About VPI Pet Insurance

By HighYa Research Team
Published on: May 15, 2014

Editor’s note: VPI Pet Insurance is now known as Nationwide Pet Insurance.

If you’re looking for insurance plans that can provide coverage for your dogs, cats, birds, and other exotic pets, VPI Pet Insurance claims they can help. In fact, the company claims to have invented pet insurance and to be the only insurance company that covers birds and exotic animals.

But does having a VPI Pet Insurance policy really relieve the financial burden when something unexpected happens? Let’s collar the facts and find out.

VPI Pet Insurance Details

VPI Pet Insurance claims to provide nationwide “nose-to-tail” coverage for your pet that can be used with any licensed veterinarian, anywhere in the world. VPI also claims that their coverage is easier to use and more transparent than the competition, which spans four different plans:

  • Injury & Emergency Plan – A basic plan that provides up to $14,000 in annual coverage for basic services such as accidents, x-rays, surgeries, prescriptions, and more.

  • Economical Medical Plan – An intermediate plan that covers everything found under the Emergency Plan, in addition to illnesses and cancer. Covers up to $7,000 in annual expenses.

  • Major Medical Comprehensive Plan – VPI’s top-of-the-line plan, which covers everything under the Medical plan, in addition to hereditary diseases. A total of $14,000 in annual coverage.

  • CareGuard Wellness Plan – This complementary plan can be added to any of the above, and provides two additional levels of coverage. Core provides up to $250 in coverage for wellness exams and vaccinations, while the Premier level adds coverage for dental cleaning and spay/neutering, with a $400 annual benefits cap.

In addition to the above, VPI Pet Insurance also provides coverage plans for a wide variety of birds and exotic animals, including amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and more. However, as a whole, their plans specifically exclude pre-existing conditions, elective procedures, congenital conditions, pet foods, grooming, and behavioral problems.

Applying for a VPI Pet Insurance policy appears to be a relatively quick process, and only entails entering your pet’s age, breed, and medical conditions, and then choosing the plan and deductible that best fits your needs. However, keep in mind there is a 14-day waiting period before your policy becomes active.

VPI Pet Insurance Pricing and Refund Policy

VPI Pet Insurance claims to be less expensive than the competition and to provide broader coverage. With this in mind, plans are priced as follows:

  • Emergency: $10 per month for dogs, and $11 for cats.
  • CareGuard: $12-$22 for both dogs and cats.
  • Economical: $19-$27 per month for dogs, and $12-$17 for cats.
  • Comprehensive: $25-$35 per month for dogs, and $15-$22 for cats.
  • CareGuard Core/Premium: $12/$22 per month, respectively.

Unfortunately, there are no prices listed for avian and exotic animal plans, so you’ll need to contact the company directly for a quote.

Deductibles and copays associated with your VPI policy will vary depending on your chosen plan, as well as other underwriting factors. In addition, each plan has its own benefit schedule, which outlines exactly how much you’ll be reimbursed for different procedures.

VPI claims that all you need to do to be reimbursed for a bill is to submit your veterinarian’s invoice, and that rates will not increase regardless of how many claims you file. In addition, the company claims that as long as your pet is less than 10 years of age when your policy starts, it will never be canceled by the company for age-related reasons.

If you cancel your policy within 10 days of issuance, you’ll receive a 100% refund. Any cancellations after 10 days will be paid on a pro-rated basis.

What Do Other Consumers Have to Say About VPI Pet Insurance?

Veterinary Pet Insurance Company is based out of Brea, CA, and has been in business for more than 30 years. The company holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with nearly 40 closed complaints within the past three years.

Outside of the BBB, online customer reviews appear to be sharply mixed—customers seem to either love or hate the service, with very few in the middle. Some of the most common complaints we encountered during our research cited a cumbersome reimbursement process, that many procedures only have minimal (50% or less) coverage, poor customer service, and that adjusters will often cite “pre-existing condition” when claims are made, thereby making them ineligible for coverage.

What’s the Bottom Line About VPI Pet Insurance?

If you were to gauge your impression of VPI Pet Insurance solely by online reviews, the negative seems to far outweigh the positive. As such, we read countless customer reviews that claimed the company often defaults to “pre-existing” condition when an expensive claim is filed, which then makes it ineligible for coverage.

As an example, we read about several instances in which newly formed cancer was declined by the company as a pre-existing condition, although the animals who were declined had never previously tested positive for any type of cancer—or had ever even been tested for cancer in the first place.

With this in mind, if you decide to purchase a VPI Pet Insurance policy, remember that the company often makes sweeping generalizations about pre-existing conditions. For example, we read about one customer who claimed that their dog had experienced some minor skin irritation before being adopted and brought home from the pound.

The dog was taken to the vet, given some medication, and their skin condition quickly disappeared. However, this customer was astonished to learn that VPI then excluded all other skin conditions (both minor and major) from the dog’s policy, even though its skin condition was not a precursor to any other conditions (such as cancer).

From a coverage perspective, many customers have complained that VPI coverage is more applicable to larger pet bills (e.g. major surgeries, etc.) than it is for small ticket items such as flea medication. In addition, several have complained that the filing process is cumbersome and slow.

If you’re looking to protect yourself from large bills associated with your pet’s illnesses or injuries, some of the more comprehensive VPI Pet Insurance policies may be a good option.

However, if you’re looking to cover minor (although somewhat expensive) items like flea and heartworm medication, then you may experience fewer benefits.

Whichever option you choose though, be sure to thoroughly read through your policy’s excluded conditions in order to gain a better understanding of exactly what your policy covers.

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Read 2 VPI Pet Insurance Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 2.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 0 4 star: 0 3 star: 1 2 star: 0 1 star:  1
Bottom Line: 0% would recommend it to a friend
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  • Costly

    • Virginia,
    • Oct 28, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Nationwide aka VPI raised rates by a significant amount this year. I dropped coverage for one (I have 3 canines) after the renewal arrived with a 33% increase over the previous year. I would have renewed for a smaller increase, so they lost out. I received a renewal for another this past week and the rate increase is 26% over last year. The operator was pleasant enough, but all in all, they didn't seem to mind losing the premium and made no attempt to change my mind. I wouldn't recommend them due to cost.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Terrible company!

    Do NOT fall for purchasing this insurance!

    I had used their Wellness policy for a couple of years and then upgraded my policy last year to the Whole Pet with Wellness so that I could rest assured that my fur baby was completely covered. I was sold on this policy by the mere fact that it included dental where other companies did not.

    Unfortunately, I discovered that the dental coverage offering is just a big lie. Basically, if you take your pup in for their first routine dental cleaning, they are not going to cover it because if there is any tarter, it is considered a pre-existing condition! I just spent $900 at the vet only to find out the hard way that none of it was covered! My vet, who also had this insurance, was appalled because she said ALL dogs have tarter!

    Needless to say, I believe neither of us will be using this fraudulent insurance company anymore. Don’t be fooled!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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