Nationwide’s Policy Termination Leaves Pet Owners Scrambling for Coverage (USA Today)

Nationwide’s Policy Termination Leaves Pet Owners Scrambling for Coverage

Tuesday, June 18th, 2024 Insurance Industry Legislation & Regulation Liability Life & Health

Nationwide Insurance announced on June 14 that it would not renew approximately 100,000 pet insurance policies, citing rising veterinary costs and economic pressures. This decision impacts pet owners across the country, many of whom have older pets with pre-existing conditions that are difficult to insure elsewhere. Christie Keith from Davisburg, Michigan, who has been paying over $700 monthly to insure her dogs, is one of the affected customers. Her older dogs, who require ongoing medical treatment, may lose coverage by April 2025.

Nationwide, the largest pet insurer in the U.S. with over 1.2 million policies, stated that the cancellations are necessary for long-term viability. However, the move has sparked backlash among policyholders, who argue that older pets with pre-existing conditions are unlikely to find new coverage. The decision has led some pet owners to consider drastic measures, including euthanasia, due to the financial burden of uninsured medical costs.

Affected policyholders, like Robin Tobias of Aventura, Florida, have received letters from Nationwide informing them of the non-renewal. Tobias’s 7-year-old dog, Ginger, will lose coverage in July 2025. Although Tobias found a new insurer for Ginger, she remains concerned for others who may not be as fortunate. A Facebook group formed by affected policyholders is exploring potential legal action against Nationwide.

Nationwide’s statement acknowledged the disappointment of pet owners but emphasized the need for sustainable business practices amid economic challenges. The company has assured customers that current policy protections will remain in place until their expiration dates.

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