(PET INSURANCE) As it turns out, finding health insurance for yourself is relatively similar to finding insurance for your pet, with pre-existing conditions and the effects of aging making the process much more difficult. And with veterinary costs on the rise, it’s becoming increasingly more important to make sure your pet is insured.

Read on for more guidelines on how to find the right insurance for your pet and your pocketbook. — Global Animal

Having pet insurance can reimburse you for veterinary bills when your pet is injured or sick, but choosing the best pet insurance plan requires careful shopping since the policies are not standardized. Photo Credit: Modern Dog Magazine

Pet Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions by Melissa Hathaway

Given the rising costs of veterinary bills in America, it is becoming more and more essential for guardians to insure their pets. The same remains true in regions such as Canada and the UK as well. But when looking for pet insurance, you must be mindful of your pet’s health and conditions. This is because insuring a pet is much like getting health insurance for yourself. If your pet has a pre-existing condition or even a checkered medical history, getting insurance may prove to be difficult.

Finding the Right Insurance for Your Pet

It is still possible to get pet insurance for your animal even if he or she has a pre-existing condition, but the best advice is to insure your cat, dog, rabbit, etc. at the earliest age possible. This is always the best option because your animal is usually at their healthiest when they are young, and conditions can develop over time. Furthermore, compare the policies available to you. The most important aspects to look at include the cost of monthly premiums, the maximum payout awarded by the insurance broker per claim and the excess charge fee. The latter is the minimum amount of money that a bill has to be in order to trigger a claim. When paying close to the excess fee, it might be worth not claiming (if you can afford it) in order to prevent your premiums from going up. Remember, any claim will inflate these premiums as the company seeks to get its money back.

Hereditary and Congenital Pet Insurance

Special breeds of cats and dogs, for example, as well as other pets, often have hereditary and congenital conditions. These are well-known and can often be anticipated. Naturally, for insurance purposes, this makes filing claims more likely, but while these breeds can be valuable for breeding and for shows, brokers offer hereditary and congenital pet insurance. Congenital insurance covers conditions that are inherited, but not connected to any particular breed.

Pre-Existing Conditions

The older a pet is, the more likely he or she is to develop pre-existing conditions. These are not problems that the pet inherited or was born with per se, but things they picked up along the journey. For example, if your pet hurts a leg by falling or twisting it while running, this will count as a pre-existing condition should you seek insurance. The problem may heal, but it may not heal fully, and it could result in other problems—just as a bad knee can affect the hip, ankle and other places. Other conditions can include diabetes, cancers and so on.

Finding pre-existing condition pet insurance is possible, but it can also be expensive. This is why many insurance companies do not offer it. Insurance is a calculated gamble by both the insurance company and the person seeking insurance. The gamble is that the monthly premiums are made, but hopefully no claim is made. But if a claim is made, the insurance broker needs to reclaim money by calculating the risk of a claim against the cost of the claim. If there is more risk of a claim, as a pre-existing condition almost guarantees, the cost of the premium will rise accordingly.

Many insurance brokers will offer a deal on their pet insurance that takes into account pre-existing conditions. This works by the premium covering any claim on the pet’s health that is not directly related to the pre-existing condition itself. For example, no claim can be made for the cost of treating a cat with diabetes, but if that cat then hurts their paw, the insurance company will then cover the cost of veterinary help.

Things to Consider

To find the best insurance for pre-existing conditions, you need to fully establish what problems your pet may have. Honesty is always best policy with an insurance broker. Try to save money for the future, so you can cover the costs that an insurance company will not. Carefully consider any veterinary advice about how to manage your pet’s condition through care at home, diet and exercise. Minimize the risk, whenever possible, of such conditions developing or worsening. When reading an insurance policy, read it carefully and look at the fine print. This will tell you what is covered and what is not, plus the reasons why the insurance company may not pay out or try to reclaim its money. Remember: research always pays when looking for insurance.




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  2. Excellent overview of several important facts that pet owners need to be aware of when buying pet insurance. From my perspective as a veterinarian, I consider it essential to purchase a policy that covers both hereditary and chronic conditions.

    In order to find out on the front end if your pet has any conditions that the insurance company considers pre-existing and not covered, I recommend requesting a medical record review immediately upon enrollment. This will go a long way toward eliminating surprises down the road and usually will allow you to cancel the policy for a refund of premium if the results of the review isn't to your liking when done within the first 30 days of owning the policy.

    I also agree with the authors that finding the right pet insurance company for your pet is a very individual decision. There isn't one company that is best for everyone. Take their advice and be thorough in your research prior to making a purchase. For a more in-depth understanding of how pet insurance works and help doing the research, I've designed the Pet Insurance Toolkit available at petinsurancetoolkit.com.