Updated January 11, 2021
Reading time: 7 minutes
People with young pets
Those who have birds, reptiles, or other exotic pets
Pet owners with healthy pets
People with pets who get sick often
Pet owners with older pets
Most pet owners are familiar with the sinking feeling of realizing their pet is sick. Aside from the obvious emotional turmoil a pet owner faces when having to take care of a sick pet, the financial strain of constant vet visits and prescriptions can put many in a tight spot.
Buying a pet insurance plan for your pet would give you peace of mind knowing that your pet will be taken care of regardless of your personal finances.
Apart from covering treatment costs for your sick pet, pet health insurance can also help cover vet bills, routine care, preventative measures to ward off parasites, and even behavioral therapy.
Pet owners would do anything for their furry friends, but with the perfect pet insurance policy, that doesn’t have to include going into debt. Compare companies to find the best policy for you and your family with Insurify **today.
Nationwide offers pet insurance in all 50 states. It provides the following policies for dogs and cats:
Pet Wellness Plan (not available in all states)
The Pet Wellness Plan is the cheapest pet insurance plan Nationwide offers. While this is the most basic plan available, it could still help you pay for things like deworming, heartworm and parasite prevention, vaccinations, blood work tests, exams, and microchipping.
Major Medical Plan
This plan focuses mostly on accidents and illnesses your pet might encounter. Coverage includes partial or full coverage for some hereditary conditions and cancer treatment, amongst other major diseases. With this plan, you can visit any vet anywhere in the world, and get access to Nationwide’s 24/7 vet helpline.
Major Medical with Wellness
As the name suggests, this plan combines elements of both the major medical plan and pet wellness plan. It costs slightly higher than the Major Medical Plan. It covers accidents and illnesses, some hereditary conditions, cancer treatment, vet visits (including specialty vets and the ER), wellness exams, vaccinations, flea and heartworm prevention, blood work checkups, and urinalysis.
Whole Pet with Wellness
This is the most comprehensive—and expensive —pet insurance Nationwide offers. It covers everything the Major Medical with Wellness plan provides, in addition to covering congenital illnesses, dental disease, behavioral treatments, Rx therapeutic diets and supplements, alternative treatments, and spaying/neutering. You can adjust your reimbursement level to 90 percent, 70 percent, or 50 percent, depending on whether you want a lower or higher monthly payment.
Feline Select Plan
This is Nationwide’s pet insurance plan for cat owners who only want bare-bones coverage. It tends to be on the cheaper side and covers accidents, surgeries, prescriptions, hospitalization, chronic conditions like arthritis, and vet visits. This doesn’t usually show up on Nationwide’s online quoting flow, so you may have to call their customer service line at 1 (800) 874-0651 to get this plan. Nationwide caps the annual benefit for this plan at $9,000.
All Nationwide pet insurance members have access to live veterinary guidance about everything between general questions and identifying urgent care needs.
Depending on the policy you choose, Nationwide’s dog insurance policies cover almost all of your dog’s day-to-day needs in addition to any major health problems it may face in the future.
Nationwide offers to help cover the costs of any illnesses or injuries that your dog may have, such as ACL ruptures, sprains, ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, or even poisonings.
Nationwide policies also cover chronic illnesses like allergies, arthritis, skin conditions, and wellness-related treatments like vaccinations, flea and heartworm prevention, spaying, and neutering.
Of course, there are also policy options if your dog develops cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hip dysplasia, blood disorders, or eye disorders. Nationwide even helps cover the cost of tests and diagnostic tools like X-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, ultrasounds, and blood tests.
Remember, while Nationwide policies could cover illnesses and ailments your dog develops after you’ve purchased a policy, it won’t cover any pre-existing conditions.
Nationwide offers regular and cat-specific plans for everything between routine vet checkups and FIV treatments.
Depending on the plan you purchase, Nationwide covers common illnesses and hereditary conditions in cats like FLUTD, hip dysplasia, eye disorders, blood disorders, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes.
It also covers chronic illnesses such as allergies, arthritis, and skin conditions. If your cat requires chemotherapy, surgery, or an endoscopy, Nationwide will help cover the cost for that as well.
You can also get reimbursed for most tests and diagnostic tools, vaccinations, treatment for poisoning, sprains, and puncture wounds.
If you choose the Whole Pet with Wellness Plan, Nationwide will also cover the costs of any alternative or holistic treatment you want for your cat.
None of the Nationwide pet insurance plans include coverage for pre-existing conditions, grooming, breeding, or cosmetic procedures.
Nationwide is currently the only big pet insurance company that insures birds, reptiles, and other exotic pets. So if you need pet insurance for your iguana, sugar glider, or even your pot-bellied pig, Nationwide is probably your best bet.
Nationwide’s pet insurance plan for birds costs $15.75 a month on average, reptile insurance costs about $8 a month, and other exotic pet insurance policies cost around $9 a month. Your policy price depends on the plan you buy, any pre-existing conditions your pet has, its age, and its breed.
Nationwide’s avian and exotic pet insurance cover accidents, illnesses, hospitalization, exams, and prescriptions, among other things. You will have to call the Nationwide helpline at 1 (855) 553-6249 to see policy options for exotic pet insurance.
Most Nationwide plans have a $250 annual deductible. This means that your Nationwide pet insurance policy will kick in only once you’ve spent $250 on something like vet visits, vaccinations, or tests. Since this is an annual deductible and not a deductible-per-event, once you’ve paid $250, your Nationwide policy should kick in for the rest of the year up until you reach your maximum annual benefit.
You can adjust your deductible depending on your plan. If you set a lower deductible, you pay a higher monthly fee and vice versa. Lowering your “reimbursement level” could also reduce your monthly premium, but this also means you will get less of your money back when you file a claim.
Your annual benefit amount depends on the pet insurance policy you pick. An annual benefit is the maximum amount of money an insurance company will pay to cover your costs for the year. For example, the whole pet plan has a $10,000 annual benefit, so once you’ve paid the $250 deductible, Nationwide will pay up to $10,000 a year to cover the cost of your pet treatments, vet visits, and so forth.
You can pay your veterinarian at the time of treatment, and file a claim after the fact. To file a claim, you can fill out a claims form and send Nationwide the receipt/invoice along with any relevant information. You can use Nationwide’s pet insurance app VitusVet to file your claim or do it online through its website.
Your Nationwide pet insurance coverage will begin depending on which plan you’ve enrolled in. For those who choose the Whole Pet with Wellness Plan and the Major Medical plan, your policy will be effective 14 days after your application is approved, and you’ve made your payment.
For those who purchase the Pet Wellness Plan, your coverage starts 24 hours after your application has been approved, and you’ve made your payment.
If your pet is susceptible to a hereditary condition, Nationwide will only begin covering the condition if it occurs one year after you’ve enrolled. Additionally, if your pet develops an injury to the cruciate ligament or the meniscus (both are on the knee), within the first 12 months of your policy starting, Nationwide won’t pay for treatment. Nationwide doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions.
To see how Nationwide’s quotes stacked up to those of its competition, Insurify’s data team compared pet insurance quotes from Nationwide, ASPCA, Embrace, and Figo. All plans were standardized to have a 90 percent reimbursement rate and a $250 annual deductible.
Below are the pet insurance quotes for a two-year-old purebred labrador retriever named Sally who lives in San Jose, California:
These are the pet insurance quotes for a one-year-old German shepherd named Jerry who also lives in San Jose, California:
These are the quotes for a three-year-old labradoodle named Sandy in San Jose. Mixed breed dogs usually have lower insurance premiums since they aren’t as susceptible to genetic diseases:
Now on to cats! These are the quotes for a three-year-old British shorthair named Simon, who lives in Houston, Texas:
Remember, cat insurance premiums tend to be cheaper than dog insurance premiums.
Finally, these are the quotes for a five-year-old mixed breed long-haired cat named Wesley, who also lives in Houston, Texas:
As you’ve probably gathered, pet insurance premiums change depending on the age, breed, and location of your dog. There’s also quite a bit of variation in insurance premiums across different companies. Just because Nationwide had the best deal for your friend’s Persian cat, doesn’t mean it’ll have the best deal for your Yorkshire terrier.
Nationwide’s website has an abundance of success stories on its website, all accompanied by adorable photos. Unsurprisingly, reviews on the website are overwhelmingly positive, and mostly from people lauding Nationwide on offering comprehensive policies and reimbursing small claims:
Reviews outside Nationwide’s own website are slightly more negative, with many dissatisfied customers complaining that Nationwide very rarely agrees to payout a claim and that when it does, it doesn’t usually pay the whole amount:
Others complain that Nationwide drastically increases rates based on your dog’s age, even if your dog isn’t exactly old:
Nationwide has an A+ rating from A.M. Best. This means Nationwide is financially secure and able to pay out claims and meet its contractual obligations as set out in its insurance policies.
It depends. While pet insurance isn’t mandatory like car insurance is, it helps to know your vet bills and treatments are going to be covered regardless of your personal finances. Aside from protecting your pet from future illnesses, pet insurance can also help pay for your regular vet bills and any vaccinations or preventative treatments you want for your pet. In other words, pet insurance can help you prepare for unforeseen medical emergencies and help you pay for regular pet upkeep costs.
Pet insurance rates depend heavily on your pet’s breed, age, pre-existing conditions, and location. On average, however, dog insurance costs about $38 a month, cat insurance costs about $27 a month, bird insurance about $15 a month, and reptile insurance about $8 a month. Again, these rates are heavily subject to the aforementioned factors, as well as the insurance plan you choose. Make sure you compare pet insurance plans before settling on one policy.
Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), which Nationwide acquired in 2014, has been selling pet insurance for over 30 years and is the only prominent insurance company to offer exotic pet insurance. It has quite a good reputation and works well for people with young pets who don’t have a lot of health issues. But if your pet is older and has a lot of pre-existing conditions, Nationwide might not be a good choice for you.
Tanveen Vohra is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in writing about property and casualty insurance. Through her work, Tanveen helps consumers better understand the components of their insurance policies so they can make smarter purchase decisions.
Tanveen's work has been cited by CNBC , Fox Business, Business Insider, Fortune, and Market Watch, among others.Learn More