If you have not yet purchased some kind of pet health insurance for your dog or cat, knowing the types of illnesses and injuries that are covered can be a large incentive to buy insurance for you pet before your pet becomes sick or hurt. As I mentioned in a previous article, one major point to consider is that many pet insurance companies will not cover what they consider to be a pre-existing condition.
Most of the pet insurance companies I’ve researched consider pre-existing conditions to mean: any illness, sickness or condition which first occurred, or displayed signs and symptoms before the date your dog’s insurance policy becomes effective, or any illness or injury that happened before your policy comes into effect. For example, if your dog was diagnosed with diabetes before your pet insurance policy started, the diabetes is considered a pre-existing condition, and will not be covered under your policy. On the other hand, there are many illnesses that are considered treatable of course, and some policies will cover the illnesses if after 6 -12 months, for example, your pet has not been diagnosed with the same problem and was cured of that sickness when it was first treated. Examples of this are respiratory infections, urinary tract and bladder infections, gastrointestinal disorders, diarrhea, vomiting, and other curable conditions. Sometimes it will be up to the discretion on the insurance company.
Coverage does vary from each insurance carrier, so please do your own research to find out what the coverages are from each company you get a quote from. The following list of items are common things that the insurance companies will cover as long as they are not pre-existing: Hereditary, chronic and congenital conditions, prescription medications, diagnostic testing, veterinary exams, specialized exams, ultrasounds, MRI scans, CAT scans, surgery, and specialist treatments such as cancer.
The following are common dog injuries or conditions that pet medical insurance companies “might” cover, or might offer as an additional add on to your policy: Exam fees, wellness and routine preventative care, including dental cleanings and vaccinations. Other coverage that may be optional is hip dysplasia and alternative therapies, loss due to theft or straying, and boarding/kennel fees.
The following common dog injuries or conditions are usually not covered by most pet health insurance companies: Pre-existing conditions, prosthetic limbs, behavioral issues that require non-medical treatment, pregnancy, breeding, whelping, deliberate injury caused by anyone residing in your home, injuries or illnesses from neglect or fighting, tail docking, ear cropping, DNA testing, organ transplants, and Avian flu, nutritional supplements, vitamins.
Of course the age of your pet will affect the price and types of coverage your pet will be eligible for. If you’ve had a healthy pet, then you will have less restrictions on what your pet medical insurance will cover versus trying to insure a dog that’s had previous health issues or several injuries. I personally have an older dog, that has had some health issues in the past, so trying to find new pet insurance for her was a challenge, but there are companies that will still insure your older pets as well.
Remember, when getting a quote for your pet’s health insurance, get at least 2-3. Read the fine print about pre-existing conditions, what’s not covered, how long the wait period is, and whether having an exam and current vaccines are a requirement of the individual policy.