Yes. Although most pet insurance providers exclude pre-existing conditions from cover, you can still get insurance if your pet has an existing illness, it just means that you won’t be able to claim for that particular condition. But that’s not to say the condition won’t be covered in the future. Many insurers will cover pre-existing conditions after two years, provided your pet hasn’t shown symptoms of the condition or needed treatment for it.
If you want your pet to be covered for the illness they suffer from, you need to find a specialist pet insurance provider but these aren’t easy to come by. Specialist pet insurance policies often come with restrictions and they only cover conditions on their pre-specified list.
In this guide:
- What is a pre-existing condition?
- Do I have to declare my pet's pre-existing condition?
- Do I need pre-existing condition insurance?
- How do I get pre-existing pet insurance?
- What pre-existing conditions are covered?
- Will my existing policy cover new conditions?
- Which insurers offer pre-existing pet insurance?
All pet insurance providers have their own definition of ‘pre-existing conditions’. But most define it as one of the following:
- A condition that your pet suffered from or showed symptoms of before taking out a policy
- A condition that is the result of an injury or illness your pet had before taking out a policy
- A condition that results in the same diagnosis of a condition that your pet suffered from before taking out a policy
To avoid confusion, you should read your policy documents carefully and find out how your insurer defines pre-existing conditions.
Yes. When you shop around for pet insurance quotes, you will be asked questions about your pet’s health. At this point, you will need to list any existing health conditions that your pet suffers from. If you opt for a standard pet insurance policy, any condition that you listed will be exempt from cover and you won’t be able to make a claim.
When it comes to making a pet insurance claim, your insurer will ask you to provide them with your pet’s past medical records. So, if you fail to declare the condition as pre-existing, they will find out and they will reject your claim. They might even cancel your cover, which could mean that your premiums significantly increase if you take out a policy again in the future.
Pet insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but if your pet already has a pre-existing condition, you’ll probably be all too aware of how much vet fees cost. The best way to financially protect yourself from the rising cost of vet fees is to take out a pet insurance policy with an adequate level of cover.
If your pet suffers from a pre-existing condition, you have two options when it comes to pet insurance. You can either take out a standard policy but have your pet’s existing condition excluded from cover, or you can take out a specialist pre-existing condition policy that allows you to claim for your pet’s pre-existing condition. A specialist policy is going to be the more expensive option, so you should consider whether it’s worth it by working out how much you spend on vet fees for your pet’s condition each year. If the condition isn’t costing you a lot of money each year, you might be better off with a standard policy. But if you find that you’re spending a fortune on vet fees, you’ll probably benefit from a specialist policy despite the higher price tag.
It can be difficult to find insurers that offer pet insurance for existing conditions. For this reason, it’s best that you insure your pet when they’re young and healthy to ensure that they’ll be covered for any health problems that they experience later in life.
The best way to find pre-existing pet insurance is to shop around for providers, comparing policies and prices as you go. You could also try ringing up providers to see if they’ll consider covering your pet’s condition and if they can’t help, they might be able to recommend you to a provider who can. You could also ask your vet if they can recommend an insurer that covers existing conditions.
This will vary depending on the insurer. When you’re shopping around for quotes, it’s important that you do further research and find out what pre-existing conditions each provider covers. Policies can include cover for:
- Hereditary conditions – illnesses that affect particular pedigree breeds and are passed down from parent to infant.
- Bi-lateral conditions – conditions that affect both sides of your pet’s body, such as hip dysplasia.
- Historic conditions – illnesses or injuries that your pet suffered from in the past but no longer does, for example recurring joint pain.
- Chronic conditions – illnesses that can’t be cured and need ongoing treatment for life. It’s harder to find policies that cover chronic conditions.
Yes, your pet insurance policy will cover any new conditions that your pet suffers from. However, the amount you can claim and how long for will depend on the type of policy you have and if you have an accident only policy, you won’t be able to claim for illnesses.
There is a handful of pet insurers that offer cat and dog insurance for pre-existing conditions:
Bought By Many’s pre-existing conditions policy covers nearly all medical conditions that your pet has suffered from in the past, provided you haven’t received advice, treatment or medication for them in the three months prior to your policy starting.
In the first year, you’ll be able to claim up to £500 for the pre-existing condition. This increases to £1,000 for the second year if you haven’t claimed, but if you make a claim in the second year, the limit will decrease back to and remain at £500. If no claim has been made for three years, the limit increases and remains at £7,000 for the remainder of the policy. You’ll also receive up to £7,000 of lifetime vet fee cover for any new conditions your pet suffers from.
If you have a pre-existing policy, you have to pay a percentage of every claim. If your pet is under 9 years old, you have to pay 20% of the total claim. If they’re over 9 years old, you have to pay 40% of the total claim.
If your pet has a pre-existing condition but hasn’t shown symptoms of it for the last two years, your pet will be covered for that particular condition on all of Bought By Many’s other pet insurance policies and you won’t need to take out a specialist pre-existing condition policy.
Scratch & Patch’s Champ Products cover pre-existing medical conditions and also provide either £2,500, £4,000 or £8,000 of lifetime vet cover. Scratch & Patch were the first insurer to offer online screening of your pet’s condition, allowing them to give you an instant decision on whether they will cover your pet’s condition or not. Scratch & Patch do not cover chronic conditions.
Petplan covers pre-existing conditions on a case by case basis. When you get a quote, you will be asked about your pet’s health and Petplan will decide whether they can cover the condition or not. For example, if you state that your dog has had kennel cough in the past but has been symptom free for the past three months, they’ll cover any future bouts of kennel cough. However, if your dog is suffering from kennel cough when you take the policy out, they’ll put a temporary exclusion on it, but once your vet has provided proof that your dog has been symptom free for three months, they’ll lift the exclusion and your dog will be covered for kennel cough in the future. If your pet is likely to suffer from the condition for life, it’s likely that Petplan won’t be able to provide cover for it.
VetsMediCover’s Gold, Platinum and Diamond pet insurance policies all cover pre-existing medical conditions, as long as your pet has remained symptom free for the past 24 months.