Which Pet Insurance Is Best? Trupanion vs Nationwide


If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking of buying pet insurance.

This is an important decision, and not one you should take lightly.

The cost of treating a serious injury or illness could easily run into the thousands, causing a considerable strain on your finances. A good pet insurance policy will absorb most of the expense, giving you the peace of mind that your pal’s health is taken care of no matter the cost.

Making the decision to insure your pet, however, is only half the battle.

Before you commit to a policy you’ll need to consider a host of factors, including the level of cover, any limits and deductibles, and what’s excluded by the fine print. After all, unless an insurance policy is right for your pet, you’re just throwing money away.


Thankfully, we’ve taken the stress away from shopping for pet insurance by ranking the best ten providers on the market.

Our rankings are based on how each provider fares in five categories: cover, limits and deductibles, value for money, age limits and fine print. Our highest-rated provider is Trupanion, while the provider that ranked lowest is Nationwide Pet Insurance.

But ranking pet insurance providers is only the beginning.

We’ve decided to up the ante by making Trupanion and Nationwide go head to head in our three most important ranking categories: cover, limits and deductibles and fine print. 

Read on to find out how they fared.

Who Has The Best Cover?

While Trupanion have one single plan, Nationwide offer three tiers of cover.

The first tier covers your pal’s basic wellness. This plan is ideal if you simply want insurance cover for checkups and preventive care - including annual vaccinations. However, it doesn’t cover much else.

The second tier, called the Major Medical plan, covers accidents and illnesses.

The third tier has wellness, accident and illness cover all rolled into one plan.

Trupanion’s single plan offers similar benefits to Nationwide’s second and third tiers. However, Nationwide offer some perks you won’t get with Trupanion.

Nationwide have wellness cover, while Trupanion don’t. They also insure exotic pets. This makes them your only option if you’re fond of unusual pets, since Trupanion will only insure cats and dogs.

Finally, while Trupanion do offer some budgeting leeway via a choice of deductible, this will only reduce the monthly premium by so much. Nationwide’s three plans, plus a choice of deductible, make for more flexible pricing options.

Who Has The More Advantageous Limits And Deductibles?

Trupanion reimburse 90% of your vet bills after the deductible, with no annual or lifetime caps. The deductible is payable per incident, that is every time you make a claim. However, you can choose not to have a deductible.

Nationwide, on the other hand, pay out according to a schedule of benefits, unless you opt for their most expensive plan. They also have a deductible, which is payable once annually, rather than per incident.

Trupanion have a slight advantage over Nationwide in this category.

Percentage reimbursements are based on your actual expenditure. This tends to work in your favor, especially if you make a large claim.

A schedule of benefits, on the other hand, will pay a set amount of money, irrespective of how much you actually paid. While these payouts are usually more than enough to cover small claims, they might leave you with significant out-of-pocket expenses if your pet suffers a serious accident or illness.

Nationwide do offer reimbursement payments on their most expensive tier. However, you’ll still have to pay a minimum deductible, while Trupanion let you opt not to have a deductible at all.

Who Has The More Straightforward Fine Print?

Like most other pet insurance providers, Trupanion and Nationwide don’t cover pre-existing conditions. This isn’t out of the ordinary.

The difference lies in how Trupanion and Nationwide define what constitutes a pre-existing condition.

Trupanion consider any accident or illness that occurred up to 18 months before you took out the policy a pre-existing condition. This won’t be covered under the policy, but any other accident or illness will.

Nationwide, on the other hand, consider congenital conditions pre-existing too, even if they haven’t manifested yet. With this approach, a whole host of health problems - from simple skin infections to life-threatening cancers - might not be covered, because they’re considered pre-existing by default.

That’s a lot to worry about, especially if you’re paying for insurance to set your mind at rest. This gives Trupanion an advantage over Nationwide in this category, for two reasons.

Firstly, their definition of what constitutes a pre-existing condition is simpler and more straightforward to understand.

Secondly, Nationwide don’t just exclude past illnesses, they also exclude certain potential ones. This ultimately restricts cover much more than Trupanion’s approach. It also makes it harder to know what to expect should you need to make a claim; and uncertainty is never a good thing when it comes to insurance cover.

The Bottom Line

Nationwide and Trupanion both offer a comparable level of cover. However, they excel at different things.

Trupanion’s 90% reimbursement model may result in larger payouts; and the way they define a pre-existing condition gives you more leeway in terms of what illnesses they’ll cover.

However, this doesn’t necessarily make Trupanion the better option.

Percentage reimbursement models often exclude common expenses such as exam fees and taxes. Trupanion is no exception. If you want these expenses to be covered, Nationwide’s schedule of benefits is a better option.

Nationwide’s three tiers also give more flexibility. This is great if you’re on a budget, because you can keep costs down by paying only for the cover your pet actually needs. This just isn’t possible with Trupanion’s single plan. 


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