Nationwide Pet Insurance Cancellations Leave Pet Parents Scrambling

Nationwide Pet Insurance Cancellations Leave Pet Parents Scrambling

Roughly 100,000 pet insurance policyholders will soon face a significant challenge to their peace of mind and financial security. Nationwide Pet Insurance has notified thousands of customers that they will soon cancel their policies. Unfortunately, these pet parents cannot switch over to another plan.

In their official statement released to the media, Nationwide reported, “This will involve the non-renewal of approximately 100,000 policies between this spring and the summer of 2025. Impacted policyholders will be notified in writing well in advance according to state law.”

Why Is Nationwide Nixing So Many Policies?

Nationwide is discontinuing certain plans, including Whole Pet, which will no longer be available in specific states.  

In letters to pet parents explaining the decision, Nationwide states, “The same economic pressures from inflation, higher interest rates and rising costs that have caused unprecedented losses for the American insurance industry are affecting the pet insurance industry as well.[1]”

In eliminating certain plans, the company states it hopes to “ensure a financially sustainable future for our pet insurance line of business.”

How Nationwide’s Decision Could Impact Pets

Despite the 89.9 million households that own at least one pet [2], the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) reports only 5 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats in the United States carry an insurance policy. 

Nationwide stresses they are consistently paying for claims that have toppled billions of dollars over the last four decades. In 1982, Nationwide – then called Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) – issued its first pet health insurance policy to famed television canine star, Lassie.[3] Throughout its history, Nationwide covered a wide range of animals including bearded dragons, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. 

Navigating the Loss of Coverage

Dr. Sharon Daley, DVM, CSA, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, wonders if other big pet insurance companies will take on the pets with pre-existing conditions. 

“I recommend pet parents get insurance for their pets because it can remove the money aspect from the decision process when illness or injury occurs,” Dr. Daley shares. “I work in a rural practice and we see a lot of people who simply can’t afford it.”

Daley admits it’s upsetting to see pet parents who made the right decision suddenly lose access to their policies through no fault of their own. 

Northeastern Pennsylvania resident Ellen Morrissey relied on Nationwide Pet Insurance for her rescue dog, Zola. In her senior years, Zola faced a range of health problems – from osteoarthritis to digestive problems and hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer that eventually claimed her life. 

“I would pay whatever is necessary for my dog’s healthcare needs,” Morrissey admits. “Losing the safety net [of insurance] would have made an already challenging time even more difficult.”

Steps to Take if Your Pet Insurance Policy is Canceled

Should your insurance provider choose not to renew your pet’s health policy, there are a few steps pet parents can take. 

  1. Ask the reason(s) for cancellation and if you can switch to another plan.
  2. Request details about the cancellation and any benefits remaining on your policy.
  3. Explore alternative pet insurance options armed with coverage questions to ask. 
  4. Ask any potential insurers you are considering about their pre-existing conditions policy and any waiting period before the policy takes effect.
  5. Consult your veterinarian to ask about alternative pet insurance companies they might recommend. 
  6. If you are employed, check with Human Resources to see if pet insurance is part of your benefits package.
  7. Start an emergency savings plan for your pet to cover out-of-pocket expenses.
  8. If you switch to a new carrier, fully disclose your pet’s medical history to avoid denied claims or policy cancellations. 

MarketWatch published a 2024 survey [4] that polled pet parents on how they would pay for veterinary emergencies. Here’s how people responded:

  • Credit card 39.90%
  • Cash or savings 32.20%
  • Pet insurance 12.90%
  • Do not know 9.20%
  • Personal loan 3.50%
  • Other 2.30%

Clearly, people rely on pet insurance for emergencies and routine care. There are other ways to pay for pet care, including CareCredit, payment plans, and crowdsourcing.  

“I will never have a pet and be without insurance again,” Morrissey states. “Avoiding the financial shock of large, unexpected veterinary bills is worth it.”

References

  1. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10161324672308308&set=a.234522543307
  2. https://www.americanpetproducts.org/research-insights/industry-trends-and-stats
  3. https://news.nationwide.com/nationwide-celebrates-40-years-of-pet-insurance-history/
  4. https://www.marketwatch.com/guides/pet-insurance/pet-insurance-facts-and-statistics/

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