If your pet got into an accident whilst without pet insurance, you can still get one, but note that the injury will be considered as a pre-existing condition. It’s not the end of the world though. Read on to know what your options are so that this doesn’t happen to you again.
What is a pre-existing condition and what does this mean for your pet?
A pre-existing condition can be a health issue (i.e., heart disease, diabetes, asthma) or an injury (i.e., broken leg) that your pet already has before you apply for pet insurance. It doesn’t matter if you were aware of it or not.
If upon examination or during the waiting period, your pet shows certain symptoms and then diagnosed with an illness, then that condition will be considered ‘pre-existing’ and thus excluded from the coverage.
In your case, if your pet was in an accident, the injury will be considered ‘pre-existing’ and any medical expense related to this injury will not be covered by any insurance company.
But, as mentioned, you may still be able to get insurance for your pet, depending on what the issue is. Here are a couple of things that insurance providers will look into or take into consideration before they accept or decline an application:
- Your pet’s current condition. The condition your pet is in after the accident will matter.
- Your pet’s overall health. If let us say, it was just a minor injury which requires a few stitches, but your pet is generally healthy, then there should be no problem getting coverage except for the expenses relating to the injury caused by the accident (and any future condition resulting from the same accident/injury).
However, if your pet also showed symptoms for other diseases and is found ill, then this would be excluded from coverage as well or might result in your application being rejected, depending on the diagnosed illness.
Chronic uninsurable diseases would include, but not limited to, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), congestive heart failure, Feline Leukemia Virus (FELV), and advanced kidney failure.
- Your pet’s breed. Some breeds are more prone to certain diseases than others. When the diseases happen to be congenital in nature, it’s possible that the insurance company will either reject your application or ask you to pay a higher premium due to the higher risk on their end.
- Your pet is found with a curable condition. As you would already know, this curable condition will not be covered at the time you get the insurance.
However, the insurance company may reinstate that condition if you will be able to provide proof that your pet has shown no symptoms nor has been treated for the said condition within a certain waiting period. The waiting period might be a couple of months or a couple of years, depending on the type of condition and the insurance company’s guidelines.
Why should you still get pet insurance if the injury from the accident won’t be covered?
Being in an accident now does not mean anyone is invincible moving forward, and our pets are no exception. Some breeds would even have congenital conditions or genetic conditions that would be triggered by accidents or injuries.
A good example would be canine hip dysplasia, which is generally considered a pre-existing condition as it is a genetic disorder common in many large breed dogs wherein there is an abnormality in the formation of the hip socket. This abnormality can lead to painful arthritis and sometimes a loss of function in the affected joint thereby causing lameness or leaving a dog crippled.
If your pet was hit by a vehicle or even just a bicycle, or if it fell from the stairs, either can eventually lead to worsening an otherwise unnoticeable hip dysplasia. And if your pet displays symptoms of hip dysplasia and you are still without pet insurance, then no insurance company would cover the veterinary expenses.
What other conditions are considered “pre-existing”?
Hereditary or genetic disorders and congenital conditions are considered “pre-existing” as the pets are either born with the condition or develop the condition early on, with symptoms surfacing only years after.
Hereditary or genetic disorders in cats and dogs include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cancer, patellar luxation, allergies, and intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). Congenital conditions include hypothyroidism, hernia, and portosystemic shunt.
Are there companies that cover these “pre-existing” conditions?
Some companies provide coverage for pre-existing conditions as long as there were no symptoms prior to (or a couple of months after) the insurance application. There are companies that do not cover the pre-existing conditions with their basic plans but offer “riders” or additional coverage to include the said conditions.
Things to consider before you make your final decision
- What type of pet do you have? Does it belong to a breed known to be predisposed to having “pre-existing conditions”?
- Your dog’s age matters. The younger they are, the cheaper the premium will most likely be.
- What’s your budget? When choosing an insurance plan for your pet, It’s important to consider both your pet’s needs and your budget. A missed payment would mean no coverage, so it’s important that premiums are always paid on time.
- Medical bills can be very expensive. Allergies may cost just a couple of hundreds; but surgery for hip dysplasia, for example, can easily cost about $4000-$4500. Can you imagine what a bill for cancer treatment would look like?
- The future is unpredictable. Although nobody wants to think about our pets getting sick, it just simply is a fact of life. People get sick, pets get sick, and we all need financial protection from unexpected events.
Nobody wants to think their pet is going to get sick.
Nobody wants to think their pet is going to get injured.
But we do want to be prepared if the “unwanted” should happen. We do want the peace of mind knowing that if anything happens, we will be able to attend to our pet’s needs and be able to get the medical attention required should they fall ill or be injured.
Bottom line is, our pet is a part of our family and we’d like them to have the best quality of life we can provide. Nothing will hurt more than seeing someone you care about to suffer or be in pain for an injury or illness all because we can’t afford to pay the bills and we did not get the right coverage when we could.