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Why Are There Waiting Periods with Pet Insurance?

Lisa Belluck  — January 12, 2019

We all love our pets and want to be sure they’re healthy. But vet visits, treatments, and medications can add up surprisingly quickly for our furry friends! Covering all those expenses is where pet insurance comes in handy.

It’s similar to health insurance for humans, and while benefits vary, plans typically include most of the costs of any new illnesses or injuries for your pet. If you’re looking into pet insurance, you may be hoping to find pet insurance with immediate coverage.

After all, now that you know Mr. Jinx could be protected from unexpected health concerns, you probably want to take advantage of that today, right? However, all pet insurance companies have something called a waiting period.

What is a Pet Insurance Waiting Period?

A waiting period means that for a specific length of time after your pet insurance plan goes into effect, any illness or injury that arises is not covered until the waiting period is over. You may be wondering why that would be the case if your pet’s coverage is in effect.

Waiting periods are there to protect insurance companies from possible fraud. Since plans only include conditions that occur after the insurance has begun, this means they don’t cover any pre-existing conditions. Without a waiting period, it would be possible for a pet owner without insurance to notice an injury or sign of illness and sign up for insurance before getting their pet treatment.

Since these sorts of health issues would qualify as pre-existing conditions, waiting periods are put in place to ensure that this type of fraud doesn’t occur. Waiting periods can be frustrating for some pet owners who are looking to find insurance, but ultimately they’re there to protect you from rising costs due to fraudulent claims.

What Are the Standard Pet Insurance Waiting Periods?

While no company offers pet insurance with immediate coverage, and all companies and plans have waiting periods, they do vary when it comes to how long they last. Some can be as short as 48 hours, while others can go on for months.

A 14-day waiting period is typical of most plans and most types of care. But there may be longer or shorter times for specific health issues and treatments. For example, some companies have a 14-day waiting period for illnesses but only a 2-day waiting period for injuries. Others have a 6-month waiting period for dog hip dysplasia treatment.

Be sure when you’re comparing pet insurance plans that you know what waiting periods are involved. Though this is relevant information to have, it’s typically not a good idea to pick a plan based on a small waiting period. You should also consider the actual benefits provided when making your decision, and then be certain you know what waiting period is imposed before taking your pet into the vet.

How to Find the Best Pet Insurance

There are loads of great choices for pet insurance that will give you peace of mind. The options can be overwhelming, so be sure to check out FindReviews.com for more information on the best pet insurance companies to help find the perfect plan for you and your pet.