Nationwide Insurance to End Coverage for Pet Policies in Major Overhaul

Nationwide Insurance Cancels Pet Insurance Coverage

Nationwide Insurance to Non-Renew Pet Insurance Policies

In a surprising move, Nationwide Insurance has announced it will be non-renewing approximately 100,000 pet insurance policies across the United States. The decision, attributed to the rising costs of veterinary care and other financial pressures, was disclosed in a company statement on June 14. The announcement has left many pet owners scrambling, especially those with pets suffering from pre-existing conditions.

Nationwide, which began its pet insurance operations under the name Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) in 1982, has long been a leader in the pet insurance industry. The company, which rebranded to Nationwide in 2015, boasts a history of insuring over 1.1 million pets. Notably, VPI issued the first pet health insurance policy in the United States to the famous TV dog, Lassie.

However, the recent decision to cancel such a significant number of policies has raised eyebrows and elicited backlash from the community it has served for nearly four decades.

The Impact on Pet Owners

For many pet owners, Nationwide’s announcement is more than just an inconvenience—it’s a crisis. Numerous policies being canceled cover older pets with pre-existing conditions, which complicates the possibility of finding new coverage. Unlike human health insurance, where the Affordable Care Act prohibits denial based on pre-existing conditions, pet insurance does not offer similar protections.

Nationwide Insurance - Pet Insurance Search - Dogs and cat

Tens of thousands of pet owners now find themselves in a predicament. One pet owner lamented, “I’ve been paying premiums since my pup was young and healthy, but now, with his health issues, no one else is going to take on an old dog with pre-existing conditions. Even if they do, they will exclude all the pre-existing conditions. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Expert Opinions and Consumer Reaction

Industry experts have weighed in, suggesting that Nationwide may have miscalculated the underwriting risks involved in the pet insurance sector. Instead of canceling policies, some argue the company could have considered rate increases to offset rising costs.

Pet owner advocates are voicing strong opposition to the move. “This unilateral decision by Nationwide is a betrayal to the pet owners who have relied on them for years,” said a prominent pet owner advocate. “The company needs to find a way to support these long-term customers rather than leaving them in the lurch.”

The general sentiment among pet owners is one of frustration and fear. “We trusted Nationwide to provide continuous coverage for our pets. This decision feels like a breach of that trust,” shared another affected pet owner.

A Storied History

Nationwide’s history in the pet insurance market is notable. Founded by a group of veterinarians in 1982, the company quickly became a pioneer in the industry. In a memorable moment from its early days, Nationwide—then known as VPI—issued the first pet health insurance policy in the United States to Lassie during a press conference on April 8, 1982.

Since then, Nationwide has expanded its coverage to include more than 1.1 million pets. Despite this expansive reach, the current decision casts a shadow over its legacy of service and protection.

Pet Insurance Industry Statistics and Navigating Coverage Challenges

The pet insurance industry in the United States has seen remarkable growth in recent years. As of 2022, there are approximately 20 companies offering pet insurance policies, catering to an ever-increasing number of pet owners. Leading players in the market include established names like Trupanion, Healthy Paws, and Petplan, each striving to provide comprehensive and competitive coverage options.

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the industry has been growing at an annual rate of nearly 23% since 2017. By 2021, the total number of insured pets reached over 3 million, translating into a market size of roughly $2.18 billion. This rapid expansion illustrates the increasing demand for pet health coverage, driven by a combination of rising veterinary costs and the strengthening bond between humans and their pets.

One critical aspect of pet insurance that owners must navigate is the issue of pre-existing conditions. Most pet insurance companies typically exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage, but there are some notable exceptions. Insurers such as Embrace, Figo, and Pets Best may offer coverage for curable pre-existing conditions after a designated period during which no symptoms are observed. Additionally, the American Kennel Club (AKC) is distinctively one of the few pet insurance providers that might cover incurable pre-existing conditions.

Given the uncertain future and potential challenges in securing new coverage due to Nationwide’s recent policy cancellations, it is recommended that pet owners start obtaining quotes as soon as possible to ensure continuous protection for their pets. The evolving landscape of pet insurance requires owners to stay informed and proactive in meeting their pets’ healthcare needs.


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