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Can I get pet insurance right now?

Compare pet insurance policies with fast online quotes and short wait times


Fact checked

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.

Does pet insurance start immediately?

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.

Which pet insurers have the shortest waiting periods?

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.

Pet insurance waiting periods by brand

CompaniesAccidentsIllnessesKnee/hipWellness coverage
ASPCA14 days14 days
  • 14 days (knee/ligament)
  • Same day
Embrace14 days14 days6 months (orthopedic conditions)
  • Same day
    FigoVaries by state; typically 5 daysVaries by state; typically 14 daysVaries by state; typically 6-12 monthsNot available
    Healthy Paws15 days15 days12 months (hip dysplasia)Not available
    Nationwide14 days14 days, up to 1 year for hereditary illnesses6 months (cruciate)Next day
    • Same day
    14 daysVaries by state; 6-12 months (cruciate, knees, disc disease)
    • Same day
      Petplan15 days15 days6 months (knees/hip dysplasia)Not available
      Pets Best3 days14 days6 months (cruciate)
      • Same day
        Trupanion5 days30 days30 daysNot available

        What about knee or hip conditions?

        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.

        How do I sign up today?

        Most pet insurers let you get quotes online or over the phone. You could sign on the dotted line and start your coverage today.

        Get pet insurance quotes online

        Name Product Pets covered Seniors accepted Hereditary conditions Chronic illness
        Dogs, Cats
        Cover unexpected vet bills from emergency exams, injuries, surgery and more.
        Dogs, Cats
        Enjoy extra benefits with coverage for exam fees, curable conditions and wellness visit reimbursement.
        Pet Assure
        Dogs, Cats, Horses
        Save up to 25% on all vet bills including wellness and dental visits for as little as $10/month.
        Pets Best
        Dogs, Cats
        Dogs, Cats
        Get coverage starting at $9 per month for cats and $15 for dogs. Talk to an agent at 888-738-0683.

        Compare up to 4 providers

        What if my pet needs help during the waiting period?

        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.

        Can I shorten my waiting period?

        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.

        Why does my pet insurance require a waiting period?

        Like other life or health policies, you can’t use your pet insurance coverage right away for several reasons:

        • To rule out pre-existing conditions. These waiting periods help protect your insurer from paying for health problems that happened before you became a customer.
        • To protect against insurance fraud. Some people might try to buy insurance, make a claim and then cancel right after the claim is paid. This practice would hurt the insurance company and possibly drive up rates for other customers.

        Bottom line

        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.

        Frequently asked questions about immediate pet insurance

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