Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Compare pet insurance for pre-existing conditions
Find out if your pet can get covered for pre-existing conditions
A pet insurance policy may deny coverage for certain conditions if they’re classified as pre-existing. This includes conditions that develop during your policy’s waiting period, which can require months before covering conditions like hip dysplasia. However, you won’t be deined pet insurance to cover other conditions, even if your furry friend already suffers from a prior health problem. And in a few cases, you might be able to get some coverage for conditions in remission.
What is a pre-existing condition?
Any health problems your pet develops before the end of your policy waiting period is considered a pre-existing condition. Waiting periods range from 14 to 30 days for most conditions, but they can go up to 12 months for conditions like hip dysplasia.
In addition, most insurers don’t factor in whether the condition was diagnosed or treated by a vet. If you find any noticeable signs at all that your four-legged friend is unwell, that health problem gets tagged as pre-existing. Your insurer will probably deny a claim until after your eligible coverage begins, even if the condition was only identified and wasn’t bad enough to be treated.
Can you get pet insurance after diagnosis?
Yes, but not for that condition. Most pet insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing conditions at all. This is because insurers don’t want to pay for accidents or illnesses that happened before you became a customer. While you can still buy pet insurance, your policy will exclude the particular condition your pet developed before starting coverage.
Compare pet insurance providers
What are my options if my pet has a pre-existing condition?
While protecting a pet with a pre-existing condition proves challenging, you do have a couple of options:
- Buy pet insurance without coverage for pre-existing conditions. Your pet may still need insurance for an unrelated problem.
- Opt for an accident-only policy. Purchase cheaper accident-only insurance to cover a variety of health emergencies related to accidents. Those include burns, fractured bones or a snake bite.
- Look for a provider who covers curable conditions. Your furry friend may get protection for a curable condition if it’s fully healed and the waiting period has passed.
- Opt for a discount plan instead. An alternative to pet insurance, pet health discount plans offer discounted medical services to any pet, regardless of previous conditions.
- Open a high-interest savings account. This option may work best for owners who can’t get coverage on their pets for a reasonable rate. This is also a good way to supplement pet insurance that excludes a pre-existing condition.
Do some providers cover curable conditions?
Yes, a few pet insurers allow pre-existing conditions if the condition can reach full healing. To qualify, your pet shouldn’t need medical treatment for that condition within a certain time frame. The waiting period can range from a few months to one year.
For example, say your cat developed a respiratory illness that required expensive antibiotic treatment. After your cat recovers, if he stays healthy for a year, he can be covered for a future respiratory infection. At that point, your insurer won’t count it at a recurring illness but as two separate covered events.
Are chronic conditions covered by pet insurance?
Yes, your pet should get protection for recurring conditions as long as you continue your policy. However, you would need insurance before your pet develops symptoms to receive coverage.
Also, make sure you understand any limits on the time you have to file a claim, or a maximum amount you can claim for recurring conditions.
What about insurance for older pets?
Most insurers don’t cover pets after a certain age like 14 years old, although you can find a few exceptions for senior pet coverage. However, your senior pet may qualify for a lower-value accident-only policy.
If your pet hasn’t reached the age cutoff, try searching for an insurer with guaranteed lifetime coverage. As long as you keep renewing your policy, some insurers will honor your claims for accidents or illnesses. Again, the exclusion for pre-existing conditions still applies if your pet showed symptoms before the policy started.
What conditions are normally excluded?
Different insurers place different conditions in the pre-existing category, but the problems below generally make the grade.
- Bilateral conditions
- Bladder crystals and urinary blockages
- Cruciate ligament problems
- Heart disease
- Hip or elbow dysplasia
- Skin lumps
- Thyroid problems
Most pet insurers don’t cover health problems that happen before you started a policy for your pet. However, a few insurers reinstate coverage if the condition is curable, or you can opt for a discount plan or standard insurance anyway. Either way, you’ll need to research your pet insurance options to find the best fit for you.
Frequently asked questions about pre-existing conditions
Ask an Expert