What are pre-existing conditions, and how are they determined?

A pre-existing condition is any illness, condition, or injury for which signs or evidence of their potential manifestation existed within the 18 months prior to your policy’s effective date. A pre-existing condition can also be an injury or recurrence of an injury that occurred prior to your pet’s coverage effective date.

How we gather your pet’s medical history

When you sign up with Trupanion, we will request your pet’s medical records. We may reach out to any veterinarians your pet has seen at this time to gather more information. One of our experienced claim specialists will then review your pet's provided medical history to assess which conditions, if any, are pre-existing.

If you have more questions about your pet’s medical history or feel that a condition was mistakenly added to your pet’s record as pre-existing, please reach out to us! We are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.


Examples of pre-existing conditions

Actual eligibility for any condition cannot be determined until a claim is submitted. That said, here are some examples of pre-existing conditions based on real-life situations:

  • Your dog is constantly licking its paws pre-policy, enrolls, and is later diagnosed with allergies. Are the allergies eligible for coverage?
  • No, the allergies are considered pre-existing and are not covered. The incessant licking pre-policy is a clinical symptom that your dog has allergies.

  • You enroll your cat who develops a sarcoma mass on their back leg right after sign up, but before your policy’s effective date. Is the sarcoma eligible for coverage? 
  • No, the sarcoma is considered pre-existing and is not covered. That mass, and any future sarcomas are considered pre-existing because it occurred before the policy went into effect.

  • Pre policy, your dog sprained their knee. After you enroll, they developed hip dysplasia. Is the hip dysplasia eligible for coverage? 
  • Yes, the hip dysplasia is covered. Our claims specialists could find a medical disconnect between the knee injury and the hip dysplasia, so it would not be considered pre-existing.


Should I still sign up for Trupanion if my pet has pre-existing conditions?

Even if your pet has a pre-existing condition or shows symptoms hinting at a pre-existing condition, they are still eligible for coverage of any new injuries and illnesses. Often, older pets enroll with symptoms of a pre-existing condition that would not be covered. However, the older a pet gets, the more likely they are to develop new issues that may fall under coverage. 

If your pet has had multiple illnesses in their lifetime, it may be harder for any new issues to be eligible for coverage and it’s recommended you begin saving to help with any future health expenses that an insurance policy can’t cover.

Every pet's situation is unique, so we recommend reaching out to our customer care team to chat about how pre-existing conditions could affect your coverage.


How can I avoid running into issues with pre-existing conditions?

The best way to avoid facing issues with pre-existing conditions is to enroll your pet with Trupanion while they are young and healthy. The sooner you sign up, the more likely it is that any future injuries and illnesses are covered by your plan.

Think about it this way; you wouldn’t buy car insurance after you got into a wreck and expect insurance to help cover the cost of the accident. Medical insurance for pets works on the same principle; you cannot be protected from something that has already happened or is in the process of happening.


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