Pet insurance companies can (and do!) deny coverage.
- Insurance does not cover ongoing pre-existing conditions.
- Some insurers cover curable conditions such as infections, diarrhea and vomiting. Pets should be asymptomatic for one or two years.
- You can always buy sick animal insurance.
So you are a pet owner and your pet has a health problem. You want insurance to pay for their treatments, but you face a problem: most insurers don’t cover sick animals. Specifically, they don’t help you pay for medical issues that the vet has already diagnosed in your pet.
You’re not alone. According to data from Pawlicy Advisor, about one in 10 people looking for pet insurance have dogs with pre-existing conditions. Most can find insurance coverage, but will struggle to find insurers that will cover their pet’s pre-existing conditions.
Don’t throw in the towel just yet! There are exceptions to this seemingly absolute rule. Here’s what you need to know.
Pet insurance does not cover ongoing medical conditions
If your pet has been diagnosed with a persistent illness, you probably won’t find an insurance policy that covers it. Pet insurers don’t want to pay for expensive medical procedures. They can and often do deny coverage for a pre-existing medical condition.
If your pet is sick, you still have options. You can apply for a Pet Assure membership which gives you discounts on all medical treatments, even ongoing ones. And you can purchase a pet insurance policy that covers unrelated health issues.
In most cases, pet insurance policies do not cover illnesses that a pet already has. But healthy pets can find coverage for their “cured” issues, in some cases.
Some insurers cover “cured” medical conditions
Some pet insurers distinguish between curable and incurable medical conditions. These companies can insure curable medical conditions.
Conditions often considered curable:
The best pet insurance for pre-existing conditions provides coverage for certain pets without symptoms. If an eligible pre-existing medical condition recurs, these insurers will help cover the costs.
What’s the catch?
Insurers that typically cover curable conditions requiring pets to be symptom free for one or two years. So if you want insurance to cover your pet for any future episodes of vomiting, you’ll need your pooch to stop yawning on the mat for 12 to 24 consecutive months.
Additionally, you should expect your insurer to ask for proof that your puppy or feline friend is healthy and cured. This means taking your pet to the vet for a checkup.
What about incurable conditions?
If your pet has been diagnosed with incurable conditions like allergies, arthritis, or hip dysplasia, insurers probably won’t cover treatment for those issues. To obtain insurance covering incurable illnesses, you must take out a pet policy Before the veterinarian diagnoses your pet.
Should I take out insurance for a sick animal?
It depends on your goals. Some insurers will cover animals “cured” of old conditions. If you think your pet may relapse, it may be helpful to review the appropriate pet policies.
If your pet is sick at this time, the insurance will not pay, regardless of its condition. But you can always buy a policy to help cover unrelated things. To put it bluntly, you can always buy insurance that covers accidents or cancer treatment if your pet suffers from chronic diarrhea.
Preventive pet insurance policies go one step further; they help your pet not get sick in the first place. They do this by covering the cost of routine care like vaccinations, teeth cleaning and regular blood tests. These are treatments and tests that make you and your pet happy.
A pet health savings account
You can create an emergency fund for your pet. This way, you can pay unexpected medical bills without selling investments or taking out loans. Most pet insurance plans don’t cover 100% of veterinary bills, so an emergency fund can fill that gap.
Deposit your emergency savings into a high-yield savings account. This way you will earn interest on the money saved. Consider setting up automatic deposits to save quickly, and make sure your bank allows you to withdraw your emergency funds at any time.
Conclusion: Know your budget
Pet insurance keeps pet expenses predictable and some insurers cover certain pre-existing conditions. Consider your budget and how far you will go to pay your pet’s medical bills. Decide early, so you don’t have to choose between your bank account and your furry friend.