You just found out that your pet qualifies for pet insurance, now what? Now you have to go through the standard waiting period for your newly enrolled pet. But, why is there a waiting period for pet insurance?
Companies enforce a waiting period to ensure there is no fraud involved when pets are enrolled in a new or existing policy. This waiting period helps the insurance company ensure that pet owners are not enrolling their pet because they are injured, sick, or have a pre-existing condition.
What Qualifies as a Pre-existing Condition
A pre-existing condition is an injury or illness that your pet already has before you enroll them into a pet insurance policy. Most if not all insurance companies don’t cover these. Therefore, it’s important that you have your pet examined before you enroll since some conditions can go unnoticed and undiagnosed and you won’t be charged with a fraudulent claim.
You can arrange a complete medical history review of your pet so the insurance company can get a clear assessment. Some conditions might be covered under accident insurance such as Feline Leukemia Virus, Feline Immunodeficiency virus, diabetes or Cushing’s Disease.
Depending on the state you live in, you could have a 48 hour or 14 day waiting period for accidents. If you have a dog with an orthopedic condition, the waiting period is six months. You can, however, follow the Orthopedic Exam and Waiver Process to reduce your waiting period to 14 days for orthopedic conditions.
Waiting Period Example
Let’s take a look at an example of how a waiting period works.
Your pet insurance policy becomes effective as of November 1, 2016. Your policy period runs from November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2017 which is one year from the effective date. Your waiting period for accidents is 24 hours from the date your policy became effective. Your waiting period for Illnesses is two weeks from the date your policy became effective (14 days) and your waiting period for Orthopedic conditions is six months from the date your policy became effective.
Making Claims in the Waiting Period
During your waiting period, if your pet should suddenly have a health issue, including an unexpected emergency, your claim won’t be covered, unfortunately.
Required Vet Visit
Most pet insurance policies require a vet visit. For example, you might be required to have had a licensed veterinarian examine your pet within the past year (12 months) for the terms and conditions of your pet insurance policy to be satisfied. If you haven’t done this, you need to take your pet to the vet during the 14 day waiting period before your coverage starts. In many cases, you are not required to show immediate exam proof to the insurance company, but you will likely be asked for this proof later on, particularly if you file a claim.
Pet insurance is important to have, but to have your claims covered, it’s important that you understand the waiting period and other pertinent terms and conditions of your policy.