Does Your Pet Insurer Know About Pre-Existing Conditions?

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Does Your Pet Insurer Know About Pre-Existing Conditions?Picture of a kitten with pre-existing conditions

You’d do anything to keep your family healthy and happy, and we know that includes your pets. But if you’ve visited a veterinarian’s office before, you know that this kind of commitment can be costly. Pet insurance can help you cover your vet bills, which is great. What’s not so great is that — as with human health insurance — pet insurance covers certain ailments and injuries while excluding others. And just like human health insurers, most pet insurers won’t pay for veterinary costs associated with treating a pre-existing condition.

What are Pre-Existing Conditions in Pets?

A pre-existing condition is an injury or illness your pet developed before the effective date of their pet insurance coverage. This means that if your cat Mittens was diagnosed with kidney disease three years ago, and you only just applied for a policy for her, the insurer will not pay for the medication you need to keep Mittens healthy.

Unfortunately, a veterinarian doesn’t even have to officially diagnose an issue for an insurer to label it a pre-existing condition. We know, it’s kind of bananas. Nevertheless, if Pete the Poodle has a documented history of scratching his skin raw, the insurance company could view that as an indication of allergies and not cover related treatment. Similarly, if Spot the chihuahua has been limping for months, a policy may not cover certain ligament conditions. 

Are Pre-Existing Conditions Covered By Insurance?

Generally, pre-existing conditions are not covered by pet insurance. This is especially true for incurable pre-existing conditions or chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, or cancer. Congenital and hereditary conditions are also often excluded. Another example: Since German Shepherds are predisposed to suffering from hip dysplasia, an insurer may not cover that condition.

And not to make bad news worse, but they aren’t likely to cover bilateral conditions either . This means that if your parrot gets glaucoma in his right eye, there’s a pretty decent chance he’s going to get it in the left one too — and if that happens, you’ll need to be prepared to pay out of pocket for the vet and medication.

That said, some providers will take the risk — especially if the pre-existing condition is curable and a bit of time has passed (often six to 12 months) since your pet had any issues. Things like broken limbs, stomach bugs, and respiratory infections tend to make the cut. 

Even if your pet has a pre-existing condition, you may still want to consider pet insurance, since it covers so many other, unrelated problems. Be warned: As with humans, many pet insurance providers have waiting periods, which can be anywhere from a few weeks to several months, before you’re eligible to file a claim on behalf of your pet. This is specifically designed to prevent pet owners from purchasing a policy to cover a pre-existing condition.

How Does Your Pet Insurance Provider Know About Pre-Existing Conditions?

You may be wondering: how do pet insurance companies know about pre-existing conditions? Well, the answer is that pet insurers do their homework.

Sometimes, the insurer will require a medical examination of your pet before you enroll it in the insurance plan. If they don’t, you can expect to provide them with a detailed medical history. Plus, you may have to submit your pet’s medical records to the insurance company when you file a claim.

A note of caution: Be 100% truthful when asked about your pet’s health condition and medical history. If you bend the truth, you’ve committed insurance fraud (yikes!), and your insurer will likely cancel your pet insurance policy if they find out.

Tips on How To Receive the Best Coverage for Your Pet

Want to keep Porkchop healthy? Here are some tips to help you get the coverage your pet deserves:

  • Purchase a policy when your furry pal is young. While insuring an older pet is possible, coverage will likely be less robust. Plus the premiums tend to be more expensive the older the animal is. (Choosing a higher deductible can help to reduce your monthly expense.)
  • Talk to a veterinarian about potential health risks. That way, you know what issues to expect over time — and can insure for them in advance.
  • Keep up with routine care, vaccinations, and wellness visits. Preventive care saves lives! Routine wellness checks for your pet means that you’ll catch concerns before they become costly. Plus, you’ll have a detailed medical history on hand when your insurer asks.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle for your pet. Make sure your pet gets the exercise and nutrients that they need to thrive.
  • Having financial backup. A well-stocked emergency fund can help you pay for care if your insurance doesn't cover your vet bill. You can also ask your veterinarian’s office if a payment plan or in-house financing is available.

Pro Tip: You should shop around for the coverage that aligns best with your pet’s medical conditions and your budget. Most insurers will give you a free quote, and you can easily compare pet insurance policies in the Marble Marketplace.

Take Care of Your Pet with Marble

Don’t let your pet’s pre-existing condition stop you from looking into pet insurance options! Getting coverage can still help you afford some of the care your tail-wagging pal needs and deserves.

With Marble, you can find the best pet insurance plans for your pet’s needs. Set up your account today to start managing your insurance policies in one place — all while earning rewards.