Exclusions and Limitations of Pet Health Insurance Plans

Let’s be honest. Medical bills are expensive, and many people have spent money they didn’t have because of an unexpected vet bill.

If you have a pet, you need to get pet health insurance! This will allow you to ensure that your pet’s covered for injuries or illnesses. But before you decide on pet health insurance plans, look at the fine print to know what you’re signing up for.

In this article, we’ll discuss the things pet health insurance doesn’t cover. This way, you can keep the list in mind when you’re searching for a policy to buy. Read on to find out more.

Pre-existing Conditions

According to statistics, 9.8% of dog owners want to purchase insurance for their pets with pre-existing conditions. However, most pet health insurance plans exclude pre-existing conditions. These are defined as any illness, injury, or condition your pet has before enrolling them in a pet insurance policy. 

It’s important to enroll your pet in a policy as early as possible, ideally when they are still a kitten or puppy. This way, you can be sure that their policy covers any illnesses or injuries your pet experiences.

Genetic Defects

Another limitation to pet health insurance plans is typically genetic defects. This is because these conditions are often not diagnosed until the pet is older, and the insurance company may not cover the cost of treatment. Additionally, many genetic defects are not curable, and the pet may need to be euthanized.

A few companies offer coverage for genetic defects, but it’s usually quite limited and comes with a much higher premium. While this may seem unfair, it is important to remember that these defects can often be unpredictable. So, if you’re concerned about your pet developing a genetic defect, it’s important to do your research.

Age Limit

Most pet health insurance plans have an age limit for coverage, typically between 8 and 14 years old for dogs and 8 and 10 years for cats. As pets age, they are more likely to experience health problems. Thus, insurance companies may exclude certain conditions from coverage or charge higher premiums for older pets.

Certain Breeds

Certain breeds are more prone to certain health conditions or illnesses than others. As a result, pet insurance companies may exclude coverage for treatment of these conditions on certain breeds. For example, many pet insurance plans will not cover treatment for hip dysplasia on large breed dogs such as German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers.

Certain breeds of dogs or cats may also have a higher incidence of adverse reactions to vaccinations or other routine medications. This can also increase the cost of insuring them.

Waiting Periods 

This is the length of time after you purchase the policy that the insurer won’t cover. The waiting period for illness coverage is usually 14 days, for accident coverage is usually 30 days. Some plans have a waiting period of 180 days for cruciate ligament surgery. 

The waiting period helps the insurer to spread the risk of insuring a pet over its lifetime. It also allows them to investigate whether any pre-existing conditions were present before the policy was bought. During the waiting period, the pet owner is responsible for paying all veterinary bills.

Routine Care

Many pet health insurance plans have limitations when it comes to routine care. Routine care is defined as wellness care, routine vaccinations, spaying and neutering, routine blood work, and routine dental care. And while some plans may cover routine blood work, they may not cover the cost of more extensive diagnostic testing that may be required if your pet becomes ill.

These services are considered to be preventative. Therefore, many pet insurance companies do not feel they should have to pay for them. However, some may offer limited coverage for routine care, but this coverage is usually subject to a deductible, copay, or coinsurance.

Annual Coverage Limits

The annual coverage limit is the maximum amount the insurer will pay out in a year for your pet’s medical expenses. If your pet needs frequent or expensive medical care, you may have to pay for some of the costs yourself. But not all health insurance companies have annual limits, discover more here.

Some plans have per-incident limits, meaning they will only cover a certain amount for each pet’s sickness or injury. Others have limits on the total amount they will pay out over a year. This limit is usually set at around $2,000, which may not be enough to cover your pet’s medical costs if they have a severe illness or injury.

Experimental Procedures

One of the things to keep in mind when looking at pet health insurance plans is that most of them exclude experimental procedures. This means that if your pet needs a new and untested treatment, you will likely have to pay for it yourself. There are a few exceptions to this, but they are rare. 

These procedures are usually not yet proven safe and effective for all pets. There may also be a lack of data on how well the procedure works for specific breeds or health conditions. 

Commercial Purposes

Pet insurance plans typically exclude coverage for any pets used for commercial purposes, such as breeding, racing, or show. This is because these activities are considered to be higher risk and more likely to result in claims. As such, pet owners who participate in these activities must purchase a separate policy or a rider to be covered.

Additionally, many insurance companies will not cover animals used for security, law enforcement, or therapeutic purposes. These animals are considered “working animals” and are not kept as pets.

Read Your Pet Health Insurance Plans

Pet insurance is not perfect, and some things are excluded from most plans. This includes pre-existing conditions, routine care, experimental procedures, and more. However, pet health insurance plans can still help with the unexpected, and it’s worth considering if you want peace of mind for your furry friends.

If you’re looking for more pet care and travel information, check out our other blog posts! 


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