Yes, a few pet insurance companies in the UK offer cover for pre-existing conditions; however, the way they each cover pre-existing conditions is a bit different. This article will discuss some of these differences. Read the NimbleFins guide to buying pet insurance for pre-existing conditions in the UK to learn more about Scratch & Patch, Bought by Many, Lifetime Pet Cover and VetsMediCover pre-existing options and to get quotes.
Definition of a pre-existing condition for pet insurance
Each pet insurance company has their own definition of ‘pre-existing condition’. It’s possible to find out how a specific insurance company defines a ‘pre-existing condition’ by looking in their policy documents. For example, this policy wording booklet by VetsMediCover spells out on page 8 that a pre-existing condition is any injury or illness that:
- a) happened or first showed clinical signs; or
- b) has the same diagnosis or clinical signs as an injury, illness or clinical sign your pet had; or
- c) is caused by or relates to, or results from an injury, illness or clinical sign your pet had before the start of cover for your pet, and regardless of whether the illness or clinical signs appear in the same or different parts of your pet’s body.
Interestingly, VetsMediCover specifies that a condition will cease to be a pre-existing condition if, for twenty-four consecutive calendar months, the pet has shown no clinical signs or symptoms of the condition, there have been no vet consultations concerning the condition, and the pet has not received treatment for or in connection with the condition.
However, pre-existing conditions will be treated quite differently by other insurers. For example, Scratch & Patch has a line of Champ that covers pre-existing medical conditions if and only if they are fully declared and accepted as covered in writing. If they are accepted, they may even be covered right away.
Here are examples of some of the pre-existing conditions that Scratch & Patch has covered recently:
- Back pain
- Broken bone
- Cerebral hypoplasia
- Corneal ulcer
- Cruciate ligament injury
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Ear haematoma
- Ear infection (otitis)
- Elbow dysplasia
- Eye infection
- FIV (Feline)
- Food allergy
- Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis
- Heart murmur
- Hip replacement
- Liver shunt
- Patellar luxation
- Retinal atrophy
- Sarcoptic mange
- Skin allergy
Changing pet insurance with pre-existing conditions
It is possible to change pet insurance when a pet has a pre-existing condition, but there are some important things to be aware of.
Most pet insurance policies will not cover pre-existing conditions at all, ever. To understand what this means, here is an example. Say there is a dog who had an ear infection when he was 1 year old. Later, a policy was taken out when the dog was 5 years old. If this policy doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, then it would not cover ear infections (in fact, usually, both ears would be excluded from cover). It might also not cover other related illnesses if they suspect the previous ear infection was related.
However, some pet insurance policies cover pre-existing conditions. When changing pet insurance with pre-existing conditions, one can choose a policy that essentially will cover conditions once the pet has been symptom and treatment free for at least two years. VetsMediCover, Bought by Many and Lifetime Pet Cover offer this type of pre-existing pet insurance.
Another alternative is getting pre-approved for a pet’s specific pre-existing conditions. Scratch & Patch offers this type of cover in their Champ line of policies.
Finally, Bought by Many has another option for covering pre-existing conditions. Their pre-existing policy will cover pre-existing conditions, but with a lower limit of vet fee coverage initially, so long as the pet hadn’t received any advice, treatment or medication in the three months before the policy start date. On that policy, the coverage limit (which starts at £500 for pre-existing conditions) would increase over time from £500 to £1,000 after two years and finally £7,000 after three years if the pet remained healthy over that time.
Does Lifetime pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
Yes and no, it depends on whether the question relates to lifetime pet insurance policies in general or insurance from the company ‘Lifetime Pet Cover’.
‘Lifetime pet insurance’ can refer to a type of pet insurance that is offered by nearly every pet insurance company in the UK. It means coverage that renews each year, with limits that reinstate. These types of policies will continue to cover a condition from year to year throughout a pet’s life, so long as there is no gap in cover. Lifetime pet insurance is good for covering chronic or recurring issues over the years.
Now let’s consider the Lifetime Pet Cover company, which essentially covers pre-existing conditions after two years so long as they meet certain criteria. In reality, they say an illness or injury ceases to be considered a pre-existing condition if:
- a) The condition has been treated, and Your Pet has fully recovered, leaving no susceptibility to future problems or underlying weakness and since that point;
- b) The condition has been treated, and Your Pet has not received any treatment for or in connection with the condition for a continuous period of 24 calendar months;
- c) There are no symptoms or vet consultations relating to the condition for the previous 24 months.
Broadly speaking, this means that Lifetime Pet Cover’s policies will cover pre-existing conditions so long as the pet has been healthy, strong and free of the issue for at least two years.