Need pet insurance with no waiting period?
Learn about pet insurance waiting periods, and when you can make a claim.
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Pet insurance waiting periods vary depending on the condition your pet needs treatment for. Most policies usually have no waiting period for accidents, though you will have to wait between 14-30 days for illnesses and even longer (usually around 6 months) to claim on long-term health conditions such as tick paralysis and cruciate ligament conditions.
Can I get pet insurance with no waiting period?
In most cases, you will have to serve a waiting period before you get covered. While there are some companies that don't enforce waiting periods, this usually only applies to accident-only insurance. It's hard to find immediate pet insurance when you need to make a claim, so it's important to plan in advance and insure your pet as early as possible so that it's protected against injury and disease.
What are the waiting periods for pet insurance?
Most pet insurance policies allow you to claim for an illness or a routine treatment after a 30-day waiting period, but there are a few happy exceptions. For example, Knose and Vets Choice offer shorter waiting periods for illnesses - 14 and 21 days respectively. For cruciate ligament conditions, you must usually wait 6 months, although some providers will offer a form that your vet fills out that will allow you to waive or shorten this period. In most cases, you should be covered immediately for accidents.
Many policies have a 21-day "cooling-off period", which allows you to cancel your policy at no extra charge if you've made no claims during that time. You can still cancel your policy whenever you want to after this period, but you may have to pay additional charges.
What is a waiting period?
The waiting period is the time between when you take out your insurance policy and when it comes into effect. If you take out pet insurance the day before a vet visit to investigate an illness, you won’t be able to claim a benefit for that visit. .
There are two main reasons why waiting periods exist:
- Pre-existing conditions. This is a condition that you know your pet will need treatment for and therefore cost your insurer. It’s important to be aware of whether your pet’s breed is known for developing particular conditions, for example, King Charles Cavaliers are known for developing heart conditions.
- To prevent fraud. Someone could take out a policy knowing their pet has an expensive surgery scheduled for the next day and claim a large rebate, only to cancel the policy afterwards.
How long will I have to wait until my pet is insured?
Conditions covered under illness and tick paralysis and routine treatments usually come with a 30-day waiting period. For cruciate ligament conditions, you must usually wait 6 months, although some providers will offer a form for waiving or shortening this.
Many policies have a 21-day “cooling-off period”, which allows you to cancel your policy at no extra charge if you’ve made no claims during that time. You can still cancel your policy whenever you want to after this period, but you may have to pay additional charges.
What happens if my pet gets sick during the waiting period?
You can seek treatment for any illness outlined in your insurance policy, but it won’t be covered until after the waiting period has been served.
Remember, if your pet is showing symptoms of a condition determined to be pre-existing during the waiting period, you won’t be covered.
Do I need to re-serve waiting periods when I switch pet insurance policies?
It’s common to take out one pet insurance policy when your dog or cat is young and switch to a different policy when your pet gets older. While this may seem like a cost-effective strategy, it could result in you having to re-serve waiting periods. There are some providers that won’t reset the waiting periods if you switch to a new policy with the same level of cover as your previous one.
If you upgrade your policy with the same company, for example, from accident and illness cover to comprehensive, you may still have to re-serve the waiting periods, depending on your provider and what you’re being covered for.
What impacts the length of waiting periods?
If a service has a longer waiting period, like a cruciate ligament condition for example, it is usually because the insurer wants to ensure your pet had no existing cruciate ligament conditions on joining. In other words, waiting periods prevent you from receiving treatment for pre-existing conditions that you know your pet will need treatment for and therefore costs your insurer in rebates. Conversely, accidents generally have no waiting periods because it's something that can only occur unexpectedly.
Waiting periods for specific conditions and illnesses
Waiting periods vary depending on the ailment and the brand offering pet insurance. Below is an outline of how long you will probably have to wait for specific conditions and illnesses. Remember that waiting times may vary between providers so consult the product disclosure statement (PDS) to see exactly how long you will have to serve, or use the compare feature in the table at the top of the page to see brands side by side.
|Condition||Typical waiting period|
|Accidents such as:||0 days|
|Illnesses such as:||30 Days|
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