Pet Insurance & Pre-existing Conditions
The legal lingo of insurance can sometimes be a little tricky to understand. One of the commonly asked questions about pet insurance is regarding pre-existing conditions. Is your pet covered for these issues? What are pre-existing conditions?
Pre-existing conditions in cats and dogs can be a little complicated and confusing to make sense of, especially when you are looking into pet insurance cover.
A number of pet parents think that if their pet has a pre-existing condition then they will not get any cover whatsoever for their pet’s health bills.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
To write this article, I chatted with the Oneplan Pet Insurance Team for some answers. And here’s what they had to say…
What is a pre-existing condition?
The insurance lingo to define a pre-existing condition is as follows:
“A pre-existing condition means a medical condition, or condition that presented Clinical Signs, that were in existence prior to this policy’s Inception Date, or in existence during the first three months during the waiting period or that was newly diagnosed within the first three months from the Inception Date of the policy, whether it was known or unknown to you.”
This seems like a lot to take in, which is why I am going to break down this explanation for you.
Basically, a pre-existing condition is a medical condition that first occurred or showed symptoms before your pet’s insurance policy began, OR during the waiting period of 3 months for illness cover.
Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
Not all insurers will cover pre-existing conditions. However, Oneplan will cover these conditions after a certain waiting period has passed.
What is the waiting period for pre-existing conditions?
The waiting period for pre-existing conditions is 12 months.
Let’s look at an example...
If your pet was diagnosed (or showed symptoms of) a specific illness, for example, cancer, BEFORE your cover began, you will have to wait 12 months before you can claim for any costs relating to the treatment of this disease.
What about chronic medication and pre-existing conditions?
Oneplan Pet Insurance includes cover for prescription medication in some of their pet healthcare plans. You can find out everything you need to know about pet insurance and scripted medication in this article.
Chronic medication that is used to treat a pre-existing condition will be subject to the 12 month waiting period. Any chronic illness or condition that is diagnosed by your vet AFTER the 3 month waiting period for illness cover will be covered under the medication benefit.
What are hereditary, specific and congenital conditions?
These conditions are also not covered for the first 12 months from your policy inception date.
What are hereditary conditions?
Hereditary means an illness that was passed from your pet’s parents or is a result of your pet’s specific breed which presents itself with clinical signs at some point in your pet’s life. Some examples of these issues include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, mange, displacement of the patella, entropion, ectropion and cherry eye.
What are congenital conditions?
“Congenital” means a condition existing at birth and often before birth or that develops during the first month of life.
What are specific conditions?
These are basically health conditions that are specified and clearly outlined in your policy and fall within the 12 month waiting period.
Is there a way I can help my pet avoid pre-existing conditions?
While a number of conditions can not be avoided, ensuring your pet receives regular routine care and check-ups with your vet will allow your vet to detect and treat any underlying issues before they become something serious (and more expensive to treat).
Routine care is something that is often overlooked by pet parents, as we often tend to do the same with our own preventative care in doctor visits etc. However, routine care is an effective way to ensure your pet leads a long, happy and healthy life and prevents any expensive vet bills from popping up unexpectedly in the future.
Most vets suggest that your pet has a physical exam once a year. It’s a good idea to chat with your vet about your pet’s annual vaccines and tick and flea prevention too.
Is it worth it to get pet insurance for my pet who has a pre-existing condition?
While you will have to wait 12 months for any bill relating to the specific illness to be covered, you can still claim for other events such as vet visits, check-ups and emergency care (as long as these events are not related to or caused by the pre-existing condition).
Pre-existing conditions are often illnesses that are very expensive to treat and while 12 months might seem like a long time to wait, it is certainly worth getting pet insurance to ensure you are covered after this period of time.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team