TRUPANION VS. VPI/NATIONWIDE
When looking into medical insurance for your pet, it’s very important to get the facts and read the fine print. Be sure to do your research before making your decision. To make life a little easier, we’ve done some of that for you—read on to learn some of the differences between Trupanion and Nationwide.
Are these features important to you?
|Vet Direct Pay||Can pay participating hospitals directly||No automatic process to pay veterinarians directly
|No age-based restrictions in payouts and coverage||
Does not discriminate based on pet's age at enrollment
|Limits reimbursement and deductible options at enrollment for older pets|
We can pay your veterinarian directly
Rather than the traditional insurance reimbursement model, Trupanion has changed the game and created a process that, once again, puts our members first. We can pay our portion directly to the hospital while you’re checking out. That means you’re only paying the veterinary hospital your share of the invoice. We don’t want you to wait for a reimbursement or worry about what’s going to get covered, and we think you probably don’t either. In many cases, our direct pay option requires no paperwork and no phone calls from the pet owner.
Nationwide only reimburses pet owners after they’ve paid their entire veterinary bill with no option for direct payment to hospitals.
Ask your hospital if they have the ability to accept direct payment from Trupanion. If they don’t, ask them to contact us so we can work with them to help ensure you’ll have the best experience possible.
We cover congenital conditions
Nationwide has several pet insurance products available. One of their plans, Major Medical, has significant limitations and exclusions when it comes to the things that may be more likely to happen to specific breeds, collectively known as congenital and hereditary conditions. For example, cardiac arrhythmia in Boxers could be considered a congenital condition, and deafness in Dalmatians could be considered a hereditary condition.
Major Medical excludes all congenital conditions from coverage, considering them pre-existing even if there are no signs of the condition prior to enrollment or during waiting periods. The policy does cover some hereditary conditions, but not all, and those they do cover are only after a 12-month waiting period. Hereditary and congenital conditions are often costly to treat and may require veterinary care for the rest of your pet’s life. Some of these conditions are very common for many breeds. Why pay for coverage that doesn’t cover what you may need it to?
See these exclusions on VPI/Nationwide’s website:
Excluded Hereditary Conditions
Excluded Congenital Conditions
Common Disorders and Defects
In addition to the potential of having certain conditions exempt from coverage, there are other details to take into consideration. Think countless restrictions, limits, caps, and long waiting periods—like 12 months for cruciate ligament and meniscus (knee) injuries. Cruciate ligament injuries happen to be one of the top conditions we’ve helped cover for our members, many within their first year with Trupanion. With the majority of VPI/Nationwide plans, if your pet has a cruciate issue within the first year of enrollment, it wouldn’t be covered.
With Trupanion, your full coverage kicks in after a 12-day delayed effective date. That’s right—not 12 months, 12 days.*
We have no limits on the amount of care your pet can receive
No one wants their beloved cat or dog to get sick or injured, but sometimes unexpected things happen. That’s where medical insurance can help. But if your coverage is limited, you may find yourself in a tough situation.
Other companies often have annual limits, so if your pet is unlucky and has a few really big bills, you may find yourself paying out of pocket pretty quickly. If your pet is experiencing a health issue, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your pet’s medical insurance policy will actually pay the bill.
With The Trupanion Plan, there’s no limit on the amount of care your pet can receive. We pay based on the actual veterinary invoice, and no matter how high the veterinary invoice or how many claims we’ve paid for your pet, you never have to worry about running out of coverage.
One of Nationwide’s plans, Major Medical, reimburses policyholders based on a benefit schedule. A benefit schedule is a list that details the fixed payout amounts a provider will pay for each condition and veterinary procedure. Their maximum reimbursement amount may not cover the full extent of your actual bill. If the maximum reimbursement is $10,000.00 and your veterinary bills total over $15,000.00, you’re on the hook for $5,000.00.
See an example VPI/Nationwide’s benefit schedule:
Major Medical benefit schedule
And what seems like a reasonable limit today may be very limiting in a few years’ time. When purchasing medical insurance, consider what your coverage needs may be like 3, 5, or 10 years from now. You just never know what might happen. Which is why getting medical insurance for your pet is a smart choice. And when you don’t have to worry about keeping a tally of your veterinary invoices, you can stay focused on the health of your pet.
We’re here for you 24/7/365
Our call center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year—even on holidays. Trupanion remains committed to our members whenever they need us. We know that those midnight calls can make a difference when your veterinarian is treating a life-threatening situation. That’s why we make sure we’re there for you whenever you might need us.
Nationwide is only available for coverage questions Monday through Friday, 5am–7pm, and Saturday 7am – 3:30pm PST. That means they’re open less than half of the week, as opposed to Trupanion being open 100% of the week. Nationwide has a 24-hour veterinary helpline, but this helpline cannot answer coverage questions.
We are committed to helping our members whenever they need us. We know those midnight calls can make a difference in the way your veterinarian treats a life-threatening situation. That’s why we make sure we’re there for you whenever you might need us.
We offer financial flexibility with no deductible
We offer the most flexible payout available so that you’re in control of your monthly costs. When you sign up, you get to pick what we pay. This means you have maximum control over your monthly costs by choosing a payout percentage that works for you.
Nationwide has one deductible option available to you at $250. This makes it difficult to ensure that you can fit this particular coverage into your monthly budget.
And let’s talk about deductibles for a minute. With The Trupanion Plan, you never have a deductible to meet. That’s right, we don’t have a set amount you have to pay before your coverage kicks in. Instead, you pick the payout percentage, and if something happens to your pet, The Trupanion Plan starts paying out immediately.
We don’t raise rates just because your pet has a birthday
Trupanion is unique because we are the only provider of medical insurance for pets that uses your pet’s age at enrollment to determine your plan’s price—for life. For example, if you sign up your puppy at 8 weeks old, we’ll price them as an 8-week old for their entire life.
This doesn’t mean your rates will never change as a Trupanion member. All insurers must increase or decrease rates due to changes in the cost of veterinary care. And while your pet has Trupanion coverage, your monthly cost will go up or down based upon the underlying costs of all pets within your subcategories. That’s how we share the risk fairly among all of our members.
Trupanion considers cost for the entire life of your pet. Our pricing reflects a shared risk with all responsible, loving pet owners like you that sign up their pets at the same age. This is regardless of whether the pet was signed up last month or last decade. When we have a price increase, it ultimately means that we can continue to offer our members the same value as we always have. This is our pricing promise to our members.
But some providers, including Nationwide, use what’s called “birthday pricing.” Birthday pricing means that an insurer will automatically raise your rate when your pet gets older—on top of all other increases that account for inflation or other factors.
We won’t drop coverage for no reason
When you look at VPI/Nationwide’s policy wording below, they have drafted in certain states that they can cancel your policy with only 10 days’ notice—for no reason at all. Or they can choose not to renew it when your anniversary comes up.
With Trupanion you have coverage for your pet’s entire life. It doesn’t matter how many health issues your pet may face, or how much we pay out. Your bill can be $100 or $100,000, and we’ll be right there, so we don’t have this wording in our plan. That way responsible pet owners can have peace of mind knowing they’re covered.
We believe that veterinarians should manage wellness—not insurance companies
While a wellness plan from your veterinary hospital can be a great addition to your pet’s healthcare, it isn’t the same as planning for the unexpected. Trupanion doesn’t offer wellness coverage of any kind. We believe that you will receive the most value if we cover what you’re least expecting. You can easily budget for annual check-ups and flea preventives. But it’s difficult to plan for an accident or sudden illness when you don’t know when it will happen or if costs will fluctuate.
We strongly believe that insurance companies shouldn’t manage or dictate the pet owner’s relationship with their veterinarian. Your veterinarian is the expert on your pet’s health. They can—and should—choose which preventive care programs and treatments are most ideal for your pet. Trupanion believes that the best treatment plan for your pet is the one decided upon by you and your veterinarian, not an insurance company.
Have questions? Call 844.583.1534.
We're available 24/7/365.
* Maine residents: If your pet has received a full physical vet exam within the last 24 hours, our complete coverage starts with your first payment. We will start completing a Medical Record Summary for your pet immediately after enrollment, with no waiting periods or delayed effective date.