For pets with pre-existing condition, you need a specialist pet insurer. At Confused.com, we don’t compare quotes from insurers who offer this sort of cover.
This guide can give you information on what counts as a pre-existing condition, and what to look out for if you're insuring a pet with a pre-existing condition.
What is a pre-existing condition?
Most insurers define a pre-existing condition as an illness or injury that was diagnosed before you bought a pet insurance policy – regardless of whether your pet had treatment for it.
If the condition was diagnosed during the course of your policy, it's seen as a pre-existing condition when it comes to renewal time. You’re able to claim for it while your current policy is active but once you renew, it might be excluded, and you may not be able to claim for it again.
Different insurers have different definitions, so make sure you know what you’re signing up for.
Sometimes what appears to be a new problem can be classed as being pre-existing if it’s connected to another condition. Let's say your pet has already been diagnosed with a heart murmur and that leads to a lung problem later on. An insurer might link them together and rule that it’s all part of the same pre-existing condition.
It might also depend on the type of condition your pet has – whether it’s chronic, congenital, historic or bilateral.
A chronic or long-term condition
Is something such as an allergy, diabetes or cancer – something that's likely to affect your pet for the rest of their life. Many insurers impose a limit on the amount of cover they provide for this sort of condition. This is either on an annual basis or over the lifetime of your pet.
Hereditary or congenital conditions
These conditions run in your pet's genes and are inherited from your pet’s parents. These can occur more often in pedigree and pure-breed pets. Hip dysplasia and epilepsy are examples of hereditary or congenital conditions.
Include issues that your pet has had in the past and no longer does – but that might come up again in the future. This might include previous joint problems, for example.
Affects both sides of an animal’s body, and some insurers consider them to be the same condition even if they occur simultaneously. So if there’s a problem in the back left leg that's then replicated in the back right leg, you might find your insurer classes it as a pre-existing condition.
If you’re still unsure what counts as a pre-existing condition, check with your current insurance provider. They can tell you whether your pet’s condition can be covered again in future.
Can I get pet insurance if my pet has a pre-existing condition?
If your pet has a pre-existing condition, you should still be able to get cover from a specialist insurer. Some insurers might cover your pet’s pre-existing condition in a limited way – say, by paying a small amount towards the cost of any ongoing treatment your pet needs. So it’s worth contacting insurers to see if this is something they offer.
You might also be able to find specialist insurers who offer dedicated pet insurance for pre-existing conditions.
Future treatment for any other conditions or injuries your pet develops over the course of your policy should still be covered. You might just have to pay for treatment for your pet’s pre-existing condition out of your own pocket, though.
How do I get pre-existing cover for my pet?
We don't compare insurers who cover pre-existing conditions. But if you're getting a quote for your pet, you’ll usually be asked to declare medical conditions they’ve had in the last two years. You’ll also answer a few questions about their current health.
Do I have to tell my insurer if my pet has a pre-existing condition?
Yes. It’s a condition of your contract with your insurer.
Insurers can find out from medical records about any previous treatment your pet has had. They can also ask vets for their professional opinion on the condition of an animal. And if you fail to disclose a pre-existing condition, any claim you make for that condition might be rejected.
If you’re caught having failed to disclose all the necessary information, you could find your entire pet insurance policy is cancelled. This leaves you without any cover at all and it might make it hard to get affordable cover elsewhere.
How to find pet insurance for pre-existing conditions
A search can usually bring up insurers that cover pre-existing conditions. When it comes to renewal, speak to your current insurer ahead of the renewal date to find out what will and won’t be covered in the following year.
If you've bought a lifetime policy and your pet has developed a lifetime condition, it might be worth sticking with your insurer. If you move to another insurer you might find the condition isn't covered as it's pre-existing.
Your vet might be able to point you in the right direction of an insurer that's more sympathetic towards pre-existing conditions too.