Need pet insurance with no waiting period?

Learn about pet insurance waiting periods, and when you can make a claim.

Updated

Fact checked

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.

Protect your pet before it's too late

You'll be covered immediately for any accidents. If your pet becomes ill, it'll be between 14-30 days until you're covered, depending on the policy. In either case, it's better to get insurance as soon as possible so you're protected if your furry mate develops a pre-existing condition.
Name Product Maximum yearly benefit Maximum yearly benefit Reimbursement rate Reimbursement rate Waiting Period Illness
Woolworths Comprehensive Cover
$24,000
$24,000
80%
80%
30 days for illnesses and tick paralysis & 6 months for cruciate ligament
Woolworths has a price beat promise for similar policies. 1 year free VetAssist gives you instant access to vets online (valued at $199). T&Cs apply.
Knose Dog Cover
$25,000
$25,000
70%, 80% or 90%
70%, 80% or 90%
14 days for Illness & 6 months for orthopaedics and hereditary conditions
Get cover for your pet.
PIA Major Medical Cover
$15,145
$15,145
80%
80%
30 days for illnesses, tick paralysis & 6 months for cruciate ligament
Get 2 months free when you sign up.
Bow Wow Meow Ultimate Care Plan
$20,000
$20,000
80%
80%
30 days for illnesses & 6 months for cruciate ligament
Join and get 2 months free pet insurance for puppies. T&Cs apply.
Kogan Pet Luxury Cover
$15,000
$15,000
80% up to age 8 & 65% over age 8
80% up to age 8 & 65% over age 8
30 days for specified illnesses & 6 months for cruciate ligament
1 month free for new customers.
PetSecure Accident and Illness Cover
$12,000
$12,000
75% or 85%
75% or 85%
30 days for illnesses & 6 months for cruciate ligament
Your pet is covered for life.
Petsy Dog accidental injury and illness cover (Vet Select)
$25,000
$25,000
100%
100%
20 days for Illnesses & 6 months for cruciate ligament conditions and dental conditions
Enjoy 2 months free and personalised pet tag with promo code: PETSYPET. Petsy members enjoy free personalised gifts, exclusive pet discounts and perks for humans.
Medibank Ultimate Pet Care
$15,000
$15,000
80%
80%
30 days for illnesses & 6 months for cruciate ligament
Want to win 1 of 10x $1,000 pet food vouchers? Plus, health members save 10%. Use promocode: SAVE10. Ends November 1 2020. T&Cs apply.
RSPCA Ultimate Plus Accident and Illness Cover
$20,000
$20,000
80%
80%
30 days for illnesses, tick paralysis & 6 months for cruciate ligament
Get 1 month free for the first year of new policies. T&C's apply.
Real Premium Accident & Illness Cover
$12,000
$12,000
80%
80%
30 days for illnesses & 6 months for cruciate ligament
Pay fortnightly, monthly or yearly at no extra cost.
Guardian Platinum Accident & Illness Cover
$12,000
$12,000
80%
80%
30 days for illnesses, tick paralysis & 6 months for cruciate ligament
No joining fee to pay.
Prime Sovereign Accident & Illness Cover
$14,000
$14,000
85%
85%
30 days for illnesses, tick paralysis & 6 months for cruciate ligament
With guaranteed renewal you can protect your pet for life.
Australian Seniors Top Accident & Illness Cover
$12,000
$12,000
80%
80%
30 days for illnesses, tick paralysis & 6 months for cruciate ligament
If you're over 50 get 10% off.
Guide Dogs Premium Care
$20,000
$20,000
85%
85%
30 days for illnesses & 6 months for cruciate ligament
Helps support Guide Dogs Australia.
Vets Choice Elite Cover
$15,000
$15,000
100%
100%
21 days for illnesses and tick paralysis & 6 months for cruciate ligament
Get a 5% discount when you insure more than one pet.
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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 periods?

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:

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.

ConditionTypical waiting period
Accidents such as:
  • a motor vehicle incident
  • a burn or electrocution
  • allergic reaction to insect or spider bite excluding flea bites
  • a bone fracture
  • snake bite toxicity
  • a traumatic ligament or tendon injury other than cruciate ligament condition
  • bite wound or fight wound abscesses
  • lacerations or abrasion of tissue, skin or mucous membrane due to external violence
0 days
Illnesses such as:
  • ingestion of foreign object
  • tick paralysis
  • heat stroke
  • gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
  • trauma induced respiratory impairment
  • traumatic spinal disc rupture
  • torn nail
  • poisoning
  • embedded grass seed
  • soft tissue injury
  • eye trauma
30 Days
  • cruciate ligament condition
  • Paralysis tick
6 months

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