Skip to content
Do you need pet insurance?

Pre-existing conditions and pet insurance

Unfortunately, Sainsbury’s Bank can’t offer pet insurance for pre-existing conditions. But that doesn’t mean your pet has to go without cover.

We’ve pulled together a collection of next steps you can take to protect your pet. We’ll explain how you can still get insurance that’ll cover them for future illnesses and conditions.

Can I get pet insurance for pre-existing conditions?

While we cannot provide pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions, there are other policies which can cover your pet.

Under any policy, terms, conditions, excesses, exclusions and limitations apply. In some instances, your pet’s pre-existing conditions could be deemed an exclusion to your policy.

Pets can be surprisingly resilient though, and sometimes they can recover from pre-existing conditions. We really hope that happens – and if it does, we may be able to review your pet’s cover.

Either way, you could still have options for any future trouble your companion might find itself running into.

Why can’t I get pet insurance for pre-existing conditions?

When you have an uninsured pet, it can be stressful or confusing when you struggle to find cover for that illness. But there are a few reasons why we cannot offer premiums for pre-existing illnesses.

Cost to the policyholder

We want to make sure our pet insurance is affordable to all. There is pet insurance designed for pre-existing conditions, however, premiums on policies like this can be more expensive, which is one of the reasons we do not offer this type of cover.

That’s because there is a much higher chance a pre-existing illness will need veterinary treatment and an insurance policy may need to pay out. Consequently, an insurer will need to charge a higher monthly premium to cover these much more likely costs.

Different types of conditions and illnesses

Pet insurance for pre-existing conditions can’t be quoted on a ‘one-size fits all’ basis. Some ailments are worse than others, and to get an accurate quote, all outcomes would need to be considered. 

Again, keeping our premiums as low as we can for you is something we pride ourselves on.

What counts as a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition is defined as any illness, injury, or symptom (isolated or ongoing) that your pet has – or is suffering from, prior to the start date of your policy.

Depending on a pet’s time without symptoms, your insurer may choose to allow it. However, anything that has affected your pet during its lifetime should be mentioned, even if it’s an old condition. 

That also includes any previous discussions with your vet or other professionals about your pet’s health and behaviour; even if treatment wasn’t required, or you were told it was nothing to worry about.

The main thing to remember is, to make sure you’re covered correctly, it’s essential to disclose everything.

That’s a lot to take in, so here’s a list of things that could be considered a pre-existing medical condition.


This includes:

  • Signs or symptoms of a diagnosed illness
  • Signs or symptoms of an undiagnosed illness
  • An existing established illness

For example, if your pup is struggling with a runny nose, cough and a fever, that could be a sign of dog flu (canine influenza).

While this may be a short-term illness, it could result in other issues down the line. It’s important you share this information with your insurer even if your pet has made a full recovery.

Other illnesses to mention could include:

  • Infections
  • Coughs
  • Viruses


Injuries can be classed as:

  • Intestinal parasites
  • Cuts, burns or bruises
  • Limps or old wounds
  • Damaged bones or muscles

Whether it’s a limp, an old injury seemingly recovered from or damage to an ear, any of these could be classed as pre-existing conditions. It’s always worth mentioning old ailments, just in case they may end up voiding a policy if not disclosed.

That goes for any new injuries picked up during the initial few days of a policy being taken out. It’s important to be super vigilant and keep an eye on your pet’s condition during those initial days.

Chronic and hereditary conditions

Some breeds of dog, cat or rabbit may have notable long-term issues, or your companion may suffer, just as you might, with asthma. 

The below examples are the main ones that spring to mind when talking about pet insurance for existing conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Glaucoma

Other long-term and permanent conditions you may not think to mention include obesity and allergies. If your pet is currently taking medication to combat allergies or has been recommended for a weight loss program, these will need to be disclosed when getting a quote.

What pet insurance cover do you offer?

If you’re looking to cover your pets for accidental bumps, scrapes and illnesses that could appear in the future, you’re not out of options. While pre-existing conditions may be excluded, you can still cover those other unforeseen and unpredictable circumstances.

There are a range of cover types from Sainsbury’s Bank

Cover that lasts a lifetime for cats, dogs and rabbits


Cover that lasts a lifetime for cats, dogs and rabbits

12-month insurance cover for your companion

Time limited

12-month insurance cover for your companion

Get all the benefits for your cat and dog with our cover

Maximum benefit

Get all the benefits for your cat and dog with our cover

While Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance won’t cover pre-existing conditions, these policies can provide protection for new conditions once your pets’ plan is in place. Generally, most policies can cover new conditions that arise as long as they are not linked to a previous condition.

Each policy has different benefits and exceptions, as well as terms and conditions. So it’s worth doing your research to see what’s best for you and your pet.

Don’t worry, just because your pet may have a pre-existing condition, in most cases it doesn’t exempt them from insurance altogether. So, you can make sure they’re protected, should something happen in the future.

Helpful guides for your pet

Understand pet insurance for your pawesome pal

Pet insurance explained

Understand pet insurance for your pawesome pal

We explain why cover is important for your pet

Do you need pet insurance?

We explain why cover is important for your pet

Your pets deserve the best so let them know it

Taking care of your pet

Your pets deserve the best so let them know it

Ready to insure your pet today?

Whether they’ve got adventurous paws, or they prefer the comfort of your couch, you never know what trouble your four-legged friend might find themselves in. Get a quote today and insure your pet with Sainsbury’s Bank.

Already have pet insurance?

You can take care of your policy wherever you are by logging into our online portal.

Want to make a claim?

We’ve made it easy to start making a claim for your poorly pet. Simply check in with us and start a claim.

Need to talk to us?

We’re always here to help you and provide advice, guidance and support when you need it most. Get in touch and we can assist.

Frequently asked questions

How do pet insurance providers know about pre-existing conditions?

Most insurance companies can determine pre-existing conditions, based on your pets’ medical records. That means that any diagnoses or notes can be identified before the policy waiting period. But, you still must notify your insurer about pre-existing conditions.

What pet insurance covers pre-existing conditions?

Other insurers may offer specialised cover for pre-existing conditions, or exceptions for certain types of conditions. It’s best to do your research and compare these policies, as there may be differences in cost, the length of cover, excesses etc. 

Can I get pet insurance before surgery?

You can, although your policy won’t cover any surgery within a 14 day period of your policy start date or as a result of a pre-existing condition. So, that means you can get covered for unrelated future conditions, but not cover specifically for surgery you were aware of before the policy start date.

Are allergies considered a pre-existing condition for pet insurance?

Allergies can be classed as a form of pre-existing condition, as they could lead to complications for your pet. If you’re uncertain what counts, contact your insurer.

Still have questions?

Don’t worry, there’s plenty more advice in our FAQ section. Head over there to find out more info about our policies, general pet care advice and support.

Sainsbury's Bank plc acts as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered Office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX. Sainsbury’s Bank plc and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group. 

Guaranteed discount for Nectar members: The discount is based on information related to you and the transactions you've made with Sainsbury's supermarkets and Sainsbury's Bank using your Nectar card. For more information go to