Updated - Oct 14th, 2022
Ruh-roh! Your pup decided to snack on your rug while you were at work, and now you need pet insurance coverage for emergency fabric-removal surgery, ASAP! What can you do? After doing research, you might have reached the frustrating realization that almost all pet insurance plans have a waiting period before your pet insurance coverage can go into effect.
It’s essential to thoroughly check any pet insurance provider’s plan policy to make sure it can support your pet’s needs. After all, you want to make sure your plan can help keep your furry friend happy and healthy for years to come! Here, we’ll cover the ins and outs of pet insurance, from the skinny on waiting periods to why you need pet insurance for your pet.
What is a waiting period?
Pet insurance waiting periods refer to the time between the day your pet insurance plan starts and the day coverage begins. Accidents & illnesses that occur during a waiting period or before coverage starts won’t be covered by most pet insurance plans. Once this waiting period is over and the coverage begins, you can start filing reimbursement claims for eligible vet bills.
Give it to me straight – does a pet insurance plan with no waiting period exist?
There are almost no pet insurance plans with no waiting period. Some plans waive waiting periods for certain conditions if your pet can meet certain criteria, but in general pet insurance plans set a waiting period before your coverage begins.
Why do pet insurance plans have waiting periods?
It might be frustrating to find out that the pet insurance plan you were hoping to get requires a waiting period, especially during a serious situation. However, waiting periods serve an important purpose.
One reason pet insurance providers have this waiting period is to protect their company from potential insurance fraud. Waiting periods help ensure that all coverage is saved for eligible, accidents or illnesses in the future only.
Ultimately, waiting periods help ensure that pet owners applying for insurance are planning for their pet’s future rather than current or past accidents & illnesses that have already occurred.
What happens if a condition develops during a waiting period?
Unfortunately, if a condition develops during your pet insurance plan’s waiting period, it will not be covered by most pet insurance plans. Your pet insurance plan will also probably not cover any conditions that developed prior to your enrollment. If you look back on vet records from your pet’s annual exams, it may reveal a few pre-existing conditions.
How long will I have to wait before my pet is covered?
Waiting periods vary and depend on the policy terms of your pet insurance plan. Each plan will have its own standards for waiting periods and what they will cover under a specific plan, and waiting periods could range from two weeks to one year.
Waiting periods for most accidents & illnesses are usually a matter of weeks. Some specific conditions, like orthopedic conditions such as knee and ligament conditions, may have longer waiting periods, like six-month or even one-year waiting periods.
With Pumpkin Pet insurance plans, the waiting period is the same for all accidents & illnesses – a short 14 days – including hip dysplasia, cancer, and orthopedic conditions. Nationwide, Whole Pet, or Major Medical insurance plans have a 365-day waiting period for knee injury coverage.
To compare pet insurance plan waiting periods, check out our handy chart on this page. Or if you’d like to check out specific pet insurance plans, you can read our compare page for Embrace pet insurance plans, Lemonade pet insurance plans, Figo pet insurance plans, Trupanion pet insurance plans, and others.
What happens if I decide to change my pet’s insurance policy or provider?
When changing pet insurance plans, there will likely be a new waiting period when you take out the new pet insurance policy. If you plan on switching plans, a new waiting period may be imposed, but depending on the plan, you might be able to have the waiting period waived by showing proof of coverage from your previous plan.
Each pet insurance plan may handle waiting periods differently, so it’s best to check with the provider to make sure you understand the process and what will happen when you switch.
What is pet insurance and why should I consider getting it?
When it comes to our pets, you never know when a sudden illness or injury will strike. Our pets have a habit of getting into mischief that can sometimes put them in harm’s way. From eating your socks to jumping off your dining room table, there are many surprising situations that could lead to an unexpected vet visit. That’s where pet insurance comes in.
Pet insurance plans can help cover eligible vet bills if your pet unexpectedly gets sick or hurt. These plan options help ensure that your pet can get the treatment and care they need when faced with an unexpected illness or injury. These plan options can cover eligible costs associated with medication, surgery, and other treatments for accidents & illnesses, depending on the pet insurance plan.
What is a pre-existing condition and why are they excluded?
Simply put, pre-existing conditions are conditions that occurred or showed symptoms before the insurance coverage started or during the waiting period. They are among the common exclusions in pet insurance coverage.
Because they pre-date the start of your pet insurance plan coverage, pre-existing conditions are not covered by most pet insurance plans. However, with some plans like Pumpkin plans, an injury or illness will no longer be considered pre‑existing if it’s curable, was cured, and has been free of treatment & symptoms for 180 days – except knee & ligament conditions. If a knee or ligament condition occurs before the coverage starts or during a waiting period, any future ones won’t be covered.
How do I choose the best pet insurance for my pet?
This is a question every pet parent wants answered when trying to decide which pet insurance plan to choose – and unfortunately, there’s no clear answer. Every pet has unique needs and every pet owner has a different budget, which is why it’s important to consider your options carefully and make sure the plan you select is a great fit for your pet’s health care needs. The good news is that advancements in veterinary medicine make it possible for our pets to live longer and healthier lives now more than ever – and a good pet insurance plan can help you say ‘yes’ to the care they need.
We’d love to say there’s an easy answer, but there are so many choices available to you that it can make choosing one plan quite hard. Each pet insurance plan has different coverage, so before you enroll in one, delve deep into those pet insurance policies. Pet insurance providers’ websites and sample policy documents are a great place to start.
It’s always a good idea to get pet insurance quotes and read pet insurance reviews before signing any up for a plan. Pets can be sneaky – but your pet insurance shouldn’t be! By carefully comparing different providers, you can find the best pet insurance coverage for you and your pet.
Where can I get started enrolling in a pet insurance plan?
With so many options for different pet insurance plans and providers, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, we’re here to help! Pumpkin offers a no-frills comparison guide that breaks down the differences between many pet insurance providers and the plans they offer.
And how do Pumpkin plans stand out from the pack? Here are just a few ways:
- 90% cash back on all eligible vet bills
- Super-extensive accident & illness coverage
- Short 14 day waiting period for all accidents & illnesses
- ALL pets age 8 wks and up are eligible to enroll
- No upper age limits or breed restrictions, ever
- Pet obsessed Care Team always ready to lend a paw
- 10% multi-pet discount for each additional pet you enroll.
- Optional wellness package called Preventive Essentials. It’s not insurance, but an optional benefit you can add to your plan.
Check out Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans and get help saying ‘yes’ to the best care for your pet!