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Can You Get Pet Insurance After Diagnosis

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Most pet insurers cover curable pre-existing conditions if your dog has been symptom-free for 180 days to 12 months.
  • Incurable conditions are often excluded from coverage.
  • Some insurers may only provide accidental injury coverage if your pet has multiple pre-existing conditions.
  • Pet insurance companies identify pre-existing conditions by reviewing your pet's medical records from your vet.
  • It's best to get pet insurance when your dog is young and healthy to maximize coverage.
Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Gold medalist veterinary student from UVAS Lahore writes captivating articles and is passionate about animal care.
Published on
Tuesday 12 March 2024
Last updated on
Monday 30 October 2023
Can You Get Pet Insurance After Diagnosis
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Can you get pet insurance after diagnosis? For many pet parents who are new to insurance, this can be a daunting and confusing question. However, most pet insurers follow a very similar rule: curable pre-existing conditions in which your dog has been symptom-free for 180 days to 12 months are generally covered. Incurable conditions, however, are very often excluded.

Finding pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions will involve reading up on the individual insurer’s policy. Different providers will have slightly different requirements on what counts as a pre-existing condition. As such, getting pet insurance after diagnosis is often up to the insurer’s discretion. To find out more about getting pet insurance after diagnosis, read on with us today!

Can You Get Dog Insurance After Diagnosis?

Yes, you can still submit a claim for pet insurance even if your dog has received a diagnosis. Your insurance can help to cover the costs of medical expenses that are not related to a pre-existing condition. For example, your dog’s pre-existing hip dysplasia will not be covered by insurance. But, if your dog later develops an upper respiratory infection, medical costs will be covered by your insurer’s accident and illness plan. When applying for insurance, be sure to read the small print carefully. Some insurers may only provide accidental injury coverage if your pet has multiple pre-existing conditions.

What Are Pet Pre-Existing Conditions?

In short, a pre-existing condition is an illness or injury that starts prior to your insurance coverage’s beginning, including during the waiting period. Many pet insurance providers will not cover pre-existing conditions if they are deemed incurable. Depending on your dog’s health, common pre-existing conditions might include allergies or range to more serious conditions like heart disease and epilepsy. Some pet insurance providers will cover curable issues like kennel cough or broken bones outside of the waiting period. But how do pet insurance companies know about your pet’s pre-existing conditions?

Depending on the company, the insurer may request your dog’s medical records from your vet to evaluate your claim. Always be honest when submitting your claim – failing to claim your dog’s pre-existing conditions to obtain coverage may count as a form of insurance fraud!

“Incurable” pre-existing conditions often include:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Urinary blockages

Bilateral Conditions

A bilateral condition is any illness that affects both sides of the body. Common examples include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, cataracts, cruciate ligament issues, and more. Generally speaking, bilateral conditions are treated as one whole. So, if your dog requires surgery for a luxating patella on the right side, this will be covered by most policies – however, because it is highly likely for the same issue to occur on the left side, they may not cover the cost of treatment to the same level. This is because the treatment is considered bilateral – it occurs on both sides.

To summarize, if your pet develops a condition in one part of their body that they’ve already had in another part, the insurer may class it as one condition. Both instances will be covered by the same vet fee, so you cannot claim more on that condition if you have already exceeded the limit.

Curable Pre-existing Conditions

Many pet insurance policies will cover curable pre-existing conditions within a time limit. Some insurers will not consider a health issue to be “pre-existing” if it is both curable and has not reoccurred for 180 days to 12 months. As always, the exact definition of a curable condition might vary from one provider to another. Always be sure to check the exact policy details before you submit a claim. However, generally speaking, curable conditions tend to include bladder infections, diarrhea, ear infections, respiratory infections, and vomiting.

Incurable Pre-Existing Conditions

The exact definition of an incurable pre-existing condition may vary from one provider to another. As such, it’s essential to read up on the small print of the policy before you file for a claim. However, generally speaking, conditions such as allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, hip dysplasia, and urinary blockages count as “incurable pre-existing conditions.” Many of these illnesses require multiple visits to the vet, ongoing medical help, and surgery, and thus are not covered by pet insurance if your pet has them before your policy begins. Pet insurance aims to cover your pet in the future, not in the past, which is why an already-diagnosed incurable illness is often excluded.

How Do Pet Insurance Companies Identify Preexisting Conditions?

Your insurance company will typically request your dog’s medical records from your vet. They will do this to evaluate your claim and look for issues that predate your waiting period. Even if your dog has not been diagnosed with a specific condition, symptoms may be considered pre-existing conditions if your vet has documented them before your coverage starts. If the symptoms are of an incurable condition, the insurer is unlikely to cover the suspected issue. For example, if your dog shows symptoms like increased appetite and urination as well as weight loss, these could be signs of diabetes. This condition counts as “incurable” by most pet insurance companies. Once the insurer’s review is complete, they typically give you the option to cancel if you feel the coverage isn’t right for your pet.

Is It Worth It to Get a Pet Insurance With a Pre-Existing Condition?

While many pet insurance policies do not cover for pre-existing diagnoses, it can still be worth covering for future accidents and illnesses. These accidents and illnesses may rack up a hefty vet bill, and having insurance in your corner can help to cover the costs. As such, a good pet insurance policy can help you with unexpected veterinary costs. Though, because so many insurers do not cover pre-existing issues, it’s best to get pet insurance whilst your dog is still young and healthy. This way, you can get the most out of your policy.

How to Find the Best Pet Insurance for Pets With Preexisting Conditions

Indeed, you can still get pet insurance after diagnosis. However, it is less ideal for you and your pet. It’s always best to ensure your furry friend when they are still young and healthy. This way, you can get the most out of your insurance plan and be protected from unexpected veterinary costs later on. But, perhaps this is not always plausible. Perhaps you were not aware of the insurance options available to you until your pet already developed an illness, or maybe unexpected financial difficulty prevented you from seeking out a worthwhile insurance plan. Fortunately, there is still much you can do to maximize the benefits of your coverage if your dog already has an illness.

Get Insurance Early On

As aforementioned, it’s best to get your pet insured when they are still young and healthy. By doing this, you do not need to worry about pre-existing conditions that may limit your ability to claim veterinary expenses. Of course, there may still be some exceptions. Certain insurers will not cover specific hereditary illnesses in specific breeds no matter when they occur in your dog. Be sure to read the fine print carefully! It’s never too late to get pet insurance, though, and your dog will still benefit from accidental injury coverage if the worst happens.

Update Your Pet’s Vaccines

As a responsible pet parent, you keep your pooch up-to-date on their vaccines. But did you know that insurers can deny a claim if your pet becomes ill because they were not vaccinated? Your insurer will likely check your dog’s medical history with your vet and will be able to see when your dog was last vaccinated. So, to avoid complications, make sure to check in with your vet as soon as possible to make sure that your pet is fully vaccinated to their recommendations. If in doubt, ask your vet for a titer test. A titer test looks at the antibodies in your dog’s body to identify what shots they need boosters for.

Compare Insurance Policies

Comparing pet insurance policies may seem complicated and daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. When comparing policies, look for the obvious things like monthly prices and deductibles. You should also check for waiting periods and whether coverage reduces as your pet gets older. If your dog has a pre-existing condition, be sure to compare companies that offer coverage for these, as some do. What counts as a pre-existing condition will vary from one insurer to the next. However, several set a time limit of 180 days for your dog to be symptom-free before they will cover any curable condition costs.

Consider Insurance Alternatives

If insurance is not for you, there are several alternatives available. For example, some companies may be able to provide affordable pet coverage at a lower cost than insurance companies. Pawp, for example, is a pet insurance alternative that provides access to online vets for $24 per month. Pet parents can claim up to $3,000 for one emergency vet bill on this plan. Similarly, Pet Assure is a veterinary plan from vets participating in their network. Pet Assure offers discounts for in-house medical services provided by vets on the network. And, of course, there is always the option of opening a savings account for pet care. Contributing to a savings account that serves as an emergency fund for vet fees is a good start for pet parents who want to avoid paying monthly fees.

Pet Insurance Companies that Cover Pre-Existing Conditions

When looking for pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions, you’ll be glad to know that there are several options. Your pet will still be covered after diagnosis under some of these plans. However, do note that insurers cannot determine a condition’s eligibility until you submit a claim. Can you get pet insurance after diagnosis? Yes, but it depends on the insurer’s discretion.

Generally speaking, though, most companies go by a very similar thought process. Hypothetically, if your puppy is treated for Giardia before the policy begins, and a few weeks after you enroll them, they develop a case of diarrhea, this condition may be seen as pre-existing because it’s a symptom of Giardia. This would be an ailment that they had before the policy went into effect. However, if your vet says that the diarrhea was caused by some other problem, the insurer is likely to cover it.


ASPCA Pet Insurance may cover curable pre-existing conditions (excluding knee and ligament issues) if your dog is free of symptoms and has not needed treatment for 180 days. However, a knee or ligament issue that starts before the coverage will not be covered in the future. The ASPCA does not cover incurable pre-existing conditions.


Embrace provides a comprehensive policy that includes curable pre-existing conditions. As such, they will cover vomiting, diarrhea, and urinary infections that are pre-existing. More importantly, this insurance plan covers incurable pre-existing conditions if your dog is symptom and treatment free for at least 12 months. Under this policy, you must have a recorded visit to the vet in the last 12 months before the policy can begin. Embrace does not cover incurable pre-existing conditions.


Figo Pet Insurance may cover curable pre-existing issues if your dog has been symptom-free in the last 12 months. If in doubt, get in touch with Figo to see what they can offer you and your pet. Figo does not cover incurable pre-existing conditions.


Lemonade Pet Insurance may cover curable conditions that have been resolved for at least 12 months. A “cured” condition is a temporary illness or injury that is resolved in 12 months. The insurer does not cover physical therapy for pre-existing conditions. As well as this, they do not cover incurable pre-existing conditions.

Pets Best

Like many other insurers, Pets Best covers curable pre-existing conditions if your dog has been symptom and treatment-free for at least 180 days. The company does not cover incurable pre-existing conditions.


Pumpkin Pet Insurance covers curable pre-existing conditions. However, they exclude knee and ligament issues from this rule. If your dog has shown no signs of a curable pre-existing condition and has not required treatment in the past 180 days, any new symptoms are treated as a new occurrence. Pumpkin does not cover incurable pre-existing conditions.


MetLife does not cover pre-existing conditions. However, they do offer coverage of pre-existing conditions that were covered by a previous provider for employees who want to shift their insurance to MetLife. Overall, MetLife will not cover conditions after diagnosis before the insurance start date if you are enrolling from scratch.

Yes, you can get pet insurance after diagnosis. However, which conditions come under their plan will vary. Most providers discern between “curable” and “incurable” pre-existing conditions.

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