Although all pet insurance providers have waiting periods before a pet insurance policy kicks in, some companies offer shorter waiting periods than others. Also of note— some companies will waive longer waiting periods if your pet receives certain exams.

To help you compile pet insurance information, we’ve listed all our waiting period research in one place— if you want to learn more about pet insurance policies, read our in-depth pet insurance guide for seniors here.

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What Is A Waiting Period?

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), “pet health waiting periods are usually broken up into two separate periods for illness and injury, but other pet insurers may add longer waiting periods for specific coverages such as orthopedics or cruciate ligament events, etc.”

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Pets Best

Pets Best waiting period for accident coverage is three days. Its illness waiting period is 14 days. The company’s cruciate ligament conditions waiting period is six months. You can use your pet’s routine care plan benefits on the policy effective date.

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Petplan

Petplan states that there is a 15-day waiting period after the “effective date of the policy.” Petplan also has a six-month exclusionary period on “hip dysplasia and cruciates and patellas.”

However, Petplan will “waive” its six-month cruciate exclusion under one circumstance: 

“Coverage will be afforded if your pet is examined by a veterinarian within the first thirty (30) days of the policy and the medical record specifically notes your pet does not have any pre-existing conditions relating to the knees, subject to the waiting period.”

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Embrace

Embrace’s illness policies have a 14-day waiting period. Accident coverage kicks in after 48 hours. The following is the company’s policy concerning waiting periods for orthopedic conditions:

“All dogs have a 6-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions. The good news is that you can reduce the waiting period for orthopedic conditions to 14 days by following the Orthopedic Exam and Waiver Process.”

Embrace does require a pet to have seen a vet within the past 12 months. If your pet has not been to the vet in the past year, your pet must go to a vet within “the first 14 days of your pet's policy before coverage begins.”

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Spot

Spot’s blanket waiting period is 14 days in every state. I could not find if ligament tears, etc., had a longer waiting period than other illnesses or ailments.

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Nationwide/VIP

Nationwide’s Whole Pet and Wellness plan has a 14-day waiting period. Its Major Medical plan is 14 days. Wellness alone kicks in after 24 hours. However, coverage for cruciate ligament injuries starts after 12 months.

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Pumpkin

Pumpkin coverage starts 14 days after your policy effective date. This waiting period also includes knee injuries and hip dysplasia.

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ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

The ASPCA’s comprehensive Complete Coverage option also features a shorter waiting period for knee and ligament conditions (14 days). It also has a 14-day waiting period for illness coverage. Accidents and optional preventative care are covered when a plan goes into effect.

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