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Pet Insurance With No Waiting Period

Rita Oguntuase
Rita Oguntuase
Rita Oguntuase is an experienced content developer with a particular interest in the finance space. Over the course of her career, she has focused on multiple aspects of finance, ranging from insurance and investments to cryptocurrencies and corporate accounting. With a significant wealth of experience under her belt, Rita has helped to cover some of the most pivotal events in finance across this decade. Rita’s expertise has led to her work being featured in several reputable publications - Forbes, Seeking Alpha, Cointelegraph, and much more.

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Table of Contents

It is almost impossible for you to find a pet insurance coverage service that doesn’t come with a waiting period. However, it is also possible for insurance companies to waive some waiting period requirements if your pet has met certain criteria.

Key Talking Points

  • Waiting periods are a staple in almost every pet insurance coverage policy. But, you need to work around them
  • A waiting period is needed for insurance companies to protect themselves from fraudulent claims
  • If a condition develops in the middle of a waiting period, then it will most likely be treated as a pre-existing condition and won’t be covered
  • Accident waiting periods usually range between 1 and 15 days, while most illness waiting periods are about 14 days on average
  • Nevertheless, there are some conditions that can be excluded under the waiting period rule. These conditions usually vary between insurance companies or policy providers.

It is one of the most gut-wrenching discoveries ever—you left your pet all alone at home, and he or she developed an injury—maybe it’s your dog deciding to eat some chocolate or your cat rolling off from a table and breaking a bone.

Whatever the problem is, there’s no doubt that it will need to be fixed immediately. However, if you just registered your pet for pet insurance, then you might find that the waiting period might not be over just yet. And if this is the case, your insurance might not be able to help you cover the cost of treatment for your pet.

Waiting periods are an important component of pet insurance. However, they can also be an inconvenience in emergencies. So, would it be possible for you to get pet insurance coverage without having to deal with the waiting period? We’ll break everything down for you in this article.

What Is The Waiting Period When It Comes To Pet Insurance?

As the name suggests, a pet insurance waiting period is the amount of time you would need to elapse between the purchase of your pet’s insurance policy and the start of insurance coverage.

Generally, any illnesses or accidents that occur during this period won’t be covered by the insurance policy. However, once the waiting period elapses, you’re free to file any reimbursement claims for medical bills.

So, if your insurance policy has a 14-day waiting period, for instance, you would need to wait until 14 days after the insurance policy has been purchased before any claims can be filed.

How Does the Waiting Period Work?

Generally, there are three categories of pet insurance waiting periods:

Accident Waiting Periods

This is the amount of time it will take for insurance coverage to kick in for accidents. Commonly, this ranges between a day and 15 days—depending on the insurance company you choose for your pet.

Illness Waiting Periods

This describes the amount of time taken before coverage kicks off for a pet’s illness. Commonly, pet insurance companies require a 14-day waiting period for illnesses.

Other Waiting Periods

When it comes to other medical issues—perhaps hip dysplasia or bone damage—companies are also free to impose their chosen waiting periods. This can range between 6 and 12 months for most insurance companies.

Here is a breakdown of some of the waiting periods from top insurance companies:

Insurance Company Accident Waiting Period Illness Waiting Period Extended Waiting Period
ASPCA 14 days 14 days None
Costco 1 day 14 days 6 months (for orthopedic conditions)
Embrace 2 days 14 days 6 months (for orthopedic conditions, and only for dogs)
Fetch By The Dodo 15 days 15 days 6 months (for hip dysplasia and knee injuries)
Figo 1 day 14 days 6 months (for knee injuries)
Healthy Paws 15 days 15 days 12 months (for hip dysplasia)
Lemonade 2 days 14 days 6 months (for cruciate ligament issues)
MetLife 14 days 14 days 6 months (for cruciate ligament issues and intervertebral disc disease; only in select cases)
ManyPets 15 days, or 24 hours 15 days, or 24 hours None
Nationwide 14 days 14 days 12 months (for cruciate or meniscus injuries)

What is The Purpose of Waiting Periods?

Primarily, waiting periods are imposed to help insurance companies prevent insurance fraud. This waiting period is designed to prevent some pet owners from filing claims for pre-existing conditions that they were already aware of before purchasing insurance coverage.

The variation in waiting periods usually allows insurance companies more flexibility when administering insurance policies. And just as these companies must cover bills, they are also required to protect themselves from fraud.

What Happens If A Condition Develops During A Waiting Period?

Usually, conditions that develop during waiting periods are also termed pre-existing conditions.

This is another measure that insurance companies take to protect themselves from fraudulent claims. With this provision, pet owners won’t be able to quickly purchase insurance coverage when they start to notice symptoms of illness or disease in their pets.

The system isn’t perfect, but it is necessary to keep pet owners honest and protect insurance companies. Even if it is an unforeseen and truly unfortunate condition, any condition that developers during the waiting period will most likely not be covered by the insurance company.

What Happens If I Change a Policy or Provider?

Generally, the outcome of this will depend on the policy of the insurance company concerning waiting periods.

Most times, you will also need to deal with waiting periods if you switch insurance companies—just as if you were a new customer. As expected, this is to ensure that the new company isn’t affected by any fraudulent claims.

However, you might not have to deal with a waiting period if you change plans but stay with the same insurance company. Since the company is already aware of your medical history, it is much easier for you to get immediate coverage once you switch plans.

What Conditions Are Excluded From Waiting Periods?

While waiting periods are usually mandatory for most insurance companies, it is worth noting that there could be some exceptions. These exceptions tend to vary from one insurance company to the other. They include:

  • Costco: The company can waive the waiting period for orthopedic conditions if your veterinary doctor signs a waiver within the first 30 days of your insurance policy
  • Embrace: With Embrace, you can get a reduced waiting period of up to 14 days if your pet gets an orthopedic exam within 14 days of your insurance policy.
  • Figo: Figo can also waive waiting periods for orthopedic conditions if your vet signs a waiver within the first 30 days of your insurance policy.
  • ManyPets: You can get a reduced accident and illness waiting period at ManyPets for up to 24 hours if you’re making a switch from another insurance company.

Prudent: If your pet has a knee or ligament issue, Prudent can waive the extended waiting period as long as it passes a vet exam within the first 30 days of coverage.

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