In a significant move affecting pet owners - Nationwide Pet Insurance has announced that it will terminate coverage for approximately 100,000 pets across the country. The decision, driven by soaring veterinary care costs and other economic pressures, marks a substantial shift for the largest provider of pet insurance in the U.S.

Starting immediately and continuing through next summer, Nationwide will phase out these policies as part of its strategy to ensure the long-term viability and profitability of its pet insurance line. The company emphasized that this action is essential to maintaining a financially sustainable future for its pet insurance offerings.

"Inflation in veterinary care costs and other economic factors have necessitated underwriting adjustments and the discontinuation of some products in certain states. These difficult decisions are necessary for the sustainability of our pet insurance business," Nationwide stated in a recent release.

Nationwide has assured pet owners that the cancellations will not be influenced by a pet’s age, breed, or prior claims history. Policyholders affected by this decision will receive written notifications well before their coverage expires. The Columbus, Ohio-based company, established nearly a century ago, highlighted that its aim is to ensure that rates remain fair and appropriately priced for the specific plans, pets, and breeds.

The move comes at a time when pet insurance is becoming increasingly popular, with 24% of cat and dog owners opting for coverage, according to a NerdWallet study. Nationwide was previously recognized by NerdWallet as the top insurer for exotic pets, while ASPCA topped the list for broad coverage.

However, the announcement has left many pet owners in distress. Christie Keith, a 65-year-old freelance writer from Davisburg, Michigan, who has spent over $700 monthly on insurance premiums for her dogs, is particularly troubled. Keith’s dogs, Ros, a 10-year-old Silken Windhound with an undiagnosed illness, and Harper, an 8-year-old Scottish Deerhound with a back injury, now face uncertain futures as their policies are set to expire in April 2025.

Keith's predicament highlights the broader issue facing pet owners whose pets have pre-existing conditions, making them difficult to insure elsewhere. "I was willing to pay this very large amount because I love my dogs. They’re my family," Keith told CBS News. "No one else will take on old dogs with pre-existing conditions, and if they do, they'll exclude all the pre-existing conditions. I don’t know what I’m going to do."

Nationwide's decision to drop these policies is part of a broader trend affecting the insurance industry. The rising cost of insurance for homes and vehicles has also led to significant hikes, with car insurance rates increasing by 20.3% over the past year.

Pet insurance typically covers injuries, illnesses, and general well-being, with the average cost being $676 per year for dogs and $383 for cats, as reported by NerdWallet. The coverage options can include routine medical care, behavioral issues, and wellness services like grooming and medically necessary euthanasia.

Despite the cancellations, Nationwide maintains that it will uphold the coverage for its current policyholders until the end of their terms. The company’s statement emphasized empathy for the pet owners affected, promising to honor all claims as per the existing policies.

The decision to cancel these policies has sparked a strong response from many pet owners. A Facebook Group, "Dropped By Nationwide Pet Insurance Whole Wellness," has formed, with over 300 members discussing potential legal actions against Nationwide. Many are concerned about the fate of their older pets with pre-existing conditions, who may now be uninsured and unable to secure coverage from other insurers.

For pet owners like Robin Tobias of Aventura, Florida, the situation is equally distressing. Tobias, whose dog Ginger, a 7-year-old with a heart murmur, is set to lose coverage in July 2025, has found another insurer willing to cover Ginger. However, she worries about the fate of other pets, especially those with health issues. "It's horrifying," she said. "For us, dogs have been our children. Everything we do is to protect our children."

As affected policyholders brace for the changes, Nationwide continues to communicate with its customers, assuring them that it will support them through the end of their current terms. The company’s commitment to fair pricing and support for existing claims remains a central part of its strategy moving forward.

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