If you purchase via links on our site, we may receive commissions. However, our experts carefully research and evaluate each product or service, ensuring it meets our quality standards.

Pet Insurance Waiting Periods: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Waiting periods are a standard practice in the pet insurance industry, but every provider has different terms and conditions. When enrolling in pet insurance, it’s essential to carefully read your policy's waiting periods to avoid paying higher out-of-pocket costs for your pet’s healthcare. Let’s explore what pet insurance waiting periods are and how they work.

What are pet insurance waiting periods?

A pet insurance waiting period is when you will have to wait between enrolling your pet in a new insurance policy and when your pet’s coverage actually begins. Any accidents or illnesses during the waiting period will not be covered. The length of the waiting period can vary depending on several factors, including individual provider, type of coverage, and medical condition.

Get your pet covered in minutes
On Lemonade's Website

How long are pet insurance waiting periods?

Pet insurance waiting periods can vary based on the provider — regarding how long they are and what they apply to. The most common pet insurance waiting periods are typically divided into the following categories:

Accident waiting periods

The accident waiting period refers to the duration it will take for your new pet insurance to cover injuries categorized as accidents. This includes things like broken bones, wounds, foreign body ingestions, and other accidental injuries. Accident waiting periods typically range from 2 to 15 days.

Illness waiting periods

The illness waiting period refers to the duration it will take for your new pet insurance to cover any type of disease or non-injury-related medical condition. This can include cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, urinary tract infections, respiratory viruses, and other medical conditions. Illness waiting periods typically range from 14 to 30 days.

Orthopedic waiting periods

The orthopedic waiting period refers to the duration it will take for your new pet insurance to cover any specific orthopedic conditions outlined in your policy. These may include injury-related, hereditary, or degenerative conditions such as:

  • Cruciate ligament tears
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation

Orthopedic waiting periods typically range from 6 to 12 months, but some providers offer waivers if a veterinary orthopedic exam clears your pet.

Wellness waiting periods

The wellness waiting period, sometimes called the preventative waiting period, refers to the duration it will take for your new pet insurance to cover your pet’s routine veterinary care (if it’s included in your plan). This may include coverage for:

  • Annual visits
  • Health screenings
  • Dental cleanings and more

Wellness waiting periods are typically the shortest among all pet insurance waiting periods, ranging from 0 to 3 days.

Pet insurance waiting periods among top providers

Below are the waiting periods for some of the top pet insurance providers in the country. Like all insurance, this information can be subject to change at any time, and certain states may have different plans with additional waiting periods.

Pet Insurance Provider
Accident Coverage Waiting Period
Illness Coverage Waiting PeriodWellness Coverage Waiting PeriodOrthopedic Coverage Waiting Period
Lemonade2 Days14 DaysNo Waiting Period6 Months for Cruciate Ligament Conditions
AKC 2 Days14 DaysNo Waiting Period6 Months for Cruciate Ligament Conditions
ASPCA14 Days14 DaysNo Waiting PeriodNone
Embrace2 Days14 DaysNo Waiting Period6 Months for Orthopedic Conditions (eligible for waiver with orthopedic exam)
Fetch 5 Days15 DaysCoverage Not Available6 Months for Hip Dysplasia or Cruciate Ligament Conditions
Figo 1 Day14 DaysNo Waiting Period6 Months for Orthopedic Conditions (eligible for waiver with orthopedic exam)
Nationwide14 Days14 Days1 Day12 Months for Cruciate Ligament Conditions
Pets Best 3 Days14 DaysNo Waiting Period6 Months for Cruciate Ligament Conditions
Spot14 Days14 DaysNo Waiting PeriodNone
Trupanion 5 Days30 DaysCoverage Not AvailableNone

Is there any pet insurance with no waiting period?

The short answer is no — all pet insurance imposes some sort of waiting period on new enrollees. However, certain circumstances with a few providers offer no waiting periods but involve specific requirements or stipulations.

Companion Protect offers pet insurance with no waiting period for newly adopted pets through its network of affiliated shelters and rescues. Pets adopted elsewhere will not qualify. Eligible pets can receive immediate pet insurance coverage once enrollment is complete.

Trupanion offers same-day pet insurance coverage through its “Exam Day Offer” promotion. The promotion is only valid when enrolled through participating veterinary clinics. Eligible pets must be under the age of three and enrolled within 24 hours of their veterinary exam.

Wading through waiting periods when picking your plan

When deciding between insurers with different waiting periods, it’s important to consider your pet’s breed and lifestyle. Have a pet with a penchant for eating things they shouldn't? A plan with a shorter accident waiting period may be better. Have a breed that’s prone to hip dysplasia? You may want to consider a plan without any extended orthopedic waiting periods.

While waiting periods are important when picking your pet insurance plan, they’re not the only factor. It’s best to research and compare all aspects of coverage among multiple plans to see what best fits your pet’s needs. Once you’ve chosen a plan and are ready to begin the enrollment process, be sure to familiarize yourself with the waiting periods to avoid any denied claims later.

FAQ

Key takeaways:
5 resources

Leave a reply

Your email will not be published. All fields are required.