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Bringing home a new pet is an exciting time. But it can also be overwhelming. You want to be sure that you’re prepared for the unexpected. Pet insurance is the smart way to make sure your dog or cat is covered with the best veterinary care without worrying about the cost.

We asked Nationwide your top questions about pet insurance — from what it covers to how it works — so that you can feel confident about living a long and healthy life with your pet.

Question: What does a pet insurance plan cover?

Answer: Nationwide offers nose-to-tail coverage for:

  • Accidents, including broken bones, sprains, lacerations, and poisoning
  • Illnesses, including allergies, ear infections, arthritis, cancer, and more
  • Preventive care, including checkups, vaccinations, and flea/tick prevention

Question: Are pre-existing conditions covered?

Answer: Unfortunately, pet insurance companies generally don’t cover pre-existing conditions. (That’s why it’s important to enroll your pet when they’re young!) However, Nationwide does allow members to request reviews of pre-existing conditions that have been cured, in which case an exception may be made to cover the condition.

Question: What are pre-existing conditions?

Answer: A pre-existing condition is any condition that began or was contracted, manifested, or incurred up to twelve months before the effective date of your policy or during any waiting period, whether or not the condition was discovered, diagnosed, or treated. A chronic condition is a pre-existing condition unless it begins after the effective date of your policy.

Question: What does pet insurance not cover?

Answer: Nationwide wants to make care accessible to as many pets as possible, which is why they try to keep exclusions to a minimum. Please see your policy for full details. Plans generally don’t cover:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Waste disposal
  • Boarding/grooming
  • Tax

Question: Are hereditary conditions covered?

Answer: Yes, depending on the type of coverage you select.

Question: Are there any caps on payouts?

Answer: The annual limit for reimbursement depends on the product and coverage level selected. See policy documents for details.

Question: Is routine care covered?

Answer: Wellness coverage for routine care is available based on the plan you select, including physical exams, vaccinations, flea/tick preventives, and more.

Question: Is there a waiting period after I sign up?

Answer: Yes. A 14-day waiting period applies, starting from the time your application is approved and payment is received. If you’re enrolling as part of a group or organization, effective dates vary.

Question: What is the annual deductible for medical insurance?

Answer: Nationwide offers annual deductible options as low as $100 on some plans. Most pet parents choose a $250 annual deductible.

Question: Can I add a policy for a new pet to my existing policy?

Answer: You’ll need to enroll your new pet in a separate pet insurance policy but will be able to manage all your pets under one account. And you may be eligible for a multi-pet discount.

Question: Does insurance cover prescription dog food?

Answer: Prescription food is covered under certain plan types or can be added to other plans with the purchase of an optional rider.

Question: Can I cancel my policy before the term is up?

Answer: Absolutely. You can cancel anytime. Your state may also have a Free Look Period (a.k.a. Right to Examine and Return a Policy) in which you would have a limited time to get your money back. To qualify, you must not have filed a claim under the policy. Participating states require you to notify Nationwide of your choice to exercise the Free Look option within a specific time frame. Please read your policy for details. Terms may vary by state.

Question: Can I change my pet insurance policy later?

Answer: You can add or reduce coverage during your annual policy renewal period. Note: Certain coverage or product upgrades may require underwriting review.

Question: What are the limitations on coverage and medical costs?

Answer: Depending on the plan you select, there could be an annual maximum on the reimbursement amounts received for your pet’s health conditions. Some plans are built with pre-set benefit allowances for line items that will only reimburse up to those amounts. Please review your plan details for more information.

Question: Will you drop my pet from coverage because of age?

Answer: Never. To get the best coverage options, enroll your pet before age 8, and be sure to keep your policy continually in force (translation: don’t let it lapse or expire). Nationwide promises not to drop your pet because of age. After all, they’re pet lovers, too!

Question: How are my premiums determined?

Answer: Monthly premiums for new enrollments depend on your pet’s breed and age, the type of coverage selected, and your ZIP code.

Question: Can I use any veterinarian?

Answer: Yes. You’re free to use any licensed veterinarian, including specialists and emergency providers.

Question: How do reimbursements work?

Answer: Once you’ve met your annual deductible, Nationwide will pay you back for covered veterinary expenses according to the reimbursement percentage you chose for your plan, up to the category maximum you selected.

Say you have a $250 annual deductible with $5,000 in accident coverage at 90% reimbursement. Now let’s say your dog broke a leg and the vet bill was $2,500, of which $2,400 was covered. After your deductible and 90% are applied, Nationwide would reimburse you $1,935, leaving you with $3,065 in remaining accident coverage for the remainder of your policy term.

Question: How do I file a claim?

Answer: File a claim in just three easy steps:

  • Visit your vet: Visit any licensed veterinarian in the United States or anywhere else in the world.
  • Submit your claim: Quickly and easily submit claims online for things like illnesses, injuries, or emergency care.
  • Get reimbursed: Receive reimbursements for eligible vet costs covered under your policy terms.

Question: Why do I need insurance for my pet?

Answer: As a pet parent, you want to make sure providing the best care possible for your dog doesn’t become a financial burden. Pet insurance policies reimburse you for your pet’s medical care so you can focus on keeping your pet healthy — not on what it costs.

Question: When is the best time to buy pet insurance?

Answer: It’s a good idea to enroll your pet in a pet insurance plan as early as possible before chronic conditions develop or your pet needs any medical care that could put limitations on your coverage. If you have an upcoming veterinary appointment, make sure you factor in the waiting period before coverage begins.

Question: Can a senior pet still get pet insurance?

Answer: It’s always a good idea to have a pet insurance plan, no matter your pet’s age. If you’re enrolling your older pet in a medical plan for the first time, certain things may be excluded from coverage as pre-existing. However, preventive care coverage is available without exclusions and is a great way to keep up with your older pet’s annual checkups and wellness care.

Adopt a Pet and Nationwide believe that every pet deserves pet insurance. To give you a leg up on getting a policy, Nationwide has a suite of offerings for Adopt a Pet parents like you.