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The Embrace Orthopedic Waiting Period: what is it and how do I reduce it?


What is a Waiting Period?

A waiting period is a short period of time after the policy has started where coverage is limited and pet insurance policies pretty well always have waiting periods.

The waiting period prevents someone from buying a policy just to cover a condition that has already occurred (i.e. is not unexpected) and it keeps the premiums down for those that really have unexpected events - sadly, you can only buy insurance before you need it :(

Conditions that start in the waiting period become pre-existing and are not covered.

What are Embrace's Waiting Periods?

Embrace has a 2-day waiting period for accidents (in most states) and a 14-day waiting period for illnesses, which is pretty standard, as well as a 6-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions (dogs only), which is more unusual. Orthopedic means the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of the body's bones (the skeleton), muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and joints.

The good part about the orthopedic waiting period is that you can shorten it to 14 days if you take your dog to the vet for an orthopedic exam (at your expense but you can use the wellness plan benefits to pay for it) and he/she gives the "all-clear" on ortho issues, recorded on the Orthopedic Report Card.

The ortho exam is a normal physical exam; there are no special diagnostics required like x-rays or ultrasounds. The point is to see if there are any orthopedic conditions that are observable by you or your veterinarian.

What happens if my vet finds something in the ortho exam?

If your vet does find something in the examination, such as laxity in the right elbow, then the following things happen:

  • the areas that are OK have the waiting period reduced. In our example, the hips, legs and spine would all have a reduced waiting period
  • for the area that is affected, conditions that have the symptom as a clinical sign become pre-existing condition. In our example, elbow dysplasia and arthritis would be pre-existing in both elbows. (If the dog is young, we'd recommend having your vet re-examine in 6  months as the laxity may have gone away - if so, we'll remove the related pre-existing conditions)

Your veterinarian may also find non-orthopedic conditions in the ortho exam and they may also become pre-existing if they are found in the 14 day waiting period.

Orthopedic Waiver FAQ:

  1. I can’t find my ortho waiver document – where is it again?
    We emailed it to you with your policy documents but if you can’t find the original email, you can download it from MyEmbrace.
  2. Do I have to get this done? My dog is very healthy and I don’t want to take him/her back in to the vet
    The ortho waiver optional and totally up to you. I just get nervous about accidents such as broken bones and cruciate ligament tears, which wouldn’t be covered in the first 6-months otherwise.
  3. My vet just examined my dog recently and everything looked good. Does that count?
    Unfortunately not. Your vet must examine your dog specifically to fill out the form and it must occur after you purchase your dog’s policy.
  4. Can I just send the form to the vet for him/her to fill out without examining my pet?
    No since your vet must examine your dog specifically to fill out the form and should sign it on the day of the examination.
  5. I totally forgot about this and now it’s passed the two week waiting period. Is it too late to do the waiver?
    Not at all. Just get it done when you get a moment. The waiver takes effect on the date of the examination.
  6. Do I have to do this every year?
    No, just the once and then you are done.
  7. I’m a vet – can I do the examination myself?
    Unfortunately, no (you probably knew that answer already!) Have another vet in your clinic do it for you or if you are a sole practitioner, get your locum to do it. This also applies if the examining vet is co-owner of the policy or a relative of yours.
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Pet health insurance is administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency, LLC and underwritten by one of the licensed insurers of American Modern Insurance Group, Inc., including American Modern Home Insurance Company d/b/a in CA as American Modern Insurance Company (Lic. No 2222-8), and American Southern Home Insurance Company. Coverage is subject to policy terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, underwriting review, and approval, and may not be available for all risks or in all states. Rates and discounts vary, are determined by many factors, and are subject to change. Wellness Rewards is offered as a supplementary, non-insurance benefit administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency in the United States. © 2020 American Modern Insurance Group, Inc.  Wellness Rewards not available in Rhode Island.