pets Insurance

Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-existing Conditions?

Key points

  • It may be possible to get some insurance coverage for your pet’s pre-existing condition, depending on what it is.
  • There’s generally a waiting period to make sure the condition doesn’t recur.
  • There are also some non-insurance options that can help you pay for treatment of your pet’s pre-existing condition.

Pet insurance can provide financial relief if your pet is ill or injured, especially during emergencies. But if your pet has a pre-existing condition, it can be difficult to find an insurer that will cover it.

When it comes to conditions that were present before your pet insurance coverage started, you’ll typically have to pay the full cost of treatment for the issue. However, some insurance policies make an exception for curable pre-existing conditions.

Here’s what you need to know about getting pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions.

More: Best pet insurance companies

What are pet pre-existing conditions in pet insurance?

A pre-existing condition refers to a medical condition that existed prior to the start of your pet insurance coverage. For instance, if your dog or cat is diagnosed with a heart condition and you decide to purchase a pet insurance policy a few weeks later, the pet insurance company will consider it a pre-existing condition and likely not cover it.

Not all pet pre-existing conditions are equal, however. Pet insurance companies typically classify pre-existing conditions as curable or incurable. How your pet’s condition is classified, as well as how and if they recover, will determine how the insurer will classify the condition.

Curable vs. incurable pre-existing conditions

Curable pre-existing conditions are ailments or injuries that show up before a policy begins but can be cured. If symptoms don’t resort for the duration of the policy’s waiting period — usually six months to a year — these conditions may be covered.

If symptoms come back within the waiting period, the condition is reviewed as a pre-existing condition and will most likely not be covered by the policy.

Curable pre-existing conditions include:

  • Bladder infections.
  • Ear infections.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.

Incurable pre-existing conditions are ailments or injuries that show up before a policy begins and can’t be completely cured. Unlike curable pre-existing conditions, insurers generally won’t cover any kind of incurable pre-existing conditions.

Incurable pre-existing conditions include:

  • Allergies.
  • Arthritis.
  • Bladder crystals and urinary blockages.
  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Heart disease.
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Hyper- or hypothyroidism.
  • Kidney disease.

Pet insurance companies that cover pre-existing conditions

Below we’ve compiled a list of pet insurance companies that offer plans with coverage of some pre-existing conditions with stipulations, including the costs and details you need to know to choose the right plan for your pet.

Pets Best

Pets Best will provide accident-only coverage for pre-existing conditions. It doesn’t cover pre-existing illnesses, such as lymphoma or diabetes.

The plan covers recurring accidents or injuries, like a broken leg. So, if your pet has an accident and breaks a bone before you enroll in the policy, then breaks the same bone after you’ve enrolled in the policy, it’ll be considered a separate condition and is eligible for coverage.

Pet’s Best can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center in the US

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage: $5,000, Unlimited
  • Reimbursement choices: 70%, 80%, 90%
  • Deductible choices: $50, $100, $200, $250, $500, $1,000

ASPCA

ASPCA offers accident-only and accident and illness plans. ASPCA plans also cover hereditary issues and behavioral issues. If your pet is cured of its pre-existing conditions and is free of symptoms for 180 days after policy enrollment, it will be eligible for coverage. ASPCA will not cover pre-existing knee and ligament conditions.

ASPCA can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center in the US

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage limit: $3,000, $4,000, $,5000, $7,000, $10,000
  • Reimbursement choices: 70%, 80% or 90%
  • Deductible choices: $100, $250, $500

Embrace

Embrace offers accident-only and accident and illness plans. Under these plans, as long as symptoms are not recurring and re-diagnosed within 12 months of the date of the last visible symptom, then it is classified as a curable pre-existing condition and can be covered by insurance.

Embrace will not cover incurable pre-existing conditions, like orthopedic pre-existing conditions, whether an injury happens on the same or opposite side.

Embrace can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center across the globe.

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage limit: Unlimited
  • Reimbursement choices: 70%, 80%, 90%
  • Deductible options: $100

Nationwide

Nationwide offers major medical and whole pet plans, both of which cover accidents and illnesses. Nationwide covers pre-existing curable accidents, injuries or illnesses as long as they have been treated with no recurring symptoms for six months. There is a year-long waiting period for coverage of cruciate ligaments or meniscus (knee) injuries

Nationwide can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center across the world.

Below are the policy options for a Nationwide Whole Pet plan.

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage limit: $10,000
  • Reimbursement choices: 50%, 70%, 90%
  • Deductible options: $250

Fetch

Fetch only offers an accident and illness plan. Under this plan, Fetch covers curable pre-existing conditions after the pet has been symptom-free for a year.

A second one-year exclusionary period will apply if the condition recurs within the first year. If the same curable condition recurs within the second exclusionary period, Fetch won’t cover that pre-existing condition.

Fetch can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center in the US

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage limit: $5,000, $10,000, $15,000
  • Reimbursement choices: 70%, 80%, 90%
  • Deductible choices: $300, $500, $700

MetLife

MetLife offers accident-only and accident and illness plans. MetLife covers curable pre-existing conditions if they’ve been resolved with no recurrence for 180 days or a year.

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage limit: $2,000, $5,000, $10,000
  • Reimbursement choices: 70%, 80%, 90%
  • Deductible choices: $50, $100, $250, $500

Spot

Spot offers an accident-only and an accident and illness plan. Both plans can be used for future coverage if your pet has been cured and free of treatment for pre-existing conditions for 180 days. Spot doesn’t cover pre-existing knee and ligament conditions.

Spot can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center in the US

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage limit: $2,500, $3,000, $4,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, Unlimited
  • Reimbursement choices: 70%, 80%, 90%
  • Deductible choices: $100, $250, $500, $750, $1,000

Hartville

Hartville offers an accident-only and an accident and illness plan. You have the option of adding preventative care to your policy as well. Both plans can be used for future coverage if your pet has been cured and free of treatment for 180 days. Hartville doesn’t cover pre-existing knee and ligament conditions.

Hartville can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center in the US Coverage limits may vary by state.

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage limit: $2,500, $4,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000
  • Reimbursement choices: 70%, 80%, 90%
  • Deductible choices: $100, $250, $500

Pumpkins

Pumpkin offers an accident and illness policy with an optional preventive-care add-on. This plan can be used to cover curable pre-existing conditions.

Your pet must be free of symptoms and treatment for 180 days to qualify for future coverage. Pumpkin doesn’t cover pre-existing knee and hind-leg ligament conditions.

Pumpkin can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center in the US

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage limit: $10,000, $20,000, Unlimited
  • Reimbursement options: 90%
  • Deductible choices: $100, $250, $500

Cautious Pet

Prudent Pet offers an accident-only and an accident and illness plan. Both plans can be used to cover pre-existing conditions if they are a one-time incident and considered cured by a licensed veterinarian with no recurrence for 365 days.

Prudent Pet can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center in the US

Policy options:

  • Annual coverage limit: $10,000, Unlimited
  • Reimbursement choices: 70%, 80%, 90%
  • Deductible choices: $100, $250, $500, $1,000

Pet insurance alternatives for pre-existing conditions

While no pet insurance covers ongoing care for incurable pre-existing conditions, there are some alternatives to get your pet the medical care they need at a reasonable price.

Pawp

At around $24 a month, Pawp will cover up to $3,000 in emergency care for up to six pets, even if your pet has a pre-existing condition.

However, Pawp will only cover emergencies that need an immediate response. For instance, if your dog has cancer and collapses as a result or has an immediate reaction, coverage will be provided for the treatment.

The funds cannot be used for planned surgeries and wellness or routine checkups.

Pet Assure

Pet Assure is an employer-sponsored program that shoulders 25% of all vet bills, including care for pre-existing conditions and for exotic pets. Check if your company offers it.

Pet Assure’s prices are based on your location, your pet’s weight and the number of pets you need covered. Small pets (rodents, reptiles and cats) start off at $79 per year. Larger pets (dogs and farm animals) are priced at $99 per year.

Pet Assure can be used at any vet clinic, specialized clinic and emergency care center in the US, and it’ll take about 25% off your bill immediately. That means you don’t have to wait for reimbursements from the insurer.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

You can still get pet insurance even if your pet has a pre-existing condition. If it’s a curable pre-existing condition, medical expenses for your pet may be covered as normal. However, if it’s an incurable pre-existing condition, insurers may exclude coverage for that specific illness or ailment.

Pet insurance companies typically require you to submit your pet’s medical records and you may be required to get a full veterinary exam for your pet before an insurer will cover you.

Yes, pet insurance is still a worthwhile investment even if your pet has a pre-existing condition. Pet insurance can help pay for medical expenses for other covered accidents or illnesses that occur during your policy period.

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