pre existing conditions

What is a Pre-Existing Condition in Pet Insurance?

Written by Ryan Gliozzo


Time to acknowledge the elephant in the room. That elephant being: pre-existing conditions in pet insurance . The dreaded P-word that has haunted pet owners for much longer than we wish was the case.
Confused puppy with pre existing condition who needs pet insurance

What is a pre-existing condition?

When it comes to common pet ailments, many pet owners want to know what is covered and what is meant by a pre-existing condition in relation to pet insurance.

In short, a pre-existing condition is any condition or symptom that has occurred before you have set up your policy, which you have visited the vet for in the past.

It's really that simple, and as an insurance company with a difference, we are doing all we can to change pet insurance coverage with our clear and up-front policies.

As pet parents ourselves, we are here to guide you through exactly what you need to know regarding pre-existing conditions to help you understand it as best as poss - and to help you avoid any nasty surprises from an insurer.

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Some pet insurance companies will cover for a condition your pet has had in the past if a reasonable amount of time has passed.

For example: If your pet hasn’t suffered from or received any treatment for a condition within the past 2 years.

However, it fully varies between each pet insurance company and so stating an exact list of what pre-existing conditions are covered is nigh on impossible.

This is why it’s important to check all policy documents and compare providers to ensure you know exactly what’s covered and what’s not - no hidden nasties!

If in doubt, give the Customer Champions a shout. They’ll always be able to tell you if a condition classifies as pre-existing or not, and what your best options are.

Does Waggel cover pre-existing conditions?

a shocked cat

At the moment, we do not cover for any pre-existing conditions. But we recognise this is an issue and it is something we are working to change.

Why don’t pet insurers cover pre-existing conditions?

Pet insurance is there to help protect you against the unexpected costs that result in owning a pet. If your pet already has a pre-existing condition then it is not an unexpected or unknown cost.

It also means the risk of claiming is much higher, even if the condition hasn’t been prominent for a while.

Can I still get pet insurance if my pet has a pre-existing condition?

Yes, you can still get insurance. It just wouldn’t cover for that particular condition. However, it would still cover your pet for everything else.

Check with your current insurance company regarding pre-existing cover and if you've not bought a policy yet, be sure to visit our pet insurance quote form for a free, no obligation quote tailored specifically to your pet!

How do I declare my pre-existing condition when signing up?

You don’t have to declare your existing conditions upfront. When you make your first claim, we will request all of your pet’s medical records and will let you know what conditions will be excluded.

FYI, pre-existing conditions don’t affect your monthly cost, we just will not cover for them.

What does my pre-existing condition exclude on future claims?

This is entirely dependent on the type of pre-existing condition. For example, if your pet has suffered with major issues such as heart problems it would exclude all claims related to the heart.

However, if your pet had a minor accident in the past like eating chocolate, we would exclude any resulting conditions related to that specific incident but not the incident itself - future accidents of toxic ingestion would still be considered. It fully depends on the type of condition and the severity.

What is a bilateral condition?

A bilateral condition refers to any condition affecting both sides of the body i.e., ears, eyes, hips, cruciate ligaments, etc. Should your pet suffer from a bilateral condition, these disorders are considered as one condition.

What this means, in terms of pre-existing, is if your pet has suffered from a condition on one side of the body before your policy period, you would not be covered for the same condition if it occurred on the other side of the body, as it is classed as one condition.

For example, take cruciate ligament damage. This is a condition that can commonly occur on both legs, so if the pet has suffered with it on one leg prior to the policy start date, it would not be covered if it occurred on the other leg at a later date.

Additional advice would be to check your pet breed's common medical conditions before you purchase a pet or if your pet has recurring conditions.

Certain medical conditions are more prevalent in different types of breeds and this should be something you look at when considering a new pet.


There are limits to what pet insurance will pay for, but it's important to make the distinction between pre-existing conditions and any illness/injuries.

Pre-existing conditions are health problems that your pet already has when you first sign up for pet insurance . These conditions, which can be physical or behavioral, are not covered by most pet insurance companies.

This is because they are considered a major risk, they usually require you to pay higher premiums, sometimes significantly higher.

It is important to understand all the industry terms and how they apply to you. This is so you can have true peace of mind knowing you will have the perfect pet insurance coverage for your furry friend.

We also have our Insurance Dictionary you can read, which, I'll be honest, isn't an exciting page turner but sure is helpful.

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.

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