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By Frances Wilkerson, DVM

Pre-existing conditions are illnesses, accidents and injuries that occur before you apply for a policy, or during the waiting period. Any illness, accident, or injury that occurs during this time will not be covered by your plan.

It is important that you understand the pet insurance company’s policy on pre-existing conditions. In some situations, a clinical sign without a diagnosis is enough to call a medical problem pre-existing. For example if your pet has a cough prior to applying for pet insurance this may cause all coughing problems in the future to be denied, regardless of the cause. For this reason, the fewer the number of pre-existing conditions or medical problems your pet has before you apply for pet insurance, the better.

Another point to consider: If you change pet insurance companies or plan levels within the same company, there is a possibility that all medical conditions that you filed a claim for under the old plan will be considered pre-existing in the new plan.

Read up on the insurance company’s policy on pre-existing conditions before buying a plan. This way there will be no surprises when your pet becomes sick or injured.

Dr. Wilkerson is the author of Her goal is to help pet owners make informed decisions regarding pet insurance. She believes that everyone can make great decisions when given good, reliable information.

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