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Pet insurance with no waiting period
It’s possible to get pet insurance with no waiting periods for accidents but not for illnesses or long-term health conditions.
Pet insurance waiting periods vary depending on what condition needs treatment. Policies usually have no waiting period for accidents. However, you have to wait approximately 21 days for illness and longer (usually around 90 days) to claim for long-term health conditions such as tick paralysis and cruciate ligament conditions.
Can I get pet insurance with no waiting period?
In most cases, you have to serve a waiting period before you are covered. While some companies don’t enforce waiting periods, this usually only applies to accident-only insurance. It’s hard to find immediate pet insurance when you need to make a claim, so it’s essential to plan and insure your pet as early as possible so that they are protected against injury and disease.
What are the waiting periods for pet insurance?
Pet insurance policies in New Zealand typically allow you to claim for an illness or a routine treatment after a 21-day waiting period. For cruciate ligament conditions, you must usually wait for 90 days. In most cases, you should be covered immediately for accidents.
Many policies have a 14-day “cooling-off period”, which allows you to cancel your policy at no extra charge if you make no claims during that time. You can still cancel your policy whenever you want to after this period, but you may have to pay additional charges.
What is a waiting period?
The waiting period is the time between when you take out your insurance policy and when it comes into effect. If you take out pet insurance the day before a vet visit to investigate an illness, you can’t claim a benefit for that visit.
There are two main reasons why waiting periods exist:
- Pre-existing conditions. This is a condition that you know your pet needs treatment for and will cost your insurer. It’s important to know whether your pet’s breed is known for developing particular conditions. For example, King Charles Cavaliers are known for developing heart conditions, while Labrador Retrievers are predisposed to hip dysplasia.
- To prevent fraud. An owner could take out a policy knowing their pet has an expensive surgery scheduled for the next day and claim a significant rebate, only to cancel the policy afterwards.
How long will I have to wait until my pet is insured?
Conditions covered under illness and routine treatments usually come with a 30-day waiting period. For cruciate ligament conditions and tick paralysis, you must usually wait for 90 days.
What happens if my pet gets sick during the waiting period?
You can seek treatment for any illness outlined in your insurance policy, but you are not covered until after the waiting period has been served.
Remember, if your pet is showing symptoms of a condition determined to be pre-existing during the waiting period, you aren’t covered.
Do I need to re-serve waiting periods when I switch pet insurance policies?
It’s common to take out one pet insurance policy when your dog or cat is young and switch to a different one when they get older. While this may seem like a cost-effective strategy, it could result in you having to re-serve waiting periods. Some providers won’t reset the waiting periods if you switch to a new policy with the same level of cover as your previous one.
Also, if you upgrade your policy with the same company, for example, from accident and illness cover to comprehensive, you may have to re-serve the waiting periods, depending on your provider and coverage.
What impacts the length of waiting periods?
Suppose a service has a more extended waiting period, for example, a cruciate ligament condition. In that case, it is usually because the insurer wants to guarantee your pet had no existing cruciate ligament issues on joining. Waiting periods prevent you from receiving treatment for pre-existing conditions that you know your pet needs treatment for and will therefore cost your insurer in rebates. Conversely, accidents generally have no waiting periods because it’s something that only occurs unexpectedly.
Waiting periods for specific conditions and illnesses
Waiting periods vary depending on the ailment and the brand offering pet insurance. Below is an outline of how long you may have to wait for specific conditions and illnesses. Remember that wait times may vary between providers, so consult the product disclosure statement (PDS) to see exactly how long you have to serve.
|Condition||Typical waiting period|
|Accidents such as:||0 days|
|Illnesses such as:||30 days|
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