Changes to pre-existing conditions on Bow Wow Meow policies
Taking the pain out of pre-existing conditions
To help pet parents get the most from their pet insurance, we are making some changes as to how pre-existing conditions are handled for all Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance policies from 1 December 2020.
What is a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition refers to any health condition (diagnosed or otherwise) that your pet has shown signs of before the purchase of a pet insurance policy (or its applicable waiting period). In the past, these have not been covered under our pet insurance policies.
Not all pre-existing conditions are created equal. To help pet parents claim for more eligible conditions, pre-existing conditions are now assessed depending on whether they are considered a temporary or a chronic condition.
A temporary pre-existing condition is a pet health condition that usually resolves with treatment.
From now on, temporary pre-existing conditions will be removed from your policy as an exclusion automatically if your pet hasn’t shown signs of that condition for 18 months or more.
A chronic pre-existing condition is a pet health condition that requires ongoing care or is more prolonged in nature, so if your pet displays one of these conditions prior to the purchase of a pet insurance policy or its waiting period, it will never be coverable under the policy.
Examples of chronic conditions include:
- Cruciate ligament conditions
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Patella luxation
- Endocrine diseases
- Any other chronic condition
An important reminder that these exclusions only relate to pre-existing conditions.
If your pet requires treatment after the purchase of a pet insurance policy and its waiting period, all conditions outlined in the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement will be eligible for cover for the life of the policy.
How will this work in practice?
Let’s take a quick look at some examples to help illustrate the difference between a temporary pre-existing condition (which can be removed as an exclusion after the 18 month asymptomatic period), and a chronic pre-existing condition (which will always be excluded if pre-existing).
Example 1: Bella’s Gastroenteritis
Before taking out a pet insurance policy, your dog Bella has a case of Gastroenteritis (a tummy upset). The condition is treated and Bella recovers. Following the surprise episode, you decide to purchase a pet insurance policy for Bella.
Two years later, Bella has another unrelated case of Gastroenteritis. Can you claim for this condition?
Yes! This is because her Gastroenteritis is considered a temporary condition as it resolved with treatment, and the two episodes were not related. There was also more than 18 months between each condition, so it’s not on the list of excluded conditions in the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) .
Example 2: Archie’s Luxating Patella
You’ve noticed your pet Archie is limping a little on his rear leg. Your Vet diagnoses him with a Luxating Patella (a dislocating kneecap).
15 days ago, you took out pet insurance for Archie, meaning you’re currently mid-way through the policy’s waiting period for this condition. That means treatment for this condition is not covered by your policy, given it arose during the applicable waiting period (as outlined in the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement or PDS).
Two years later, Archie requires surgery for the Patella Luxation. Can you claim for this condition?
No. You and your Vet were both aware of this condition during the pet insurance policy’s waiting period, so it will not be eligible for cover (as outlined in the policy’s PDS). Patella Luxation is also defined as a chronic condition in the policy’s PDS, so as a result it remains ineligible for cover two years later.
Example 3: Max’s Demodex Mites
Your puppy Max had Demodex Mites 18 months before getting a pet insurance policy, which resolved with treatment from your Vet.
Two years later, Max is diagnosed with a new case of Demodex Mites. Can you claim for this condition?
Yes! The first episode of Demodex Mites was a temporary condition that resolved with treatment, and it would. not be considered an excluded condition in the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). Max also didn’t show signs, symptoms or abnormality in relation to the condition for more than 18 months.
Want a pre-existing condition reviewed on your policy?
From 1 December 2020, all temporary pre-existing conditions will automatically be removed from your pet insurance policy as an exclusion if your pet hasn’t shown signs or symptoms of that condition for 18 months or more, so there is nothing more for you to do.
As outlined above, a chronic pre-existing condition is a pet health condition that requires ongoing care or is more prolonged in nature, so if your pet displays one of these conditions prior to the purchase of his/her pet insurance policy or its waiting period, it will never be coverable under the policy.
If you would still like to have a pre-existing condition on your pet insurance policy reviewed, you can do so anytime. Simply complete the pre-existing condition policy review form found here ,with your Vet and we’ll take care of the rest.
Where can I find the details of these changes in my Product Disclosure Statement?
We’ll be issuing new Product Disclosure Statements that outline all of these new terms shortly. You’ll find this available on our website here as of 1st March 2021.
For our existing customers, after 1st March 2021 you’ll receive a new Product Disclosure Statement with your renewal documentation.