I have recommended pet insurance to clients for years. Generally, the options have greatly improved in the last decade or so. I recommend some insurance companies over others, based on first hand accounts of clients and friends, and personal dealings with them. I have blogged about them before.
What I always say is that insurance is worth having, with a reputable company, because it “hasn’t yet been ruined and adversely affected my daily practice, YET”. But the day has arrived where I can foresee bad things down the road. I am angry. My client has been given the run around by a company I did not recommend. To insure her reimbursement, I had to waste valuable time satisfying their ridiculous stipulations. It seemed only fair to share with you what I have learned about Nationwide Pet Insurance. And, it’s not good.
First of all, Nationwide is NOT on your side. Not in my opinion. And not by a long shot.
They recently purchased VPI insurance, so this information is relevant to those of you covered by VPI. Many employers offer Nationwide to their employees, prompting them to cancel prior coverage policies by other companies.
My client was denied reimbursement for heartworm prevention and flea and tick prevention products, without proof of my recommendation and a script being provided. The email receipt from the pharmacy that I work with, which requires my veterinary approval (heartworm preventative) could not have been generated without my testing prior to prescribing it. Now they are awaiting my postdated written script for it along with a written recommendation. Same goes for flea and tick prevention. Absurd. It has delayed their reimbursement, which I suspect is the point. None of the any other companies have this time consuming, redundancy as standard procedure.
But wait, there’s more.
So, the Insider tip from their website, above, states that “..we don’t think it’s fair to penalize you if your pet gets sick or hurt.” So, they offer wellness coverage options. They may not penalize you if your pet is injured or ill, but it seems like a lot of red tape to get the coverage they do give.
Their website sports the snappy tagline,… “Coverage that gives you back.”
What, precisely does that mean? I know what it doesn’t give you back,… and that’s your the time you and your veterinarian wasted providing them with excessive proof of care and preventative medicine. I would think that prevention of disease is a good thing . It is the equivalent of getting oil changes, and having proof thereof by the dealer. But then being expected to have the dealer put in writing why you needed an oil change, and the date that they recommended it, what type of oil, without fulfilling a warranty covered service.
But it’s not just me complaining. There are currently 244 negative reviews and complaints posted against them on the consumer affairs website. Check them out yourself via the link here:
Their overall rating is 1 out of 5 stars, based on 48 ratings in the last year.
Did you know that they are not an accredited insurance agency?
Here are some representative complaints that I found telling.
- “The Nationwide website does not allow posting of bad reviews, and thus I had to post elsewhere”.
- “There was nowhere listed to submit claim forms”
- “…it’s a scam.”
- “…they are guilty of wrongful denial of claims for life saving medical services.”
The list goes on and on and on.
And then there’s this… They say above that “The key to picking (an insurance company) is to go with the company that has the most stability, experience and recommendations.
Did I mention that they are not accredited?
Then, they list in their “Insider Tips: Some insurance companies pay to use the names of well-known organizations. With Nationwide, what you see is what you get. Americas’s #1 recommended pet insurer*, …”
Below the box, circled in pink, is their reference for this claim of “America’s #1” as 2013 Veterinary AAU.
Veterinary AAU is the Veterinary University of Addis Ababa. So, their claim to #1 status is from the Veterinary School of Ethiopia.
So, true, they didn’t go with well known.
I do not intend to discredit AAU, but there are 30 Veterinary schools or colleges in the US that are accredited or have accreditation pending. Not one of them could have given a thumbs up? No other organizations, such as, say, The Humane Society, or any one of countless pet rescues? And what happened after 2013. Things may have gone downhill since then. Clearly they have.
Consider this when choosing a carrier for your pet.