Our top pick: Wagmo
- 100% vet bill reimbursement
- Up to $10,000 per accident or injury
- As low as $13/month
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Most pet policies involve a waiting period between the time you start a policy and the time you can make a claim. However, some insurers offer accident-only or wellness plans with little to no wait times. Because timing varies based on the insurer, consider those with short waiting periods if your pet’s risk for medical problems is rising.
A few pet insurance companies don’t include waiting periods for certain coverage, typically for accident-only policies or wellness plans. For most pet policies, you’ll need to get through a waiting period before insurance kicks in for vet care.
Typically same day coverage means you’ll need to sign all your policy documents and pay your first premiums, but sometimes coverage won’t start until midnight the same day.
Most insurers who offers wellness coverage start your benefits the same day, including ASPCA, Embrace, PetFirst and Pets Best.
Same-day accident and illness coverage is rare, with benefits typically starting after 2 weeks. PetFirst is the only pet insurer offering accident coverage the same day you sign up. Pets Best, Trupanion and Figo can get you covered within a few days.
|ASPCA||14 days||14 days|
|Embrace||14 days||14 days||6 months (orthopedic conditions)|
|Figo||Varies by state; typically 5 days||Varies by state; typically 14 days||Varies by state; typically 6-12 months||Not available|
|Healthy Paws||15 days||15 days||12 months (hip dysplasia)||Not available|
|Nationwide||14 days||14 days, up to 1 year for hereditary illnesses||6 months (cruciate)||Next day|
|PetFirst||14 days||Varies by state; 6-12 months (cruciate, knees, disc disease)|
|Petplan||15 days||15 days||6 months (knees/hip dysplasia)||Not available|
|Pets Best||3 days||14 days||6 months (cruciate)|
|Trupanion||5 days||30 days||30 days||Not available|
Most pet insurers let you get quotes online or over the phone. You could sign on the dotted line and start your coverage today. Start by getting quotes online from top brands.
You won’t get coverage for accidents or illnesses until after the waiting period, even if a condition is covered under your policy. So if your pet needs medical treatment during the wait, you’ll pay for that treatment out of pocket.
Also, illnesses or injuries that happen during the waiting period are considered pre-existing and may not qualify for future coverage. Always request a sample policy before purchasing your plan, paying attention to the waiting period sections. This way, you can compare waiting periods between companies when shopping for a plan that fits you needs best.
Some insurers shorten or even waive certain waiting periods if your pet qualifies. To qualify, you may need a vet’s certificate signing off on your pet’s health. In some cases, the waiver only applies to certain conditions like knee conditions, leaving other waiting periods intact.
Orthopedic issues have even longer waiting periods of 6 months or a year, as long as they’re not considered a pre-existing condition. But ASPCA and Trupanion can cover your pet’s knee surgery in as little as a few weeks.
Like other life or health policies, you can’t use your pet insurance coverage right away for several reasons:
Although waiting periods are necessary for your insurance company, they do create risk that your pet will experience a medical problem that won’t qualify for coverage. Avoid out-of-pocket expenses by comparing pet insurers with a balance of coverage and short wait times.
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