What is a "waiting period" for pet insurance?

June 28, 2024 - 4 min read
Dog in vet's office

What is the waiting period for pet insurance?

All providers have waiting periods for pet insurance. During this time, your pet is not covered for illnesses and possibly accidents (you'll need to check your state's policy for details).

At ManyPets, the waiting period for your pet insurance starts the day after you purchase the policy.

If you're enrolled in our non-insurance Wellness Plan, you can begin using benefits and submitting claims* for reimbursement the day after you purchase your plan.

How long is the waiting period for pet insurance?

In all states where ManyPets is active, the waiting period for illnesses is 15 days. The waiting period for accidents is also 15 days in most states. However, due to local regulations, 7 states do not have waiting periods for accident coverage.

Here's the breakdown:

  • 15 waiting period for illnesses: Every state ManyPets is available (plus Washington D.C.)

  • 0-day waiting period for accidents: Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Washington State

  • 15-day waiting period for accidents: Every other state ManyPets is available (plus Washington D.C.)

It's also worth nothing that, in certain states, waiting periods may be reduced if you’re able to provide proof (with medical records) that your pet completed a veterinary examination after the policy effective date. These states are Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Washington State.

Why do pet insurance companies have waiting periods?

For one thing, waiting periods help us deter fraud. Like all pet insurance companies, ManyPets excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods prevent pet owners from sidestepping these exclusions; without waiting periods, some pet owners might purchase insurance only after their pet has developed a medical condition.

Look, we completely understand that you'd prefer to have full access to coverage the moment you purchase your policy. But waiting periods help us keep prices affordable for all our customers. If new customers purchased plans only when they needed to file new claims, any pet insurance company would be forced to dramatically raise premiums to pay for them.

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How do pet insurance waiting periods work?

When you purchase a pet insurance policy with ManyPets, the waiting period starts the day after your policy is activated. This means that during the waiting period, your pet won't be covered for any new illnesses or accidents. However, any conditions that develop after this period ends may be eligible for coverage under your policy.

Our claims team will carefully review your pet's medical records when processing any claims. This verifies that any conditions identified during the waiting period are accurately classified as pre-existing and excluded from coverage. Keep in mind, the goal of the waiting period is to help keep premiums affordable and prevent any potential fraud, so all pet parents can benefit from coverage.

Can I just wait until the waiting period is over to visit my vet or file my claim?

No, because our claims team will examine your pet's medical records when processing your claim. If these records make it clear that a condition developed before your waiting period was over, the condition will not be covered.

The last thing we'd ever want to do is discourage pet parents from taking sick or injured pets to the vet in a timely manner. Your veterinarian will know when the condition actually arose, and this information will be documented in the medical records we review, so there's nothing to be gained from delaying your vet visit. In fact, your pet's health condition may worsen or become less treatable while you're waiting.

Does ManyPets ever waive waiting periods?

Yes, ManyPets will waive your waiting period under one circumstance: if you can prove your pet was covered by another valid insurance policy leading up to your policy purchase.

The other policy needs to have been in force at least 24 hours before your new policy's effective date. But please note that this waiver will not alter pre-existing conditions exclusions.

Also, just keep in mind that any exclusions that apply to a condition that developed during your waiting period (or before) will only apply to that condition. For instance, if your pet develops a knee problem during your waiting period, that will not preclude us from covering skin conditions in the future, and so on.

What happens if a medical condition develops during the waiting period?

If a medical condition develops during the waiting period, it will be considered pre-existing and won't be covered under your policy. However, once the waiting period is over, you'll have the peace of mind of knowing that your pet may be covered for conditions that aren't pre-existing.

Here's a rundown of what's considered pre-existing under your policy, and what isn't:

Pre-existing Not pre-existing
Any illness or injury that’s been diagnosed, treated – or whose symptoms have been noticed by you or your vet – within the 18 months prior to your policy effective date or during your waiting period. Illnesses and injuries other than cruciate ligament conditions and hip dysplasia (all states) or intervertebral disc disease (some states) that haven’t been diagnosed, treated, or been symptomatic for at least 18 months. .
Hip dysplasia or cruciate ligament conditions (all states) or intervertebral disc disease (some states) that were diagnosed, treated, or symptomatic prior to your policy effective date or during your waiting period. Applies even after 18 months, and even if their previous condition was symptomatic on the opposite side of their body. Illnesses and injuries that are judged by ManyPets (and by your vet) to be unrelated to any pre-existing illnesses or injuries, even if symptoms are similar.

What if I temporarily cancel my plan?

If you cancel your plan, even briefly, you will once again have a waiting period when you resume coverage.

Your deductible will also go back to square one; any pre-existing conditions that developed during your now-lapsed policy will be excluded from future coverage; and any accidents or illnesses that occur while your pet isn't covered will be considered pre-existing conditions. (Think hard before you cancel.)

One final note: If you have our non-insurance Wellness Plan, you can begin using benefits and submitting claims for reimbursement the day after you purchase your plan.

Have any other questions about ManyPets insurance? Visit our FAQ page.

*ManyPets analyzes every claim on its own merits, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy. Exclusions apply, including those for waiting periods and pre-existing conditions. Only claims unrelated to an excluded treatment or condition are eligible for coverage.

David Teich
Lead Editor

David oversees content strategy and development at ManyPets. As Lead Editor, he focuses on delivering accurate information related to pet care and insurance. David’s editorial background spans more than a decade, including a pivotal role at Digiday, where he wrote content and managed relationships with media and tech companies. As an Associate Editor at Cynopsis Media, David wrote the Cynopsis Digital newsletter and interviewed executives and digital marketing experts in the TV industry. His background also includes film journalism. His diverse experiences in journalism and marketing underpins his role in shaping content within the pet care industry.