February 8, 2023
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Pet insurance coverage is, for probably the most half, quite a bit like human medical insurance—it’s there to guard you financially within the occasion of accidents or sicknesses that see your greatest four-legged good friend racking up the vet payments. But it differs from your personal well being plan in a single particularly vital means: pre-existing situations.

Virtually no pet insurance coverage firm will cowl the therapy of any medical situation your pet had earlier than a coverage went into impact. It’s one of many trickiest hurdles pet mother and father need to navigate when looking for a plan: Is pet insurance coverage nonetheless value it in case your canine or cat wouldn’t be coated for the medical situations they’ve already been recognized with?


Read on for our solutions to widespread questions on pre-existing situations and what you are able to do to discover a coverage that works for you.

What Are Pre-Existing Conditions?

Pre-existing situations are well being points which were detected (both by a proper analysis or a file of signs) earlier than you bought your pet insurance coverage coverage.

For instance, let’s say that at your Miniature Dachshund’s annual checkup final 12 months, your vet noticed some early warning indicators of Intervertebral Disc Disease and really helpful a joint complement. Shortly after that, you bought pet insurance coverage. Now a 12 months has handed, and your pup is having bother getting up and down the steps—your vet formally diagnoses IVDD and recommends again surgical procedure to alleviate the strain in your canine’s backbone. Will your pet insurance coverage coverage cowl it?

Miniature Dachshund stretches across tree trunk

NORRIE3699 through iStock

Unfortunately, it in all probability received’t. Your pet’s medical file will present that the signs of disc illness predate your coverage, which makes it possible that your insurance coverage firm will contemplate disc illness—and most spinal illnesses—a pre-existing situation.

If, nevertheless, your canine will get into medical bother that’s unrelated to his backbone and some other pre-existing situations (develops a continual ear an infection, for instance, or gastric reflux), your pet insurance coverage firm ought to be on the hook.

Last, let’s think about that you simply did get pet insurance coverage earlier than you or your vet observed any indicators of disc illness. Your vet recommends surgical procedure, and your insurance coverage coverage covers it. Your pup recovers, however after one other couple years, your vet recommends one other spinal process. Will your pet insurance coverage coverage cowl that?

They definitely ought to. A pre-existing situation isn’t “any situation that your pet has had earlier than”—it’s only a situation that predates your insurance coverage coverage.

How Does Your Insurance Company Know What Counts as a Pre-Existing Condition?

The quick reply is that they take a look at your pet’s medical data. Some corporations request that your pet has a full medical examination previous to enrollment, or they’ll ask for a duplicate of your pet’s medical data while you signal on. Others, like ManyPets, will request some portion of your pet’s medical data on the time of your first declare.

A couple of corporations, notably Embrace, will enable you to request a “medical historical past overview” while you enroll—which suggests your insurance coverage firm will take a look at your pet’s medical data and let you know up entrance what they’ll contemplate a pre-existing situation. That can assist you keep away from surprises down the highway and resolve immediately should you’d quite decide out or modify your plan.

Remember that while you change insurance coverage corporations, your pre-existing situations will possible reset; your new insurance coverage firm will contemplate something that occurred in your previous insurance coverage firm’s watch a pre-existing situation.

How Is a Pre-Existing Condition Different from a Congenital or Hereditary Condition?

A hereditary situation is a medical dysfunction that’s inherited genetically, whereas a congenital situation is one which develops in utero and is current from start. Both sound like they’d be pre-existing situations by definition—however an excellent pet insurance coverage plan received’t essentially regard both hereditary or congenital situations as pre-existing.

Hereditary situations sometimes go hand-in-hand with sure breeds. Hip dysplasia, for instance, is without doubt one of the commonest hereditary situations and is very prevalent in massive breeds like Great Danes, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers. Though the genetic predisposition to it’s there, most canine don’t present indicators of it instantly. So in case your insurance coverage coverage goes into impact earlier than signs current, an excellent plan ought to cowl therapy.

Dog and vet looking at x-ray

Fly_dragonfly through iStock

Note that some corporations have longer wait durations than others in terms of hereditary situations. For instance, Healthy Paws will cowl therapy for hip dysplasia—however only one) in case your pet is underneath the age of six on the time of enrollment and a pair of) after a wait interval of 1 12 months after your insurance coverage coverage begins.

As you’re selecting pet insurance coverage, it’s necessary to know what sorts of hereditary situations your pet is perhaps predisposed to so you may select a plan that gives you the shortest wait occasions.

As for congenital situations, whether or not you may anticipate protection sometimes will depend on whether or not signs current instantly or not. Congenital coronary heart illness, for instance, will not be instantly apparent, and if you are going to buy a coverage earlier than signs seem, an excellent supplier ought to cowl therapy.

Because insurance policies on hereditary and congenital situations differ from firm to firm, it’s at all times a good suggestion to take a look at a potential coverage’s effective print on each and do some comparability buying.

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What Are “Treatable” or “Curable” Pre-Existing Conditions?

Though no pet insurance coverage firm will cowl a pre-existing situation, a couple of will cowl what they name a “treatable” or “curable” pre-existing situation.

Definitions and wait durations differ from firm to firm, however an exemption for a “curable” pre-existing situation would possibly look one thing like this: Imagine that final 12 months, your cat had a urinary tract an infection, and also you went to the vet for antibiotics. The capsules cleared it proper up, and your cat was proper as rain for the following twelve months. You then buy pet insurance coverage, and the next month, your cat will get one other UTI. Will your pet insurance coverage firm cowl therapy?

cat being held by vet with stethoscope

Yelena Shander through iStock

The ones that cowl “curable” pre-existing situations ought to—supplied sufficient time has elapsed since your pet’s final therapy. Embrace, for instance, would possible cowl your cat’s UTI so long as 12 consecutive months had handed because the final look of signs.

There is, nevertheless, numerous grey space right here, and a few corporations, like Figo, are particularly imprecise about how they’ll outline “curable.” If your cat had simply the one UTI previous to your coverage’s begin date, that’s possible coated. But in case your cat had a historical past of continual UTIs earlier than you enrolled, your probabilities of discovering the following UTI coated are slimmer.

What’s a Bilateral Condition?

A bilateral situation is a medical situation that may happen on both aspect of the physique—like knee and hip accidents. Because an damage on one aspect will increase the probability of damage on the opposite, most pet insurance coverage corporations will deal with bilateral situations as pre-existing situations.

Here’s an instance: Imagine that a number of years in the past, your canine’s cruciate ligament on the left aspect ruptured. You introduced them in for surgical procedure, and now they’re good as gold. You purchase pet insurance coverage, and two years later, your canine ruptures their cruciate ligament on the proper aspect. It’s a unique leg that confirmed no indicators of issues previous to your coverage’s begin date, and also you’ve lengthy since handed all of your insurance coverage firm’s wait durations, so you have to be coated, proper?

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely. Most insurance coverage corporations will contemplate the identical damage on the opposite aspect of your pet’s physique a bilateral situation—that means it counts as a pre-existing situation.

But should you took out your insurance coverage coverage earlier than signs of a cruciate rupture appeared on both aspect, an excellent insurance coverage coverage ought to cowl each surgical procedures.

Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect My Premiums?

No—you may’t be denied protection or have your premiums raised on account of pre-existing situations. Nor can your price go up primarily based on the variety of claims you make.

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What will increase your premiums, nevertheless, is your pet’s age. Older pets are costlier to insure, and only some corporations (notably Trupanion and Healthy Paws) don’t increase costs as a pet ages. If you see your charges going up through the years, that’s in all probability time and rising veterinary prices at work—not pre-existing situations.

Happy senior golden retriever sitting with crossed paws on forest floor

Capuski through iStock

Should I Still Get Pet Insurance Even If My Pet Has a Pre-Existing Condition?

Maybe! The easy reply is that it will depend on your scenario.

The instance numerous insurance coverage corporations supply is most cancers. Even in case your pet has had two knee surgical procedures, gastric reflux, and a dozen ear infections, it’s possible {that a} coverage you purchase immediately would nonetheless cowl you for most cancers therapy. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly half of canine over the age of ten will develop most cancers. Successful therapy is extra potential now than ever earlier than—however the fee can simply exceed $10,000.

If your canine will get most cancers, pet insurance coverage will undoubtedly have been an excellent deal, particularly should you’re undecided you could possibly afford therapy in any other case.

But what in the event that they don’t? It’s true that you simply’re unlikely to search out most of a really previous pet’s illnesses coated, through which case you would possibly resolve you’d quite depend on your financial savings account or an emergency plan like Pawp. But in case your pet solely has one or two pre-existing situations, there’s a complete world of accidents and sicknesses on the market that may possible be coated.

Ultimately, you’re the skilled in your pet and your funds and greatest geared up to know what’s best for you. Get some quotes, do some math, and weigh some budgets—we’re rooting for you!

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What’s the Best Pet Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions?

We partnered with Pet Insurer to match 9 prime pet insurance coverage corporations throughout a variety of standards—together with pre-existing situations. Read on to see the breakdown.

Further Reading

  • The Best Pet Insurance Companies: A Pet Parent’s Guide
  • How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost, and Is It Worth It?
  • What Does Pet Insurance Cover? Everything You Need to Know
  • The Best Dog and Puppy Health Insurance
  • The Best Pet Insurance for Cats
  • How to Help Your Dog in a Health Emergency
  • How to Create an Awesome Pet First Aid Kit: A Step by Step Guide
  • Rover’s Guide to Pet Fire Safety
  • How to Create an Emergency Preparedness Plan for Your Pets

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