Pet Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions: What You Need to Know

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Pre-existing conditions are some of the biggest challenges pet parents have when insuring an adult dog.

Most companies do not cover pre-existing conditions. However, some may cover curable pre-existing conditions under specific circumstances.

Knowing whether or not to invest in pet insurance if your dog has a pre-existing condition is a common challenge for dog parents when considering the value of pet insurance.

However, before you shy away from getting pet insurance, there are many other things that the right pet policy can cover, making it a beneficial expense.

When I adopted Sophie, she already suffered from severe allergies. We’re not talking about giving her a Benedryl here and there, more like a prescription diet and over $80 a month in medications.

Knowing insurance would not cover these medical issues, I still did not hesitate to sign her up.

By making that decision, I have literally saved thousands of dollars over the years.

Sophie, unfortunately, suffers from chronic dental issues including needing a root canal and crown, chronic pancreatitis that has landed her in a hospital, Cushing’s Disease, and that isn’t even the half of it.

So before you decide to forgo pet insurance, check out some of the advantages pet insurance still has even for dogs with pre-existing conditions.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

The vast majority of pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions, which can be frustrating for some dog parents.

Though discouraging for some pet parents, it is understandable when you consider how other insurance works.

For example, if you buy a used car that had some damage from a previous accident, your insurance company would not cover that damage.

Pet insurance is a precaution for possible future accidents and illnesses. It is meant to help with the unforeseen and unplannable.

Pet insurance is a peace of mind investment, so you know that you will have financial aid in the event of an unexpected vet bill.

Pet insurance and pre-existing condition coverage is it possible to cover disabled dogs

What Constitutes a Pre-Existing Condition?

Though pre-existing conditions are not often covered, some companies allow for coverage for curable pre-existing conditions.

For example, if your dog had cancer, underwent treatment, and is now cancer-free for 12-months, some insurance companies won’t count cancer as a pre-existing condition.

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So, if you insure your dog and they are later diagnosed with cancer, they would be covered.

Read Also: The Best Pet Insurance for German Shepherds

Common Curable Pre-Existing Conditions

Other common curable pre-existing conditions include:

  • Ear infections
  • Colitis or other GI upset
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kennel cough or other upper respiratory infections

Common Non-Curable Pre-Existing Conditions

However, say your dog has diabetes or allergies; neither condition is considered curable, so any expenses associated with these issues will not be covered.

Other common non-curable pre-existing conditions include:

  • Heart disease
  • Orthopedic conditions such as ACL tears, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Disc problems
  • Skin diseases
  • Hypothyroidism

All companies are different, so be sure to check on the exact list of curable and noncurable conditions before committing to a pet insurance policy.

Read Also: Best Pet Insurance for Senior Dogs (with or without Pre-existing Conditions)

Pet Insurance Plans that Cover Pre-Existing Conditions


Covers curable pre-existing conditions after your dog is symptom-free for at least 12 months following their last treatment.

Embrace will not cover relapses under the 12 months.

Conditions covered under their curable pre-existing policy, include illnesses such as:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract/bladder infections
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, & other gastrointestinal disorders

Read More: Embrace Review


Does not cover pre-existing conditions, and there is a possibility that groups will not accept your pet into their group if your dog has a pre-existing condition.

Any previous or ongoing medical issue, be it illness or injury, is considered pre-existing, even if it occurs during the waiting period.

Read More: Eusoh Review


Covers curable pre-existing conditions, after the 12-month exclusionary period.

Read More: PetPlan Review


Covers all pre-existing conditions, without exception. Also, they do not have a waiting period.

Companion Protect

Does not cover pre-existing conditions.

After reviewing your pet’s medical history, they will inform you of any pre-existing conditions they will not cover if you choose to enroll.


Does not cover pre-existing conditions.

See Our Full PetFirst Review

Difference between congenital hereditary pre existing conditions dog health insurance
Photo by Timothy Krause (CC BY 2.0)

Pre-Existing Conditions versus Congenital or Hereditary Conditions

When reading through policy guidelines, it can get pretty confusing when you get into pre-existing, congenital, and hereditary conditions.

It seems like they all can be excluded under specific policies.

Also, there are times that these conditions overlap with one another, muddying the waters even further.

Congenital Conditions

These conditions are not genetically linked, but manifest while your dog was in utero.

These conditions are not always evident at birth and may develop as your dog ages.

Examples of congenital conditions include[1]:

  • Neurologic defects
  • Eye defects
  • Heart defects
  • Orthopedic defects
  • Hip and elbow defects

Hereditary Conditions

These conditions are genetic and inherited from your dog’s parent to your dog.

Examples of hereditary conditions include[2,3]:

  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Brachycephalic syndrome
  • Heart disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Urinary bladder stones
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Atopy/allergic dermatitis
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
  • Early-onset cataracts
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy

Pre-existing conditions can be either congenital or hereditary.

To qualify as pre-existing symptoms need to appear before your dog’s policy becomes active.


If considering signing up for pet insurance, I hope you do not allow pre-existing conditions to alter your decision on finding the right policy.

There are so many possible accidents and illnesses that can come up over the years of your dog’s life that pet insurance would be beneficial to have.

Additionally, if you are concerned about pre-existing conditions, and would like financial help with ongoing medical bills, then checking out PetAssure would be well worth your time.

Plus, if your dog has a curable condition, there are a few plans to choose, but if your still not sure, check out the companies above for accident-only policies.

Also, you should know that if your dog has a pre-existing, it does not make them ineligible for insurance coverage.

It only means that vet bills for that specific condition are not considered reimbursable.


How Do Pet Insurance Companies Know about Pre Existing Conditions?

Many request you medical history between 6-12 months from your vet. Other companies request you fill out a questionnaire that includes inquiries about pre-existing conditions.

Can I Get Pet Insurance Before Surgery?

You can, but it will not be covered. Additionally, any complications resulting from the surgery will also not be covered.

Can I Get Pet Insurance If My Dog Is Already Sick?

Yes, but unless you sign up with PetAssure, your dog’s sickness will not be eligible for reimbursement.



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