Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

Updated: May 22, 2024

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If pet insurance covers pre-existing conditions, they tend to be curable conditions. Respiratory illnesses and bladder or urinary tract infections are examples of curable pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies consider risk when creating policies, and pre-existing incurable conditions can result in more claims and higher payouts. Companies can choose to exclude pre-existing conditions instead of denying coverage completely. However, there are exceptions, so contact a prospective insurer to learn about how their policies can meet your pet's needs.

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Key Takeaways

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If a pre-existing condition is curable, the pet insurer may implement a waiting period before the condition is eligible for coverage.

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Incurable conditions, like orthopedic issues, diabetes, allergies and other chronic conditions, are pre-existing conditions pet insurers may exclude entirely.

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Embrace, Figo, Lemonade, Nationwide and Spot are some of the pet insurance companies that will cover curable pre-existing conditions.

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Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

Pet insurance companies generally do not cover pre-existing conditions.

When you buy pet insurance, there is often a waiting period before coverage becomes effective. The waiting period is usually longer for illnesses — at around two weeks — while accidents are covered only a few days after the policy goes into effect. A condition that emerges before the waiting period expires can be considered a pre-existing condition.

While you can get pet insurance with a pre-existing condition, it depends on the type of condition, the carrier and the insurance plan. Some companies offering pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions that are curable. Incurable pre-existing conditions will be excluded permanently from coverage.

Knowing whether a pre-existing condition is curable can help you determine if you can get insurance for your pet’s pre-existing conditions.

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    Incurable Conditions

    An incurable condition is a chronic condition your pet will have for life, requiring lifelong, specialized care. If your pet shows symptoms or is diagnosed before the policy's effective date, it’s considered a pre-existing condition. Incurable pre-existing conditions include:

    • Allergies
    • Arthritis
    • Bladder crystals
    • Cancer (some types)
    • Diabetes
    • Disc disease
    • Epilepsy
    • Heart disease
    • Idiopathic cystitis
    • Joint or ligament deterioration
    • Kidney disease
    • Lipomas (skin lumps)
    • Orthopedic conditions
    • Thyroid issues
    • Urinary blockages
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    Curable Conditions

    A curable pre-existing condition is something that will resolve, whether on its own or with veterinarian care. Once a curable condition is resolved and your pet is symptom-free during the pre-existing condition waiting period, it can be eligible for coverage for this condition. Examples of curable conditions are:

    • Bladder infections
    • Certain types of cancer
    • Diarrhea
    • Ear infections
    • Gastrointestinal disorders
    • Upper respiratory infections
    • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
    • Vomiting

Why Don’t Pet Insurance Companies Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

You may wonder, does any pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions? The vast majority of insurers do not. There are two reasons pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions.

First, pet insurance, like other forms of insurance, protects against sudden and unforeseen accidents and illnesses. It does not cover things that have already occurred. Second, if pet insurance does cover any pre-existing conditions, it would be difficult for the insurer to offset their claims costs through premiums.

Can You Still Get Pet Insurance If Your Pet Has a Pre-Existing Condition?

Yes, you can still get pet insurance if your pet has a pre-existing condition. While other accidents and illnesses are covered, pre-existing conditions won’t be. For instance, if your pet has diabetes before you enroll in pet insurance, the insurer won’t cover any procedures or vet costs due to diabetes. But if your pet gets a respiratory infection or breaks a leg, the procedures and vet costs for the infection or broken leg are covered.

How Do Pet Insurance Companies Find Out About Pre-Existing Conditions?

Pet insurance companies find out about pre-existing conditions by reviewing your pet’s medical records.

Carriers have experts to review records, and if your pet has never been tested or seen by a vet, the insurer will require you to have your pet evaluated. Even if your pet only has symptoms of a condition that isn’t confirmed, it can be considered pre-existing by the company. If you’re trying to learn how to get around pre-existing condition pet insurance clauses, you are chasing a lost cause.

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You may think it’s easy to get around pre-existing conditions clauses that pet insurance companies have by just not telling them about your pet’s health problems. If you do this, you could face legal consequences, as lying on an insurance application could be considered insurance fraud.

Which Pet Insurance Companies Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

Some pet insurance companies will cover curable pre-existing conditions, but many will not. Companies that will cover them typically require a waiting period of up to 12 months before your pet is eligible for coverage. If your pet remains symptom-free throughout the waiting period, the insurer might cover the pre-existing condition.

Here is a list of pet insurance companies that will cover pre-existing conditions.

Companies With Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about pet insurance covering pre-existing conditions? Here are the answers to some of the most common questions people ask about pre-existing condition pet insurance.

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
How do pet insurance companies find out about pre-existing conditions?
Which pet insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions?

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About Mandy Sleight

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Mandy Sleight is a licensed property, casualty, life and health insurance agent with 20 years of experience in the industry. She has worked for major insurance companies like State Farm and Nationwide, and most recently as the Operations Coordinator for a startup employee benefits company.

Sleight holds a business administration and management degree from the University of Baltimore and a master's in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She uses her vast knowledge of insurance and personal finance to create easy-to-understand and engaging content to help readers make smarter choices with their budgets and finances.