If you’re wondering if it’s possible to find pet insurance for cats with preexisting conditions, you’re in for a real challenge.
Don’t worry, though, there is a little hope!
Today, we’ll talk about which pet insurers cover some preexisting conditions for cats, as well as the requirements to get the coverage.
First, though, let’s define preexisting conditions vs congenital issues, as you’ll need to understand the difference.
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Difference Between Preexisting and Congenital Condition
As you’ll see below, pet insurance companies treat preexisting conditions and congenital issues very differently, so let’s discuss what each one is a bit.
What is a Preexisting Condition?
A preexisting condition is exactly what it sounds like: a condition that existed before you enrolled in the health insurance plan.
Here’s the thing, this condition doesn’t even need to be diagnosed. Your cat just has to have symptoms for it to be considered preexisting by most insurers.
So, if you’re thinking, “I just won’t tell them that Kitty has a bad paw, I’ll just enroll her and THEN take her to the vet,” think again.
- First, it’s fraud, and fraud is a very, very bad thing.
- Second, ALL insurance companies have a wait time before coverage starts, with the lowest being two weeks. You can’t make kitty go 2 weeks without care!
- Third, your vet can tell whether your cat sprained her paw that morning or two weeks ago. She can tell whether Kitty has had a cold for days or hours. She can tell. Period.
What is a Congenital Condition?
A congenital condition is an issue that your cat first acquired before birth. This includes things like heart disease, nerve issues, and more.
For the most part, pet insurance companies WILL cover these.
They’ll also cover conditions that your cat is prone to based on breed or genetics, as long as your cat doesn’t have them when you enroll.
- if your cat was born with a condition or MIGHT get a condition in the future, it’s likely covered.
- if Kitty develops it after birth but before enrolling, it’s likely NOT covered.
Now, let’s talk about pet insurance for cats with preexisting conditions. I’ll warn you, it’s a little bleak from here on out.
Pet Insurance for Cats with Preexisting Conditions
I’m going to be blatantly honest here: getting pet insurance for a cat with preexisting conditions is NOT going to be easy by a long shot.
Like I said, though, there is still a little hope. Let’s take a look at some of the top pet insurers and their preexisting conditions rules.
Then, we’ll discuss what to do if your cat doesn’t meet the requirements and you desperately need help covering their medical conditions.
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Check out the table below for a quick overview of each company.
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1. Embrace Pet Insurance Review
The Embrace Plan covers a wide range of medical conditions as well as wellness visits. In fact, it’s one of the few that covers exam fees!
The deductible and co-pay amounts vary depending on your needs and preferences, so I can’t even begin to tell you what to expect on that front.
- Type of Deductible: Annual
- Policy types: Personalized plans, which is why there aren’t any straight-forward pricing details.
- Key benefits: No Lifetime Limits, Covers Alternative Therapies, Covers Exam Fees
Embrace Plan’s Preexisting Conditions Policy
For the most part, Embrace Pet Insurance states that they DO NOT cover preexisting conditions, BUT they also differentiate between curable and incurable diseases.
According to their FAQs, issues related to curable preexisting conditions will not be covered during the first year. However, after that, they MAY cover it.
Here’s what they have to say about it:
If your pet’s medical history shows no further episodes subsequent to this then, at our discretion, we will reinstate coverage for these conditions moving forward.
Note the words, “at our discretion.” This means they might cover it…or they might not. The only way to find out is to talk to them about it.
►►Get a FREE quote from Embrace Pet Insurance for more details.
2. Trupanion Pet Insurance Review
One of the best things about Trupanion: they pay the vet directly, rather than reimbursing you for the visit.
You can also choose your own deductible (including $0). Just keep in mind that lower deductible means higher premiums.
- Type of Deductible: Lifetime per condition
- Caps: No payout limits
- Key benefits: Vets get paid directly, covers dietary supplements
Trupanion Preexisting Conditions Rules
Sorry, but Trupanion doesn’t cover preexisting conditions, either. I told you this was going to be hard.
However, like others, Trupanion WILL cover congenital conditions and other conditions that certain breeds are likely to inherit, including diabetes.
►►Get a FREE quote from Trupanion for more details.
3. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Review
While Healthy Paws doesn’t cover preexisting conditions, they do have a few notable benefits that make them a great choice for cat insurance.
First, after Embrace, they have the shortest wait time to actually use your insurance (15 days, compared to Trupanion’s 30-day wait).
They’re also one of the very few handful of companies that cover alternative therapies.
Again, the fees and coverage will vary, but some things you can expect:
- Type of Deductible: Annual
- Caps: No incident, annual or lifetime caps
- Key benefits: 99% of claims processed in just 2 days
Healthy Paws Preexisting Conditions Rules
Like the others above, Healthy Paws does not cover preexisting conditions (even if they were never diagnosed). However, they will cover genetic conditions.
For example: your cat is prone to a certain type of cancer, but shows no signs of it when you enroll. Five years later, she develops the cancer. Healthy Paws will cover that.
Healthy Paws also covers chronic conditions that start after enrollment.
►►Get a FREE quote from Healthy Paws for more details.
It’s hard for me to recommend one of the above more than the others because they all bring something different to the table.
However, if you told me that the fate of the world rested on me picking one, I’d go with Embrace, mainly because they cover well visits, too.
On the other hand, I do like that Trupanion pays vets directly, so you don’t have to shell out money that you don’t have.
Where can you get help for cats with preexisting conditions?
In the human world, if you’re sick, the ER can’t turn you away, even if you can’t afford to pay.
Sure, you’ll rack up medical bills that will have to be dealt with at some point, but at least you know you always have some sort of option to save your life.
Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for pets. If you can’t pay, vets can (and most will) refuse to see your cat.
So, what can you do if you’re broke and pet insurance won’t cover an issue? I’ve been there, my friends, I’ve been there.
Here’s what I did as well as some things I had “on tap” to try in case the first things didn’t work out.
1. “Shop” around & explain your situation
First things first, talk to different vets not only to find the best price, but also to explain your situation and see if they’re willing to help.
My cat Willow has pica (she eats nonedible things, like plastic). Years ago, before we knew about her condition, she managed to swallow the plastic ring around the cap of a milk jug.
Needless to say, she got very backed up from it and needed a major poop extraction!
The problem? We were seriously struggling and could barely afford rent, let alone a $400 vet bill!
We called around and explained the situation to numerous vets before finally finding one that was willing to take what we could afford ($80).
So, as you can see, it really does pay to “shop” around for a vet with compassion.
2. See if your local animal shelter has a clinic
Many local animal shelters either have their own in-house clinic that’s open to the public or a clinic that isn’t public but will still take patients.
Our local shelter opened a clinic about three years ago, and their prices are significantly lower than the other vets in the area. For example:
- An exam fee costs $38, versus $65 just to walk in the door at our previous vet’s office.
- Neutering my cat cost $75, versus about $200 at the vet down the street.
- Euthanasia (for our 14-year-old German Shepherd who was suffering) was $75, versus $250.
Even if your local shelter doesn’t have a clinic, they definitely have a vet that they work with on a discounted basis and may be able to help you out.
3. Contact a non-profit organization
Your next option is to contact a non-profit that helps low-income or financially strapped families pay for vet bills. A few options include:
In all cases, you do need to apply and meet their requirements. Most only cover non-basic and non-emergency issues.
4. Appeal to other animal lovers
Never underestimate the compassion of other animal lovers. If you’re in a bad situation and need help, consider starting a crowdfunding campaign.
Not sure where to start? GoFundMe is a popular choice. You can also try these:
5.Apply for Care Credit or something similar
I put this as the “last resort” option for a couple of reasons. First, Care Credit is essentially a credit card, which means you’ll have to pay interest.
Second, it’s hard to get approved if you have bad credit. It’s really a Catch-22.
You apply because you can’t afford to pay for emergency treatment, but you get denied because you can’t afford to pay for emergency treatment.
Still, if you have decent credit but just don’t have money at the moment to cover an emergency, it’s worth a try.
It’s really difficult to hear that you can’t get pet insurance for cats with a preexisting condition when you need it most, I know.
I wish I could say, “get this insurance and you’ll be covered,” but it just doesn’t work like that. Still, the above options are a good place to start for congenital issues!
Do you know of any pet insurance for cats with preexisting conditions? If so, please let us know!
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief and one of the writers here on CatVills. She’s been a cat lover most of her life and-at one point- counted five felines as part of her family. Today, she’s proud cat mom to two indoor kitties and caregiver for a slew of ferals.