Pet Insurance Waiting Period: Here’s How It Works


Various types of insurance, such as life, health, automobile, marine, property, and pet insurance, serve as critical protections in our lives against unforeseen losses. In fact, insurance is so deeply embedded in our daily routines that we frequently overlook the importance of fully understanding the details of the different policies available.

Regarding waiting period pet insurance policies, in particular, a legal time frame starts right after the policy is taken and goes up to the time the coverage begins.

7 Things You Must Know About Pet Insurance Waiting Periods

1. It’s a Safety For Every Pet Insurer

What are waiting periods for?

You may ask yourself if pet insurance is meant to save you from unforeseen circumstances, why is that waiting period for?

The waiting periods, in fact, are there to prevent fraud, where pet owners intentionally get pet insurance to save themselves from the huge vet bills and fees for the diseases that have already been caught in their pets.

For example, a dog may develop a disease for which the vet suggested urgent costly surgery. Since the pet isn’t insured, the owner may consider getting pet insurance to get the claim the next day.

2. Waiting Period Differs For Each Incident

Most providers do not have exactly the same pet insurance waiting periods. Let’s take a look at 5 famous pet insurance companies waiting periods.

  • Lemonade: According to the waiting periods in the wellness plan of Lemonade, 2 days for accidents, 14 days for illness, and 6 months for cruciate ligament events (shortest waiting periods)
  • Prudent Pet: 5 days for accidents, 14 day waiting period for illness, and 6 months for knee and ligament issues
  • Embrace: 2 days for accidents, 14 days for illness, and 6 months for orthopedic conditions
  • ASPCA: The ASPCA pet insurance has 14 day waiting period for accidents, 14 days for illness, and, luckily, no waiting periods
  • Healthy Paws: This pet insurance provider has 15 days for accidents, 15 days for illness coverage, and 12 months of hip dysplasia (pet age < 6 only)

3. You May find Lesser Waiting Periods But Not Insurance With No Waiting

The simple answer to this question is NO. In fact, no pet insurance company provides zero waiting periods because they want to save themselves.

Because as per the Insurance definition in the law, it’s a contract to cover a predefined type of loss for things that may happen in the future and not something that has already happened in the past. In other words, it doesn’t cover health problems blanketed under pre existing conditions category.

So, if the pet is already suffering from a major disease before any insurance policies are signed, it, being a pre existing condition, would be a misrepresentation or, in some cases, fraud, depending upon how the material is the undisclosed fact.

So as a pet owner, you should get pet insurance as soon as you adopt your furry friend, all because if your pet catches any serious ailment requiring surgery or replacement, like intervertebral disc disease, you won’t be able to cover the veterinary expenses.

In other words, comprehensive coverage can save you from a heavy vet bill by paying just the small monthly premiums and getting immediate coverage.

4. There’s Nothing Like Retroactive Pet Insurance To Avoid Waiting Period

All pet insurance companies provide mere prospective insurance policies. In other words, it’s impossible that insurance coverage begins on a past date.

Simply speaking, it’s another way to say that the waiting periods for illnesses, accidents, or orthopedic conditions cannot be nil.

So as a pet parent, bear in mind that coverage kicks in when the waiting period for your pet insurance is over.

For instance, you, the pet owner, get your policy signed on the 1st of March and say your waiting period for illnesses is 14 days. Your illness coverage will begin on the 15th of March.

5. Average 14 days for illnesses, 2 for accidents & 6-month for Ortho cases

If you’re going to get pet insurance for your dog, you must go through the complete pet insurance policies and terms.

Although the waiting periods vary, still, on average, insurance companies give an average of 2 days for accident coverage, 6 months for ortho-related cases, including hip dysplasia and cruciate ligaments, and 14 day waiting period for illnesses to the pet owners.

6. Waiver Is Allowed In Special Orthopedic Cases Only

So far, we know the waiting period is necessary for any pet insurance.

But there’s an exception to this.

Surprised, aren’t you?

In cases where a registered veterinarian examines your pet within a specific period, the pet insurance company will reduce the extended waiting periods.

So, let’s look at the policies of some famous pet insurance providers in this regard.

  • Embrace is kind enough to reduce the waiting period from 6 months to 14 days if your pet is examined within 14 days of getting the insurance.
  • Prudent is even a step further. It entirely waives off the extended waiting period if your pet is examined within 30 days of coverage.
  • ManyPets is really smart in selling pet health insurance to pet owners. If you switch your pet insurance to theirs, they will reduce the illness waiting period to 1 day.
  • Costo goes similarly with Prudent as it also waives off the waiting period for orthopedic conditions if a proper vet exam is conducted within 30 days of the policy. He advises the waive-off as urgent.

7. It’s Not Only the Waiting Period That Should Be Your Concern While Getting A Pet Insurance

A sticky note saying 'Research & Find Best Pet Insurance' on the top of some papers

So far, we have been discussing the pet insurance waiting period only, which you may interpret as the only thing that needs to be considered while comparing pet insurance companies.

But that’s not the case.

Other factors should also be considered when getting pet insurance quotes from most pet insurance companies. As per the Insurance Commissioner Washington State, the following factors must be considered when purchasing pet insurance.

Policy Cost Comparison

When you buy coverage, compare the full cost of the pet insurance for all the insurers under consideration. You may ask questions like:

  • Discount for more than one pet insurance?
  • How fast is the pet insurance claim given?
  • Time limitation in case of accident coverage
  • Are claims given annually or at the time when the accident actually happens?

Upfront Payment or Reimbursement

Make it clear that at the time of the event, the company will pay the agreed amount upfront or reimburse you once you are done with paying the exam fees or other veterinary care expenses. Also, what’s the reimbursement percentage?

Status Of Claim After Renewal

This is an important part that most pet insurance plans describe ambiguously. In simple words, if you have a claim for any illnesses during your policy term when your pet insurance policy is renewed, most insurers will count them as pre existing conditions.

look Into The Nitty-Gritty Of the Policy

Your pet insurance policy document envisages all the policy terms and conditions. So, ensure you or your representative review the details for coverage limits, copays, deductibles, exclusions, etc.

Panel Veterinarians

Most pet insurance plan lists specific vets from which you can have your dog examed only. In that case, make sure that list includes the vet in your area or the vet of your choice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does a waiting period mean for pet insurance?

It means the number of days after getting the policy before which you can’t get any claim.

Do all pet insurances have a waiting period?

Yes, many pet insurance providers waiting periods exist in all pet insurance plans.

Does pet insurance effective immediately?

No, all pet insurers have a policy of a waiting period, and the pet insurance activates once the waiting period is over

How soon after taking out pet insurance can you claim?

Once the waiting period ends, you can claim immediately from pet insurers. The waiting period differs for illnesses, accidents, and orthopedic conditions.

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