Pet
4 min read

Pet Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions: What You Need to Know

Written by
Team Waffle - Diamonde
Published on
October 7, 2022

You've done your research and have decided that pet insurance is the right choice for you and your furry friend. Congrats! But now comes the tricky part: selecting a policy. One of the most important factors you'll need to consider is whether or not your pet has any pre-existing conditions. Here's what you need to know about insuring a pet with pre-existing conditions. 

What are pre-existing conditions?

Pre-existing conditions are medical conditions that your pet has been diagnosed with before you enroll them in a pet insurance policy.

Some of the most common pre-existing conditions in pets include arthritis, diabetes, allergies, and heart disease. And while there's no way to know for sure if your pet will develop a pre-existing condition, there are certain breeds that are more susceptible. For example, large-breed dogs are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than small-breed dogs

What are the types of pre-existing conditions?

There are two types of pre-existing conditions: curable and chronic.

Curable Pre-existing Conditions

Some pet insurance companies may provide coverage for pre-existing conditions if they are considered "curable." This means that although the condition was present before the policy went into effect, there is a chance that the pet could recover from it given some time.

Example:

After your pet has been symptom-free for a specific length of time, some pet insurance providers will cover curable pre-existing conditions. This waiting period is typically between six and twelve months, but it can vary depending on the company. So, if your dog is diagnosed with an ear infection and you enroll them in a policy with a six-month waiting period, the pet insurance company will start covering treatment for arthritis after your dog has been symptom-free for six months.

Some of the most common curable pre-existing conditions in pets include:

  • UTI
  • Ear infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Vomiting/diarrhea not related to a chronic illness

Not all pet insurance companies offer coverage for curable pre-existing conditions, so it's important to do your research before you select a policy.

Chronic Pre-existing Conditions

Chronic pre-existing conditions are ongoing or recurring conditions that require long-term treatment. A chronic condition is also considered incurable. These are not usually covered by pet health insurance coverage.

Some of the most common chronic pre-existing conditions in pets include:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Patellar luxation
  • Skin diseases

Can I insure my pet if they have a pre-existing condition?

Good news! Even if your furry friend has a pre-existing condition, you can still get pet insurance. Your new plan won't cover the costs to treat that specific issue, but it will be beneficial for any future illnesses or injuries. You can save money in the long run by investing in pet insurance.

How do pre-existing conditions affect pet insurance?

Pre-existing conditions will likely affect your pet insurance in one of two ways.

Non-Coverage

  • First, your pet insurance company may not cover any treatment related to the pre-existing condition. So, if your dog is diagnosed with arthritis before you get the policy, you would be responsible for 100% of the costs associated with treating your dog's condition.

Increased Premiums

  • The second way that pre-existing conditions can affect your pet insurance is through increased premiums. Because pre-existing conditions make your pet more likely to need medical care, pet insurance companies may charge higher premiums for those few policies that cover pre-existing conditions.

How do I find out if my pet has a pre-existing condition?

If you're not sure whether or not your pet has a pre-existing condition, you can check with your veterinarian. Your pet's veterinarian can tell you if your animal has any conditions which would be considered pre-existing and, as a result, not covered by most pet insurance companies.

You can also ask the pet insurance company itself. Some insurance companies have a list of conditions that they consider to be pre-existing within their sample policies. You can use this as a reference.

Once you know whether or not your pet has a pre-existing condition, you can start shopping for pet insurance policies. There are a few things to keep in mind when you're looking for coverage for a pet with pre-existing conditions. 

Things to keep in mind when insuring a pet with pre-existing conditions :

  1. Is pre-existing condition coverage available? You'll want to make sure that the pet insurance policy you're considering covers pre-existing conditions. Not all policies do, so this is an important distinction to make.
  2. Is this pet insurance more comprehensive than others? You'll want to compare pet insurance companies to see which one offers the best coverage for pre-existing conditions. Some companies may exclude coverage for certain conditions while others may only cover a portion of the costs associated with treatment.
  3. Is this pet insurance within your budget? You'll want to consider the cost of the policy. As we mentioned before, pet insurance companies may charge higher premiums for policies that cover pre-existing conditions. Be sure to compare rates before you select a policy! 

In short, insuring a pet with pre-existing conditions can be tricky. No two pets are exactly alike, and neither are their insurance needs. Some pets may need more coverage than others, and some may require special riders or endorsements for their policy. It's important to work with an insurance company that can tailor a policy to fit your individual pet's needs.

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Waffle, with offices located at 43 West 23rd Street, New York, New York 10010, USA is a licensed insurance producer and not an insurer. Waffle operates through Waffle Labs Inc (National Producer Number: 19499260). Waffle does business in California as Waffle Labs Insurance Agency. Coverage is subject to all the terms, exclusions and conditions of the insurance policy. Please see the sample policies for further information.