Pet Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions
There are limited options if you’re looking for pet insurance for pre-existing conditions. However, some insurers, such as Embrace, provide at least some coverage to your animal even if your pet has had past health issues.
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Pets are part of the family and, although your furry family members may lead pretty simple lives, animals can still get sick or hurt. Your pet could face many different health challenges, from needing hip surgery to dealing with joint issues to swallowing a squeaky toy and requiring emergency pet care.
The costs of these issues can quickly become expensive for owners, but buying a pet insurance policy can help offset these costs. Unfortunately, many pet insurance policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions.
Although some policies do provide at least some coverage for pre-existing conditions, finding pet insurance for pre-existing conditions can be difficult. In this guide we explain what pre-existing conditions are and where you can find a policy that covers them.
On this page:
- What is a Pre-Existing Condition?
- Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?
- Pet Insurance That Covers Pre-Existing Conditions
- Should I Get Pet Insurance if My Pet Has Pre-Existing Conditions?
- Other Things That Pet Insurance Typically Doesn’t Cover
What is a Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is any medical issue your pet has already developed before the policy waiting period has passed — even if you don’t notice the condition until later.
For example, if your pet has had a heart murmur since age 3 and you don’t buy a pet insurance policy until age 5, generally anything related to your pet’s heart would be considered a pre-existing condition.
So, if it turns out your pet’s murmur is an indicator of heart disease and your pet has an enlarged heart and needs costly medications, your pet’s condition would be classified as a pre-existing condition even if you simply thought your animal had a murmur and no other problems.
>> Read More: Pet Insurance With No Waiting Period
Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?
There’s essentially no pet insurance provider that will provide coverage for all pre-existing conditions. This makes sense because otherwise, you could wait until your pet gets sick with an expensive ailment and then go out and buy insurance.
Many pet insurers refuse to provide any coverage for a pet with pre-existing conditions, other than accident-only policies. Others, such as PetFirst, still allow you to insure your pet, but any health issues related to the pre-existing condition won’t be covered.
Finally, some insurers are even more generous when it comes to providing coverage and will cover illnesses related to pre-existing conditions that can be cured if your animal has been symptom-free for a certain period of time.
>> Read more: What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Pet Insurance That Covers Pre-Existing Conditions
Although many pet insurers simply don’t want to give you a policy at all if your pet has a pre-existing condition, we’ve found some companies that carve out exceptions and allow you to buy a policy even when your animal is already sick.
Here are some options pet owners should consider when seeking pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions.
Pet Assure isn’t technically an insurance policy, so it doesn’t pay for part of the care your animal needs like an insurance policy would. Instead, it is a membership program that allows you to get discounts on pet care.
With Pet Assure, you can save 25% on in-house medical services, including office visits, diagnostic services, vaccines, dental cleanings, and specialty services such as surgeries. You’ll need to visit a participating veterinarian.
Pet Assure does not have any exclusions for animals with pre-existing conditions, so you can sign up your animal even if your pet has some serious chronic conditions. Becoming a member is affordable and enrolling your pet takes minutes. Just be sure there are participating vets in your area so you can benefit from the savings membership provides.
Unlike Pet Assure, Embrace actually is a pet insurance provider, which means you can buy a policy and get part of your care costs covered. Unlike many pet insurers, however, Embrace makes a distinction between pre-existing conditions that are curable and those that aren’t when reviewing your pet’s medical history.
If your pet has a curable condition and has not shown any symptoms of that condition for 12 months, your animal can be covered for that medical condition with Embrace pet insurance if a problem arises again in the future. For example, if your pet had kennel cough, has been symptom-free for two years, and gets kennel cough again after you have Embrace pet insurance, your pet should be covered for the diagnosis and treatment of this illness.
Trupanion is another pet insurance plan that will provide coverage for animals that have had past health problems. When you get covered with Trupanion, the insurer looks for any condition of which your pet presented symptoms within the 18 months prior to the time you enrolled in coverage, as well as for any conditions of which your pet developed symptoms during the waiting period.
If your pet had an isolated illness more than 18 months prior, this wouldn’t be considered a pre-existing condition and your pet should be fully covered.
Conditions are not considered pre-existing with Trupanion if the claims specialist finds a “medical disconnect” between the prior health problem and the current health condition. The example Trupanion gives is if your dog sprained his knee before getting covered and then developed hip dysplasia after enrolling. Since there’s a medical disconnect between the knee injury and the hip dysplasia, the hip dysplasia isn’t considered pre-existing and would be covered.
Should I Get Pet Insurance if My Pet Has Pre-Existing Conditions?
Oftentimes, pet insurance can still be worth it even if your pet has a pre-existing condition already. This is a smart financial decision for many pet owners because your animal could develop other covered problems that are costly to treat.
For example, if you have a dog with a heart murmur, cardiac conditions won’t be covered — but if your dog develops a joint injury or pancreatitis, care for those particular ailments could be.
You’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most comprehensive coverage you can, especially if you have a pet with a pre-existing condition that causes you to run through your budget for vet bills. You should compare policy terms and quotes carefully to find the coverage you want at a price that meets your needs.
Other Pet Health Issues That Typically Aren’t Covered by Insurance
In addition to coverage exclusions for pre-existing conditions, there are other types of health issues that are often excluded from coverage, sometimes because there’s no cure for the condition.
Examples of situations where your pet may not be covered include:
- When treatment is considered experimental*
- If a condition is hereditary or genetic
- Treatment that is considered cosmetic
- Costs associated with breeding
- Procedures performed outside of the United States
Some pet insurance policies also exclude treatment for specific conditions such as cancer. However, better and more comprehensive policies will offer coverage even for costly health problems. For example, Complete Coverage from ASPCA carries a higher price tag but covers cancer and a variety of other serious medical issues for which you might not expect your pet insurance to pay.
*PetFirst is one company that covers some experimental and holistic treatments and medications for covered pets. These include things like acupuncture, chiropractic care, aqua therapy, and laser therapy.
Pets can require a lot of expensive care, and no pet owner wants to choose between their best friend’s health and their financial stability. Although you won’t find pet health insurance that covers all pre-existing conditions, you should still shop around to get the most comprehensive coverage you can for your animal. And if your pet is still in good health, it’s a good idea to get covered now before a condition does develop that would be excluded from coverage in the future.
Author: Christy Rakoczy