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It is important to take out an insurance policy for your animals to help with unexpected vet bills. Whilst it may be especially important to insure cats and dogs, let’s not forget exotic insurance, for animals such as birds and reptiles as well as equine insurance for horses. However, imagine you haven’t taken out a pet insurance policy and suddenly your furry (or not furry) friend gets diagnosed with a lifelong medical condition. Is there an insurer out there who will help you with the associated fees? Let’s find out!
What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance covers the cost of veterinary bills and different medications. Depending on the type of cover you opt for, it may have a minimum and maximum amount that it will pay each year. For example, some policies may cover up to £1000 of vet fees per year, whereas others may cover up to £15,000 per year.
It is important to understand what pet insurance you are taking out and not just opting for the cheapest option. Make sure to read the fine print and understand what excess you need to pay if you do end up claiming on the insurance. An excess is a payment that varies and is a sum often between £50 – £150, however, this may change depending on the policy. The excess is the amount that you must contribute towards the insurance claim.
What are the types of pet insurance?
There are usually two different types of pet insurance and both have their advantages and disadvantages.
As the name suggests, annual policies run on a yearly basis. An annual policy will exclude any condition once it has already been claimed for. For example, if a dog was diagnosed with diabetes, the owner could claim for treatment and medication for one-year post-diagnosis. After this year has passed, the owner will have to pay for any further treatment or medication. Annual policies are usually cheaper than lifetime policies.
Lifetime insurance policies covers an animal for the duration of their lives. The policy will cover each new condition per year. There may be a limit on how much the policy covers per condition, but this amount will usually renew every year. Lifetime policies are usually more expensive than annual policies.
What is a pre-existing condition?
When taking out a pet insurance policy, insurers will want to know every single detail regarding the animal. One question that will be asked is if the animal has any pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is a health condition that has been diagnosed before taking out an insurance policy. For example, if a cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism before taking out an insurance policy, this would need to be declared. The insurance company would not cover any costs that relate to this condition. However, if a policy was in place before the diagnosis, the insurance company would cover any costs relating to hyperthyroidism.
Will any insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions?
Up until recently, pet insurance providers have not covered pre-existing conditions, as these conditions are usually excluded from the policy. Recently, the insurance company ManyPets has refreshed their policy on pre-existing conditions. ManyPets have released a new “pre-existing condition policy” which offers lifetime cover for cats and dogs. The cover has a £7000 vet fee limit that includes £1,500 towards pre-existing conditions.
The downside to the policy is that it will only cover conditions that have subsided at least two years ago. This means that for ongoing conditions such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, heart disease and renal failure, it is unlikely that the insurance will cover the cost of treatment.
What conditions will it cover?
It is hard to predict what conditions the insurer may cover. This will usually be decided on a case-by-case basis. ManyPets state that pre-existing conditions can be included as part of insurance coverage once the animal has stopped treatment, medication or veterinary advice for three months before the insurance claim. However, once that pre-existing condition has been claimed for, they will continue to cover it in the future if more treatment and medication are required. This is a fantastic change in pet insurance, as most insurers will usually write this condition off completely and exclude it from further insurance claims.
ManyPets even state that if no medication or treatment is required for that condition for 2 years, it will no longer be classed as pre-existing and will therefore be covered for up to £7000 per year. Fantastic!
ManyPets pre-existing condition policy exclusions:
– Pre-existing conditions or injuries that have occurred in the three months before taking out the policy.
- Accidents that happen within the first 48 hours of the policy being taken out.
- Illnesses that occur within the first 14 days of insurance coverage.
- Dental disease
Are there any other pet insurance companies that cover pre-existing conditions?
There are other pet insurance companies that cover pre-existing conditions. As always, ensure that you do plenty of research, understand the terms and compare each policy to see what suits you best. We’ve found three others that may sometimes cover pre-existing policies:
Offering lifetime cover of up to £15,000, PetSure will consider pre-existing conditions to be added to a policy. However, it is unlikely that they will cover any related repeat prescriptions or treatment regarding the condition.
Similar to ManyPets, AnimalFriends have stated that they will cover pre-existing conditions that an animal has been “free from medications and treatment” for 2 years.
PetPlan seems to work on a case-by-case basis and may cover pre-existing conditions. It may be worth speaking to them directly if you already have a policy with them, or starting a quote to see if you can get cover.
Final thoughts on pre-existing cover
A pre-existing condition insurance policy is a fantastic way of offering owners support with the costs of veterinary treatment. The only downside is that there is usually a time frame in which the illness must have subsided within, in order to gain cover. It is unfortunate that there is minimal support for long-term health conditions that require regular medications and treatment, however, it looks like pet insurance is taking a step in the right direction in ways to better support pet owners.