MetLife Pet Insurance's No Waiting Period Explained

Four Minutes
Jan 24, 2024

It’s hard to see your pet unhappy or not feeling well. Luckily, having pet insurance can make it easier to pay for the care they need to get back to their normal selves. But if you just enrolled in a policy, those pesky waiting periods can make getting reimbursed a bit more complicated. Learn more about how waiting periods work, and see how you can get pet insurance coverage virtually the same day you enroll.

What Is a Pet Insurance Waiting Period?

A waiting period is the time between the date you enroll in a pet insurance policy and when the provider begins to cover expenses. After the waiting period is over, you’ll be able to submit claims on eligible expenses.

Can You Get Immediate Pet Insurance Coverage?

Most pet insurance companies have some form of a waiting period. The specific length of time and any applicable exclusions can vary between providers and policies. It’s not uncommon for most policies to have a 3- to 5-day or 14-day waiting period for different kinds of coverage.1

But there’s good news for your dogs and cats! MetLife Pet has some of the shortest waiting periods on the market — so you can get almost immediate coverage on certain expenses.1,2 Let’s break down MetLife Pet’s waiting periods.

We Can Help Cover Vet Bills While You Focus on Your Pet’s Care

Find Out More

MetLife Pet Insurance’s Waiting Periods

Like most providers, MetLife Pet has varied waiting periods for different types of coverage and policies.

Accidents and preventative care

MetLife Pet offers a 0-day waiting period on accidents and our optional preventative care plan.2,3 That’s virtually same-day pet insurance coverage! When you enroll, your benefits begin at midnight. So if your pup needs their annual checkup or your cat breaks a bone the very next day, you won’t have to wait to file a claim for reimbursement on covered expenses.


When it comes to illnesses, MetLife Pet has a 14-day waiting period.2 While it’s not as short as our accident coverage, this waiting period is fairly standard across pet insurance providers. You’ll need to wait 2 weeks after you enroll in a policy to submit a claim for expenses related to a new illness your pet’s diagnosed with.

However, MetLife Pet partners with animal shelters across the country to help pets and people find their perfect match. If you enroll in a MetLife Pet policy through some of our partner shelters when you adopt a pet, you may be able to get the 14-day illness waiting period waived. This means covered illnesses would be reimbursable starting at midnight the day you enroll in your policy — the same as accidents, as well as expenses covered under our optional preventative care plan.

We know that adopting a dog or cat with an unknown medical history can be a little intimidating for some. So we want to provide this safety net to adopters in the hopes of helping pets find their forever homes. Take a look at our partner list and pet adoption tips, then check your nearby shelters to see if they partner with us!

Cruciate ligaments

Cruciate ligaments are essential to the functioning of your pet’s knees. Sometimes, they can be torn or injured. While it can be common in dogs, it’s fairly uncommon in cats.4 When it comes to coverage under some of our pet insurance policies, these injuries may be subject to a 6-month waiting period.5

Pet Insurance Waiting Period FAQs

Why do waiting periods exist?

Pet insurance is meant to help cover expenses related to future medical needs — not pay for illnesses or injuries a pet already has. It’s not financially feasible for pet insurance companies to pay for all medical issues that happened prior to a policy starting. Waiting periods help ensure that insurance companies only pay for eligible expenses after a policy has been bought. They can also protect companies from insurance fraud.

What if I change coverage?

If you make changes to your insurance policy or choose a different provider, there could be new waiting periods. You might be able to get the waiting period waived in certain situations, so check with each pet insurance provider if you’re shopping around.

What if my pet gets hurt or sick during the waiting period?

Typically, anything that happens to your pet during a waiting period isn’t covered. For example, if you enrolled in a policy with a 10-day waiting period on illnesses, but your dog got sick on day eight, your policy won’t cover those vet expenses.

Are all waiting periods the same?

The short answer is no — each insurance policy and provider has their own waiting periods, as well as differences regarding which benefits fall under each waiting period. However, you may find commonalities when shopping around for pet insurance. Fortunately, we’ve made it easier to compare pet insurance coverage, so you can see how the waiting periods and other benefits stack up against each other.

Don’t Wait To Get Your Pet Covered

Another thing to know about waiting periods is that they naturally exclude pre-existing conditions from being covered. This is one reason why it can be a great idea to enroll in a dog insurance or cat insurance policy while your pet is still young and healthy. That way, you won’t have to worry about waiting periods or pre-existing condition exclusions preventing you from getting eligible costs covered.

Save your future self from having to make a hard decision between your finances and your pet’s care by getting a policy now. Read more about why pet insurance may be worth it for you, or get a free quote today.

Pet Insurance Can Help Cover Pet Injury & Illness Costs

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 Based on a March 2023 review of publicly available summary information. Competitors did not furnish copies of their policies for review. If you have questions about a particular competitor's policy or coverage, please contact them or their representative directly.

2 Accident and optional Preventive Care coverage begins on midnight EST of the effective day of your policy compared to a wait time of 2 to 15 days for many competitors; Illness coverage begins 14 days from the effective day of your policy compared to 14 to 30 days for many competitors. Based on a March 2023 review of publicly available summary information. Competitors did not furnish copies of their policies for review. If you have questions about a particular competitor's policy or coverage, please contact them or their representative directly.

3 For IAIC policies, optional Preventive Care coverage is based on a Schedule of Benefits. For MetGen policies, optional Preventive Care coverage is included in the annual limit.

4 “Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Cats,” VCA Animal Hospitals

5 For IAIC policies, coverage for these conditions is subject to a 6-month wait period. Please review your policy for complete details.

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

L0124037725[exp0126][All States][DC,GU,MP,PR,VI]