Finest Pet Insurance coverage for Preexisting Circumstances | 2022 Information – MarketWatch

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When you bring home a new pet, it quickly becomes an irreplaceable family member. But bringing your dog or cat to the vet, especially when it has health issues, can put a dent in your wallet.
When considering pet insurance for assistance with vet bills, it’s vital to understand the ins and outs of your pet insurance policy. It’s especially important to be aware of how pet insurance plans deal with preexisting conditions, particularly whether or not they’re covered under the plan you’re considering.
 
Preexisting conditions are illnesses for which your pet showed symptoms, received a diagnosis or underwent treatment before your pet insurance policy began. This includes any conditions that arose during your insurance provider’s waiting period (which is the time between purchasing a plan and being able to file a claim for coverage). A preexisting condition is determined by when symptoms began, not whether or when a veterinarian diagnosed the condition. 
Unfortunately, no pet insurance providers currently cover preexisting conditions. Insurance companies see pets with these medical conditions as costly and high-risk investments, especially since they are guaranteed to need veterinary care in the foreseeable future.
However, some companies will distinguish between curable and incurable conditions, opting to cover curable conditions with specific stipulations.
Curable preexisting conditions typically include conditions that, once treated, do not chronically recur. Embrace defines a curable preexisting condition as one that does not show repeated symptoms within one year of treatment. Spot does not consider a condition preexisting if your pet has been treated for it and no signs have recurred within 180 days of the last episode (excluding knee and ligament conditions).
Curable conditions may include the following: 
Incurable preexisting conditions are those that will likely require ongoing treatment, medication or even surgery. Here are a few examples of what providers generally deem to be incurable preexisting conditions:
Unfortunately, pet insurance providers will not cover these types of preexisting conditions. 
A bilateral condition refers to an injury or illness that affects both sides of the body, such as a cruciate ligament tear, cataracts or hip dysplasia. As there is an increased risk that a pet will develop the same condition on one side of its body after experiencing it on the other, many pet insurance providers exclude bilateral conditions from their coverage.
How does this relate to preexisting conditions? For example, if your German shepherd were treated for hip dysplasia on the left side of its body before you enrolled in pet insurance, hip dysplasia on its right side would not be covered in the future. 
Hereditary or genetic conditions are considered preexisting if symptoms or a diagnosis arose before enrollment or occurred during the waiting period. Much like any other condition that could affect your pet, as long as the symptoms, treatment or diagnosis occurs after your policy becomes effective, a hereditary condition will most likely be covered.
 
Despite exclusions for incurable preexisting conditions, there are still pet health insurance providers that will cover your pet’s medical care going forward.
Here, we will dig into the pet insurance providers that offer coverage for curable preexisting conditions, the requirements needed to qualify and additional factors such as coverage options, waiting periods and deductibles.
 
Curable Condition Requirements: Embrace will cover a curable preexisting condition once your pet is treatment- and symptom-free for one year from the date of the last symptoms. Some conditions Embrace deems curable include respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, bladder infections, vomiting, diarrhea and more. Embrace does not cover preexisting bilateral conditions. However, if a bilateral condition arises after coverage begins, it would be covered. 
For coverage to begin, Embrace requires you to have a documented vet visit within the past 12 months before enrollment begins.
Coverage Options: Embrace offers an accident-and-illness policy that covers vet bills related to these unexpected circumstances. Additionally, Embrace covers conditions such as cancer, dental trauma, hereditary conditions, chronic conditions and more. 
Embrace also offers a wellness coverage plan with three reimbursement level choices — $250, $450 or $650 — which covers routine care services, including wellness exams, vaccinations, flea, tick and heartworm prevention, grooming, microchipping and more.
Get a Quote: Get a free insurance quote by filling out Embrace’s online form.
To Learn More: Embrace Pet Insurance Review
 
Curable Condition Requirements: Spot will deem your pet’s preexisting condition curable only if it has been cured without treatment or has been symptom-free for 180 days. Knee and ligament conditions are excluded from this policy. If a knee or ligament issue occurs prior to enrollment or during the waiting period, future related issues will not be covered.
While a vet exam isn’t required to begin coverage, you must submit your pet’s medical records as part of the application process.
Coverage Options: With Spot, pet parents have the option of either an accident-only or accident-and-illness plan. A more budget-friendly choice, the accident-only plan covers injuries including bite wounds, broken bones, swallowed objects and toxic ingestions. The accident-and-illness plan also covers treatments for health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, infections, heart disease and more.
Spot offers highly customizable plans with multiple options for coverage limits, deductibles and reimbursement levels. Additionally, a preventive care add-on is offered at reimbursement levels of either $250 or $450 for routine care visits. These include vaccinations, spay/neuter procedures, dental cleanings and wellness exams.
Get a Quote: Visit Spot’s website to get a free, customized pet insurance quote.
To Learn More: Spot Pet Insurance Review
 
Curable Condition Requirements: Like Spot, the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance policy dictates that a condition is no longer preexisting if it’s been cured, symptom-free and treatment-free for 180 days, except for knee and ligament conditions.
For example, if your cat were diagnosed with an ear infection before your coverage began, treatment for that condition would not be covered. However, if your cat came down with another ear infection 180 days or more after the initial one was cured, it would be covered.
Coverage Options: ASPCA Pet Health Insurance also gives pet owners the choice of its accident-only plan and Complete Coverage plan, which is comparable to a standard accident-and-illness plan. While the accident-only plan will cover unexpected injuries, the Complete Coverage plan extends to cover illnesses, certain conditions (such as hereditary, congenital or chronic), behavioral issues, alternative therapies and emergency care.
You can add a Basic or Prime wellness care add-on — covering up to $250 for Basic and $450 for Prime — for services such as dental cleanings, routine wellness exams and vaccinations.
Get a Quote: Get a pet insurance quote by using ASPCA’s free online quote tool.
To learn more: ASPCA Pet Insurance Review
 
Curable Condition Requirements: With Fetch, curable preexisting conditions can be covered, as long as signs or symptoms do not recur in the first year after your policy’s effective date. You will also need a vet exam that shows the condition is no longer present, which can happen at a routine annual checkup.
Note: When signing up for a policy with Fetch, if a vet has not seen your pet within the six months prior to your enrollment, pet owners must complete a wellness exam within the first 30 days of the start of their policy.
Coverage Options: Fetch by The Dodo offers pet owners one comprehensive accident-and-illness policy for treatments for diseases and injuries such as surgery, medications, diagnostics and hospitalization. Additionally, this plan covers sick-visit exam fees, behavioral therapy, alternative therapies and dental trauma/injury in its base plan — items that are not usually offered in standard plans from other providers.
Fetch also provides the flexibility for customers to adjust their plan with several options for deductibles, annual coverage limits and reimbursement rates.
Get a Quote: “Fetch” a pet insurance quote and check out Fetch’s free quote tool.
To Learn More: Fetch by the Dodo Pet Insurance Review
 
Curable Condition Requirements: According to Figo, a curable preexisting condition is a one-time illness, such as an ear infection or upset stomach, that has gone 12 months with no signs or symptoms.
Where Figo differs from the other providers on this list is it cannot 100% guarantee that a curable condition will be covered after the 12-month period has elapsed. Figo’s claims experts will review the medical records and vet notes submitted with your claim to determine whether the condition is eligible for coverage.
Coverage Options: Figo has three levels of accident-and-illness coverage: Essential ($5,000 annual coverage limit), Preferred ($10,000 annual coverage limit) and Unlimited (no annual coverage limit). Each of these plans covers expenses related to emergency care, diagnostic testing, surgery and other treatments for unexpected illnesses and injuries. A wellness care add-on is also available in some states, which reimburses you for costs related to routine care such as exams, vaccinations and dental care.
Get a Quote: Use Figo’s online quote tool to get a free pet insurance quote for your furry friend.
 
Curable Condition Requirements: Unlike other providers, Pets Best does not have a time constraint on curable conditions. Once the condition has resolved and requires no further treatment, Pets Best no longer considers it preexisting, and it can be covered going forward should it recur.
Similar to Figo, Pets Best cannot guarantee that any and all curable preexisting conditions will be covered until it has received and reviewed your pet’s recent medical history and notes from your veterinarian. This is because certain curable conditions could potentially turn into chronic conditions or be a symptom of a larger medical problem. 
For example, urinary tract infections can be a one-time illness, but could also be a symptom of diabetes. If your vet found it to be the latter, Pets Best would consider it a preexisting condition and your claim for this condition would be ineligible for coverage.
Coverage Options: Pets Best has several options for accident-and-illness and accident-only coverage. Its accident-and-illness coverage, called the BestBenefit plan, is available at three levels. Each one covers treatments and procedures for illnesses and injuries, emergency care, specialist visits, and congenital and hereditary conditions. 
The accident-only plan covers broken bones, bites, swallowed objects and injuries from being struck by a moving vehicle. Pets Best also offers a routine care add-on at two levels, which covers certain preventive care services such as exams, spay/neuter surgery, flea, tick and heartworm prevention, microchipping and more.
Get a Quote: Compare monthly quotes with Pets Best and other providers on this list.
 
When weighing the pros and cons of each provider, keep in mind your monthly budget. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you may want to consider providers such as Spot that allow pet owners to customize their deductibles, annual limits and reimbursement rates, as these factors will directly affect monthly premiums.
Additionally, you may wish to consider providers that offer wellness coverage options, since routine care visits are an ideal way to proactively catch any developing conditions early.
Below, we compared the best pet insurance providers for preexisting conditions based on price, waiting periods and discounts.
Provider
Get a Quote
Our Score
Monthly Cost*
Waiting Periods
Multi-pet Discount
Mobile App
Embrace
Visit Embrace
90.5
$52.12
2 days for accidents; 14 days for illnesses
10%

Spot
Visit Spot
89
$45.98
14 days for all conditions
10%

ASPCA
Visit ASPCA
90
$45.98
14 days for accidents and illnesses
10%

Fetch
Visit Fetch
89.5
$42.99
15 days for all conditions
None

Figo
Visit Figo
90
$25.67
Varies by state
5%

Pets Best
Visit Pets Best
96.5
$25.23
3 days for accidents; 14 days for illnesses
5%

*Each provider’s monthly cost is based on accident-and-illness policy quotes we obtained for a 4-year-old, medium-size, mixed-breed dog in Raleigh, N.C.
 
The best time to purchase a pet insurance policy is when you bring your new furry friend home.  The earlier you enroll and the younger your companion, the higher the chance that any condition it develops over time will be covered. Additionally, puppies and kittens are less risky to insure, so your monthly premiums will be lower than if you wait until your pet is older to insure it.
“When any of my clients contact me about a new pet coming into the family, the first thing I tell them to do is to get pet insurance, even if they have not brought the pet home yet,” said pet expert Dr. Shannon Barrett, veterinarian and owner of Downward Paws. Dr. Barrett explained that pets will inevitably get hurt or sick at some point, and pet insurance can alleviate your worries about treatment-related finances.
 
Even if your pet has a preexisting condition, it is still eligible for pet insurance. Although its current condition may not be eligible for reimbursement, you can still submit claims and receive payouts for any future illnesses or injuries that befall your pet. This will save you from hefty out-of-pocket vet expenses while still getting your loyal companion the care it needs.
As a veterinarian, Dr. Barrett said that she uses pet insurance for her own pets. “My German Shepherd tore his CCL…his surgery was $4,000. My insurance company reimbursed me $3,600,” she said. “They also paid for part of his physical therapy following surgery. Over the years, pet insurance has paid me more than I have paid them.”
Each provider on our list has unique features and specific requirements for preexisting conditions. We recommend getting multiple quotes to ensure you get the best coverage for your pet’s needs and your budget.
 
There is no pet insurance provider that will cover every possible condition your pet could face. Preexisting conditions, elective procedures, cosmetic procedures, breeding and grooming are typically excluded from pet insurance coverage. 
Some pet insurance companies require a vet exam prior to enrollment in coverage. If not, pet owners are usually asked to submit their pet’s medical records when they file a claim. One way or another, your pet insurance provider will need to know about your pet’s medical history, and from that it can determine whether a condition is preexisting.
If a condition was not diagnosed but symptoms were present and documented prior to enrollment, it would still be considered a preexisting condition. For example, if you took your dog to the vet because he was limping and the same symptom recurs after enrollment, it would not be covered.
 
Our review of pet insurance companies is based on in-depth industry research that includes reading hundreds of customer reviews, simulating the quote and purchasing process, speaking to representatives on the phone to assess the customer service experience and surveying 1,000 dog and cat owners nationwide to determine the most important elements of pet insurance coverage. We have scored each provider on a 100-point scale based on those elements.
Here are more details about each factor and how they’re weighted:
We use our rating system to compare and contrast each company against key factors to help us determine the best pet insurance companies in the industry. Additionally, we keep our research up to date and revisit our reviews on a regular basis.
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