Waiting periods for pet health insurance

Pet insurance waiting periods exist to prevent fraud and are required for all newly enrolling pets or new pets being added to an existing policy.

What is a waiting period?

The waiting period is a short period of time at the beginning of the policy when coverage is restricted.

Are there pet insurance plans with no waiting periods?

All pet insurance companies have waiting periods. While you can shop for a policy with a shorter waiting period, it’s best to choose a plan that offers the best coverage and value.

What are Embrace's waiting periods?

All Embrace insurance policies have a 14-day waiting period for illnesses. Waiting periods for accidents are 48 hours. All dogs have a 6-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions. The good news is that you can reduce the waiting period for orthopedic conditions to 14 days by following the Orthopedic Exam and Waiver Process below.

All waiting periods start on the date your policy becomes effective. Conditions that occur during the waiting period may be excluded from your coverage as a pre-existing condition. This is to protect against a pet parent seeing illness symptoms in his dog or cat, signing up for pet insurance, and then going to the vet and claiming right away. Pet health insurance plans are for unexpected illnesses and injuries, and preventing these claims for known conditions keeps the premiums down for everyone.

How the Waiting Period Works with Embrace

Waiting periods start when your policy becomes effective at 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time (EST) the day after you purchase your policy.

For example, if you purchase a policy on January 1 before 11:59 pm EST, it becomes effective on January 2.

Your waiting periods would be:

  • Illnesses: January 16 (14 days after your policy start date)

  • Accidents: January 4 (2 days after your policy start date)

  • Orthopedic Conditions: July 2 or as early as January 16 (6 months or as early as 14 days after your policy start date) if you complete the Orthopedic Exam and Waiver Process (explained below)

What if I make a claim during the waiting period?

Unfortunately, if your pet has a health issue during the waiting period then your claim will not be covered, even if it was an unforeseeable emergency.

Required Vet Visit

In order to satisfy your pet insurance policy terms and conditions, your pet needs to have been seen by a licensed veterinarian in the past 12 months and you need to have access to the exam record. If not, you must visit your veterinarian within the first 14 days of your pet's policy before coverage begins. Currently Embrace does not need immediate proof of this exam; however, we will ask for it in the future, when processing claims. The exam needs to contain medical findings so spay/neuter or vaccine clinics may not qualify. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Orthopedic Exam and Waiver Process for Dogs

You may be able to reduce your dog's 6-month orthopedic waiting period if you take him to your veterinarian for a simple orthopedic exam after you purchase your policy.

Your vet will record findings on the Embrace Orthopedic Exam Report Card for the following areas:

  • The hips and legs for signs of hip dysplasia, luxating patellas (slipping knee caps), and cruciate ligament tears

  • The shoulders and forelimbs for signs of elbow dysplasia and osteochondritis dissecans

  • The spine for signs of intervertebral disc disease

  • All joints for signs of arthritis

  • All bones for signs of fractures and bone cancers

No other diagnostic tests, procedures, or X-rays are required for your pet's policy coverage. The exam is not covered by your insurance policy, but the cost can be reimbursed if you have Embrace Wellness Rewards†.

If the exam is performed within the first 14 days of your pet health insurance policy, your orthopedic waiting period will be reduced to the end of your illness waiting period. If it's past the first 14 days, it's reduced to the day of your orthopedic exam. Unfortunately, we cannot accept examinations carried out before your policy's official start date.

3 Simple Steps to Completing the Orthopedic Exam and Waiver Process

We will acknowledge receipt of the form and let you know the results of your waiver request.

  1. Download a copy of your pet's Orthopedic Exam Report Card from MyEmbrace.

  2. Have your veterinarian examine your dog and complete the form.

  3. Upload the completed form via MyEmbrace or fax it to (800) 238-1042.