There’s a common misconception that insurance companies will immediately cover an accident or illness your pet undergoes and expect reimbursement after the claim.
While some pet insurance companies may reimburse you just as you’re heading home from the vet, you can’t purchase insurance today and expect to file a claim tomorrow.
Pet insurance companies use the waiting period to prevent frauds, like getting payouts on pre-existing conditions or accidents that have occurred before the policy was purchased. Since the waiting period affects your budget, in this article we’ve broken down everything you need to know about waiting periods.
What is a Waiting Period?
Pet insurance policies use the waiting period term to refer to the time you have to wait before you can claim for and receive a reimbursement from the moment you’ve purchased your policy. Insurance companies have a systematic approach to the claim process because often claims don’t correspond with the coverage terms and conditions. Therefore, insurance companies need to check whether your claim is valid or not. If it’s not valid the claim is dismissed, but if it’s valid you get the appropriate reimbursement.
Your policy becomes effective at 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time – or the day after you’ve bought a policy. That means if you’ve bought a policy on February 5th before 11:59 pm, the pet insurance becomes effective on February 6th.
So, once the claim is active, it unlocks three different waiting periods to keep in mind:
- Accidents – usually 2 days after purchasing policy
- Illnesses – usually 14 days after purchasing policy
- Other Ligament Occurrences – usually 6 months after purchasing policy
It’s important to know how long the waiting period is because it shows how long you’ll have to wait for your reimbursement. Insurance companies can provide you reimbursement for the claim only after the arranged waiting period ends. For that reason, before getting pet insurance, it’s really important to ensure the waiting period is not too long. Otherwise, you’d put a serious dent in your wallet before you get your money back.
Tips for Avoiding Pet Insurance Waiting Periods:
- Purchase pet insurance as soon as you get a new pet.
- If your pet has a pre-existing condition, be sure to disclose it to the pet insurance company when you apply for coverage.
- Some pet insurance companies offer a “waiver of waiting period” for certain conditions. This means that you can pay an additional fee to have your coverage begin immediately for that condition.
Is There Pet Insurance with No Waiting Periods?
Waiting periods are the essence of insurance companies. If there were insurance companies without waiting periods, then, what’s the point of getting insurance before an accident happens? Everyone would register after their pet gets sick, or gets bitten by a snake, but that won’t be insurance a.k.a security for the future.
The same applies to pre-existing conditions. You’ll never get approval from the insurance of any kind if you have existing damage or in our case pre-existing conditions. No insurance company tolerates pre-existing conditions. Insurers fill the vaults from the money they’ve collected from users coming with healthy pets to claim insurance so they can weather the storm when things go south. If that was the case insurance companies would bankrupt from covering old illnesses of clients.
This is to avoid paying out huge claims to insureds that aren’t eligible. Therefore, there aren’t insurance companies with no waiting period, and every insurance company has one, only they differ in duration.
How Does the Waiting Period Works?
Each insurance company has a waiting period needed before you’re eligible to file for a claim. During this period insurers go through the documents you submit to see if your pet is healthy.
As said, insurance companies don’t cover a pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition is any illness or injury spotted by your vet. Moreover, during vet regular checkups, vets note your pet’s diagnoses. Insurance companies ask you for the vet’s medical records to see if there’s a medical issue in the history that might affect them in the future.
Therefore, if your pet suffers from some kind of illness or injury, and that’s documented in its medical records, the insurance won’t cover for older conditions or the consequences of the said injury or illness.
But, if you wondered if you can get pet insurance even if your dog has some pre-existing conditions, the answer is – yes. Pet insurance policies offer various coverage plans, in most cases created by vets, to offer protection in case of future incidents.
Lastly, mind that some, but rarely some insurance companies like Embrace treat pre-existing conditions differently. However, if you consider relying on those companies, make sure you understand the terms profoundly. Otherwise, you have no use of the insurance.
Can I Make a Claim During the Waiting Period?
It’s common for a pet to develop an illness or accident during the waiting period. Unfortunately, pet insurance companies don’t cover illnesses, conditions, or accidents before the waiting period ends regardless of how serious or urgent the issue is.
Hence, even if you make a claim during the waiting period – it will be automatically dismissed. Pet parents are on their own during this time, and once the waiting period is over – the insurance will cover any condition mentioned in the plan pet parents signed for.
What Are the Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of Having Shorter or Longer Waiting Periods?
Shorter waiting periods in pet insurance policies have the benefit of providing quicker coverage to pet owners, allowing them to address their pet’s health needs sooner. This can be especially important for pets with pre-existing conditions or for new pet owners who want immediate peace of mind. Shorter waiting periods can make pet insurance more attractive and accessible, potentially increasing the number of insured pets.
However, shorter waiting periods may have drawbacks for insurance companies. They could be more susceptible to adverse selection, as pet owners might be more inclined to wait until their pet needs medical attention before purchasing coverage. This could lead to higher claims costs and, ultimately, higher premiums for all policyholders.
On the other hand, longer waiting periods can help insurance companies mitigate the risk of adverse selection and control costs. However, they may deter potential customers and delay coverage when it is needed the most. Striking the right balance between shorter and longer waiting periods is essential to ensure both pet owner satisfaction and the financial stability of insurance providers.