Can I get pet insurance immediately?

Girl Dog

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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Details Features
Major Medical Cover
Major Medical Cover
Reimburses 80% of veterinary treatment related to Accidental Injury and Illness.
  • $15,000 annual benefit limit
  • 80% of vet bill covered subject to terms and conditions
  • $1200 emergency boarding fees per year
  • 5% discount for each additional pet insured up to 15%
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Comprehensive Cover
Comprehensive Cover
Price Beat guarantee on comparable pet insurance policies.
  • Accidental Injury and Illness Cover Plus Routine Care
  • $12,000 annual benefit limit
  • $1,500 annual tick paralysis benefit
  • Up to $1,200 emergency boarding fees
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Ultimate Cover (Accident & Illness)
Ultimate Cover (Accident & Illness)
Get up to $11,000 cover every year on eligible bills. Benefit from a 10% multi-pet discount.
  • $11,000 annual claim limit
  • Up to 80% of eligible vet bills back*
  • No excess
  • Premiums go towards supporting the RSPCA
  • Optional routine care cover
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Premium Accident & Illness Cover
Premium Accident & Illness Cover
Get 10% of the premiums you’ve paid back after the first 12 months with The Real Reward.
  • $12,000 annual claim limit
  • Up to 80% of vet bill covered subject to terms and conditions
  • Take your pet to any licensed vet practice in Australia
  • Optional routine care benefit
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Comprehensive Plan
Comprehensive Plan
FREE engraved ID tag for all new policy holders
  • $8,000 or $12,000 annual benefit limit
  • Up to 80% of vet bill covered
  • Excess of $0, $100 or $200 per each unrelated condition
  • Optional Routine Care Cover
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 Premium Care
Premium Care
Helps support Guide Dogs Australia.
  • $20,000 annual benefit limit; covering accident and illness
  • Up to 85% of eligible vet bills covered
  • Excess options: $0 or $50
  • $1 million of Third Party Liability Cover – for Registered Guide Dogs only
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Sovereign Accident & Illness Cover
Sovereign Accident & Illness Cover
With every additional pet, you get a 10% discount. Offers optional coverage for routine care.
  • Cover up to 85% of eligible vet bills*
  • Claim up to 14,000 per year
  • Optional routine care
  • No excess
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Gold Accident and Illness
Gold Accident and Illness
With no joining fee and no excess to pay, it’s affordable protection for your four-legged friend.
  • Cover up to 75% of eligible vet bills*
  • Maximum claim of $12,000 per year
  • You’re free to choose any licenced vet in Australia
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Accident and Illness Cover
Accident and Illness Cover
Cover 75% - 85% of your veterinary treatment costs up to $12,000. Multi-pet discount up to 10%.
  • Annual limit up to $12,000
  • $500 tick paralysis treatment cover
  • 10% multi-pet discount
  • $300 in consultations covered per annum
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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.

William Eve

Will is a personal finance writer for specialising in content on insurance. While he cannot give personal advice to clients, Will enjoys explaining the intricacies of different types of protective cover to help individuals and businesses find affordable cover that won't leave them underinsured.

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