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Is There Pet Insurance With No Waiting Periods?

Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 04/03/2024

Many pet owners don’t realize the value of having pet health insurance until they’re hit with an expensive vet bill. Yet you can’t retroactively enroll in a plan to get those costs covered, so it’s a good idea to sign up for pet insurance policies before an accident or illness occurs.

All pet insurance policies have waiting periods. Most plans have a 14-day waiting period before pet owners can file a claim and receive reimbursement, but some insurers have shorter waiting periods or more flexible policies than others. We’ve extensively researched the best pet insurance companies in the industry and compiled a list of providers with the shortest waiting periods.

Why Trust Us? Our review and rating process for the best pet insurance companies
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Companies Considered We carefully considered 22 companies to find the best pet insurance providers available.
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Pet Owners Surveyed We surveyed 1,000 pet owners to see what they care about most when in comes to pet insurance.
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Reviews Analyzed We went through 3,800 customer reviews of pet insurance companies to see what people had to say about each provider.
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Policies Compared We compared 51 policies to find the best pet insurance offerings on the market.

What Is a Waiting Period?

When you read a pet insurance policy, you’ll see coverage terms regarding waiting periods. A pet insurance waiting period is the time between the day you sign up for your policy and the day the provider allows you to file a claim. Most waiting periods are 14 or fewer days, but some providers have longer waiting periods. Some companies have the same waiting period for all claims, while others vary the amount of time based on the claim type or specific condition.


Are There Pet Insurance Companies With No Waiting Period?

Unfortunately, you won’t find a pet insurance company that has no waiting period, so you’ll have to wait before your coverage kicks in to receive reimbursements. Consider enrolling in a pet insurance policy before you need it. You never know when your dog will have a dental emergency or your cat will start showing signs of an illness. Whatever comes up before your insurer’s waiting period is over is your responsibility to pay out of pocket. 

Typically, waiting periods begin at 12:01 a.m. the day after you purchase your plan according to the time zone of the mailing address you use during enrollment.

Top 4 Pet Insurance Companies With Short Waiting Periods

Some providers’ waiting periods extend up to 30 days for common accidents and illnesses, or even further for certain conditions. All of the providers on this list have waiting periods of 14 days or shorter.

Lemonade: Best Overall
Spot: Most Customizable Plans
Embrace: Best Deductibles
Figo: Best Extra Coverage Add-On

Lemonade

Best Overall
4.8 Our team is dedicated to thorough, in-depth reviews of each product or service that we detail in our content. Determined to build trust with our readers through transparency, accuracy, and accountability, we’ve built a detailed rating system to score pet insurance brands. Included in this methodology are the following six factors with their respective scoring weights:

Lemonade Waiting Periods

    • Accidents: Two days

    • Illnesses: 14 days

    • Exceptions: Six months for cruciate ligament events

Lemonade Pros and Cons

Pros Has some of the most affordable plans Doesn’t have age limits for coverage Has a mobile app, website portal, and vet telehealth line for convenient customer support Cons Has a six-month waiting period for cruciate ligaments Is only available in 37 states

Lemonade Overview

We scored Lemonade 96 out of 100. The company’s affordable plans and short waiting period for accidents make it popular among customers. It also has no upper age limit for enrollment, so you can insure an elderly pet anytime.

Lemonade Ratings

Monthly Cost
4.5 / 5
4.5 / 5
Company Reputation
4.3 / 5
4.3 / 5
Plan Options
5 / 5
5 / 5
Customer Service
5 / 5
5 / 5
Coverage
4.9 / 5
4.9 / 5
Eligible Species
5 / 5
5 / 5

To learn more: Lemonade Pet Insurance Review 


Spot

Most Customizable Plans
4.6 Our team is dedicated to thorough, in-depth reviews of each product or service that we detail in our content. Determined to build trust with our readers through transparency, accuracy, and accountability, we’ve built a detailed rating system to score pet insurance brands. Included in this methodology are the following six factors with their respective scoring weights:

Spot Waiting Periods

  • Accidents: 14 days
  • Illnesses: 14 days
  • Exceptions: None

Spot Pros and Cons

Pros Has no upper age limit Provides unlimited coverage Offers a multi-pet discount of 10% Cons Has a low payout cap on some plans Doesn’t cover pets under 8 weeks old

Spot Overview

Spot earned a 91 out of 100 thanks to its customizable coverage choices, unlimited coverage option, and positive customer reviews. Plus, its waiting period is a short 14 days with no outlying exceptions.

Spot Ratings

Monthly Cost
4.8 / 5
4.8 / 5
Company Reputation
4.7 / 5
4.7 / 5
Plan Options
4.5 / 5
4.5 / 5
Customer Service
4 / 5
4 / 5
Coverage
4.4 / 5
4.4 / 5
Eligible Species
5 / 5
5 / 5

To learn more: Spot Pet Insurance Review 


Embrace

Best Deductibles
4.7 Our team is dedicated to thorough, in-depth reviews of each product or service that we detail in our content. Determined to build trust with our readers through transparency, accuracy, and accountability, we’ve built a detailed rating system to score pet insurance brands. Included in this methodology are the following six factors with their respective scoring weights:

Embrace Waiting Periods

  • Accidents: Two days
  • Illnesses: 14 days
  • Exceptions: Six months for orthopedic conditions* such as hip dysplasia, ligament tears, intervertebral disc disease, arthritis, and bone fractures

*Embrace may reduce the waiting period for orthopedic conditions to 14 days if you follow their waiver process, which requires having a licensed veterinarian perform an orthopedic exam on your pet. 

Embrace Pros and Cons

Pros Covers some preexisting conditions if no symptoms have presented for 12 months Offers discounts and reduces your deductible $50 each year you don’t file a claim Has no upper age limit Cons Requires a six-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions Has limited customer service availability on weekends

Embrace Overview

Embrace received a score of 93.5 out of 100. This provider offers a range of deductible options, a short accident waiting period, and the ability to manage your policy online and via mobile app.

Embrace Ratings

Monthly Cost
4.3 / 5
4.3 / 5
Company Reputation
4.8 / 5
4.8 / 5
Plan Options
5 / 5
5 / 5
Customer Service
4 / 5
4 / 5
Coverage
4.8 / 5
4.8 / 5
Eligible Species
5 / 5
5 / 5

To learn more: Embrace Pet Insurance Review 


Figo

Best Extra Coverage Add-On
4.7 Our team is dedicated to thorough, in-depth reviews of each product or service that we detail in our content. Determined to build trust with our readers through transparency, accuracy, and accountability, we’ve built a detailed rating system to score pet insurance brands. Included in this methodology are the following six factors with their respective scoring weights:

Figo Waiting Periods

  • Accidents: One day
  • Illnesses: 14 days
  • Exceptions: Six months for orthopedic issues*

*Figo will waive the extended waiting period for orthopedic conditions if your vet signs a waiver within the first 30 days of your policy.  

Figo Pros and Cons

Pros Has the shortest accident waiting period of any provider Offers three accident-and-illness plans with several customization options Says it closes most claims within 2.6 business days Cons Has a six-month waiting period for orthopedic issues Doesn’t cover pets under 8 weeks old

Figo Overview

We scored Figo 93 out of 100 for having the shortest accident waiting period and multiple plans to choose from. It stands out for its optional add-ons, including coverage for wellness care, vet exam fees, and other unique circumstances that come with pet ownership.

Figo Ratings

Monthly Cost
4.1 / 5
4.1 / 5
Company Reputation
4.3 / 5
4.3 / 5
Plan Options
5 / 5
5 / 5
Customer Service
5 / 5
5 / 5
Coverage
4.6 / 5
4.6 / 5
Eligible Species
5 / 5
5 / 5

To learn more: Figo Pet Insurance Review 


Why Do Pet Insurance Companies Have a Waiting Period?

Pet insurance providers have waiting periods to deter pet owners from filing claims for preexisting conditions and to keep premiums lower. Preexisting conditions are injuries or illnesses your pet experiences prior to enrollment. Without waiting periods, customers may file claims for conditions that should be filed as preexisting. Having a buffer period helps ensure that insurance companies have time to review your pet’s vet records and create a report of its health before providing reimbursement. If pet insurers had to pay for preexisting conditions, monthly premiums for all enrollees would increase.


Can You Get Retroactive Pet Insurance?

You can’t get retroactive pet insurance coverage. Pet insurance providers will only accept claims filed on or after 12:01 a.m. your time the day after the waiting period for that condition is over. You cannot file a claim for any injury, illness, or vet care that happened prior to that minute. 


Compare Providers’ Waiting Periods

Compare top providers’ waiting periods in the table below.

ProviderAccidentsIllnessesExceptions

Lemonade

Two days

14 days

Six months for cruciate ligament events

Spot

14 days

14 days

None

Embrace

Two days

14 days

Six months for orthopedic conditions

Figo

One day

14 days

Six months for orthopedic conditions


How Does Pet Insurance Work?

When you take your pet to the vet, you pay the vet bill out of pocket before leaving. You then file a claim for the amount of that vet bill. If and when the claim is approved, you’ll be reimbursed for the cost via direct deposit or mailed check. Most providers deliver reimbursement within two weeks, some as quickly as a few days. 

Annual Coverage Limits

Deductibles

Reimbursement Percentages

It’s important to understand a few variables before committing to a pet insurance plan. One is your annual coverage limit. This is the maximum amount your provider will reimburse you for per year. Some providers cap this between $5,000 and $30,000, while others offer higher limits or even unlimited coverage. 

Your deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurer will start reimbursing you. Pet insurance providers offer multiple deductible options, with some as low as $100. 

A reimbursement rate is the percentage of each vet bill the provider will reimburse you for. This usually ranges from 70%–90%, but some companies offer 100% reimbursement.

Learn more about how pet insurance works in our guide. 


When Is the Best Time To Purchase Pet Insurance?

The sooner you get pet insurance, the better. Your pet can have an accident or get sick at any time, and having insurance ensures you’ll receive reimbursement for the majority of the bill. Most pets experience an accident or illness at some point in their life, so if you’re not prepared to pay for vet treatments out of pocket, consider selecting coverage sooner rather than later. You won’t be able to enroll in a policy after an issue occurs and still receive reimbursement.


Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Pet parents who’ve had to pay expensive vet bills out of pocket prior to getting pet insurance will likely say that it’s worth the investment. You can easily get a pet insurance policy with a leading provider for less than $1,200 a year. One pet surgery can cost thousands of dollars, so investing in pet insurance is a matter of paying a little now to avoid paying a lot later. 

Waiting periods are just a small part of each provider’s policy terms. Insure your pet early and prioritize factors such as cost, coverage options, exclusions, and other variables that have a bigger impact on your wallet and the care you’re able to give.

Lemonade, Spot, Embrace, and Figo all offer shorter waiting periods than many providers, but there are much more beneficial reasons to consider them, such as plan options, customer service, and affordability. 

See our list of the cheapest pet insurance companies if budget is your main deciding factor, and always get a sample quote on a provider’s site before committing.


FAQs About Pet Insurance Waiting Periods

Can I get pet insurance then use it straight away?

No, you can’t get pet insurance coverage and use it straight away. All pet insurance providers have a waiting period. This is usually one to three days for accidents and 14–30 days for illnesses. 

Why does pet insurance have waiting periods?

Pet insurance has waiting periods to help uphold insurance companies’ policy of not accepting claims for preexisting conditions. Having a buffer of time between when you sign up and when you can file a claim helps insurers determine what care it will cover for your pet and what it won’t.

Is there a waiting period for Trupanion pet insurance?

Yes. Trupanion has a waiting period of five days for accidents and 30 days for illnesses. 

How quickly can you claim on pet insurance?

How quickly you can file a pet insurance claim depends on your provider’s waiting period. Some companies, such as Figo, allow you to submit an accident-related claim just one day after enrollment. Other companies require up to 30 days or even six months for particular issues. 


Other Pet Insurance Resources


Our Rating Methodology

We’re dedicated to thorough, in-depth reviews of each product or service that we detail in our content. Determined to build trust with our readers through transparency, accuracy, and accountability, we’ve built a detailed rating system to score pet insurance brands. Included in this methodology are the following six factors with their respective scoring weights:

  • Coverage (25)
  • Plan options (20)
  • Monthly cost (20)
  • Company reputation (15)
  • Customer service (10)
  • Species eligibility (10)

Our researchers keep all data in each company’s score up to date, making any changes to our content when necessary to provide our readers with the most accurate information on relevant metrics, such as plan options, customer service, reputation, and monthly cost.