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Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions? Important Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cat at vet with owner and veternarian

Owning a pet is a hugely rewarding experience, but it can also be very expensive if your pet suffers an injury or illness. That’s why pet insurance is highly recommended.

If you’re shopping for pet insurance, you should be aware of how it works because it doesn’t cover everything related to injuries or illnesses. Just like your automobile insurance that doesn’t cover accidents before your coverage begins, pet insurance typically doesn’t cover any pre-existing conditions. Read on to learn more about pet insurance and pre-existing conditions.

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What Is Considered a Pre-Existing Condition for Pet Insurance?

According to most pet insurance companies, a pre-existing condition is an illness or injury that started prior to the beginning of the coverage, including any waiting period.

Even if your pet wasn’t diagnosed with an injury or illness, your pet insurance company will likely still deny coverage if the animal showed any signs or symptoms of one before the coverage begins.

For example, if your young dog had a retained deciduous tooth (baby tooth) before your waiting period and coverage began, the extraction of the tooth would not be covered by your pet insurance.

care of a dog teeth
Image Credit: PixieMe, Shutterstock

Common Pre-Existing Conditions for Dogs

While a pre-existing condition can be many things, some of the most common pre-existing conditions among dogs include the following.

Common Pre-Existing Conditions for Dogs:

Common Pre-Existing Conditions for Cats

Like dogs, cats suffer from many of the same pre-existing conditions including:

Common Pre-Existing Conditions for Cats:
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Urinary or bladder crystals and blockages
  • Retained deciduous teeth

Pet Insurance is Still Worth It

Even though insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, pet insurance is still worth investing in. There are no two ways around it: caring for your pet is costly.

Think about all the food, toys, treats, licensing, vaccinations, and grooming supplies you’ll have to pay for throughout the course of your dog or cat’s life. On top of those costs, you will also have to pay for regular vet checkups and cover the cost of any routine and preventive care like medication your dog or cat may need, such as flea and tick medicine.

Absorbing all the costs of owning a pet isn’t easy for most people. If you don’t have pet insurance and find yourself in the position of being unable to pay for the care your pet needs, you’ll feel horrible, and your pet may suffer.

Without pet insurance, you may choose a “wait and see” course of action if your pet gets sick. This action could result in your pet enduring chronic pain and suffering, which is something you surely don’t want to see!

It’s important to know that the typical pet insurance company never wants to pay out more in claims than what it takes in in premiums. Even though that makes it seem like the odds are against you, remember that your pet insurance will provide you with financial protection if your pet becomes injured or sick. So yes, pet insurance is worth it so be sure to get your pet covered ASAP!

So even though most policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, its still worth comparing their plans to see what they do cover. These are one of the top-rated pet insurance companies that you should definitely check out:

Top Rated Pet Insurance Companies:

Most Affordable
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
Most Customizable
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
Best Wellness Plans
Our rating: 4.1 / 5

What Pet Insurance Typically Covers

Most pet insurance policies cover a wide range of things including the following:
  • Emergency care
  • Necessary surgery
  • Prescription medications
  • Broken bones
  • Toxic ingestion
  • Dental illnesses like gingivitis
  • Breed-specific conditions like hip dysplasia

How Your Pet Insurer Evaluates Your Pet

The typical pet insurance company looks at your pet’s medical records to determine pre-existing conditions. These medical records include your pet’s vet visit history and your pet’s details like its age and breed. The insurer will also evaluate your pet’s vaccination status and history of any medications your pet has been taking.

The sooner you get your pet covered by pet insurance, the better. Why? Because a young pet will have fewer pre-existing conditions on its medical record, this means the insurance company is more likely to cover something when the first symptoms appear.

a tabby cat in a medical blanket after neutering surgery
Image Credit: BadPixma, Shutterstock

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Even though pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, it’s something every pet owner should invest in. Owning a cat or a dog is expensive as there are many costs to cover, from pet food to shots and preventative pet care.

Just as you shop around for the best car insurance, compare pet insurance policies to find one that best meets your needs. Don’t ever forget that your four-legged friend counts on you to provide him with a great life so don’t let him down. Get your pet covered with insurance because you never know when you might need it.

Featured Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

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