Should you wait to get pet insurance?
When it comes to financial products and services, timing is key. If you purchase a policy or product too soon you may not get all the benefits that you would have received if you waited. Conversely, if you wait too long you may pay significantly more than you would have if you acted sooner. You could even jeopardize coverage altogether.
For some financial services, like a mortgage refinance loan, there are strict parameters for when you can even apply. For others, however, the timing surrounding an application is up to you.
Pet insurance falls into the latter category. Whether you're the new owner of a young puppy or someone who has an aging pet, you can apply for a pet insurance policy at any time you feel comfortable. But is there an advantage to waiting? The answer to that question falls somewhere in the middle.
If you're considering pet insurance then start by getting a free price quote so you know exactly what to expect.
Should you wait to get pet insurance?
In general, you shouldn't wait to get pet insurance coverage. Pet insurance is like most other insurance types in that it will only get more expensive as the insured ages and becomes more likely to need routine medical care. The risk the insurance company is taking on by approving a policy for an older pet will be reflected in higher premiums. But, if you act early, when the pet is young and healthy you'll put yourself in the running for cheaper insurance.
If you don't wait and apply soon, you may also improve your chances of securing more comprehensive care. Pet insurance providers generally don't cover pre-existing medical conditions that a cat or dog has. So coverage for those issues will be rejected in an application you submit. However, if you apply prior to these conditions being known (even if your breed is generally prone to them) you'll likely be able to secure more robust protections.
Everyone's personal financial circumstances are different and your current budget may dictate when you can apply for a pet insurance plan. But, in general, if you can afford the moderate monthly fee (think $30-$70 for a dog and $15-$40 for a cat), then it's advisable to apply now while prices are low and coverage options are broad.
Start customizing a pet insurance plan for your furry friend now.
When should you wait to get pet insurance?
While it's generally advisable not to wait to get pet insurance, there is one particular circumstance when you may want to hold off, even temporarily.
As mentioned above, pet insurance providers typically do not cover pre-existing conditions. But if your cat or dog has one of these conditions - and they can potentially clear up - then you may be able to secure broader coverage. In this particular instance, it may be better off waiting until your animal has a clean bill of health.
"A pre-existing condition is any injury or illness which occurs or shows symptoms before coverage starts or during a waiting period," pet insurer Spot explains on its website. "A condition is considered pre-existing whether or not it's been officially diagnosed or treated; all that matters is when it occurred or symptoms first displayed."
"However, with plans provided by Spot, this doesn't mean the condition can't be covered in the future if the condition is curable," Spot adds. "An injury or illness that is curable, cured, and free of treatment and symptoms for 180 days will no longer be regarded as pre-existing, with the exception of knee and ligament conditions."
So if your pet currently has a condition that can be cured it may make sense to wait it out and then apply immediately after their health has improved.
"A cured condition is a temporary condition or injury that is resolved for at least 12 months and may be considered for coverage in eligible states (check with customer service to find out if curable conditions are covered in your state)," insurance company Lemonade notes.
Not sure what a pet insurance policy would cover if you applied today? Get a free price quote now and find out!
The bottom line
As noted, the timing behind purchasing financial products and services can be difficult to navigate. You want to be precise but also don't want to lose your best window of opportunity. For dog and cat owners, regardless of their pet's age, it's generally favorable to apply for a policy sooner than later. However, if you have a pet with a pre-existing condition, and there's a reasonable expectation that it can be cured or resolved in the foreseeable future, then it may make sense to wait to apply.
You can check Lemonade's pet insurance plans and policies now to see what works best.
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