Pet Insurance with Pre-Existing Conditions

When you first enroll in a pet insurance policy, you will have to disclose any illness or condition that your pet might have whether it is something as simple as chronic allergies or something more serious like cancer or diabetes.

Pre Existing Conditions & Pet Insurance

All pet insurance companies will not cover your cat or dog for any pre-existing condition that your pet has developed when you sign up.

In fact, there is a waiting period before you are accepted into a pet insurance plan that is specifically for that reason; to make sure your pet does not have any condition that you haven’t yet disclosed.

How each pet insurance company defines a pre-existing condition varies from one to another.

One policy might define any illnesses that occurred 18 months before enrollment as pre-existing.

Another provider might define pre-existing conditions as injuries, illnesses, and irregularities noted by the vet before the waiting period expires.

Conditions Or Illness That Are Considered Pre-Existing

brown dachshund at the vet having ears checked

If your dog or cat has a long-term illness such as:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney Diseases
  • Lipomas or skin lumps
  • Any other disease that needs consistent treatment

Any of these diseases that affect your dog or cat could be considered pre-existing. While some of these conditions could exclude your pet from getting approved for pet insurance, there are several companies that offer coverage with pre-existing conditions.

Respiratory infections

Any breathing condition or respiratory condition such as canine distemper, kennel cough, or any similar respiratory infection that affects the lungs or surrounding areas.

Hereditary Conditions

Some breeds like the boxer are prone to brachycephalic disease which affects their breathing and is and is an example of a pre-existing condition that is breed-specific.

There are many hereditary conditions that affect cats and dogs and could be classified as pre-existing if they appear when signing up for pet insurance.

Orthopedic Conditions

Hip Dysplasia, as well as any orthopedic condition such as patellar luxation or a cruciate ligament injury in dogs, is considered pre-existing.

In fact, with some providers, if your dog has hip dysplasia which is considered a bilateral condition, the other hip will generally not be covered.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections or any disease that affects the surrounding areas which include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra are considered pre-existing.

Urinary tract infections can also lead to Cushing’s disease in dogs and FIV in cats, as well as many other long-term diseases.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea tend to be short term illnesses in your dogs or cats and clear up on their own.

However, if they are long term, this can be indicative of an illness that needs consistent medication and/or treatment.

Pre-existing Curable Conditions

These are generally defined as an existing condition that can be completely cured or reserved.

If your dog or cat is symptom-free for the specific condition, they can receive coverage for that condition.

The time frame is usually 12 months.

Vomiting, diarrhea and some urinary infections can be curable and then eventually covered.

Healthy Paws and Figo both allow most curable conditions to be covered.

Pre-existing Conditions with No Cure

The health conditions that disqualify pets from an insurance policy are usually those that have no cure. The most common ones include:

  • Cancer
  • Orthopedic conditions
  • Allergies
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Skin lumps
  • Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
  • Arthritis
  • Urinary blockages

Even some orthopedic condition including but not limited to luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and orthopedic illness or injury on the opposite side of a prior injury might not be covered for your dog or cat.

Why Pet Insurance Companies Don’t Cover Pre-existing Conditions

Since insurance is designed to cover emergencies and the unexpected, most companies won’t cover anything that’s already affecting your pet. Even if your dog ruptured a cruciate ligament on one side of his body, it could be considered a bilateral condition if it develops on the other side.

Therefore, it won’t be covered.

Additionally, plans with a 12-month coverage will reset pre-existing conditions upon policy renewal, in order to exclude any ongoing, recurring or chronic illness (but new ailments will be covered).

Insurance policies are mostly for the “what if” and not “what exists” similar to a home or car insurance.

Exceptions To Pre-Existing Conditions

Pet insurance providers can adjust their policies as necessary to fit your needs.

It’s possible to get your pet’s pre-existing health issues included in their policy, but it is up to the pet insurance company.

The best way to do this would be to call the pet insurance provider directly to negotiate.

Now you can see the importance of getting your pet insured before any pre-existing condition occurs and while they are young.

Always take a good look at your policy and understand it thoroughly to see what is and is not covered.

Our primer on how pet insurance works can also give you an overall picture of what to look out for.

Most pet insurance companies require you to see the vet at least a few months within signing up.

It’s always a good idea to do so prior, so your vet can assess if there are any conditions or illnesses for you to be aware of or consider when signing up which might be deemed pre-existing.

Take a look at our company comparison chart where you can compare other important limits and exclusions between top pet insurance companies.

Top Providers that Might Cover Some Pre-existing Conditions

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

Healthy Paws offers policies with no restrictions for hereditary or congenital conditions, including cancer.  They also cover emergency care, hospital stays, and surgeries.  And their waiting period for injury and illness coverage is only 15 days.

Embrace Pet Insurance

Embrace clearly states that it does not cover pre-existing conditions, although there are some pre-existing conditions it can cover at its discretion.  Embrace is one of the few companies that distinguish between curable and incurable pre-existing conditions.

Incurable pre-existing conditions typically require lifelong care. Curable pre-existing conditions are those that can be completely resolved. Curable pre-existing conditions could be covered moving forward if the pet goes 12 months symptom-free.

Petfirst Pet Insurance

Petfirst offers accident and illness coverage that is pretty much industry standard for the price. However, what sets them apart is they have no waiting periods for hip dysplasia, patella luxations or orthopedic conditions which is great for pets that are a little older.

Lastly, Pre-Existing Conditions and Pet Insurance

The best way of knowing how a company deals with pre-existing conditions is to go through its policy carefully with the help of a member of their team before enrolling. Most insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions and those that do, will only do so under their most expensive covers.

As always, the best time to insure your pet is when they are younger before any pre-existing condition has started!  If you need to learn more about pet insurance, take a look at our guide that gives you a thorough explanation.

2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Anonymous 06/27/2017 at 1:17 am

    I had bought pet insurance and my dog who will soon be three had 3 grand mall seizures and is diagnosed with idiopathic Epilepsy. Well the insurance will not cover because it happened weeks before waiting period was over. Would you cover her?

  2. Reply
    Diane 06/27/2017 at 1:21 am

    I insured my dog and had to wait a month for coverage. Well weeks into waiting for insurance my dog who will be 3 soon had three grand mall seizures one day She is now diagnosed with idiopathic Epilepsy. The insurance will not cover treatment because it happened weeks before coverage. They say it is pre existing. Would you cover her?

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