Is There Pet Insurance With No Waiting Period?

In this article: Purpose of a Waiting Period | Pet Insurance With No Waiting Period | Typical Waiting Period | Top Companies With Short Waiting Periods | FAQ

When you buy pet insurance, you’ll need to wait before coverage begins. Accidents, injuries, and symptoms of illnesses or conditions during this waiting period are considered preexisting and aren’t covered under your policy’s terms. If you want this waiting period to be as short as possible, these are the best pet insurance companies for you.

What Is the Purpose of a Waiting Period?

Pet insurance is intended to cover health conditions that may happen in the future, not ones that have already occurred. Pet insurance companies would lose money if they insured pets with known expensive health problems, which is why none cover preexisting conditions.

Since most providers don’t require your pet to get a health exam before enrolling in coverage, waiting periods are meant to prevent you from noticing symptoms or injuries, quickly signing up for insurance, and then immediately receiving veterinary care paid for by the company. Essentially, the waiting period allows pet owners to enroll in a policy quickly while keeping people from gaming the system.



Does Pet Insurance With No Waiting Period Exist?

Nearly all pet insurance plans have a waiting period, though some may have shorter periods for accident-only coverage. A few emergency-only policies don’t fit the standard insurance mold and have no waiting periods, but the coverage is often minimal.



What Are Typical Pet Insurance Waiting Periods?

The typical waiting period is 14 days, particularly for illness coverage. Some pet insurance providers have a waiting period of only a few days for accident coverage. Hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia typically have much longer waiting periods up to a year. If your pet develops symptoms of a health problem within that time frame, expenses for that health problem will not be covered whether a vet provides treatment or not.



Top Pet Insurance Companies With Short Waiting Periods

Here are the pet insurance companies with the shortest waiting periods.



Lemonade: Most Affordable Plans

Lemonade offers comprehensive coverage and multiple add-ons at more affordable rates than many providers on this list. It also has a very short waiting period for accident coverage of only 48 hours.

Pros and Cons of Lemonade

+ Waiting period for accidents is only 48 hours

+ Lower monthly premiums than many competitors

+ Add-on option for preventive care

Requires a recent vet exam to qualify

No coverage for pets older than 14

Lemonade Coverage Options

Lemonade offers one pet insurance plan covering costs related to accidents and illnesses, such as diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, surgery, cancer treatments, broken bones or sprains, prescription medications and more. You can add coverage for wellness exams, vaccines, bloodwork and physical therapy treatments.

  • Waiting period: Two days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, and six months for cruciate ligament events
  • Coverage options: Accident-and-illness plan; add-ons for wellness care, vet visit fees, physical therapy, dental illness, behavioral conditions, and end-of-life expenses
  • What’s not covered: Preexisting conditions, pets over 14, spaying/neutering, microchipping, alternative treatments

To learn more: Lemonade Pet Insurance review 

Get your quote: Fill out Lemonade’s online quote form

Spot: Most Customizable

A newcomer to the pet insurance industry, Spot offers highly customizable plans, including annual limits from $2,500 to unlimited. Although its 14-day waiting period is average, it applies to knee and ligament conditions, which often have much longer waiting periods.

Pros and Cons of Spot

+ Option for unlimited annual coverage

+ 14-day waiting period for knee and ligament coverage

+ 10{7b6cc35713332e03d34197859d8d439e4802eb556451407ffda280a51e3c41ac} multi-pet discount

Accident coverage doesn’t start for 14 days

No customer service on weekends

Spot Coverage Options

Spot offers two plans: one for accident-only coverage and one for accidents and illnesses. It also has two wellness add-ons for preventive care.

  • Waiting period: 14 days for all coverage
  • Coverage options: Accident-only, accident-and-illness, Gold and Platinum wellness plans
  • What’s not covered: Preexisting conditions, organ transplants, health supplements, prescription food

To learn more: Spot Pet Insurance review 

Get your quote: Fill out Spot’s online quote form

Trupanion: Most Flexible Deductible

Trupanion offers unlimited coverage caps and a range of deductibles from $0 to $1,000 to customize your plan. Its five-day waiting period for accidents and injuries is shorter than many providers. Its 30-day waiting period for illnesses and other conditions is longer than average, but it applies to joint problems such as cruciate ligament and hip dysplasia.

Pros and Cons of Trupanion

+ Covers hereditary and congenital conditions

+ Pays veterinarian directly 

+ No payout limits

30-day waiting period for illnesses

No option for wellness or preventive care

Trupanion Coverage Options

Trupanion offers one comprehensive accident-and-illness plan. It also covers conditions that can occur outside of an accident or illness, such as congenital and hereditary conditions and other undiagnosed issues. It includes add-on coverage for several unique items, such as alternative treatments, advertising for lost pets, boarding fees and breeding costs.

  • Waiting period: Five days for accidents, 30 days for illnesses
  • Coverage options: Accident-and-illness plan; add-ons for recovery and complementary care, pet owner assistance, and breeding
  • What’s not covered: Preexisting conditions, wellness care, spaying/neutering, processing fees

To learn more: Trupanion review

Fetch by The Dodo: Our Pick for Therapy Coverage

Fetch Pet Insurance, formerly PetPlan, only offers one accident-and-illness plan. However, the plan includes coverage for things many providers don’t cover, such as holistic care, stem-cell therapy and treatment related to behavioral problems such as separation anxiety or aggression.

Pros and Cons of Fetch

+ Offers coverage for some nonmedical expenses

+ Covers alternative and complementary treatments

+ Healthy Pet Credit discount for 1–2 years without filing a claim

No multi-pet discount

No add-on for wellness coverage

Fetch Coverage Options

Fetch offers one accident-and-illness plan. It doesn’t have any add-on options.

  • Waiting period: 15 days for accidents and illnesses, six months for cruciate ligament or hip dysplasia
  • Coverage options: Accident-and-illness plan
  • What’s not covered: Preexisting conditions, routine veterinary care, preventive care or medication, prescription food

To learn more: Fetch by The Dodo Pet Insurance review 

Get your quote: Fill out Fetch’s online quote form

Embrace: Our Pick for Savings

Embrace provides pet parents with multiple opportunities to save, including a 10{7b6cc35713332e03d34197859d8d439e4802eb556451407ffda280a51e3c41ac} discount for each additional pet policy you purchase, a 5{7b6cc35713332e03d34197859d8d439e4802eb556451407ffda280a51e3c41ac} military discount and a 10{7b6cc35713332e03d34197859d8d439e4802eb556451407ffda280a51e3c41ac} discount for employees of companies that offer Embrace pet insurance. It also provides a Healthy Pet Deductible benefit that credits $50 toward your co-payment each year you don’t file a claim.

Although Embrace has a six-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions, you can apply for the Orthopedic Exam and Waiver to reduce this time frame. The waiting period for accident coverage is only two days.

Pros and Cons of Embrace

+ Option to add coverage for routine care such as vaccinations

+ Diminishing deductible for years without filing claims

+ Coverage for working dogs (racing, guarding, etc.)

Low dollar limit for wellness coverage

No coverage for prescription food or supplements

Embrace Coverage Options

Embrace offers one accident-and-illness plan plus an add-on for preventive care.

  • Waiting period: Two days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, six months for orthopedic conditions
  • Coverage options: Accident-and-illness plan, add-on for preventive care
  • What’s not covered: Preexisting conditions, organ transplants, some alternative treatments, supplements, prescription food

Note: The Wellness Rewards plan is not available in Rhode Island.

To learn more: Embrace Pet Insurance review

Get your quote: Fill out Embrace’s online quote form

Figo: Most Flexible Reimbursement Rates

Most companies max out their reimbursement rate at 90{7b6cc35713332e03d34197859d8d439e4802eb556451407ffda280a51e3c41ac}, but Figo offers up to 100{7b6cc35713332e03d34197859d8d439e4802eb556451407ffda280a51e3c41ac} reimbursement for claims. Its one-day waiting period for accidents and injuries is also the lowest in the industry. You can apply for a waiver to get around the six-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions.

Pros and Cons of Figo

+ Offers 100{7b6cc35713332e03d34197859d8d439e4802eb556451407ffda280a51e3c41ac} reimbursement option

+ Shortest waiting period for accidents

+ Extra Care Pack covers end-of-life costs, boarding, theft and more

Coverage for exam fees requires add-on

High deductibles for older pets

Figo Coverage Options

Figo offers one accident-and-illness plan with three tiers of coverage and annual limits. It also has a range of add-ons for items such as preventive care and liability coverage for damages or injuries your pet causes.

  • Waiting period: One day for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, and six months for orthopedic conditions
  • Coverage options: Accident-and-illness plan; “power-ups” for wellness coverage, exam fees and Extra Care Pack 
  • What’s not covered: Preexisting conditions, experimental procedures, cloning

To learn more: Figo Pet Insurance review

Get your quote: Fill out Figo’s online quote form

Pets Best: Our Pick for Senior Pets

Pets Best stands out for its coverage of older pets. Unlike some competitors, it has no age limit for coverage, meaning you can enroll your pet anytime. It also offers coverage for items more likely to be required by aging pets, such as prescribed prosthetic devices and wheelchairs.

Pets Best has an average waiting period, but if you add one of the two routine care plans, you can use your pet insurance policy for wellness care immediately.

Pros and Cons of Pets Best

+ Highly customizable plans

+ Vet Direct Pay reimburses veterinarians directly

+ Covers prosthetic devices and wheelchairs

Exclusions for parasites, behavioral treatment and prescription food

Illness coverage not offered to pets with severe chronic conditions

Pets Best Coverage Options

Pets Best offers an accident-only plan, three levels of accident-and-illness coverage and two routine care add-ons.

  • Waiting Period Requirements: Three days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, six months for cruciate ligament problems
  • Coverage options: Accident-only plan, accident-and-illness plan, two routine care add-ons
  • What’s not covered: Preexisting conditions, parasites, food and supplements, herbal and holistic treatments

The Bottom Line: Is There Pet Insurance With No Waiting Period?

Unfortunately, all pet insurance providers have waiting periods. The standard waiting period is 14 to 15 days for accidents and illnesses. Many of the companies listed above offer shorter-than-average waiting periods for accidents or orthopedic conditions. Although the waiting period shouldn’t be the only factor you take into account, it may be important to consider while shopping for pet insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Insurance Waiting Periods

Methodology: Our System for Ranking the Best Pet Insurance Companies

Our review of pet insurance companies is based on in-depth industry research that includes reading hundreds of customer reviews, simulating the quote and purchasing process, speaking to representatives on the phone to assess the customer service experience and surveying 1,000 dog and cat owners nationwide to determine the most important elements of pet insurance coverage. We have scored each provider on a 100-point scale based on those elements.

Here are more details about each factor and how they’re weighted:

  • Monthly pricing (25 points): How much each company charges for its pet insurance plans is an important part of a customer’s decision. The best pet insurance companies combine comprehensive coverage and plan options with affordable rates.
  • Plans (15 points): The top pet insurance companies offer accident and illness plans, accident-only plans and wellness or preventive care add-ons to give customers the option to choose a plan that’s best for their pet.
  • Covered treatments (15 points): With this factor, we scored companies based on the treatments and procedures they cover. Companies with a breadth of included treatments and unique coverages received more points than providers with more standard or general policies.
  • Customization options (10 points): Customizing your policy is a valuable way to ensure you only pay for what your pet needs. Providers with more annual-limit, deductible and reimbursement-rate options earned the highest scores.
  • Customer care (10 points): We scored companies on their website accessibility and overall usability, customer service availability, mobile apps (if any), money-back guarantees and veterinarian telehealth options, awarding points to the insurers with more customer experience offerings.
  • Industry reputation (10 points): To determine each company’s industry reputation, we reviewed up-to-date ratings and accreditation information from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and scored companies on their years of experience in the industry and their state availability.
  • Waiting periods (10 points): Companies with shorter accident, illness and orthopedic waiting periods between the sign-up and coverage start date scored higher than companies with longer waiting periods.
  • Eligible age (5 points): Some companies don’t offer policies for pets that are over a certain age. We deducted points from providers that have age limits for covered pets.

We use our rating system to compare and contrast each company against key factors to help us determine the best pet insurance companies in the industry. Additionally, we keep our research up to date and revisit our reviews on a regular basis.



Dana Getz is a seasoned editor with nearly a decade of experience writing and editing content. She has a background in journalism and worked as a fact-checker for prestigious magazines such as New York and Chicago. She holds a journalism and marketing degree from Northwestern University and has worked across numerous categories within the home services space.