How to Get Pet Insurance With No Waiting Period

Almost every pet insurance company has a waiting period, but some are shorter than others.

Christy Rakoczy
Written byChristy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy

Christy Rakoczy has been a personal finance and insurance writer for over a decade. Her work has been published on USA Today, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Credit Karma, Forbes Advisor, and more. Christy has a JD from UCLA School of Law and previously worked as a data analyst for Blue Cross and as a paralegal studies instructor before transitioning to writing full time.

Danny Smith
Edited byDanny Smith
Photo of an Insurify author
Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

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Mark Friedlander
Reviewed byMark Friedlander
Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
  • Corporate communications director for Insurance Information Institute

  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

Updated December 10, 2023 | Reading time: 4 minutes

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Pet owners who buy insurance typically want to get coverage in place as soon as possible so they can provide their animals with the care they need. Most insurers have a waiting period, though.

During a waiting period, insurers won’t cover any costs of care. And if a pet does develop conditions or sustain an injury during that time, the resulting medical issues will likely be treated as pre-existing conditions, meaning they’ll be excluded from coverage.

Here’s how a pet insurance waiting period works and how pet owners can make sure to get their animals covered as soon as possible in case of accidents, injuries, or illness.

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Is there pet insurance with no waiting period?

All pet insurance plans have a waiting period.[1] Waiting periods exist because pet insurers exclude coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, and insurers don’t want pet owners to sign up for coverage only after a health issue develops. A waiting period prevents this since an insurer won’t be paying for medical treatment right away.

Waiting periods are usually shorter for accidents versus illnesses. However, some insurers also impose additional waiting periods for certain medical issues, such as orthopedic conditions. Insurers may also waive or shorten waiting periods if a vet certifies an animal’s health after an exam.

Good to Know

While all insurers have some type of waiting period, certain companies impose shorter delays. For example, Figo has a one-day waiting period for accidents, while some competitors impose a two-week wait. ManyPets will waive your waiting period if you can show you’ve had another pet insurance policy in force at least 24 hours prior to the time that you purchased coverage from them.

What is the typical waiting period for pet insurance?

Waiting periods typically range from two to 14 days for accident coverage and 14 to 30 days for illness coverage, although the timeline varies by company.[2] For specific conditions, such as orthopedic conditions or hip dysplasia, many pet insurance companies impose additional waiting periods of six to 12 months before they pay for veterinary care.

Compare Pet Insurance Quotes and Company Plans (2024)

Compare Pet Insurance Quotes and Company Plans (2024)

Best pet insurance companies with short waiting periods

While pet insurance companies impose waiting periods to protect against fraud, companies apply different rules for when a policy becomes effective. The following three insurance companies offer some of the shortest waiting periods available.

Figo

Average monthly cost: $31

Figo has a one-day waiting period for accidents — the lowest in the industry. Pet owners who obtain an orthopedic conditions waiver within their first 30 days after getting covered can also eliminate the six-month orthopedic conditions waiting period.[3]

Pros
  • Customers can choose plans offering up to 100% reimbursement.

  • Plans can be customized with Figo’s Pick and Pack system.

Cons
  • Prescription food is only covered as part of an add-on plan.

  • Vet exam fees for accidents and illnesses aren’t part of standard coverage.

ManyPets

Average monthly cost: $30 to $40 for dogs, $20 to $25 for cats

ManyPets has a 15-day waiting period before coverage kicks in. However, the insurer will waive the waiting period if you can prove your pet had coverage from another valid pet insurer before you purchased your ManyPets policy. The other insurance coverage must have been in effect within 24 hours of switching companies, and pre-existing conditions will still be excluded.[4]

The availability of this waiver means it’s possible to have no waiting period at all in certain situations.

Pros
  • It’s possible to get coverage with no waiting period if you have existing pet insurance in place and want to switch companies.

  • There are no condition-specific waiting periods, and the wellness plan waiting period is only 24 hours.

Cons
  • No hip dysplasia coverage is available if pets are 6 years of age or older at the time coverage is purchased.

  • ManyPets requires 18 months of medical records when you submit your first claim.

Lemonade

Average monthly cost: $37 for dogs, $14 for cats

Lemonade has a two-day waiting period for accidents, a 14-day waiting period for illnesses, and a six-month waiting period for cruciate ligament events instead of 12 months, as some competitors require.[5]

Pros
  • There’s no waiting period for the preventative package.

  • Lemonade offers many discount opportunities, including 10% for bundling coverage with another Lemonade policy such as home or auto, a 5% multi-pet discount, and a 5% annual discount.

Cons
  • Coverage isn’t available in all states.

  • Vet fees and physical therapy are only covered with add-on packages.

Best Pet Insurance Companies and Plans for 2024

Best Pet Insurance Companies and Plans for 2024

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Pet insurance waiting period FAQs

Still have questions about pet insurance? Here are some key things you should know to understand how your pet insurance plan will work.

  • Why do pet insurance companies have waiting periods?

    Pet insurance companies have waiting periods to prevent fraud. Insurers don’t want you to wait to sign up until after your animal is sick. To prevent this, they don’t cover pre-existing conditions or pay medical bills incurred during the waiting period. Waiting periods can vary by insurer and location, but are typically two to five days for accident coverage, and two weeks to one month for illness coverage.

  • Can you get retroactive pet insurance coverage?

    Retroactive pet insurance coverage isn’t available. In fact, when you sign up for pet insurance coverage, many insurers impose a waiting period, so you won’t have immediate coverage for vet bills or pre-existing conditions. It’s important to buy pet insurance before a pet gets sick to avoid exclusions for medical conditions.

  • Is pet insurance worth it?

    It depends. Pet insurance can help you avoid large unexpected expenses and ensure your pet gets the care it needs. Many pet owners find this protection is worth paying for, especially as pet insurance premiums generally cost less than $40 a month. However, if you feel that you can afford veterinary bills out of pocket, pet insurance may not be worth it for you.

Sources

  1. Illinois Department of Insurance. "Pet Health Insurance."
  2. Nevada Division of Insurance. "Pet Health Insurance."
  3. Figo. "Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?."
  4. ManyPets. "How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?."
  5. Lemonade. "Pet Insurance Waiting Periods."
Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy

Christy Rakoczy has been a personal finance and insurance writer for over a decade. Her work has been published on USA Today, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Credit Karma, Forbes Advisor, and more. Christy has a JD from UCLA School of Law and previously worked as a data analyst for Blue Cross and as a paralegal studies instructor before transitioning to writing full time.

Danny Smith
Edited byDanny Smith
Photo of an Insurify author
Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

Featured in

media logo
Mark Friedlander
Reviewed byMark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
  • Corporate communications director for Insurance Information Institute

  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

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