Healthy Paws vs. Nationwide Pet Insurance Compared
2 July, 2018
healthy paws v. nationwide

By:  Lisa Fimberg

When enrolling in a pet insurance policy, there are many pet insurance companies to choose from and it can be hard to know where to start.  Two top pet insurance companies that you might be considering are Healthy Paws and Nationwide.  Both Healthy Paws and Nationwide are top pet insurance providers with excellent coverage but there are some differences when compared in detail.

healthy-paws pet insurance

Healthy Paws Overview:

Healthy Paws is one of the top rated insurance policy as it has no limit to how much its plan will pay out each year, and a 15-day waiting period for injury and illness coverage.   It offers comprehensive illness and accident coverage which is our favorite and unlimited benefits with no caps on the claims. And all of this is included in their standard plan!  Healthy Paws has an excellent customer satisfaction rating (an A +).

nationwide pet insurance

Nationwide Pet Insurance Overview:

Nationwide is a Fortune 100 company with incredible financial stability and only recently ventured into the pet insurance marketplace. What makes Nationwide stand out is that they offer expanded coverage beyond just cats and dogs, as well as wellness plans that cover routines like checkups and vaccinations.  If you want truly unlimited coverage, however, it is only offered if you choose the top tier, most expensive plan.  Nationwide is one of the few pet insurance companies that covers all birds and exotics pets.

Healthy Paws coverage includes all of the following:

Medical Conditions Covered:                                                                                

Accidental, Illness, Hereditary, Congenital, Cancer, Chronic, Accidental Dental

Medical Treatments Covered:

Diagnostic Testing, Surgery, Hospitalization, Prescription Medications, Emergency Care, Specialty Care, Alternative Care

Healthy Paws also covers treatments for hip dysplasia for pets under age six if it is not a pre-existing condition.

Nationwides’s coverage includes all of the following:

Medical Conditions Covered:                                                                                

Accidental, Illness, Hereditary, Congenital, Cancer, Chronic, Accidental Dental

Medical Treatments Covered:

Diagnostic Testing, Surgery, Hospitalization, Prescription Medications, Emergency Care, Specialty Care, Alternative Care, Dental Illness

Healthy Paws Coverage Details:

Healthy Paws covers cats and dogs with one of the most comprehensive coverage policies available in the industry without any limits or caps on coverage.  Their policies cover all accidents and illnesses, and there are no restrictions for hereditary or congenital conditions, including cancer. The policy also covers emergency care, hospital stays, and surgeries. All of their plans cover up to 90 % of your veterinary bill and is based on actual costs.

We really like the fact that Healthy Paws has no limit to how much they will pay out each year, and it typically has a 15-day waiting period for injury and illness coverage.   This can really help if your dog or cat has an emergency situation and the hospital bill is much bigger than you anticipated.  Healthy Paws plans are one of the few that offer unlimited and even lifetime benefits with no caps.

With Healthy Paws, you can go to any licensed veterinarian that you choose. This includes specialists and emergency animal hospitals.

Nationwide coverage details

Nationwide plans are structured differently than most providers who either don’t offer wellness at all, or offer an add-on for limited wellness coverage.  With Nationwide, you either get the full Wellness benefits via their Whole Pet plan or you only get wellness via their Wellness plans. Wellness is not an add-on with Nationwide which makes them more expensive.

Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan is one of the most comprehensive pet insurance policies in the market. In addition to the normal accident and illness coverage, it also provides for yearly physical exams, vaccinations, and flea/heartworm prevention. While this is beneficial, it is a little more expensive than most due to its comprehensive coverage.  The Whole Pet with wellness plan includes hip dysplasia.

Nationwide’s, Major Medical, is more in line cost and coverage-wise with the standard accident and illness plans offered by most companies. Pets under this plan are covered for common medical costs. These may include injuries or illnesses related to accidents, cancer treatments, and hereditary conditions. Chronic conditions covered at no extra cost; however, pet owners with a major medical policy are not reimbursed for wellness visits each year.  You can just purchase its Major Medical plan without the wellness or purchase the wellness plan separately.

With this plan, each potential illness/accident has a listed maximum payout. So you receive set benefits up to the maximum for each potential incident. This can be limiting if your pet is very sick or injured.  Healthy Paws does not have a maximum payout.

The Pet Wellness Plan includes wellness exams and test, wellness exams & tests, flea/heartworm prevention, microchipping and vaccinations.  When purchasing on its own, the plan is relatively inexpensive.

Hereditary and congenital conditions are covered under their more expensive Whole Pet with Wellness plan, and some plans do not cover it at all. In comparison, Healthy Paws has one plan that does not restrict hereditary or congenital coverage.

Benefit Limits

Healthy Paws is one of the few insurers that offer policies with no limits or caps, including annual, lifetime, or per incident caps.  While other pet insurance policies offer unlimited benefits, it typically is with their most expensive plans. With Healthy Paws, the unlimited benefit option is included in their standard plan which is an excellent option.

As with other pet insurance policies, as long as the condition your dog or cat is being treated for is not a pre-existing condition, they will pay your entire bill or 70 to 90% of it.  That really gives you peace of mind when a serious pet injury can cost as much as $15,000 or more.

Both Nationwide plans — Whole Pet with 90% reimbursement, and all other plans with a benefit schedule — offer unlimited annual maximums.  If you want unlimited annual benefits, you will have to purchase the Whole Pet plan. Its lower tier plans don’t offer unlimited benefits, but rather, they limit the dollar amount that can be spent on conditions and services based on a benefit schedule. Healthy Paws has an unlimited annual benefit for all plans.

The lower-tiered plans have limits on a condition and service basis.  Therefore, the truly unlimited plans is the top-tiered Whole Pet with Wellness so you pay more to have truly unlimited benefits where with Healthy Paws it is offered on all plans.


Healthy Paws offers an annual deductible which you pay once per year.  You can choose the level of deductible, which can help you control your premium costs.  The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

Healthy Paws allows you to choose the deductible that works the best of you and your needs.  Deductibles can be set at $100, $250, and $500 (the highest).   Therefore, if you choose the $250 deductible you’ll get a higher payout per incident, but you are going to be paying a higher monthly premium as well.

Nationwide offers just one annual deductible of $250. That makes it simple, but it can also make it more expensive. Without any additional options, you don’t have the opportunity to lower your premium by choosing a higher deductible as you would with other pet insurance providers.  Healthy Paws offers a range of deductibles so you can choose a specific deductible that meets your budget needs.

Nationwide’s per-incident deductibles apply to every new claim you file before you’ll be covered. Annual deductibles need to be met just once each 12-month policy term for full coverage to kick in. Nationwide plans have either an annual deductible or no deductible.


With Healthy Paws, you can choose a reimbursement level of 70%, 80%, or 90% and they reimburse you based on the actual veterinary bill after you have met your deductible (and your co-pay).  As with deductibles, the higher the monthly premium, the more you will get reimbursed for that claim.

With Nationwide’s top tier plan, you get 90% reimbursement of the actual vet bill.  As mentioned above, you will pay a higher premium because there is no option for choosing a lower reimbursement. Its lower tier plans reimburse based on a benefits schedule, which includes individual payout caps for each condition or service. This could be problematic if your pet is susceptible to certain conditions that have low coverage limits.


We all know how pricing is important in whatever plan you choose to enroll in.

Healthy Paws plans are reasonably priced plans when you take into account that they have not no limits of any kind and offer a customized payout percentage and deductible model.

There are 10% lifetime discounts offered for the following: Animal Welfare Volunteers, Association or Alumni Organizations, membership groups such as AAA, AARP, and Costco, and Military service. They offer a 15 % lifetime discount for employer sponsored plans.

The average starting premium for dogs is $32.80 and for cats is $17.19.

Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan you get one of the best pet insurance plans on the market, but you will pay for the privilege.  Their monthly premiums are a little on the high end as opposed to our other companies.

Whole Pet plans currently start around $60 for dog insurance and $32 for cat insurance. The Major Medical plan currently starts around $34 for dog insurance and $18 for cat insurance.

You can get a 5% discount on all packages if you are already have Nationwide Home or Renters Insurance. They also offer a 5% discount if you insure more than one pet with them.

Enrollment and Waiting Periods

Healthy Paws starting age for pets is eight weeks and older.  They do have an upper age of coverage which is 13 years old.  Healthy paws has a 15 day waiting period for accidents and illnesses. The waiting period for hip dysplasia is 12 months.

Accident coverage begins 5 days after enrollment, but there is a 15 day waiting period for illnesses. Medical records are not required for enrollment.

Nationwide will enroll pets starting at 6 weeks old. Nationwide has a relatively lower age restriction with older pets at 10 years. However, if the pet is enrolled before age 10, and the policy never lapses, they will be covered for the duration of their lives.

Waiting periods are industry standard at 14 days, although Wellness starts 24 hours after approval.  Their accident and Illness waiting period is 14 days.

Nationwide Policyholders also have access to the vet helpline – a 24/7 hotline offered at no cost that provides guidance on general pet concerns and identifying urgent pet care needs.

Claims and Service

Healthy Paws is known for reimbursing its claims fast and with as little fuss as possible compared to other pet insurance companies. Their customer support is efficient and courteous and available 7 days a week (but not after hours). Claims are generally processed within a few days.

Nationwide estimates that it will take up to 30 days from receiving all of the necessary information to process your claim, which is slower than many competitors.  If they have all the information right away, the process is faster.  You can track claims in real time and submit them through your phone.

Make sure to take a look at our top pet insurance providers of 2018 which includes both Healthy Paws and Nationwide.


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