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My biggest concern with most companies is they don't cover conditions diagnosed before the policy... I really want to insure my 1 yr old Aussie and 8 mo GSD but they have had several recurring ailments that have had us in and out of the vet several several times so far. One has had food allergies that has caused diarrhea that the doctor said could possibly have been ibs, so I'd be afraid that the insurance wouldn't cover anything digestion-related. My other had food allergies that caused rash and itching, and itching eventually turned bacterial... So I'm worried about future skin problems not being covered and paying all this insurance but not being able to utilize it some of the times. Anyone have experience with this kind of situation?
Do you think insuring them now would still be a good idea? I'm just afraid I'd somehow get screwed.... Definitely for my boys' best interest but I'm a young college guy and money is very tight. Thanks for any suggestions!
 

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I really want to insure my 1 yr old Aussie and 8 mo GSD but they have had several recurring ailments that have had us in and out of the vet several several times so far. One has had food allergies that has caused diarrhea that the doctor said could possibly have been ibs, so I'd be afraid that the insurance wouldn't cover anything digestion-related.
Different companies handle pre-existing conditions differently. Some will exclude very broad categories of illness such as "digestion related." Depending on the nature of the illness other companies will make an exclusion temporarily and more narrowly. Obviously the second type of company is better.

For example I put a three year old rescue dog on Embrace who had a benign tumor removed before the policy went into effect. In order to prevent surprises you must always have the policy *underwritten* as soon as possible after it takes effect. Otherwise you may not know about exclusions until you submit a claim. At first the Embrace underwriters wanted to exclude any form of cancer, which was ridiculous because their documentation showed them the tumor was benign.

I pursued this with them and eventually they came around to excluding only a recurrence of the benign tumor, no mention of cancer.

For various reasons, I switched this dog to Pet Plan before I ever submitted a claim to Embrace. Once again I had the policy underwritten immediately. Pet Plan picked up on the tumor but since it was a common, minor problem, they only excluded it for the first year of the policy. That was seven years ago and I've been happy with Pet Plan ever since. I insured my nine month old puppy last year and there were no exclusions at all.

This is what I would do if I were you: take out a policy for the dog you are most concerned about with one of the better companies, such as Pet Plan, Healthy Paws, Embrace or Trupanion. I believe these companies allow you a thirty day period to cancel the policy and receive a refund. As soon as possible submit all of your vet records to the company with a specific request for the policy to be underwritten. Make sure you follow up to confirm they are working on the policy and have everything they need. Once they render a decision on exclusions make sure they make sense and question them if they don't. Once you arrive at a mutual agreement on the exclusions, take the report to your vet. Ask him/her what possible problems could arise with the dog that the policy would now exclude and see if you can live with that.

If you can't, cancel the policy and get a refund. Obviously, depending on your patience you could try this with more than one company and more than one dog. Good luck!
 
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