Insurance: the waiting period, what exactly is it?

The waiting period exists especially when the insurance is changed. In fact, when changing health or auto insurance contracts, companies generally apply a waiting period. Freely set by the insurance companies, this period must be clearly stated in the clauses of your contract. This is an essential element to take into account in order not to find yourself without protection for a more or less long period of time…

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How does the waiting period work with my insurance company?

When signing an insurance contract, most guarantees are subject to a waiting period. It corresponds to a period that begins with the signing of the contract for a given time.

Insurance companies are free to set this waiting period. It is therefore important to get good information in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises. During this waiting period, the insured is not covered by the insurance regarding care and compensation according to the guarantees in question.

In general, insurance companies use waiting periods to protect themselves against policyholders signing a contract with the sole purpose of benefiting from good coverage for injuries or treatment they are already familiar with.

What is the average length of the wait?

Insurance companies and mutual companies are free to set their waiting period. Nevertheless, globally we find the same times.

Health insurance waiting period

In general, waiting times for health insurance are around 1 to 3 months for routine care, 9 months for maternity and 1 year for dental and hearing aids (especially the most expensive care).

Car insurance waiting time

Depending on the insurance company, waiting times apply for different guarantees. Either the deadline is identical or it is specific to each formula and option. In most cases, there is a total waiting time of between 1 and 3 months. On the other hand, civil liability (also called third party insurance) kicks in immediately as it protects against damages caused to third parties.

Can the waiting time be avoided?

In some cases, it is possible to negotiate your waiting period. Regarding mutual insurance companies, they can cancel the deadline if:

  • Your contract was terminated 2 or 3 months ago
  • The former insurance company presented a certificate of cancellation
  • The new guarantees are identical to those in your old contract

Regarding car and motorcycle insurance, you can directly take out a contract without a waiting period. However, an increase in the insurance premium can be applied. This applies to the global waiting times, which cover the entire contract.

For the various deadlines under the guarantees, you can only negotiate a reduction of this deadline on certain guarantees. In any case, the best way to adjust your contract is the competition between the different organizations with a comparison of insurance policies. Do not hesitate to make several offers (completely free online) to compare the different offers on the market. It is a valuable time saver and you can choose according to several criteria.

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Don’t mistake lack for honesty

Be careful not to confuse lack with honesty. The grace period indicates a defined time during which the guarantee in question cannot be used. After this period, the insured enjoys his rights in full.

The deductible, on the other hand, relates to a period that starts when the damage or treatment occurs. Depending on the guarantee in question, the grace period is between 1 month and 6 months.

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What to remember about the insurance waiting period

Specifically, the waiting period refers to a latency period during which the insured is not covered by the guarantees in question. This period begins on the first day of signing the health insurance or car insurance contract and varies between 1 month and 12 months. Cancellation of this period is possible under certain conditions or after negotiation with the insurance company.

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