Submitting a claims form through Nationwide is relatively simple. Download a form from Nationwide’s website, fill it out and send it to its customer service team via email, fax or online. You can also submit a claims form directly through your smartphone when you download the VitusVet app. Claims reporting is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Nationwide Pet Insurance Customer Service
Nationwide falls a bit flat on customer service choices and only offers a phone number and a messaging system for issues and support. You can contact Nationwide by calling 800-872-7387 for new enrollments and 800-540-2016 for assistance with current accounts. Nationwide’s phone service is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST Saturday. No customer service phone line is available on Sunday but you can file a claim through the app mypetinsurance.com or via email.
Benzinga used a specific methodology and rating system to rank Nationwide’s pet insurance data:
Price Rating: 5 out of 5
Policy Offering Rating: 4 out of 5
Availability Rating: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Is Nationwide Right for Your Pet?
Should you get Nationwide pet insurance for your pet? The answer depends on your unique needs and situation. Nationwide offers strong coverage and service across the U.S. Its coverage tiers offer a complete selection of plans that suit most pet owners’ needs and budgets. And if you need exotic animal coverage, Nationwide stands out from other insurance providers, most of which only offer protection for dogs and cats. But make sure that you check Nationwide’s list of excluded conditions before you choose a plan.
Like all other types of insurance, the best way to make sure that you’re getting a great deal on pet insurance is to regularly comparison shop. Don’t be afraid to collect multiple insurance quotes, even if you already have pet insurance and you’re happy with your provider. You can use the quotes you receive to negotiate a lower rate with your current provider or to make the switch to a new policy. You never know how much you can save until you take a look at the options available in your area.