As a pet owner, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is choosing the right insurance for your furry friend. This article will delve into a comparison between two of the leading providers, ASPCA and Nationwide pet insurance. Both offer comprehensive policies, but it’s the nuanced differences that make each stand out. By the end of this review, you should have a clear understanding of both providers, enabling you to make an informed decision on the best pet insurance for your pet.
Overview of ASPCA Pet Insurance
Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a long-standing reputation in advocating for animal welfare. In its endeavor to safeguard the health of pets, the organization offers ASPCA Pet Insurance, underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company.
ASPCA Pet Insurance offers comprehensive coverage options that include accidents, illnesses, hereditary and congenital conditions, alternative therapies, and behavioral issues. They offer optional preventative care coverage at extra cost, which covers routine wellness procedures like vaccines and heartworm tests.
Overview of Nationwide Pet Insurance
Established in 1925, Nationwide has grown to become one of the leading insurance providers in the United States. Its foray into pet insurance has seen it develop a solid reputation, with its pet insurance policies gaining significant popularity among pet owners.
Nationwide provides a range of pet insurance plans that include basic coverage for accidents and illnesses, a wellness plan for routine care, and a comprehensive plan that covers almost everything from accidents, illnesses, to wellness care.
ASPCA offers a variety of customizable coverage options, which allows pet owners to tailor their insurance according to their needs. In contrast, Nationwide offers three distinct plans: Major Medical for accident and illness, Pet Wellness for preventative care, and Whole Pet with Wellness, which offers comprehensive coverage for everything from illnesses to routine care.
One significant difference between the two is dental coverage. ASPCA insurance covers dental diseases, such as periodontal disease, under its core policy. On the other hand, Nationwide includes dental diseases and procedures in its comprehensive Whole Pet with Wellness plan only.
Pricing and Deductibles
ASPCA offers a range of deductibles, starting from $100 to $500. This allows policyholders to select a deductible that best suits their budget and expected veterinary expenses. Nationwide, on the other hand, only offers a $250 deductible for its Whole Pet with Wellness plan. The choice of deductibles with ASPCA allows for more flexible pricing.
Both companies offer easy-to-use online portals and mobile apps where policyholders can submit claims, check claim status, and update their policy information. Nationwide stands out for its efficient claim processing time, often reimbursing customers within 14 days. ASPCA, however, provides an option to pay veterinarians directly at the time of service, which means customers don’t always need to wait for reimbursements.
Policy Limitations: ASPCA vs Nationwide
It’s crucial to consider the limitations of any pet insurance policy. ASPCA, for instance, includes a bilateral conditions policy, meaning that if your pet has a pre-existing condition on one side of its body (like a knee issue), any issues that occur on the opposite side will be considered pre-existing as well.
Nationwide, on the other hand, has some limitations regarding its coverage of hereditary and congenital conditions. These conditions are only covered under their Whole Pet with Wellness plan and not the basic Major Medical plan. Understanding these policy exclusions can prevent unexpected out-of-pocket expenses down the line.
Quality customer service can make all the difference in your pet insurance experience. ASPCA is lauded for its knowledgeable and responsive customer service team. Its straightforward claim submission process and quick response time to queries are well-received by policyholders.
Nationwide also receives high marks for its customer service. The company is praised for its 24/7 Vet Helpline, which provides real-time advice from veterinarians and veterinary technicians. This added feature provides Nationwide policyholders with peace of mind in case of an emergency.
Both ASPCA and Nationwide offer a straightforward reimbursement process, allowing policyholders to submit claims online or via their respective mobile apps. ASPCA provides a direct payment option to your veterinarian, which could be an attractive feature for some pet owners, removing the need to pay a hefty upfront cost and wait for reimbursement.
On the other hand, Nationwide’s turnaround time on claims processing is highly rated, with most claims being paid out within 14 days. This swift claims process can be highly beneficial for pet owners facing large unexpected veterinary bills.
Routine and preventive care is a crucial part of your pet’s health. ASPCA offers wellness coverage as an optional add-on to their core policy, which covers wellness exams, vaccinations, screenings, and microchip implantation. The flexibility to add wellness coverage can be beneficial for pet owners who want to ensure their pet’s routine health care is covered.
Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan offers one of the most extensive wellness coverages in the industry, covering preventive care like physical exams, vaccinations, and even flea and heartworm prevention. While the coverage is more expansive, it’s important to note that it’s only available with their most inclusive, and therefore most expensive, plan.
Portability and Multi-Pet Discount
Portability is another important factor, especially for families that move frequently. Both ASPCA and Nationwide offer nationwide coverage, meaning you can use any licensed vet in the US, making both policies highly portable.
If you have more than one pet, it’s worth noting that both providers offer multi-pet discounts. ASPCA offers a 10% discount on each additional pet you enroll, while Nationwide offers a 5% discount.
Most pet insurance policies have a waiting period before coverage begins. ASPCA has a 14-day waiting period for illnesses and a two-day waiting period for accidents. Nationwide’s waiting period is 14 days for both accidents and illnesses, but they do have a 12-month waiting period for certain conditions such as cruciate ligament events. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these waiting periods to prevent any coverage surprises.
Ultimately, the choice between ASPCA and Nationwide pet insurance comes down to your pet’s needs and your financial considerations. ASPCA offers more flexibility in policy customization, allowing you to pick and choose what works for you and your pet. Nationwide, while less flexible, provides robust coverage, especially with their Whole Pet with Wellness plan.
How Do Deductibles Work?
A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your pet insurance begins to cover costs. Both ASPCA and Nationwide offer annual deductibles, meaning the deductible resets each year. ASPCA offers a range of deductibles from $100 to $500, while Nationwide offers $100, $250, or $500 options. Selecting a higher deductible will reduce your premium cost, but increase your out-of-pocket expenses if your pet requires care.
How Are Reimbursement Rates Set?
Reimbursement rate is the percentage of the veterinary bill that will be reimbursed by the insurance after the deductible has been met. ASPCA offers a range of reimbursement options, from 70% to 90%. Nationwide, on the other hand, offers a 90% reimbursement rate on its Whole Pet with Wellness plan, but uses a benefits schedule for the Major Medical plan, which limits reimbursement to a set amount per condition.
Are Prescription Medications Covered?
Prescription medications are often a necessary part of treatment for pets with illness or injury. ASPCA includes prescription medication coverage in their base plans. Nationwide also covers prescription medications but only under the Whole Pet with Wellness plan. It’s important to consider your pet’s potential medication needs when choosing a plan.
Are Alternative Therapies Covered?
Alternative therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic care, and physiotherapy are increasingly being recognized for their benefits to pet health. ASPCA covers alternative therapies in its base policies. Nationwide also covers alternative treatments but only in the Whole Pet with Wellness plan. If your pet has a condition that might benefit from alternative therapies, this is an important coverage to consider.
What Happens As My Pet Ages?
The age of your pet can influence your pet insurance options. ASPCA guarantees coverage for your pet as long as the policy is in effect, meaning the policy won’t be cancelled due to age. They also do not have an upper age limit for policy enrollment.
Nationwide also guarantees continuous coverage as long as the policy remains in effect. However, pets must be under 10 years old for illness coverage upon initial enrollment. Once enrolled, pets can age into the policy and still be covered.
Does Breed Impact Coverage?
Certain breeds are prone to specific health conditions. ASPCA does not exclude breeds but premiums may be higher for breeds prone to certain health conditions. Nationwide also doesn’t exclude any breeds, but their coverage of hereditary and congenital conditions is limited to their Whole Pet with Wellness plan. Knowing your breed’s potential health risks can help you evaluate the best coverage options.
Are Pre-existing Conditions Covered?
Pre-existing conditions, or health issues that your pet had before the start of your insurance policy, are not covered by either ASPCA or Nationwide. This is a standard exclusion across the pet insurance industry. However, each company defines pre-existing conditions slightly differently, so it’s important to understand these definitions when enrolling.
How Are Premiums Calculated?
Premiums, or the monthly or annual cost of your pet insurance policy, are influenced by several factors. These include your pet’s age, breed, location, the selected deductible, and the reimbursement level. Both ASPCA and Nationwide use these factors to calculate your pet’s insurance premiums.
Can I Choose My Own Veterinarian?
Both ASPCA and Nationwide allow you to choose any licensed veterinarian in the United States. This flexibility is especially beneficial for pet owners who travel frequently or move often, as they can ensure their pet is covered regardless of their location.
Is There Coverage for Behavioral Issues?
Behavioral issues can often require professional intervention and, sometimes, medication. ASPCA covers behavioral issues as standard, including problems such as excessive licking, fur pulling, and destruction of the home. Nationwide covers behavioral treatments in its comprehensive Whole Pet with Wellness plan, but not in its Major Medical plan.
Is Dental Care Included?
Dental care is a significant aspect of a pet’s overall health. ASPCA includes dental disease coverage in their Comprehensive plan but not in their Accident-Only plan. Nationwide includes dental treatments in its Whole Pet with Wellness plan, which covers dental illnesses and injuries, including extractions and reconstructions.
What is the Enrollment Process?
Both ASPCA and Nationwide have easy online enrollment processes. For ASPCA, you’ll need to provide details about your pet (age, breed, location), select your coverage (deductible, reimbursement level, and policy limit), and provide payment information. For Nationwide, the process is similar, although certain plans may require additional medical history or a vet exam for your pet.
Are There Any Discounts Available?
Yes, both companies offer discounts. ASPCA provides a 10% discount on each additional pet you enroll. Nationwide offers a multi-pet discount of 5%, and also provides discounts to veterinary professionals and those with service or therapy animals. Always ask about available discounts when enrolling your pet.