Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions

Pet Insurance  •  Mary Shaughney  •  Wednesday, May 13, 2020

What is a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is “any illness or injury that occurred, reoccurred, existed or showed symptoms, whether or not diagnosed by a veterinarian, prior to the pet’s original start date, prior to the coverage period, or during the waiting period of a pet health insurance policy.” If your dog is showing symptoms of an injury or illness before you’ve enrolled in a pet insurance policy and the required waiting periods have passed, then the condition will be considered pre-existing. Conditions that are present at birth (congenital conditions) can also be considered pre-existing. If your pet has a condition or symptoms that are secondary to a condition that was considered pre-existing by your pet insurance company, those secondary conditions will likely also be considered pre-existing.

Do any pet insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions?

As much as pet insurance companies want to help all pets, companies would go out of business trying to pay for incidents that occurred before the pet owner began a pet insurance policy. For that reason, no pet insurance company can offer coverage for pre-existing conditions.

How are waiting periods and pre-existing conditions related?

If your pet becomes ill or injured before enrolling in a pet insurance policy or during the policy’s waiting period for that condition, it will not be eligible for coverage as it is considered pre-existing. Waiting periods are the set amount of time that a pet insurance provider requires after enrolling in a policy before any conditions become eligible for coverage. Pet insurance companies require a waiting period to ensure that new policyholders are not enrolling their pets because the pets are already sick or injured. 

Should I still enroll in a policy if my pet has pre-existing conditions?

Yes! Even if your pet has certain pre-existing conditions, you can still receive pet insurance coverage for new illnesses or injuries. You can also enroll in wellness coverage to provide reimbursement for preventative care to help keep your pet in top shape.

Helpful Tips:

1. Enroll Early!

The best thing to do to reduce conditions that are considered pre-existing is to enroll your pet in a pet insurance policy as soon as you bring him home. The younger your pet, the less medical history he will have that might result in a condition being considered pre-existing.

2. Know your insurance provider’s definition of “pre-existing.”

Every insurance provider has their own definition of what their company will consider to be pre-existing. Insurers are required to make their terms and conditions available on their websites, so you can review them prior to purchasing a policy.

3. Understand your waiting periods.

Waiting periods differ between pet insurance providers. Understand the terms and conditions of each company to ensure you know the waiting periods for the conditions you are concerned about before enrolling in a pet insurance policy.

4. Avoid gaps in coverage.

In most cases, conditions that were covered under a previous pet insurance policy will become "pre-existing" if you have a gap in coverage either by cancelling your pet insurance for a period of time or starting a policy with a new pet insurance company. 

5. Call Customer Service!

Our customer care team is happy to answer any questions your might have about your pet insurance coverage, so don't be afraid to contact us! Keep in mind, customer care representatives can provide you with helpful information; however, they cannot guarantee whether or not a claim will be paid.


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