Pet Insurance Blog

Is VPI Pet Insurance Good? Here's How It Stacks Up

Kari Steer, Licensed P&C Insurance Agent at Pawlicy Advisor
Kari Steere
Licensed Insurance Producer - Pawlicy Advisor
woman petting cat at desk

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), now sold under the Nationwide name, is a leading pet insurance provider in the U.S. that protects just about any type of pet. The company is known for its comprehensive plans and for providing coverage for exotic pets, but it is also a bit more expensive than other insurers.

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Could VPI be the best choice for your and your four-legged friend? Read on to find out more about its coverage options, claims process, pricing, restrictions, and more to see how it stacks up to other pet insurers.

Table of Contents:

About VPI Pet Insurance

VPI (or Veterinary Pet Insurance) was founded in 1980. The company was the first to offer pet insurance in the country, writing its first policy in 1982 for TV dog Lassie. Nationwide was VPI’s underwriter since it was founded and acquired the company in 2009.

Nationwide started its service back in 1925 offering auto and home insurance policies, and later expanded its portfolio, including business and personal insurance products. In 2008, it added pet insurance to its offering. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Nationwide’s pet insurance policies are available in all 50 states, including Washington DC.

VPI Pet Insurance review

What distinguishes VPI from other pet insurance providers is the fact that it offers coverage for most household pets, including cats, dogs, goats, rabbits, small reptiles, potbellied pigs, birds, and hamsters.

Available plans

For more common pets like dogs and cats, VPI Pet Insurance offers three different plans with different levels of coverage:

Major Medical is the company’s most basic Accident and Illness policy providing coverage for procedures, exam fees, genetic conditions, continued treatment, specialists, burial, and cremation.

Major Medical with Wellness covers everything that’s included in the Major Medical Plan but also includes certain preventive care options like behavioral treatment and vaccinations.

Whole Pet is the company’s premier insurance policy which provides coverage for nearly all vet services, including:

VPI’s policies are not only available for dogs and cats; however, policy offerings may vary depending on the animal species. For other household pets, you will have to call the provider directly in order to get specific coverage information.

Waiting periods

VPI has a 14-day waiting period for all illnesses and accidents, as well as an extended waiting period of 12 months for certain orthopedic conditions like a knee injury. If you purchase a standalone wellness plan, your coverage will start after 24 hours, but if you purchase it with an Accident and Illness plan, then the coverage for both plans will start after 14 days.

Exclusions

VPI Pet Insurance has restrictions that vary depending on the individual case and policy type. Also, like all other pet insurance providers, the company doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. However, if your pet was cured of the condition for at least six months, it will likely be eligible for coverage if it reappears. Chemotherapy coverage is also capped at $2,400 a year.

Pricing

The VPI Pet Insurance cost will depend on several factors, including your pet’s breed, age, and location. While the company does provide coverage that is substantial compared to other providers, it doesn’t offer a possibility for pet owners to reduce costs by customizing coverage levels. Most pet insurance companies allow pet parents to choose from different deductible options, reimbursement rates, and annual limits to better fit their budget, which is not the case with VPI.

According to Nationwide’s website, pet insurance plans start at $35 per month.

Discounts

VPI offers a 5% to 10% discount for multiple pets. Owners can also save up to $20 a year if they pay upfront for the whole year.

Claims and reimbursement times

All VPI Pet Insurance claims are filed through Nationwide, either through the Nationwide/VPI website or by downloading a PDF claims form and submitting it by mail, fax, or email. Most claims get processed within 30 days.

What we like about this coverage

  • VPI offers a wide range of coverage and pricing options, including comprehensive coverage for major illnesses and accidents, as well as wellness benefits.
  • Customers can use any licensed vet in the world (although they must reside in the States in order to be eligible for coverage).
  • The company covers most pets, including cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, and goats.
  • VPI/Nationwide customers get access to the VitusVet app which offers users a simple three-step process to file claims, as well as a "click-to-call" vet helpline, which offers live veterinary guidance about pet health, from general questions to urgent care needs.

What could be improved

  • VPI Pet Insurance is more expensive than competitor companies.
  • While the waiting period of 14 days is about the industry norm for illness coverage, it is a bit longer than what’s typical for accident benefits. For instance, Pets Best has a three-day waiting period for accidents, whereas, with Embrace, the waiting period is only 48 hours.
  • VPI offers a single deductible option of $250 for all Major Medical policies. In addition, most of the company’s plans set individual limits for each covered treatment instead of one single annual limit.

Is VPI Pet Insurance worth it?

Through Nationwide, VPI Pet Insurance provides some of the most comprehensive policies available on the market. It is also unique compared to other providers since it covers exotic pets. However, unlike most competitors who allow customers to choose from a range of benefit and deductible options, VPI doesn’t provide much flexibility when it comes to plan customization. It should also be mentioned that the provider is more expensive than other pet insurance companies.

If you are not sure whether VPI is the best choice for you, be sure to compare several different pet insurance providers before purchasing a plan to protect your four-legged family member. Most veterinarians agree that pet insurance is a worthwhile investment, but it is important to choose the right pet insurance company that satisfies your needs. Taking the time to compare plans and get quotes from multiple providers can save you money down the line.

Our Pet Insurance Advice blog is a great place to get started, but you can also use Pawlicy Advisor to compare different pet insurance providers and to find an affordable pet insurance plan that best fits your budget and your pet’s needs.

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Kari Steer, Licensed P&C Insurance Agent at Pawlicy Advisor

Kari Steere
Licensed Insurance Producer - Pawlicy Advisor

Kari Steere is a licensed P&C insurance agent in all 50 states and has focused entirely on pet insurance since 2019. As an animal lover with a rescued Terrier named Barry, when she's not helping pet owners find the perfect plan on Pawlicy Advisor, she runs a ranch in Oregon and rehabilitates any animals that come across her path.

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