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Last month, you voted to read about tips and tricks regarding the fine print of your policies! One of the most frequent questions we get here at PetFirst is about pre-existing conditions. The question we get is: What qualifies as a pre-existing condition? We went straight to the PetFirst expert, J our Claims Supervisor, for the answer!
To really understand pre-existing conditions, you have to understand the timing of your policy. Many people often contemplate when they should start investing in pet insurance for their furry family members. The answer to this question is earlier than you think!
The reason to start investing in pet insurance ASAP is simple; pet insurance plans are property and casualty insurance policies. Even though our pets are family members, their insurance is more like our car insurance or home insurance rather than our own healthcare. Let’s take car insurance as an example. If you got into an accident without car insurance, you wouldn’t expect your auto insurance to pay for the accident. Your car insurance only covers you for the accident if you have an insurance policy before you accidentally roll through that stop sign. Pet insurance works the same way. Pet insurance plans do not cover conditions, illnesses or events that occur before the policy begins.
PetFirst, like all other pet insurers, defines a pre-existing condition as any injury or illness contracted, manifested or incurred prior to the policy effective date. This means conditions which are affecting your pet prior to the policy effective date (regardless of medical notation, diagnosis or treatment) are excluded from coverage.
For example, Max the Terrier mix was at the dog park with his owner and got into a scuffle with another dog that resulted in a trip to the emergency vet. After Max’s owner was faced with a large vet bill from the incident, she enrolled Max in a pet insurance policy. Unfortunately, after a few weeks of coverage, Max developed an infection at the wound site. The infection happened after the pet insurance policy began, but the infection is from the injury that occurred before the beginning of the coverage. Since this accident occurred prior to the effective date of Max’s policy, the secondary infection was not coverable.
Pets of any age could develop conditions requiring expensive medical treatment or they could be involved in an accident. That’s why it is so important to have coverage before an incident occurs. If your pet had an accident or is diagnosed with an illness before you get pet insurance, you may be subject to pre-existing conditions. But remember, even if your policy cannot cover the pre-existing incident, your investment covers your pet’s future and the longevity of your furry family member for years to come.