Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

You need the best for your pet. If your pet has a chronic health condition, you want the best treatment for them. However, vet bills add up quickly, and the numbers can be a bit daunting.
By Jessica Moore
Updated Dec 17, 2020
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You need the best for your pet. When your pet gets sick or injured, you want nothing more than for them to get better. However, vet bills add up quickly, and the numbers can be a bit daunting. Pet insurance helps you keep the cost of veterinary bills down while still providing your pet with the care they deserve.

But what if your pet has a pre-existing condition? Many pet parents worry about whether pet insurance will cover conditions their pets have before signing up for a policy. Here's what you need to know about pet insurance and pre-existing conditions. 

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What Pet Insurance Is

Pet insurance is a health insurance policy that's designed specifically for pets. The policy helps cover the cost of illness or injuries your pet develops throughout their life. You pay a monthly premium based on the age, type, and breed of your pet, as well as where you live. Not all insurance companies are the same, nor will their policies look the same.

In addition to a monthly premium, pet insurance policies have a deductible: the amount of money you have to spend out of pocket before your coverage begins. There are a few types of deductibles that may be available, including annual and per incident. Some plans let you choose the size of your deductible, allowing you to tailor the plan to fit you and your pet's needs. 

Defining a Pre-Existing Condition

When you get a quote for a pet insurance policy, you answer a few questions about your pet. One of the most important questions in that application is whether or not your pet has a pre-existing condition. This term refers to any injury or illness that exists before the beginning of your pet's enrollment.

These conditions include but are not limited to diabetes, cancer, urinary issues, allergies, and certain types of injuries. If you know that your pet has a particular condition prior to enrolling in a pet insurance plan, you must disclose it.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

Most pet insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions. If your pet has an illness such as cancer or epilepsy before getting insurance, the cost of care for that condition is rarely covered. If your pet exhibited symptoms before getting pet insurance but did not have a diagnosis until after the start of the policy, that condition also falls under pre-existing and therefore, would likely not be covered.

Some chronic conditions that may still be covered include itchy or dry skin, allergies, and dietary concerns. It's always best to ask what will be covered with an agent.

Every pet insurance provider has a slightly different definition of what constitutes a pre-existing condition. Just because one company defines your pet's condition as pre-existing, there may be another company that views it differently.

Keep in mind that just because your pet has a pre-existing condition, that doesn't mean you can't get a pet insurance policy. Any policy you do purchase will cover new injuries or illnesses that develop throughout your pet's life as long as they are not a result of their pre-existing condition. 

Are There Any Exceptions?

The presence of a pre-existing condition doesn't mean you're out of luck. There are times when your pet's condition may be covered. Some companies will take a look at your pet's health history to determine if there are any symptoms of pre-existing conditions.

They may only look back a certain amount of time, such as 12 or 18 months. If no symptoms were present during that time (even if they were present earlier in your pet's life), the condition may not be considered pre-existing.

There are also instances in which insurance providers may still provide coverage if your pet's condition is considered curable. If your pet remains free of symptoms for a set period, you may then be able to have the same issue covered if it reappears later.

Should I Still Buy Pet Insurance?

If your pet doesn't have a pre-existing condition and is healthy, buying pet insurance right away is the best way to lock in a low price that protects them for life.

If they have pre-existing conditions, it might be more complicated - your best option is to compare policies, learn about real costs and coverage options, and choose a pet insurance policy that will give them the best protection for the rest of their life.

Even though pet insurance won't usually provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, that doesn't mean it still can't be beneficial. The policy might not cover your pet's pre-existing condition, but it can help to alleviate the strain of having to spend even more money later should your pet develop a new condition in the future. 

Find the right plan for you!Compare insurance carriers in your area. It's 100% free.Get Quotes