Will Your Pet’s Illness be Covered by a New Pet Insurance Policy?
A common question that pet owners ask when shopping for a pet insurance policy is whether pre-existing conditions are covered. The question most frequently comes up after a dog or cat becomes ill or is diagnosed with a condition that results in a large vet bill and then a pet owner wants to consider pet insurance to avoid future vet bills.
When you buy pet insurance, you want to make sure that it protects all of your pet’s needs. Learn more about how pet insurance works in this article and how pet insurance companies treat pre-existing conditions.
What Are Pre-existing Conditions in Dogs and Cats
When you are shopping for a pet insurance policy, it is important to know what is covered but it can be critical to know what is NOT covered. First, let’s look at what a pre-existing condition is.
According to most pet insurance companies, a pre-existing condition is defined as a medical condition that first occurred or showed symptoms prior to the start of a pet insurance policy or during the pet insurance waiting period. Pre-existing conditions may include things like a stubborn limp that has been present since birth or a cough that shows up a few days before you purchase a policy.
We researched some pet insurance plans to determine how each handled the issue of pre-existing conditions. The information below comes directly from the individual pet insurance sites at the time of this writing. To ensure you have the most current information possible, please consult with the pet insurance company you are researching before you sign a policy.
How Pet Insurance Companies Handle Pre-existing Conditions
Below is information about how some common pet insurance companies handle pre-existing conditions:
Petplan Pet Insurance: According to Petplan, “Like all pet insurance providers, Petplan cannot cover a medical condition which first occurred or showed clinical sign(s) or symptoms before the effective date of your policy or during the policy waiting period.”
Pets Best: Pets Best Website says “Any illness or injury that begins before your policy is effective, or during your waiting period, will be considered “pre-existing”. Some conditions, like broken legs or kennel cough, heal or are curable and require no further treatment. Once healed or cured, these are not considered pre-existing conditions.”
ASPCA Pet Insurance: According to ASPCA, “No pet insurance provider covers pre-existing conditions, though each may define a pre-existing condition differently. We define a pre-existing condition as a health problem that occurs before coverage is effective or during a waiting period. However, we will no longer consider a condition to be pre-existing if your pet has been cured of it and without treatment for it or symptoms of it for 180 days.”
Embrace Pet Insurance: According to the Embrace website, “No pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions, but a pre-existing condition will never prevent you from obtaining pet insurance coverage. Whether your pet’s pre-existing condition is curable or not will determine your coverage options for that condition. Embrace is one of the few companies that distinguishes between curable and incurable pre-existing conditions, allowing for the greatest long-term coverage. Before signing up, it is important to understand what pre-existing conditions your pet insurance company deems curable or incurable. Curable pre-existing conditions may be covered if the pet goes 12 months symptom-free while incurable pre-existing conditions will never be covered.”
Trupanion: According to Trupanion’s website, not covered by their insurance policies are “Pre-existing conditions (an illness or condition which occurred or showed symptoms prior to your pet’s coverage effective date).”
Nationwide: According to the Nationwide Pet Insurance, previously Veterinary Pet insurance or VPI, website, “A pre-existing condition is basically any illness or injury that your pet had before coverage started. The good news is, not all pre-existing conditions are excluded permanently. If you have medical records from your vet showing that your pet’s condition has been cured for at least six months, you may be able to get it covered.”
Healthy Paws: According to the Healthy Paws website, “Pre-existing conditions are excluded. A pre-existing condition means that the condition first occurred or showed clinical signs or symptoms (there doesn’t need to be a diagnosis) before your pet’s coverage started, including waiting periods. Healthy Paws excludes pre-existing conditions from coverage as do all pet insurance companies.”
What to Ask Your Insurance Provider
If you suspect your pet has any pre-existing conditions that may affect their ability to get coverage, talk to your preferred pet insurance provider before purchasing a policy to ensure that they are covered. For most companies researched, it would be expected that if a condition was curable, it could be covered. For example, if your dog had a laceration that healed, it should be covered if your dog were to get a different laceration. However, if your pet has diabetes, it will not be covered by any pet insurance company. In additions, conditions relating to diabetes may not be covered.
Is Your Pet Insurable if there is a Pre-existing Condition?
Many pet owners want to know if their pet is insurable. The answer is probably yes. There are some limitations on ages with some companies and some companies won’t cover senior pets. Other pet insurance companies will cover senior pets.