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Pet Insurance for Pre Existing Conditions

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Want to jump straight to the answer? The best pet insurance provider for most people is definitely Spot or Pumpkin.

Many pets, like people, have health conditions that need treatment. Diabetes, arthritis and more are conditions that affect our furred and feathered loved ones and require ongoing care. 

What does that mean for pet insurance? Will pet insurance cover these and other conditions? Learn more about pet insurance for preexisting conditions. 

What is Considered a Preexisting Condition for Pets?

The definition of a preexisting condition may vary slightly from insurance company to insurance company. In general, however, a preexisting condition is any health condition that had symptoms before you purchased pet insurance. This includes conditions that a veterinarian didn’t officially diagnose. 

Let’s say your dog has a noticeable limp after an active day. The limp goes away, and in the meantime, you purchase pet insurance. The limp returns, and your vet diagnoses arthritis. This condition may not be covered because there were symptoms before you purchased pet insurance. 

Diabetes, allergies, arthritis and heart disease could all be preexisting conditions if you noticed symptoms before buying pet insurance. Injuries are also preexisting conditions. For example, if a cat broke their leg and had surgery on the leg, any further issues related to the broken leg would be considered a preexisting condition. 

Pet Insurance Coverage with Preexisting Conditions

Pet insurance companies vary in their approach to preexisting conditions. Some will not treat any preexisting conditions. Others will treat curable preexisting conditions as long as there haven’t been any symptoms or treatment for at least 6 months or more. 

Let’s say your cat has a respiratory infection before you enroll for pet insurance. Your pet is treated and doesn’t have any symptoms for a year, and then has another infection. Some pet insurance companies may pay for treatment for the second infection. 

Review potential pet insurance policies carefully to find out how they define a preexisting condition. 

Pet insurance can still be helpful, even for pets with preexisting conditions. Unfortunately, you never know when an accident or illness will happen. Pet insurance will cover conditions, accidents and injuries that occur after you purchase a policy, and that can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.  

Reduce Issues with Preexisting Conditions

If your pet has preexisting conditions, review the terms of potential pet insurance policies to see whether those conditions will be covered. The best way to do this is by reviewing a sample policy. 

Pet insurance companies may also have general information about preexisting conditions, and you can also ask about any specific conditions your pet is experiencing. Disclosing your pet has preexisting conditions will not prevent them from qualifying for pet insurance. 

The best way to reduce issues with preexisting conditions is to purchase a policy for your pets before they have one. Buy a policy while they’re young and healthy so you have the coverage in place as they age. That way, you don’t have to worry about most preexisting conditions. 

If you’re concerned about your pet having a hereditary or congenital condition (a condition that the pet is born with but doesn’t show symptoms of until later in life), review and compare potential pet insurance policies carefully. Some policies will cover hereditary and congenital conditions as long as there are no symptoms or treatments for those conditions before you start the policy. Other policies exclude those conditions. 

What Is and What Is Not Covered on a Pet Insurance Policy?

Pet insurance policies vary when it comes to what is covered. Let’s take a look at what policies typically cover, what coverage varies by plan, and what policies don’t cover. 

What Pet Insurance Covers

  • Accidents: Bites, broken bones, cuts, swallowed objects and more can happen easily. Policies typically cover services related to the accident, including X-rays, MRIs and other imaging, bloodwork, sutures, medications, hospital stays and surgeries. You can also buy accident-only pet insurance policies that exclusively cover these situations. 
  • Illnesses: These include respiratory infections, cancer, arthritis, ear infections, urinary infections and more, as long as they occur after you start the policy or after the policy’s waiting period. Policies typically cover tests needed to diagnose the issue and the medications needed to treat the illness. 

What Pet Insurance May Cover

  • Wellness and preventive care: Some policies include this care, while others have it available as an add-on or don’t cover it at all. This includes check-ups for your pet and their routine vaccinations. 
  • Routine medication: Plans vary when it comes to whether routine medications are covered. These medications treat chronic conditions like allergies. 
  • Alternative therapies: This includes acupuncture, chiropractic care and laser therapy. Some policies include this in the base policy, while others have it as an add-on or don’t cover it at all. 
  • Behavioral issues: This includes diagnosing and treating issues like anxiety.

What Pet Insurance Doesn’t Cover

  • Preexisting conditions: These are conditions that occur before you have the policy or during the policy’s waiting period. As noted above, some policies will cover curable preexisting conditions if enough time has passed. 
  • Cosmetic procedures: This category includes ear docking and declawing. 
  • Breeding: This includes costs relating to pregnancy and delivery. 
  • Dental care: Most policies don’t cover routine dental care, but they will cover dental care that’s related to an accident. 
  • Exam fees: These are charges for the pet’s examination, and many policies don’t cover the exams, although they cover testing and other expenses. 

How Policies Work

An important aspect of coverage is how pet insurance policies work. In general, pet insurance works on a reimbursement basis. This means that you pay your vet bill and then submit it with receipts to your pet insurance company. Your pet insurance will pay the bill according to the terms of your policy. 

Deductibles

Most pet insurance policies have a deductible. This is the amount you pay for covered services before your insurance plan will pay. Deductibles are usually annual, so you have to pay it each year. 

For example, if you have a $500 deductible and your 1st veterinary bill of the year is $1,000, you pay the 1st $500. Your insurance company would reimburse you for the rest of the bill according to the terms of your policy. You may be able to choose your deductible.

Reimbursement Percentage

Pet insurance policies typically reimburse you for a percentage of the bill. For example, a policy might pay 80% of the bill. Using the example above, you pay $500, and the insurance company reimburses you for 80% of the $500 balance. That’s $400, which means you pay a total of $600 for that $1,000. If you already met your deductible, you pay $200. Your insurance company would reimburse you for $800. 

Coverage Limits

Pet insurance policies may have an annual and/or lifetime limit on coverage. For example, you might have an annual policy limit of $3,000. That means your insurance company would reimburse you for up to $3,000 in covered veterinary costs. Any costs beyond that would be your responsibility. Some companies offer unlimited coverage with no limits. 

Best Pet Insurance Providers

Which pet insurance providers are the best? Here are Benzinga’s picks. 

Starting Rate
$10/month
Best For
Best Overall
Get started securely through Spot Pet Insurance’s website
Starting Rate
$10/month
Best For
Best Overall
1 Minute Review

Recommended by pet specialist Cesar Millan, Spot Pet Insurance’s innovative approach provides user-friendly access to customizable coverage. Your dog or cat is covered without completing a medical exam. The policies cover veterinary bills, either partially or in full, when your pet goes in for a check-up or routine vaccination or needs care for injury, chronic illness or prescription coverage. Spot also covers implanting a microchip in your pet. You’ll also get 10% off of each additional pet you insure.

Best For
  • Cats and dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages
  • Insuring multiple pets
  • Customizing an insurance plan
  • Prescription food and supplements
Pros
  • Multiple pet discount
  • Covers prescription food and supplements
  • No upper age limit for coverage enrollment
  • 30-day money-back guarantee*
  • More reimbursement options: 70%, 80% and 90%
Cons
  • Doesn’t cover exotic pets
Starting Rate
Varies
Best For
Extensive Coverage
Get started securely through Pumpkin Pet Insurance’s website
Starting Rate
Varies
Best For
Extensive Coverage
1 Minute Review

Pumpkin Pet Insurance offers traditional pet insurance as well as optional preventive care coverage at an additional cost. While Pumpkin does offer a wide range of coverage options, you’ll notice some limits to be aware of. All Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans have an annual coverage limit and all of its policies come with a high reimbursement rate.

Best For
  • Families with pets who don’t expect their bills to go higher than Pumpkin’s coverage limits
  • Families with multiple pets who can benefit from their discount for each additional pet’s policy
Pros
  • No upper age limit
  • Multiple pet discount
  • An extensive list of covered procedures
Cons
  • Plans only cover cats and dogs — no other pet types
Starting Rate
Depends on plan & pet
Best For
Live medical chat
get started securely through Lemonade’s website
Starting Rate
Depends on plan & pet
Best For
Live medical chat
1 Minute Review

Lemonade offers easy-to-understand coverage options for dogs and cats. It’s even better for those who already have Lemonade renters or homeowners insurance as you get a discount for bundling your policies. 

Insurance companies keep extra dollars for profit, but Lemonade is unique in that after it pays your claims and its expenses, it gives any remaining premiums to a charity that you choose when you sign up for a policy. You can select charities like the American Red Cross, the Trevor Project, and many pet-centric causes. The downside to Lemonade pet insurance is that you can only insure dogs and cats (no exotic animals). 

Best For
  • Those who want to bundle with their home policy
  • Pet owners who prefer to buy and manage their policies online
  • Pet owners who want to customize their pet’s policy
Pros
  • Super customizable so you get everything your pet needs without paying for stuff you won’t use
  • Discount for having Lemonade home or renters insurance
  • Very high cap on annual limits
Cons
  • Only offers coverage for dogs and cats
  • Not available in all states
Starting Rate
$16 for cats, $30 for dogs/month
Best For
Bundling
Get started securely through Progressive Pet’s website
Starting Rate
$16 for cats, $30 for dogs/month
Best For
Bundling
1 Minute Review

Progressive is a major insurance provider offering a wide selection of insurance products, including insurance for dogs and cats. Although Progressive’s pet insurance options are affordable, consider wellness coverage, but you won’t be able to claim 100% reimbursements on every policy. With easy quotes and accident-only plans, however, Progressive can be an excellent choice for pet owners shopping on a budget.

Best For
  • Bundling with other insurance products
Pros
  • Customizable coverage options with the choice to add wellness coverage
  • Quick email quotes make comparisons simple
  • Affordable accident-only policies available
Cons
  • Only available for cats and dogs
  • Boarding costs not included in any plan

Should You Get Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is worth considering for any pet. Vet care has advanced significantly, but it’s also gotten more expensive. Even if your pet already has a health condition, it’s best to be prepared and have insurance in place. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Can you still get pet insurance after diagnosis?

1
Can you still get pet insurance after diagnosis?
asked
A
1

You can get pet insurance after your pet has been diagnosed with a disease or illness. Depending on the policy, that specific condition might not be covered at all, or it may be covered after a wait of 6 months to a year.

answered
Q

Can you insure a dog with a preexisting condition?

1
Can you insure a dog with a preexisting condition?
asked
A
1

You can insure a dog with a preexisting condition. That particular condition will not be covered immediately, and some insurance plans will not cover preexisting conditions at all. The best approaches are to discuss your concerns with potential pet insurance companies and review the policy language carefully.

answered

First-Class for Your Pet?

SPOT Pet Insurance knows that your pets are part of your family. SPOT offers the highest quality pet-centric coverage and first-class service for pet insurance. 

SPOT works hard to earn your trust with a clear explanation of benefits and responsive associates ready to answer your questions. SPOT even sends “get well” notes for your pets and provides access to telehealth resources.