A chronic condition is a disease that will need long-term (ongoing) treatment after it manifests itself and diagnosis and treatment is started. Many chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes) can be treated and controlled for several years, allowing the pet to live a relatively normal (symptom free) life.
Why is coverage for chronic conditions an important factor to consider when purchasing pet insurance? Because every pet, if they live long enough, will develop one or more chronic conditions that will require ongoing treatment - sometimes for years. Some pets can manifest symptoms of a chronic condition relatively young in life e.g. allergies.
How do companies handle coverage for chronic conditions?
- Some company policies don't cover chronic conditions. For example, if your dog develops diabetes two weeks before your renewal date, the diabetes is only covered for two weeks because when you renew your policy, the company considers the diabetes a pre-existing condition.
- Some company policies have limited coverage for chronic conditions. they offer a per condition lifetime maximum and a lifetime maximum for all chronic conditions combined. For example, if a pet has arthritis, kidney failure, and diabetes, the policy might have a $2500 lifetime limit for each condition, but a $6,000 limit for all conditions combined.
- Some company policies cover chronic conditions just like any other illness. Therefore, coverage for all injuries and illnesses (including chronic) combined are covered up to the full per-incident and/or annual maximum which is reinstated every year upon renewal.
As you are choosing a company to insure your pet, you need to know how each company handles coverage for chronic conditions. From a veterinarian's perspective, I consider it an important factor because many of the problems that I diagnose and treat day in and day out are chronic conditions.