Not all pre-existing condition cover is the same

Covering pre-existing conditions the right way

Pet insurance is designed to cover unforeseen incidents so if your pet has already suffered an illness or injury before you insure them it’s important to check whether any cover can be provided for future issues related to this pre-existing condition. Some insurance providers have designed policies to specifically cover pre-existing conditions but you may actually find the cover provided is less than you would get on other policies in some instances.

As the pet insurance experts we explain more about why covering pre-existing conditions isn’t entirely black and white and how you can ensure you choose a policy that gets your pet the best care possible. Insuring pets is different to insuring a physical object like a car or watch. Like human health, pet health is complex. Some conditions re-occur, an injury on one part of the body can have an impact on the health of another part of the body and other conditions clear up fine and never trouble the animal again.

The disadvantages of pre-existing conditions policies

Petplan do not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach to pre-existing conditions. We deliberately don’t have a specific policy for pre-existing conditions because it’s not possible to provide an appropriate level of cover for all pre-existing conditions at an affordable price. If you look at the pre-existing policies that exist in the market most will limit the amount of vet bill cover provided within the first year and in some cases it’s as low as £500. Other policies will not cover any condition until your pet has been clear from it for 24 months.

Dog with pre-existing conditions

With over 40 years experience in pet insurance we use our unrivalled knowledge of pet health to review pre-existing conditions on a case by case basis. With Petplan, not all pre-existing conditions can be covered but for those that can, you will receive full cover up to your chosen vet bill level. The period of time your pet needs to have been clear from the condition for will vary depending on the illness or injury that has occurred. Again, the complex nature of pet health means that conditions such as kennel cough may be covered again after a period of 3 months symptom free whilst more extensive issues such as a perforated ear drum would need to have been symptom free for 12 months following surgery.

The quality of the insurance cover that Petplan provides is why thousands of veterinary practices choose to work in partnership with us and why we are able to pay 97% of all the claims we receive.

Petplan’s approach to pre-existing conditions

With every new application, we ask you about any pre-existing conditions your dog or cat has had and then decide if we can provide cover for these. Our intention is always to make clear to customers at the start of their policy what we will and won’t cover so there are no surprises in the event of a claim. Not all insurers do this. With some insurance policies you only find out what isn’t covered when you claim.

With new conditions your pet develops you would be covered in line with the usual policy Terms and Conditions so insuring your pet with Petplan can still help you cover the cost of other veterinary bills that arise.

When you tell us about any pre-existing conditions your pet has, there are three possible outcomes. 


We’ll provide cover for the pre-existing condition if it happens again

In the majority of cases this means that the condition is fully resolved, so should your pet have the same condition again, it’ll be covered. For example, if your dog suffered from kennel cough but had been symptom-free for the past three months, there would be no exclusions placed and any future bouts of kennel cough would be covered.


We can’t cover the pre-existing condition now but may be able to in the future

Sometimes we can’t cover a specific condition as part of a policy immediately. However, in many cases we’re happy to review this once certain criteria has been met. This is generally the pet being symptom free for a certain period of time. For example, if your dog is suffering from kennel cough when the policy is taken, we’ll place a temporary exclusion for the condition. Once we have a copy of the veterinary history showing the dog has been symptom free for three months, the exclusion will be removed and any future bouts of kennel cough will be covered.


We can’t cover the pre-existing condition

If the condition is likely to affect the dog for the rest of its life (such as arthritis), we’d unfortunately not be able to cover costs attached to that particular ailment at any point in the policy.

Our plans at a glance


Covered For Life®



Popular breeds and their common illnesses:

You can find out more about common illnesses for specific breeds within our breed advice pages below.

Dog Breeds

Cat Breeds

Why choose Petplan?

Petplan is the UK’s no.1 pet insurer and insures over 1.3million dogs, cats, rabbits and horses. We pride ourselves on the quality of cover we provide and are committed to helping our customers get their pets the best possible veterinary care. While there are some pre-existing conditions that we can’t cover, we treat every case on an individual basis, so get a quote and see if we can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get pet insurance for pre-existing conditions?

It depends what the pre-existing condition is. Some conditions can be covered straight away, some can be covered once your pet has been clear for a set period of time and other conditions can not be covered at all. With Petplan, for those pre-existing conditions which can be covered you can claim up to your chosen level of vet bills with no additional limit. Many other policies limit the amount you can claim for pre-existing conditions in the first year or require you to have been clear from any condition covered for a significant period of time.

Why don’t you cover all pre-existing conditions?

Some pre-existing conditions are guaranteed to need veterinary treatment. For us to accurately price a policy to cover veterinary treatment for a known lifelong condition, such as diabetes, we would require a significant premium unlikely to be appealing to most pet owners.

How can I compare veterinary cover provided for pre-existing conditions?

When shopping around its important to look beyond the headlines and check how much cover will be provided for any pre-existing conditions your pet has. As with all pet insurance the breadth of the vet bill cover provided can have an impact on the veterinary care you can afford for your pet and it’s no different when treating pre-existing conditions either. Two key questions to ask when comparing pet insurance cover for pre-existing conditions are:

  • How much cover will be provided for my pets condition in the first year?
  • When will cover start for this condition?
See all FAQs