Every pet insurance provider is different, but none will cover pre-existing conditions. 

That means insurance companies will not cover future treatments for any documented accidents and illnesses before a policy’s start date. That can be hard for pet parents with older pets or pets that are already sick. Still, there are many ways to work around pre-existing condition policies and retain coverage for your furry friend. 

What is considered a pre-existing condition?

Pre-existing conditions are accidents and illnesses treated by a vet before a policy begins. That includes any medical condition that occurred during the policy’s waiting periods. These rules can be especially challenging for older pets since they usually have longer medical histories. Many companies claim to cover hereditary and congenital conditions but will consider them pre-existing conditions unless they first appear after the policy’s start date. 

Some pet insurance companies, like Petplan, even consider undiagnosed symptoms a pre-existing condition. That means if your pet had gone to the vet after throwing up, but there wasn’t a diagnosis, the provider would be able to deny a future claim for pancreatitis. Denying coverage for hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament problems for pets with histories of issues on one side is another common exclusion.

“Curable” Pre-existing Conditions 

Luckily, many providers will restore coverage for “cured” pre-existing conditions. Often, this means any disease or symptom that doesn’t need treatment for 365 days will be covered. That also means chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, or hyperthyroidism, would not be eligible for coverage.

Companies that offer coverage for curable pre-existing conditions include Pets Best, Petplan, Embrace, ASPCA, and PetFirst. It’s important to research a company’s policies when it comes to curable conditions. These are often at the company’s discretion and usually refer to common health issues, including respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and bladder infections.

Pet Insurance Alternatives That Cover Pre-existing Conditions 

Some pet owners might want to stay away from typical pet insurance coverage and opt for alternative plans. Pets with a long medical history might benefit from vet discounts or wellness plans. These offer more flexibility when it comes to finding coverage while still offering payouts for vet visits. 

Pet Assure 

Pet Assure is not pet insurance; it’s a discount program that takes 25 percent off the top of all vet bills. It even covers routine and preventive care and pre-existing, chronic, or hereditary conditions. That’s different from traditional insurance providers, which usually offer to reimburse between 70 and 90 percent of qualifying vet fees. But these providers typically don’t cover all the vet expenses, like rehabilitation or anesthesia. Pet Assure is one of the few options available for exotic pet owners aside from Nationwide.

Pet Assure has a flat-rate monthly cost based on a pet’s weight, the number of pets covered, and location. Small pet owners with animals like rodents, reptiles, and cats can get coverage starting at $6.58 per month. Coverage for larger animals, like dogs, horses, and farm animals, begins at $8.25 per month. Pet Assure’s family plan covers two to four pets regardless of size and starts at $16.58 per month. The unlimited plan includes an unlimited amount of pets and starts at $21.95 per month.

Unfortunately, Pet Assure customers can only use the discount at specific locations. Pet Assure has a network of vets, emergency clinics, and specialists across the United States who are all able to take off 25 percent of the bill immediately. That means that customers won’t have to wait for reimbursements.

Wagmo

Wagmo is another alternative option for pet parents who aren’t interested in traditional pet health insurance. Wagmo is new to the pet insurance world and is known for its wellness plans. Wellness plans cover preventive and routine care rather than accidents and illnesses. That means pet owners would save on annual veterinary care like vaccinations and heartworm medication. That can be an excellent option for older pets with multiple pre-existing conditions or healthy pets that might not need full coverage. 

Wagmo has three plans that vary in cost and coverage. The value plan starts at $20 per month and offers $350 in savings per year. The classic plan starts at $38 per month and provides $650 in savings per year. The deluxe plan is the most expensive option starting at $65 per month. It offers $1,100 per year in savings. Unlike typical pet insurers, each policy dedicates a certain amount of money toward each treatment. That means Wagmo will only cover up to two office visits and four vaccines per year, depending on the plan. 

Wagmo is one of the few providers that sell wellness plans separately from accident and illness coverage. Customers also praise its 24-hour repayment time and excellent customer service. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Currently, there aren’t any pet insurance agencies that cover pre-existing conditions. Several providers offer to reinstate coverage for cured ailments, but none offer to forgive every medical condition. That is why companies suggest buying policies for puppies and kittens. That guarantees the most coverage available as pets age and have different medical issues. Still, pet parents need to think of pet insurance as a lifetime commitment, which might seem daunting. If coverage lapses or pet owners want to try different providers, each previous health problem will become a pre-existing condition.

What are curable pre-existing conditions?

Each insurance provider that offers to restore coverage for pre-existing conditions does so on a case-by-case basis. That means that all situations are different. However, generally a pre-existing condition is considered “cured” if your pet is symptom-free for at least a year. Diseases like upper respiratory, bladder, urinary tract, and ear infections are likely to be reinstated. Many of these companies also restore coverage for symptoms without a formal diagnosis like vomiting and diarrhea.

Updated September 17, 2020

Samantha Vargas is a freelance writer for Insurify. She has a background in comparative English literature and film and has produced a variety of journalistic content for the University at Buffalo's independent student newspaper, The Spectrum. She currently works in Buffalo, NY while finishing her master's degree. She spends her free time baking and working with animal welfare groups.