Uh oh, Fido just hurt his leg. Or maybe Garfield was diagnosed with an illness. Can you sign up for pet insurance and have a current health condition covered immediately without waiting periods? Find out if you can get pet insurance that starts immediately and which plan has no waiting periods.
- Can I Get Pet Insurance That Takes Effect Immediately?
- Why Do Waiting Periods Exist?
- What Are Common Waiting Periods?
- Can I Get Retroactive Pet Insurance?
- Best Time To Buy Pet Insurance
There is one company that offers almost instant pet insurance coverage, Companion Protect. Companion Protect is a young company with no waiting periods, but it reviews your pet’s medical records beforehand, which can potentially take a few days. Also, as a new company, there are few customer testimonials available. This makes it difficult to determine how their coverage truly works in the real world.
Outside of Companion Protect, there is no such thing as pet insurance without waiting periods or same-day pet insurance. That’s why it’s crucial to subscribe to an insurance plan before your pet sustains health problems. Getting pet health insurance at a young age ensures coverage for as many accidents and illnesses that your pet may experience during its lifetime.
Ultimately, waiting periods exist to weed out recent illnesses and accidents pets may have sustained before obtaining insurance, allowing companies to keep premiums lower. Without waiting periods, companies could receive claims for conditions that should have been excluded from coverage during the quote process*, increasing premiums and, ultimately, making pet insurance less affordable. Charging and receiving fair policy premiums allows pet insurance companies to pay for claims and remain profitable.
*If a customer misrepresents their pet’s condition during the application process, they are guilty of insurance fraud, a felony in most U.S. states.
Some pet insurance companies also offer optional wellness plans covering preventative items like flea and tick medication, microchipping, wellness exams, and more. Wellness plans typically have no waiting periods and become active on the policy’s effective date.
Pet insurance companies have two primary waiting periods, one for illnesses and one for accidents. It’s also common to see additional waiting periods for more serious health conditions (e.g., hip dysplasia, CCL tears, Intervertebral Disc Disease [IVDD], and other orthopedic conditions).
It’s most common for pet insurance companies to have roughly a 14-day waiting period for illnesses and a 3-day waiting period for accidents. As for hip dysplasia, CCL injuries, IVDD, and other orthopedic conditions, it’s more of a mixed bag, ranging from 14 days to 12 months.
Note: Some pet insurance companies have waivers that can be filled out by your dog’s veterinarian to reduce extended waiting periods. For example, Embrace has an orthopedic report card that can reduce the waiting period for orthopedic conditions from six months down to 14 days, depending on what the vet discovers for your dog’s hips, legs, shoulders, forelimbs, spine, joints, and bones.
When Does Pet Insurance Take Effect?
This varies by provider. Once you’ve signed your contract, you’ll know your policy’s effective date. Here’s a chart so you can see which of the most popular pet insurance companies have the shortest waiting periods.
|Company||Review||Illness||Accident||CCL Surgery||Hip Dysplasia||Other|
|Read Review||14 Days||1 Day||6 Months||6 Months||Orthopedic Conditions - 6 Months|
|Read Review||15 Days||15 Days||15 Days||12 Months|
|Read Review||14 Days||3 Days||6 Months||14 Days|
|Read Review||14 Days||2 Days||6 Months||6 Months||Orthopedic Conditions - 6 Months|
|Read Review||15 Days||15 Days||6 Months||6 Months|
|Read Review||14 Days||14 Days||14 Days||14 Days|
|Read Review||14 Days||14 Days||14 Days||14 Days|
|Read Review||14 Days||2 Days||6 Months||14 Days|
|Read Review||14 Days||14 Days||12 Months||14 Days|
|Read Review||30 Days||5 Days||30 Days||30 Days|
No, you cannot purchase pet insurance and have it be effective beginning on a date that has already passed.
We know many pet parents search for pet insurance that’s effective immediately because their dog has already experienced an accident or illness, and they want it to be covered by the policy. Unfortunately, given the nature of insurance, this doesn’t exist. Pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions. So, if your dog suffers from allergies or was hit by a car before you purchased your policy, then those items will be considered pre-existing and are not eligible for coverage.
This is why we urge you to purchase pet insurance as early in your pet’s life as possible. Last-minute pet insurance can lead to more exclusions, and we want you to get the most out of your policy.
If you’d like to learn more about pet insurance and how it works in general, you can read our pet insurance 101 guide. We explain what pet insurance is, how it works, why you need it, what it covers, and more. Then you can read our pet insurance reviews to see who we’ve ranked as our top picks this year.
Do you think you’ll sign up for pet insurance?