If you’re shopping for pet insurance, it’s important to understand policy limitations, such as treatment for pre-existing conditions, that may add up.
Like auto insurance, which doesn’t cover accidents before coverage begins, pet insurance typically doesn’t cover any expenses related to ailments or injuries that are already present. knowing what counts as a “pre-existing condition” is crucial.
Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
Because of the cost of treating pre-existing conditions and the relatively short lifespan of a pet (dogs live an average of 10-13 years depending on the breed), pet insurance generally excludes pre-existing conditions from coverage. It’s a numbers issue: Pet insurers can’t afford to collect many years of premiums to offset pre-existing condition claim payments.
Pet insurance companies generally consider a pre-existing condition to be an illness or injury that began before coverage began, including any waiting period.
“It’s important to note that even if the pet wasn’t diagnosed with an injury or illness, an insurer can still deny coverage if it showed signs or symptoms of one before coverage began,” says Alex Stone, founder PetInsurer. com, a pet insurance comparison provider.
For example, if your dog was limping before your waiting period and coverage began, the plan would not cover the leg treatment.
what are the pre-existing conditions of the pets?
Some pet insurance companies divide pre-existing conditions into two groups: curable conditions and incurable conditions.
curable pre-existing conditions
Pet insurance companies, like hug, cover curable pre-existing conditions, as long as the recurrence is at least 12 months from the date of the last problem. The ASPCA Pet Insurance Plan will not consider it a “pre-existing” condition if it is curable and there are no symptoms for 180 days (excluding knee and ligament conditions). if the condition recurs after 180 days, it may be covered as a new problem.
Some examples of curable conditions include:
- bladder infections
- ear infections
- respiratory infections
- urinary tract infections
incurable pre-existing conditions
On the other hand, there are pre-existing conditions that pet insurance companies consider incurable, such as:
- crystals in the bladder
- heart disease
- hip dysplasia
- kidney disease
- orthopedic conditions
- urinary obstructions
Many of these conditions require repeated visits to the vet, ongoing medication, and sometimes even surgery. incurable pre-existing conditions will not be covered by pet insurance.
pay close attention to bilateral exclusions
A bilateral disease or injury is a condition that affects the left and right sides of the body, such as hip dysplasia or a torn cruciate ligament.
Because there is a greater chance of a pet experiencing the same condition on the opposite side of their body, many insurance companies have bilateral exclusions in their policies. In other words, if your pet received treatment on one side of his body before the policy started, then the other side will not be covered later on.
If your pet experiences a bilateral condition after coverage begins, they will be well covered.
how to determine which pet conditions are insurable
As a pet owner, you may have difficulty identifying what is considered a pre-existing condition and what your pet insurance plan will cover. For this reason, it’s best to have pet insurance companies, such as hug and pets, conduct reviews of a pet’s medical history.
Medical history reviews are designed to identify any conditions not covered by your policy. you will know exactly what expenses you will be responsible for.
The medical review will take place after you apply for a policy. once the review is complete, insurers will often give you the option to cancel if you feel the coverage is not sufficient for your pet’s needs.
finding the right insurance for a pet with pre-existing problems
Even if your pet has a pre-existing condition, you can still get pet insurance and it will cover conditions unrelated to the pre-existing condition. here are things to keep in mind.
Be a proactive pet owner. “You want to take care of the injury or illness as soon as possible, so it doesn’t get worse, resulting in astronomical vet bills. taking the proper precautions can help prevent other accidents or illnesses from occurring due to the condition,” says stone.
Keep up to date on your pet’s vaccinations. The last thing you want is for your pet to get sick because you didn’t keep him up to date on his vaccinations. Many insurers will deny a claim if your pet gets sick because she wasn’t vaccinated according to your veterinarian’s instructions.
Compare Pet Insurance Policies Although pet insurance won’t cover incurable pre-existing conditions, you can find adequate coverage to handle other medical expenses. Compare the obvious things like monthly price and deductible, but also look at other factors like waiting periods and whether coverage is reduced as your pet ages.
“When you select an insurance provider for your pet, you are truly trusting that provider to be your pet’s partner for life. this is really important when it comes to making a claim because if you switch to another pet insurance provider during your pet’s lifetime, any claims with your old insurer will be treated as pre-existing by the new provider and therefore would not be covered,” says the stone.
Buy pet insurance early on. “Pet owners who have pets with pre-existing conditions should be aware of the financial burden of vet bills. Therefore, purchasing a pet insurance policy early on can help minimize the cost associated with the same problem occurring in the future,” says Melissa Gutierrez, spokesperson for Pets Best.
Consider pet insurance alternatives. Companies like eusoh and pawp offer insurance alternatives that provide a way to help pay for a pet’s medical expenses. pawp, for example, offers a membership benefits service that provides up to $3,000 for emergency veterinary bills for one pet, including pre-existing conditions, for $19 a month.
Which pet insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions?
Pet insurance companies generally do not cover incurable pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and hip dysplasia. But some pet insurance companies will cover what are considered “curable” pre-existing conditions, such as bladder infections, diarrhea, and ear infections.
Here are examples of pet insurance companies that cover curable pre-existing conditions.
aspca pet insurance
aspca pet insurance covers curable pre-existing conditions (except ligament and knee conditions) if your pet is symptom and treatment free for 180 days.
costco pet insurance
costco de figo pet insurance may cover conditions that are considered curable and recommends that you contact customer service to determine if your pet’s condition qualifies.
embrace pet insurance covers curable pre-existing conditions if your pet is free of symptoms and treatment for 12 months.
figo pet insurance may cover conditions that are considered curable and recommends contacting customer experience to determine if your pet’s condition qualifies.
pet lemonade insurance will consider coverage for conditions that have been cured and resolved for at least 12 months. eligibility requirements depend on your state.
pets the best pet insurance covers common curable pre-existing conditions (except knee and ligament conditions) if the condition has been free of symptoms and treatment for 180 days.
Prudent pet insurance may cover an illness or injury that is a single incident that resolves on its own or through treatment. If your pet’s condition has been resolved by a licensed veterinarian and it remains untreated for related symptoms for at least one year, your pet’s condition may be covered.
Pumpkin insurance for pets covers curable conditions (except knee and ligament) that have not had treatment or symptoms for 180 days.
metlife pet insurance covers curable pre-existing conditions when they have resolved and are symptom-free for a period of time, such as 180 days or 12 months.
Nationwide pet insurance may cover certain conditions if they have been cured for at least six months.
spot pet insurance does not consider a condition to be pre-existing if your pet has been free of symptoms and professional treatment for 180 days.
Does my pet need to be examined before I sign up for a pet insurance plan?
Some pet insurance companies may want to see your pet’s medical records or proof of a full veterinary exam to check for pre-existing conditions or health conditions before enrolling your pet.
But not all pet insurance companies have this requirement. For example, ASPCA Pet Insurance does not require a veterinary exam or medical records to purchase a pet insurance policy.
what if a condition hasn’t been diagnosed yet?
Conditions that have not yet been diagnosed could be considered pre-existing conditions.
For example, suppose your dog begins to limp in May and you take your puppy to the vet, but the cause of the limp is undetermined. If you buy a pet insurance policy in June and your pet starts limping again, treatments related to this problem may not be covered because the symptoms occurred before your coverage began.