Pre-existing conditions & pet insurance

Like other pet insurance providers, Fetch doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Pet insurance covers unexpected injuries and illnesses — the things you can’t see coming. In some cases, we can cover curable pre-existing conditions. But what does that actually mean? Learn more about pre-existing conditions and how they work with pet insurance.

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What is a pre-existing condition in pet insurance?

A pre-existing condition is any injury, illness or condition that you or your veterinarian notice your pet has (or shows signs of) either:

  • Before you enroll with Fetch
  • Before your policy’s effective date
  • Or during the waiting period of up to 15 days

Here are a few examples of what are considered pre-existing conditions:

Your puppy is excessively licking his paws, so you take him to the vet even though you don’t have pet insurance. Later, after this visit, you purchase a policy with Fetch. The paw-licking continues and now he’s getting skin infections, so you take another trip to the vet. Your vet diagnoses him with allergies. Since the clinical signs appeared before your policy with us, allergies would be a pre-existing condition in this case.

Your kitten was limping on the right front leg before you got pet insurance, and your vet couldn’t identify the cause. After the policy waiting period of up to 15 days, your kitten starts limping again on the same leg. Your vet takes an X-ray and diagnoses her with a fracture. Since the limping was observed prior to purchasing a policy, the fracture would be a pre-existing condition.

Your dog accidentally injured the cruciate ligament in her right knee before you signed up for pet insurance with Fetch. A year into the policy, the ligament is completely torn. Because the accident occurred before you purchased the policy, the tear would be considered pre-existing.

Does pet insurance cover
pre-existing conditions?

Like other pet insurance providers, we do not cover pre-existing conditions. That being said, we do cover curable pre-existing conditions, and we’re one of just a few providers that do. 

Confused about what makes a pre-existing condition curable? Here’s how it works: If your pet has an injury or illness and then goes 12 months without signs, symptoms or treatment, that injury or illness is considered curable and is eligible for coverage. Some examples of curable pre-existing conditions include:

  • UTIs
  • Respiratory infections
  • Vomiting & diarrhea
  • Broken bones
A fluffy dog sitting on a couch with a tennis ball in their mouth.

Should I still get pet insurance if it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions?

Absolutely. Remember: even if your pet has a particular pre-existing condition that isn’t covered, they’re still eligible for pet insurance coverage for new accidents and illnesses. So while enrolling early (before they get sick or hurt) is recommended, pet insurance can still help you save on vet bills for other issues outside of pre-existing conditions.

And while Fetch doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, let’s talk about what we do cover. Fetch offers the most comprehensive pet insurance coverage in the U.S. and Canada. We also include what other providers charge extra for or don’t cover at all. Sick-visit exam fees? Those are covered. Comprehensive dental coverage for every tooth, plus gums? We include that too. Bottom line: If your vet recommends it, Fetch probably covers it. Want to see the details? Here’s a more in-depth look at what Fetch Pet Insurance covers

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Why don’t pet insurance providers cover incurable pre-existing conditions?

Similar to other types of insurance (like renters insurance and car insurance), pet insurance coverage isn’t retroactive. Let’s say you purchase renters insurance today. Unfortunately, it likely wouldn’t cover the cost of any damage to your apartment from a fire that happened last week, because you didn’t have insurance coverage at that time. To maximize coverage and financial protection, it’s key that you enroll in pet insurance before you need it.

How do pet insurance providers know your pet has a pre-existing condition?

Most providers require you to submit your pet's medical records to process your claims. Those records show your pet’s medical history and help providers determine what is eligible for coverage and what would be considered a pre-existing condition.

That’s why we recommend getting your pet a checkup as soon as they become a part of your family. Your veterinarian can give your dog or cat a health assessment and identify any potential concerns before you sign up for pet insurance.

Still have questions about pre-existing conditions?

Whether you have specific questions about coverage or if you’re wondering if pet insurance is right for you, we can help. Check out our FAQ page for answers to common questions pet parents ask, or chat with us anytime. And if you’d like to price a plan for your best pal, get a free quote now.

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How do I know if my pet has a pre-existing condition?

Take your pet to the vet for a checkup. Your vet can give them a clean bill of health or identify any potential concerns before you sign up for insurance. If your pet was not examined by a vet six months prior to the effective date of your Fetch policy, an exam is required within 30 days after the policy effective date.

Are breed-specific issues the same as pre-existing conditions?

No, a breed-specific issue is something your pet is genetically prone to — like back problems in Dachshunds or hip dysplasia in German Shepherds. As long as your pet hasn’t shown signs of the condition before you enrolled or during the waiting period of up to 15 days, Fetch provides coverage for breed-specific conditions. Not all providers do.

How does pet insurance work?

Every pet insurance provider is different, but you'll usually submit a claim (this can include your vet bill and your pet's medical records) to your pet insurance provider, and you’ll typically be paid back if the treatment your dog or cat received is covered under your plan.

With Fetch, submitting a claim is as easy as taking a picture of your vet documents and answering a few questions online or using our app. Once approved, Fetch pays back up to 90% of your bill.

Is pet insurance worth it?

If you’re looking for potential savings on future vet trips, the answer is yes. Pet insurance helps make vet bills more affordable, and you can rest easy knowing you’ll be covered if your dog or cat unexpectedly gets sick or hurt down the road. But if you’re at the vet with a sick pet right now, bear in mind that your current visit won’t be covered because like other pet insurance providers, we don’t cover pre-existing conditions. Your pet will be covered for eligible claims once they’re enrolled and the waiting period has passed.

How quickly does pet insurance work?

Once you’re enrolled with a pet insurance provider, there’s typically a waiting period before your coverage begins. Injuries or illnesses that occur during this waiting period will not be covered. When you sign up with Fetch, there's a waiting period of up to 15 days before accident & illness coverage begins. There is no waiting period for Fetch Wellness coverage for routine & preventative care (if added) — it can be used on or after the effective date of your pet’s policy.

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