Need pet insurance, pronto? Read on to see if your pet can be covered immediately.
When it comes to insurance, a waiting period is necessary between the time that you take out a policy and when you are able to claim for it. This also applies to pet insurance. Getting immediate cover is difficult, so it’s important to find out how long you’ll have to wait before you can claim on your policy. Let’s take a look at what a waiting period is and some of the options available.
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Can I get pet insurance with no waiting periods?
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 important to plan carefully and insure your pet as early as possible so that it’s protected against injury and disease.
What are 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, you won’t be able to claim a benefit for that visit. Only after a determined stretch of time will you be able to claim back on your policy.
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 in rebates. 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. However, you could try to find a policy that enforces no waiting periods for emergency illnesses, if your pet requires urgent treatment.
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.