Lifetime from VetsMediCover
- Cover for your pets pre-existing condition if they are symptom and treatment free for 24 continuous months
- No cover is given during the first 2 years for the pre-existing conditions
- A minimum of £4,000 cover for pre-exiting conditions after the first 2 years (please check policy wording for cover amount)
- Pre-existing conditions are only covered under the Lifetime policy and not under other VetsMediCover products.
- Ongoing chronic conditions currently being treated are excluded from the policy
What is pet insurance for pre-existing medical conditions?
Pet insurance for pre-existing medical conditions is a type of pet insurance designed specifically for people with pets that have an existing medical condition before they took out an insurance policy.
What is a pre-existing condition?
Specific definitions might vary between insurers, but most categorise a pre-existing condition as:
- A condition that occurred or showed symptoms before the insurance policy was taken out
- A condition that results in the same diagnosis that your pet had before the policy was bought
- A condition resulting from an illness or injury your pet had before you took the policy out
Do I need pre-existing condition pet insurance?
If your pet has a pre-existing illness or injury you’ll still be able to take out pet insurance, however it’s very unlikely that your insurer will cover veterinary treatment for that particular condition, due to the likelihood that the condition might flare up again.
As a result of pre-existing conditions being excluded from most pet insurance policies, you’ll generally need to look for specialised cover, if you want to be covered for those conditions. However you should bear in mind that if you do find a policy that covers pre-existing conditions, you still might not be able to claim immediately, or receive full cover for those conditions.
It’s also worth noting that cover for pre-existing conditions is likely to be more expensive and more restrictive than a standard pet insurance policy.
What pre-existing conditions are covered?
The exact list of conditions covered by a pre-existing pet insurance policy will vary between insurers, which is why it’s important to check all policy documents and compare providers. This way you’ll be sure of what’s covered and what’s not, to ensure it meets your needs.
Some insurers might distinguish between the following types of pre-existing conditions:
These are long term and sometimes incurable conditions your pet may have. Examples of chronic conditions that cats and dogs can suffer from include:
- Arthritis (more common in dogs)
- Glaucoma (more common in dogs)
- Asthma (more common in cats)
- Lower urinary tract disease (more common in cats)
If your pet has a chronic condition you may struggle to find affordable cover if any at all. You might be restricted to either:
- Lifetime pet cover: A lifetime pet insurance policy will cover your pet until they die, and conditions you’ve previously claimed for should still be covered each time you renew. However these policies generally have to be renewed every year, and the premiums will probably increase as your pet ages
- Maximum benefit cover: Maximum benefit policies offer indefinite cover for chronic conditions up to a certain limit, but once you reach that limit you won’t be able to claim if your pet is still ill
These are illnesses or injuries your pet previously had but no longer does
These are conditions that affect both sides of your pet’s body – these can cause issues when it comes to claims and pre-existing conditions. For example, some insurers may see a knee or leg injury that previously only affected one side as a pre-existing condition if the other side suffers from the same injury
These are illnesses passed down from your pet’s family. Some insurers might refuse cover outright, while some may cover you if there have been no symptoms for a given period of time – often two years
Renewing my pet insurance policy
A problem some people face with pet insurance is that once you have claimed on a policy, you may find it more difficult to switch to a new insurer, because it’s unlikely they’ll offer the same cover for the same condition.
This cover can often be very expensive however if you do go to a new provider, you’ll lose your cover for the pre-existing condition but this could be a way to bring the policy price down.
However aside from cover for pre-existing conditions, you’ll still be able to take advantage of other policies pet insurance can provide – including:
- Third party liability cover
- Vet fees for other (future) illnesses
- Legal advice
- Death by accident or illness
- Advertising for lost animals
- Pet boarding fees, if you can’t take care of them because you’ve fallen ill
Are there any alternatives to pet insurance for pre-existing conditions?
If you’re struggling to find an insurance policy that will cover your pet’s condition and vet fees are looking high, you might be able to apply for funding help from veterinary charities. Many will have certain criteria you need to meet relating to income or location, but it’s always worth enquiring to see if you’ll qualify.