Will pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
There are no pet insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions. If a condition is diagnosed before your pet insurance kicks in, you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket for the treatment of that condition. This includes congenital conditions that have already been discovered.
However, some plans do cover curable conditions after a certain waiting period with no recurring symptoms!
Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?
Due to the cost of treating pre-existing conditions, and the relatively short lifetime of a pet (dogs live on average 10 to 13 years depending on the breed), pet insurance generally excludes pre-existing conditions from coverage. It’s a numbers problem: Pet insurers don’t have the luxury of charging many years of premiums in order to offset claims payments for pre-existing conditions.
Pet insurance companies usually consider a pre-existing condition to be an illness or injury that started prior to coverage beginning, including any waiting period.
“It’s important to point out that even if the pet wasn’t diagnosed with an injury or illness, an insurer may still deny coverage if they were showing any signs or symptoms of one prior to coverage starting,” says Alex Stone, founder Petinsurer.com, a pet insurance comparison provider.
For example, if your dog was limping before your waiting period and coverage started, treatment for the leg wouldn’t be covered by the plan.
Some pet insurance companies put pre-existing conditions into two buckets: curable and incurable conditions.
Pet insurance companies such as Embrace cover curable pre-existing conditions as long as any recurrence is at least 12 months from the date of the last problem. ASPCA’s pet insurance plan will not consider a condition “pre-existing” if it’s curable and there are no symptoms for 180 days (excluding knee and ligament conditions). If the condition recurs after 180 days, it can be covered like a new problem.
Some examples of curable conditions include:
On the other hand, there are pre-existing conditions that pet insurance companies consider incurable, such as:
Many of these conditions require repeat veterinarian visits, ongoing medication and sometimes even surgery. Incurable pre-existing conditions won’t be covered by pet insurance.
What if a Condition Hasn’t Been Diagnosed Yet?
Conditions that have not been diagnosed could still be considered pre-existing conditions.
For example, let’s say your dog starts limping in May and you take your pup 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 issue might not be covered because the symptoms occurred before your coverage began.