- A pet insurance policy is considered “active” after the waiting period is completed
- Waiting periods are typically around fourteen days, but they vary based on the provider
- Certain conditions like orthopedic issues have longer waiting periods of around six months
- For these reasons, it’s a good idea to acquire pet insurance as soon as possible to avoid paying out-of-pocket for pre-existing conditions
Securing insurance for your dog can be downright confusing. One common misconception is that pet insurance kicks in as soon as you purchase the policy which, under most providers, is not the case.
Below, we’ll decode exactly how long it takes pet insurance policies to take effect and share when it’s best to invest in pet insurance so that you can protect your pet.
When Should I Get Pet Insurance?
It’s best to get pet insurance as early as possible in your pet’s life. This is because your policy is not considered active until after the preestablished waiting period has been completed– if your dog or cat is diagnosed with a condition before the waiting period is completed, it will be considered a pre-existing condition and is, therefore, not covered by your insurance policy.
Pet insurance waiting periods vary based on the nature of the plan. Orthopedic conditions tend to have a longer waiting period since these are considered high-risk and require long-term care.
When Does Pet Insurance Kick In?
Pet insurance kicks in after you’ve signed onto a policy and completed the requested waiting period based on your pet’s policy. In some cases, a pet insurance provider may ask for a veterinary exam as well before setting a policy as active. Pet waiting periods vary based on coverage and your pet’s current state of health.
Why Do Pet Insurance Policies Have Waiting Periods?
Pet insurance policies have waiting periods to help minimize the risk of fraud and incentivize pet owners to take on a policy as soon as possible. The sooner your policy is activated (and your waiting period is completed), the less likely your pet will suffer from a problem before you have insurance; if they do, it’ll be considered pre-existing and not covered even when your insurance kicks in. The sooner you can get a policy for your pet, the better.
Do Waiting Periods Vary Based On Coverage?
Yes! Depending on your insurance policy of choice, coverage is varied by plan type, your pet’s condition, and conditions that tend to have exceptions (typically long-term orthopedic ailments).
Here are some of the pet insurance policy waiting periods for some of the most popular pet insurance providers:
|Insurance Policy||Accident Waiting Period||Illness Waiting Period||Wellness||Exceptions|
|ASPCA Pet Health Insurance||Fourteen Days||Fourteen Days||No Waiting Period||Fourteen days for knee or ligament conditions|
|Embrace Pet Insurance||Two Days||Fourteen Days||No Waiting Period||Six months for orthopedic conditions|
|Fetch by Dodo Pet Insurance||Fifteen Days||Fifteen Days||N/A||Six months for orthopedic conditions|
|Figo Pet Insurance||Varies||Varies||N/A||Varies by state|
|Hartville Pet Insurance||Fourteen Days||Fourteen Days||No Waiting Period||Fourteen days for ligament conditions|
|Healthy Paws Pet Insurance||Fifteen Days||Fifteen Days||N/A||A year for hip dysplasia for pets younger than six|
|Lemonade Pet Insurance||Two Days||Fourteen Days||No Waiting Period||Six months for cruciate ligament events|
|Nationwide Pet Insurance||Fourteen Days||Fourteen Days||One Day||A year for cruciate ligament events|
|MetLife Pet Insurance||No Waiting Period||Fourteen Days||No Waiting Period||Orthopedic conditions have a six-month waiting period|
|PetFirst Pet Insurance||Fourteen Days||Fourteen Days||No Waiting Period||Orthopedic conditions have a six-month waiting period|
|Petplan Pet Insurance||Five Days||Fifteen Days||No Waiting Period||Six months for hip dysplasia and ligament problems|
|Pets Best Pet Insurance||Three Days||Fourteen Days||No Waiting Period||Six months for Cruciate Ligament Conditions|
|Spot Pet Insurance||Fourteen Days||Fourteen Days||No waiting period||Six months for cruciate ligament events|
|Trupanion Pet Insurance||Five Days||Thirty Days||No Waiting Period||Orthopedic conditions have a six-month waiting period|
|Trusted Pals Pet Insurance||Fourteen Days||Fourteen Days||No Waiting Period||A year for hip dysplasia and ligament problems|
|USAA Pet Insurance||Two Days||Fourteen Days||No Waiting Period||Orthopedic conditions have a six-month waiting period|
Pet Insurance Waiting Period FAQs
Still have questions about pet insurance waiting periods? Consider these commonly asked questions and answers to help you expand your understanding as a pet parent.
What is the waiting period for pet insurance?
Waiting periods vary from one policy to the next. Generally speaking, you can expect waiting periods to be around fourteen days, give or take. However, some conditions, like hip dysplasia or cruciate ligament issues can have extended waiting periods of up to six months.
Is it too late to insure my dog?
Some insurance policies have upper limits for coverage based on a pet’s age. However, in most cases, you can insure a pet at any age, though pre-existing conditions will not be covered by the policy.
Is there pet insurance without a waiting period?
No. Unfortunately, all pet insurance policies have a waiting period, usually around nine to fifteen days. However, certain conditions, like cruciate ligament issues may have waiting periods of up to six months.
Why is there a 14-day waiting period for pets?
Pet insurance waiting periods can help prevent fraud and are generally beneficial for insurers since they incentivize pet owners to sign up for pet insurance as soon as possible.
Can I get pet insurance if my dog is already sick?
You can get pet insurance for your pet, though pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Also, note that your pet’s insurance policy doesn’t kick in until after the waiting period is completed.
At what age is pet insurance the cheapest?
Pet insurance is typically the cheapest around age six since pets are generally fairly healthy throughout the middle years. That being said, pet insurance should be purchased as soon as possible to prevent tacking on out-of-pocket costs from pre-existing conditions.