Question: Why doesn’t pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions? My pet has chronic kidney disease which is very expensive, but none of the pet insurers will cover this condition.
Answer, by Dr. Jack Stephens, DVM, founder of pet insurance in the U.S. and President of Pets Best Insurance
Insurance is purchased to protect oneself against future unknown events that result in loss. In the case of car insurance, the loss could be in the form of a damaged vehicle. In the case of homeowners insurance, the loss could be in the form of a flooded basement. And in the case of pet insurance, the loss comes in the form of a pet needing veterinary care.
About the Insurance Pool
Pet health insurance works by insuring thousands of pets and pooling the premiums to take advantage of the law of large numbers: Not all pets will become need vet care during the year. Some will have no claims, while others will have large claims. Being insured – being part of this pool – means you’ll have help paying vet bills if you need it.
If a pet enters the insurance pool expecting a known medical condition to be covered, that’s a certain loss to the insurance company. It would be like purchasing car insurance after an accident and expecting the company to pay to repair your car.
If pet insurance companies covered pre-existing medical problems, the cost would be much higher because everyone to wait until there was a known problem with their pet to buy insurance.
Exceptions to the Rule
Most pet insurers will cover medical conditions your pet had before being insured, as long as they’ve been cured. Examples of conditions that can be cured, but may reoccur, include: ear infections, bladder infections, non specific GI upsets, some skin rashes and dermatitis. Waiting periods may exist to ensure the condition is fully cured before being eligible for coverage.
Examples of conditions which cannot be cured and wouldn’t be covered if pre-existing include: diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroid, hyperthyroid and arthritis.
Also, some conditions can be considered pre-existing even if you don’t know about them, and even if your pet hasn’t shown signs or symptoms. Cancer is a good example of a condition that can develop slowly over a long period of time, eventually requiring expensive treatment. That’s why it’s important to insure your pet as soon as possible. The sooner your pet is insured, the less likely he or she will be to develop a condition that won’t be covered.