#PetInsurance What is a #PreExistingCondition

Pet insurance: What is a pre-existing condition?
Pet Insurance: What is a pre-existing condition?

It’s always recommended to purchase pet insurance when you adopt a puppy or kitten. They are fresh and new, and in most cases in perfect health. It’s a clean slate and will likely get you the best monthly rate for your new pet’s insurance. But let’s face it, we don’t always bring home an infant pet with that ‘new puppy smell.’ A lot of pet parents rescue or adopt adult pets. Even if the pet has previous medical history, that shouldn’t deter you from purchasing pet insurance. The best thing you can do is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what coverage you will receive, and why certain claims may be denied.

A common reason why pet owner’s insurance claims are denied is because of a pre-existing condition, also sometimes referred to as a foreseeable condition. It’s very important to make sure that you research what your insurance company considers a pre-existing condition, because the definition may vary from company to company. Most commonly a pre-existing condition is defined as something your pet has been diagnosed with or have shown symptoms of before you signed up for your insurance policy. Hazel's broken femur would have been considered a pre-existing condition because she had it ever since we took ownership of her.

A pre-existing condition can be something that your pet’s doctor treated, and it can also include something diagnosed by a shelter, your breeder or a previous owner. A pre-existing condition can also be something diagnosed or treated while you are waiting for your insurance coverage to become effective. Either way, a pre-existing condition will almost always affect your coverage, so knowing the policy and your pet’s potential pre-existing condition is important before you select an insurance company for your pet.

Many pet insurance companies also have something called a bilateral condition in their policy terms and conditions. Pet Secure defines a bilateral condition as “any condition affecting body parts of which your pet has two; one on each side of the body.” Examples of this are limbs, ears and eyes. If your dog has a torn cruciate ligament on the left leg as a pre-existing condition and the right cruciate tears, then the right cruciate will be considered a bilateral condition and will not be covered. Even if the right cruciate tear happens after the policy is already effective.

When purchasing pet insurance, you will also want to look into whether your policy will cover a pre-existing condition that has been cured. Some insurance policies will provide coverage for such things that can be cured, like a urinary tract infection for example. The policy may have stipulations about the UTI, and may require no symptoms or treatment for a certain amount of time. But if your pet has had a UTI that has been cured, then it would be recommended to look into this because if the same issue occurs after a year of perfect health you may be able to get coverage for the UTI.

Some pet insurance companies may request you to do certain testing or diagnostics after they have reviewed your pet’s medical history. Blood work for example may be required before your policy will take effect. Like a human insurance company, you will be required to answer questions about your pet’s medical history. Once you send in your pet’s medical history and meet all the requirements the company will inform you of your policy, coverage and monthly rate. At this time most insurance companies will let you know what exclusions will be made with your policy, and what they consider to be your pet’s pre-existing conditions.

Shopping for pet insurance can seem complicated. Once you select the plan you would prefer, talk to a representative about your coverage and start the application process. Shop, compare and don’t despair- your pet can still get affordable rates and good coverage with a pre-existing condition!

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