Is there no waiting period pet insurance?


Let’s get down to business and address this issue right away. The answer is a categorical no! This is why it is never a good idea to purchase pet health insurance only after a disaster. It is important to have a good policy in place before the fact: this will cover any accident or injury to your pet.

Waiting periods can be annoying for pet owners, but it is absolutely necessary that pet insurance exists.

What is a waiting period and why do pet insurance companies require it?

The waiting period with pet insurance is something like a deductible with human health insurance, auto insurance, or home insurance. Once your policy is in effect, no benefit can be paid to care for your pet until the waiting period has elapsed.

From the consumer’s point of view, it serves to reduce the cost of the insurance policy. Like all businesses, insurance companies rely on a constant stream of income (i.e. premiums) to pay claims, stay profitable, and stay in business. Immediate coverage would encourage the exact opposite.

While you might not like the fact that waiting periods are a requirement, you can take comfort in knowing that it ultimately saves you money.

If a pet insurance company offered policies without a waiting period, the premiums would be prohibitive. But the fact that the waiting period can be used to exclude coverage for pets with recent illnesses or accidents keeps premiums lower than they otherwise would be.

Typical waiting periods for pet insurance companies

While all pet insurance companies have waiting periods, the specific parameters for each vary from company to company.

Pet insurance companies generally have at least two different waiting periods. The first concerns accidents and the second illness. The waiting period for an accident may be shorter because the accidents are not pre-existing conditions.

That said, pet insurance companies may have a third waiting period for more serious health issues. Each waiting period begins on the first day the policy is in effect.

Let’s take a look at several of the best pet health insurance companies and what their wait times look like.

Overview of the waiting period of major pet health insurance companies

Mark Accidents Diseases
To kiss 2 days 14 days
Lemonade 2 days 14 days
Pumpkin 14 days 14 days
Trupanion 5 days 30 days
Healthy paws 15 days 15 days

Kiss: There is a two-day waiting period for accidents and 14 days for illnesses. There is also a six month waiting period for orthopedic conditions in dogs. But even that can be reduced to 14 days with an orthopedic waiver. Read more: Take the Pet Insurance Review


Lemonade: Two days for accidents and 14 days for illness. A third waiting period applies, with six months for the cruciate ligaments.

Read more: Lemonade Pet Insurance Review


Pumpkin: There is a 14 day waiting period for all conditions, including injuries. The pumpkin will accept pets with pre-existing illnesses and provide coverage after 180 days, provided the animal is free of symptoms and does not need any treatment during that time. There is an exception for ligament conditions of the knee and hind leg, which the company cannot cover if it is determined that they are pre-existing.


Healthy Paws: There is a 15 day waiting period for injuries and illnesses. There is also an additional 12 month hip dysplasia waiting period for pets registered under the age of 6.


Trupanion: five days for accidents and 30 days for illnesses.


This is just a sample of the current wait times of popular pet health insurance companies. Before signing up with a business, be sure to check out the latest waiting period requirements.

Who Needs Pet Insurance?

Virtually everyone who has a pet should consider pet insurance. Or more specifically, anyone who has a dog or a cat. Unfortunately, pet health insurance is virtually exclusive to dogs and cats. Other pets, because they are much less common, are classified as exotic and are not covered by typical policies.

Pet insurance is especially important if you consider your pet to be part of your family. Just as you would provide necessary health care for a human family member, you would probably want to do the same for your pet.

Pet insurance has a cost, not unlike other types of insurance. You will pay annual premiums and you will have to pay fees, such as deductibles and coinsurance clauses.

Despite these costs, having a good pet health insurance plan will give you options for taking care of your pet – options that won’t exist if you don’t have the coverage.

For example, let’s say your pet is injured and needs emergency surgery. If the surgery costs $ 15,000 and you don’t have the money, you will likely have to forgo the procedure. This can force you to decide your pet’s life or death based on your finances.

But since many pet insurance policies work the same as catastrophic health insurance, they will provide the greatest benefit for the more expensive procedures. Equally important, having a policy means you can have this much needed – and very expensive – procedure for your pet, without having to make a decision based strictly on your finances.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may not want to purchase pet insurance if your pet is near the end of its natural life or has a serious chronic illness.

Most vets don’t perform surgery on an animal that is unlikely to survive. In this case, having pet insurance will be of little value.

Alternatives to pet insurance

An average pet insurance policy can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars a year to well over $ 1,000. If you add extra costs to the premium, you can pay $ 2,000 or more in a particularly bad year.

You may want to average this over the lifespan of the animal. For example, if the cost of premiums and a modest amount of personal expenses average $ 1,000 per year and your pet has a life expectancy of 15 years, the total expected cost may be $ 15,000.

There may be a number that you are willing to accept without health insurance. If so, there are options you may want to consider to cover the potential cost.

Emergency fund

Hope you have an emergency fund set up for other purposes. But if you have a pet, you may want to create an emergency fund dedicated to the medical care of the animal. The advantage of an emergency fund is that if the animal never needs expensive care, you can keep the funds in the account and use them for other purposes.

Emergency credit card

Many credit cards are available with credit limits of several thousand dollars, even $ 10,000 or more. If you have such a card, you may want to reserve it for your pet’s health care. It can cover routine costs and many mid-level procedures. And like an emergency fund, if your pet never needs high-level health care, the card will never be fully utilized.

Read more: Best credit cards for emergencies

If you plan to use an emergency fund or emergency credit card, make sure the account balance or credit limit will roughly match the expected health expenses over the life of your pet .

If you never spend the money on health care, you will save a small fortune on pet insurance premiums. But if your pet needs a very expensive but vital procedure, neither emergency savings nor an emergency credit card will likely cover the full cost.

Life is, after all, full of compromise. Think long and hard about how you want this to be with your pet.

A better alternative

The most expensive health insurance plans are those with low deductibles and coinsurance provisions. (Coinsurance is where you will pay a certain percentage of the cost above the deductible. For example, with an 80/20 plan, the insurance company will pay 80% of the cost and you will pay the remaining 20%. )

Rather than making a decision on pet insurance, you may want to consider purchasing a policy in conjunction with an emergency credit card or a dedicated emergency fund.

Either the card or the fund will allow you to purchase pet insurance with a high deductible or even high coinsurance.

The basic idea is that you will have your emergency fund, your emergency credit card, or both to cover the deductible and coinsurance. This can minimize your pet insurance premium.

But if your pet requires a medical procedure that costs $ 20,000, $ 30,000 or more, you will have pet insurance policy available to cover most of the costs.

This combination can allow you to both minimize pet insurance premiums, but also give you the most options in a life or death scenario for your pet.

At the end of the line

Waiting times are necessary in the world of pet insurance. There is no way around them since virtually all insurance companies have them. The best solution is to have a pet insurance policy in place before your pet sustains an injury or develops an illness.

Fortunately, wait times are generally short. With an average of two days for accidents and 14 days for illnesses, it’s not a long time to wait for the policy to take effect.

Besides the waiting period itself, the best strategy may be to set up pet insurance as a catastrophic policy. Using an emergency fund or emergency credit card will make this task easier. You can use the fund or the card to pay for lower level expenses, then you will have insurance for everything important.

Even with the waiting period, pet insurance is worth it. With it, you will give yourself – and your pet – options to extend their life that might not be available without insurance.

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About Scott Conley

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