Are you looking into health insurance options for your pet but unsure about preexisting conditions? Many pet owners have this question and don’t know where to start in looking for healthcare coverage for their furry friends.
One option that is growing in popularity in the market is Pet Assure. We did the digging to find out if Pet Assure will cover preexisting conditions. The short answer is yes, but there are several factors to consider when determining if this is a good option for you and your pets.
What Is Pet Assure? Is It Insurance?
Pet Assure is a program that is an alternative to pet health insurance. By signing up for their service, you have access to a network of veterinarians across all fifty states, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
Pet Assure is a discount program for veterinary services. It started in 1995 as a way to make pet health care more affordable for pet owners. Once enrolled, you are given a card and access to the network of vets that are a part of the program. When using these veterinarians’ services, you can present your card for a discount on health checks, tests, and treatments you are requesting.
Because this isn’t insurance, you do not need to worry about deductibles or waiting to be reimbursed. You will receive the savings at the point of payment after your pet’s visit. The company is transparent about the discounts beforehand and you can look up the average costs of various procedures, and the Pet Assure savings on their website. The maximum discount is capped at 25%.
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Pet Assure and Preexisting Conditions
One reason Pet Assure is popular is that it covers preexisting or hereditary conditions. Many pet health insurance companies do not, which we will explain in more detail below.
From the FAQ under the heading “exclusions”, the folks at Pet Assure state that “Pet Assure has no exclusions based on age, breed, or type of pet, and every in-house medical service is discounted. Preexisting and hereditary conditions are also covered with Pet Assure.”
Because Pet Assure has signed up a network of participating veterinarians, there is already a pre-agreement to meet the conditions of Pet Assure’s discounting system. This makes it easier in many ways to account for preexisting conditions as the pet owner also pays some portion of the cost of the visit.
What Are Pet Preexisting Conditions?
One way pet insurance companies define preexisting conditions is to differentiate between curable and incurable conditions. It is very important to question the insurance company about your pet’s health history in detail to determine what they will cover and what they will not.
Some pet insurance companies will cover preexisting conditions that they consider “curable.” This means that the problem is not frequently recurring. For example, a company may specify that a recurrence is acceptable as long as it has been at least 12 months since the date of the last occurrence. If the problem was to reoccur after those 12 months, it can be considered a new problem. This is just an example and each company will have its own rules and exclusions.
Curable conditions might be things like bladder infections, ear infections, skin infections, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Incurable conditions are often chronic or hereditary. Many of these may not be insurable if they are preexisting, but it is always important to check various policies. These conditions might be things like allergies, diabetes, heart disease, hip dysplasia, kidney disease, urinary blockages, cancer, etc.
Do Most Pet Insurance Companies Typically Cover Preexisting Conditions?
Preexisting conditions are a touchy subject when it comes to pet insurance. Some companies will cover preexisting conditions after a waiting period, while others will never cover them. It all depends on the company, so it’s important to do your research before buying a policy.
If you’re considering buying pet insurance, be sure to ask about the company’s stance on preexisting conditions. It’s an important factor to consider when choosing a policy.
Why Companies Are Reluctant to Cover Preexisting Conditions
Many pet insurance companies typically do not cover preexisting conditions. This is largely due to the lifespan of a typical pet and the economics of pet insurance. Most common pets live somewhere between 8 and 16 years, which is a much shorter lifespan than a human.
Also, most people do not purchase pet insurance for their animals when they are born but rather think about getting it when the pet is in mid-life or later. This means that there is less time overall to accrue the years and years of premiums that would offset the costs of paying out claims for preexisting conditions. From the insurance company’s perspective, it doesn’t add up.
Percentage of Pet Owners Who Purchase Pet Insurance
Market Watch finds that approximately 44.6% of all pet owners purchase pet insurance. Approximately 4.41 million pets in North America were insured as of 2021, according to NAPHIA’s 2022 State of the Industry Report.
Not only has pet insurance been growing in popularity, but these numbers mean that significant numbers of pet owners have decided that this coverage is necessary for them.
For some people, it can make a lot of sense to be protected from incurring high unexpected costs due to sudden pet illnesses or accidents. It is also important to consider that medical treatment has improved in recent years and will extend pets’ lives and deal with major illnesses such as cancer.
1. How are conditions labeled insurable?
When considering signing up for pet insurance, it’s important to know which preexisting conditions are and are not insurable. The best way to determine this is to ask the company when they run a medical history review. This is done when you apply for the policy.
You can do a few things to help clarify this process. First, keep track of your pet’s medical appointments and treatments. This will help you provide the insurance company with a complete medical history. Second, get a letter from your veterinarian explaining your pet’s condition and what treatment has been done. This will also help the insurance company make a more informed decision about coverage.
It can feel very confusing and hard to understand the ins and outs of insurance policies. Medical history reviews are designed so that you will have the chance to ask detailed questions of the insurer and determine exactly what is included and what is not. This provides better clarity for both parties and helps you to decide if the policy is the right one for you.
2. How do pet insurance companies know about preexisting conditions?
At the time of enrollment, the insurance company will do a complete medical review of your pet. Besides taking your pet’s medical history, they may ask for your pet’s previous medical records or even require that your pet have a medical check-up and assessment by a certified veterinarian.
3. What do people think about Pet Assure as an alternative to insurance?
On the third-party review website, Trust Pilot, Pet Assure received 4-stars reviews overall out of 85 reviews. The reviews were mixed, but the majority were top scores. People liked its low cost and the fact that it works well for older pets or pets with many preexisting conditions.
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Pet Assure is a great option if your pet cannot get traditional insurance to cover its preexisting health conditions. Pet Assure covers all ages of pets, including preexisting and hereditary conditions. It offers a decent discount that helps alleviate the burden of medical bills. It can cover up to four pets on a basic plan and offers flexibility for people with pets. However, it is important to clearly understand that it is not insurance but a discount card for an approved network of veterinarian offices.
Featured Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock