Nationwide Pet Insurance
Jack Stephens, DVM, founded Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) which was ultimately purchased by Nationwide. Stephens also founded Pets Best, now underwritten by Trupanion-owned underwriter, American Pet Insurance Company.
Nationwide/VPI is the oldest and largest pet insurance provider in the U.S. market, with 36.33% of the market share, according to the NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association). As of May 2021, Nationwide was reporting that the pet insurance business had enrolled its one-millionth member.
Through the eighties and nineties, and up until the early 2000s, VPI dominated the market. Although several pet insurance ventures attempted to compete with VPI, they failed to get traction and disappeared. VPI ruled the roost for more than 20 years and has held the largest population of members since its founding. However, Trupanion, which sold its first policy in the U.S. in 2008, almost 30 years after VPI, has been gaining on the pet insurance giant steadily.
Asked to explain the meaning of “there has been a substantial change in the risk covered by the policy,” a spokeswoman for Nationwide, Karen Davis, explained that “the circumstances that may trigger a cancellation are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For example, it could be a case where a policy that may have been written for a dog should have been written for a cat and that would need to be canceled and rewritten as a feline policy.” Davis says that Nationwide’s “Whole Pet” policy is the group’s “most popular and comprehensive policy,” and it appears to be the one cited and referred to in Nationwide’s marketing materials. Rates vary by state and breed, but the Whole Pet Contract’s cost in Florida is nearly double the cost of the cheaper policy. It also offers a higher degree of coverage.
The Whole Pet Contract also does not contain the escape cancellation clause that is included in the less expensive, “Major Medical” policy. Also, interestingly, the online “Major Medical” policy Davis’s link pointed us to was also missing the escape cancellation clause which gives the company broad cancellation discretion. We have not been able to confirm the status of that clause and encourage prospective customers to ask.
- A 12-month waiting period for coverage of common orthopedic ailments
- Nationwide pet insurance plans, when purchased through employers, are capped at an annual reimbursement rate of $7500.
- Read the fine print — if you can access it.
Our reporting in 2020 found that, according to at least a half dozen customer service agents, a directive was in place that company representatives should not provide sample insurance policies to prospective customers.