How Do Pet Insurance Companies Know About Pre-Existing Conditions?

A truly frustrating part of pet insurance is that no insurance company covers pre-existing conditions. This is because, from the insurance company’s standpoint, pet insurance is meant to offset unforeseen vet expenses. Insuring a pre-existing condition is also a higher risk for the insurer. But at some point, you still may be wondering, “How do pet insurance companies know about pre-existing conditions?” Below we’ll cover more about pre-existing conditions and how insurance companies pull information on them.  

What is a Pre-Existing Condition?  

As defined by Embrace Pet Insurance, a pre-existing condition is any “injury, illness or irregularity” noticed by you or your vet before the end of a waiting period. A waiting period is a time period before your pet insurance actually kicks in. Waiting periods can vary, often running from 24 hours to 30 days.   

A silver lining is that some insurance plans may cover pre-existing conditions if the issue is deemed curable in a certain timeframe. You can learn all about pre-existing conditions here.  

>>MORE: Top Companies for Cheap Pet Insurance for 2020           

How Do Pet Insurance Companies Know About Pre-Existing Conditions? 

You may be wondering how an insurance company can actually know about pre-existing conditions. It’s common to think about whether there’s even some way to hide the condition.  

However, many pet insurers require a full examination by a veterinarian before they insure your pet. If your pet has been having symptoms or has been diagnosed since before the plan started, that’s considered a pre-existing condition.  

Also, pet insurance plans are pretty plain in their wording. If the condition’s symptoms are present before the plan takes effect, even if the pet has not seen a vet, then it is often not covered. PetFirst gives examples of conditions that are deemed pre-existing and incurable. They include diabetes, allergies, cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Often, these conditions are deemed pre-existing because they would have been present before diagnosis.    

How do pet insurance companies know about pre-existing conditions? Pet insurers may ask for veterinary records. On top of that, during the application process, you often have to list if your pet has any pre-existing conditions. Fine print often tells you that if you are caught lying about your pet’s health you can be denied coverage.    

In short, never try to hide if your pet has a pre-existing condition. The pet insurers can find out through veterinary records.      

>>MORE: What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

What to Do If Your Pet Has a Pre-Existing Condition? 

Luckily, pet insurers do not use pre-existing conditions as a reason to deny coverage altogether. They just may not cover that condition.  

Also, keep in mind that Nationwide Pet Insurance, Petplan, ASPCA, Embrace Pet Insurance and PetFirst all state that curable pre-existing conditions may be able to receive coverage.  

On top of that, you also have other options for covering vet bills in the case of insurance coverage not being available. A few ideas include: 

  • Signing up for veterinary discount or financial assistance programs 
  • Starting a savings plan 
  • Signing up for Care Credit 
  • Looking into low-cost care like through your country’s domestic animal control commission, local veterinary schools or shelters  
  • Working with your vet to set up a payment plan 

You don’t have to worry about the question of how do pet insurance companies know about pre-existing conditions? Pre-existing conditions aren’t a complete barrier to affordability or accessing pet insurance plans.  

>>MORE: The Best Pet Insurance Companies for 2020


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