Pet Insurance With No Waiting Period


  • A pet insurance waiting period is a safeguard for pet insurance companies against insurance fraud and high premiums for policyholders
  • Pet insurance policies covering accidents typically have a 5 to a 15-day waiting period, while policies covering illnesses take roughly 15 days
  • It’s difficult getting pet insurance without a waiting period unless the company is running a business promotion or you have proof that you’re switching policies
  • Most pet insurance companies have similar waiting periods. Therefore, it’s not the most significant deciding factor when choosing plans and providers

All pet insurance policies come with waiting periods. If your pet has suffered an accident or illness without being covered by pet insurance, you may have to find a different way to cover the costs of treatment.

Here’s a look into pet insurance waiting periods, and what you should consider when shopping for one.

What is a Pet Insurance Waiting Period?

A pet insurance waiting period is the time between purchasing the insurance plan and the coverage taking effect.

For instance, if your pet insurance policy has a 14-day waiting period for illnesses, your pet will not be covered by the plan if it develops any condition or gets injured  within 14 days of purchasing the policy.

Insurance waiting periods often catch owners out, if they go to take out coverage when their pet has a problem. Insurance is all about being prepared! Taking out a policy when your pet is young has many advantages: the waiting period doesn’t cause you any issues, the premiums may be lower and there are less likely to be pre-existing conditions to be excluded.

Dr. Lizzie Youens, Veterinary Surgeon

The different types of waiting period

Pet insurance waiting periods can typically be broken down into three groups:

‘Accidents’ Waiting Periods

Accidents cover things like your pet breaking a bone or swallowing something it shouldn’t have swallowed. The typical waiting period for accidents is  1 to 15 days depending on the pet insurance company.

‘Illnesses’ Waiting Periods

Illnesses include  a large range of diseases, from potentially short-term issues like urinary tract infections to longer term problems like cancer. The typical waiting period for illnesses in most pet insurance companies is 14 days. Bear in mind, the insurance company will look at the medical history to check when symptoms started, so the condition may be excluded even if the official diagnosis was made after the waiting period was over. 

Waiting Periods for Other Types of Problems

There are certain conditions which are considered to be a bit different and are subject to longer waiting conditions by some companies. These include long-term issues like hip dysplasia or cruciate ligament damage. 

The waiting period for these special conditions can range between 6 and 12 months, however, some insurance policies will cover these conditions with a waiting period of around 14 days.

Discover our other articles on Pet Insurance:

Why Do Pet Insurance Plans Have a Waiting Period?

Waiting periods for pet insurance plans can be very frustrating, especially if you have a medical emergency and want urgent coverage. However, there’s a reason pet insurance companies have them.

Waiting periods means pet insurance companies can keep premiums lower as they won’t cover pets who were ill or injured before the policy was taken out. It also protects them from insurance fraud.

If pet insurance policies didn’t have a waiting period, they could be used by people looking to take out a policy after their pet had already been injured or had developed a condition. This means waiting periods reduce the premium pet owners pay for their policies since the insurance companies operate at lower risk.

Your best bet is to take out pet insurance while your pet is young and healthy. You’ll be eligible for a more comprehensive cover since pre-existing conditions won’t limit you.

Why Are Pre-Existing Conditions Excluded?

Pre-existing conditions are illnesses or injuries that occur before you obtain insurance coverage or during the waiting period. Most pet insurance policies exclude them because insurance is designed to protect against future conditions, not current or past ones. This will include conditions where symptoms started before an official diagnosis was met: the condition will be deemed to start from when symptoms were first noticed. 

However, some pet insurance plans allow for coverage of pre-existing conditions if it was cured, is curable, or your pet has been free of symptoms and treatment for 180 days. For such cases, the condition is no longer termed pre-existing.

Some companies avoid this exception if the condition affects the knees or ligaments, as these are often bilateral conditions, affecting both sides of the body. Therefore, any future knee or ligament illnesses or injuries will not be covered.

Are There Pet Insurance Policies with No Waiting Period?

Most pet insurance plans have a waiting period. However, some insurance companies waive their waiting period if you can prove that you had another policy from a different provider leading up to the new policy’s effective date.

In other cases, the insurance company may waive waiting periods as a business promotion. You may also be allowed to file a claim for covered vet costs the same day through separate pet wellness plans for preventive care.

What You Should Consider When Shopping for Pet Insurance

Waiting periods should not be the only deciding factor when choosing the best insurance policy for your pet. You should also factor in the policy’s effective date, coverage exclusions, deductibles, and coverage limits.

Ultimately, you should hunt for the best policy that offers the most comprehensive package for your pet. A comprehensive cover will shield you from thousands of dollars in veterinary expenses.

Some comprehensive covers may have extended waiting periods, but they’re excellent at minimizing future medical expenses for your pet. Moreover, most top-tier companies have similar waiting periods of about 14 days. Therefore, you shouldn’t let waiting periods steer you away from a good cover.

Get Informed on Pet Insurance Early

Getting pet insurance is investing in your pet’s health. Despite waiting periods being very frustrating for pet owners with a medical emergency, they’re a necessary safeguard for pet insurance companies and policy owners.Instead of getting ambushed by sudden injury or illness by your pet and incurring hefty bills, start learning about pet insurance today and take preventive measures for your pet’s health.

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Sara Marcum

Sara Marcum started out as a marketing specialist with one of the leading US companies hailing from the brilliant minds of Tim Robbins and Chet Holmes. She went on to become a news editor, journalist, and content marketer for several prominent publications in the US. She has worked with Associated Press, Network Newswire, and Forbes and has lent her talented pen to thousands of editorials, news stories, and content pieces over the past 16 years. Sara lives in Kentucky and has recently partnered with a few like-minded writers to create Iris Marketing Solutions, an all-encompassing boutique agency that helps small businesses grow their online presence.