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Pet insurance for pre-existing conditions

Pet insurance for pre-existing conditions

If you have a pet with a pre-existing medical issue, you’ll want the reassurance they’re properly protected when you take out pet insurance. No insurance provider will offer 100% protection. But some providers do offer policies for pre-existing conditions, with limitations. Here’s what you need to know.

David Edbrooke
Sub editor
4
minute read
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Posted 17 JULY 2020

What is a pre-existing condition?

A ‘pre-existing condition’ is any medical issue that developed before you took out your pet’s insurance policy.

Sometimes cats and dogs suffer an ongoing condition like diabetes, cancer or epilepsy. Pedigree dogs are particularly at risk of developing ongoing medical issues. For example, Labradors and German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia.

Does my pet insurance cover me for pre-existing conditions?

Typically, most pet insurance policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions. However, some do, but with exceptions.
There are three types of pet insurance:

  • Those that cover pre-existing conditions – if you haven’t claimed for it for over two years
  • Those that cover pre-existing conditions – but with very limited cover.
  • Those that don’t cover it at all.

To find out if you’re covered for your pet’s specific circumstances, check the exclusions on your policy.

Does pet insurance increase over time?

If you take out a policy when your pet is young, your insurance provider will probably increase your premiums over time. Alternatively, they may add additional limits, excess or exclusions as your pet develops age-related conditions. Always check your cover with the insurance provider.

Should your pet insurance premiums creep up because of long-term illnesses, it might be tempting to cancel your cover.
That’s risky as medication and medical treatments are expensive.

How does Pet Insurance work?

Pet insurance covers conditions that develop after a policy is taken out. How much your pet insurance policy covers you depends on its vet fee limit. This is the maximum amount the policy will pay out - think of it like having a pot of money. Policies can have a per condition limit, which is the most they’ll pay for a condition, and/or yearly limit, which is the most they’d pay over a year.

How long the condition is covered for depends on the type of cover you’ve taken out.

  • Accident-only policies don’t cover you for conditions.
  • Maximum benefit policies will cover the condition until the amount in ‘the pot’ is used up. After that, the ‘pot of money’ for that condition is gone – even if you renew the policy.
  • Time-limited policies will cover a condition for up to 12 months from when it’s noticed, or until the amount in ‘the pot’ is used up – whichever happens first. After that, the same condition isn’t covered – even if you renew the policy.
  • Lifetime pet insurance policies will cover the condition up to a certain amount, every year. Once the amount is used up, you can’t claim more until the next year when the policy renews and the limits restart.

Will pet insurance continue to cover an illness if I renew the policy?

It depends on the type of cover you’ve bought and the vet fee limits of the policy. See ‘how does pet insurance work?’ for more details. If you’re unsure whether an existing illness will be covered if you renew your pet insurance policy, check with the provider. But you can’t switch providers and expect to get the same cover again.

My pet has a pre-existing condition – how can I lower the cost of my insurance?

Consider whether you can lower your cover limits with your current provider, or shop around directly with providers that offer limited cover for pre-existing conditions. Or you could switch to a new policy without pre-existing conditions cover. But you’ll need to be comfortable with having very limited cover or none for these conditions – which could be costly.

There are ways to lower the price of your pet insurance premium. You might:

  • pay a higher co-pay – a contribution towards the cost of treatment on top of your excess
  • adapt your level of cover by reducing the limits of the policy

Can I get quotes for pre-existing conditions at Compare the Market?

The majority of the policies we sell have no pre-existing conditions cover. However, if your pet hasn’t shown any symptoms or hasn’t received treatment for the condition for over two years, your comparison results may include quotes from Bought By Many. All their lifetime policies cover this definition of pre-existing conditions.

Click on the links below to look for cover for your cat or dog.

To start comparing, simply give us a few details about yourself and your pet, and we’ll do the rest. 50% of people could achieve a quote of £176** per year for their dog insurance.

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £175.20 per year for their dog insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2020 for all cover types.

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