Waiting Period – Pet Insurance Terms
What is a Waiting Period?
A waiting period is the time between the day you enroll and the day coverage starts. The day your coverage starts is referred to as the effective date. The reason companies have waiting periods is to avoid pet owners enrolling in a plan to cover a pre-existing condition.
There are three different waiting periods:
- Waiting Period for Accident: 0 – 15 days
- Waiting Period for Illnesses: 14 – 30 days
- Waiting Period for Orthopedic Issues: 14 days – 12 months
Waiting Periods by Company
Waiting periods are pretty straightforward, but if you’re still stuck this might help.
|Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation||15 days||15 days||15 days (12 mos. for hip dysplasia)|
|Embrace Pet Insurance||2 days (in most states)||14 days||6 mos. for dogs (This can be reduced by following Embrace’s Orthopedic Exam and Waiver Process)|
|Trupanion Pet Insurance||5 days||30 days||30 days|
|ASPCA Pet Health Insurance||1 day||15 days||15 days|
|Petplan Pet Insurance||5 days||15 days||15 days (6 mos. for cruciate ligaments and patellar luxation)|
|Nationwide Pet Insurance||14 days||14 days||14 days (12 mos. for cruciate and meniscus issues)|
|Pets Best Insurance||3 days||14 days||14 days (6 mos. for cruciate ligaments)|
|FIGO Pet Insurance||5 days||14 days||14 days (6 mos. for knee issues)|
How it Works
Here is a simple example to give you a better sense of how waiting periods work in real life.
- Effective Date: October 1st
- Policy Period: October 1st to September 30th (all pet insurance policies are 12 months long, just like home and auto)
- Waiting Period Accidents: 1 day from effective date
- Waiting Period Illnesses: 14 days from effective date
- Waiting Period Orthopedic: 6 months from effective date
Scenario #1: Your dog slips on your driveway on October 3rd
Your pooch was running after a frisbee and slips on the driveway and starts limping. You take him to the vet and after an MRI it looks like your dog tore a ligament and may need surgery. Is it covered? YES
Scenario #2: Your pooch falls suddenly ill on October 20th
Your dog is panting and you take her to the vet. Your vet then directs you to the local vet hospital for tests. It turns out your dog ate something poisonous and will need a couple days of monitoring and IV’s. Is it covered? YES
Scenario #3: Dog starts limping gingerly on November 30th
Your otherwise healthy dog has started limping around the house. You take her to the vet and after an x-ray looks like she’ll need surgery to fix hip dysplasia. Is it covered? NO
Pet insurance companies use waiting periods to prevent pet owners from enrolling in a plan because their pet is sick. Pet insurance policies are designed to protect against unexpected health issues.