Can You Switch Pet Insurance? Here's What You Need To Know

by Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent
Pawlicy Advisor
Pet Insurance Blog
Can You Switch Pet Insurance?
Want to change your pet insurance? Unlike auto insurance, hopping around for lower rates is often not recommended. Here’s what to consider before switching.

Sometimes people switch insurance companies to take advantage of a new incentive. This is especially common with auto insurance carriers. However, switching from one pet insurance company to another can be risky.

You may feel like your current plan doesn’t offer enough coverage, or you might want to take advantage of a lower rate offered by a competitor.

Can you switch your pet insurance?

The quick answer is yes. You can change pet insurance providers at any time. The more detailed answer is there are several risks you should be aware of before deciding on a new provider.

How to Compare Plans

See Quotes From Top Providers Side-By-Side

What to Consider Before Switching Pet Insurance

You May Lose Coverage of Some Conditions

Any medical condition your pet has that is covered by your current plan may not be covered by a new insurance provider, because the health issue would be considered a “pre-existing condition” at the time of enrollment. No company offers pet insurance for pre-existing conditions; they will only cover unrelated illnesses that arise once the policy is in effect.

Note: Some pet insurance providers will cover “curable” conditions, like FIV in cats or ear infections in dogs, after no symptoms are present for a predetermined amount of time.

woman kissing cat's cheek

If you’re thinking about switching pet insurance companies, first ask yourself if your pet has developed any health problems since initially signing up. Those whose pets currently receive coverage for chronic conditions — such as hip dysplasia or allergic dermatitis — will no longer get reimbursed for the money spent on related out-of-pocket vet costs. Unlike human health insurance, you may not be able to switch providers without losing coverage on any conditions that arose while enrolled with your current provider.

If you’re wondering whether you can switch plans while sticking with the same provider, the answer is usually yes. Your ability to upgrade or downgrade your plan for more or less coverage will differ on a case-by-case basis depending on the individual insurance provider’s guidelines. Some may allow you to make changes once the policy is in effect, while others may require you to wait until a year past the enrollment date before the policy renews annually.

If you haven’t purchased a plan yet, and are doing some research ahead of time to avoid being stuck with a decision you regret - smart move! It’s super important to choose the right pet insurance up front, because switching can be risky. That said, most pet insurance companies do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee should you change your mind right after enrollment.

Pro Tip: Use Pawlicy Advisor’s free analysis tool to enroll in a great pet insurance plan from the start. See custom comparison charts, identify key coverage gaps that matter most for your breed, and understand which policy offers the best lifetime value.

How to Compare Plans

See Quotes From Top Providers Side-By-Side

Be Aware of Mandatory Waiting Periods

If your pet is still young and healthy, then changing pet insurance may not be a big deal since you won’t have to worry about the loss of coverage for any medical condition.

But keep in mind that there may be a mandatory waiting period before your new policy kicks in. It may be wise to keep paying for your existing plan until the mandatory waiting period is over. This way, you won’t suffer a lapse in coverage should an unfortunate accident or illness occur.

The one downside to this strategy is that you may end up paying for two pet insurance plans at the same time, at least for a little while. The choice is up to you, but if you end your existing plan too soon, your pet may not have coverage for illnesses and medical emergencies during the waiting period.

Pro Tip: Compare mandatory waiting periods for top pet insurance companies to get a sense of how long you might have to go unprotected by ending your existing coverage before the next policy goes into effect.

dog kisses man on the phone

You’ll Need to Weigh Costs and Savings

If your biggest concern is the cost of pet insurance, you may be tempted to switch for a better rate. Before you do, compare your potential lifetime insurance costs with each plan. You may find that a new plan that offers immediate savings at a reduced rate, could ultimately cost more in the long run if premiums spike as your pet ages. Also, note that cheaper plans with less coverage or low maximum payouts may result in more money spent out-of-pocket on vet visit costs each year.

If your pet has any pre-existing conditions, it’s essential to compare the ongoing cost of treatment you’ll be responsible for against how much you could save on annual insurance premiums.

Some pre-existing conditions are negligible and can be managed well on their own. In these cases, you may decide to switch to a new plan even if it means losing coverage. Remember that some life-long illnesses can grow more severe over time, and a condition that is affordable to treat right now might become more expensive down the road. If that’s the case, maintaining coverage of that condition over your pet’s lifetime may outweigh any immediate savings you’d get from a new plan.

How to Compare Plans

See Quotes From Top Providers Side-By-Side

>Other Considerations

There are other reasons to change pet insurance providers beyond cost and savings.

You may want to switch to a plan that offers better pet insurance for senior pets to ensure your four-legged friend has all the coverage they need to age comfortably. Or, you could be moving to another state where your current insurance provider isn’t licensed to operate, causing you to switch out of necessity. Maybe you’re fed up with your current company or dissatisfied with how long it takes to process claims and receive reimbursement, so you want to switch to another that offers better service or customer support.

No matter your situation, it’s always best to keep your pet insured. They could develop health conditions in the future, and you’ll need to have a pet insurance plan in place to ensure they’re covered — and that your wallet is, too.

The best way to save money and get the best value over your pet’s lifetime is with Pawlicy Advisor. Instantly compare your personalized pet insurance quotes today.

Key Takeaways

  • Changing pet insurance with pre-existing conditions can be risky, as the new provider may not provide coverage for an illness or injury that’s been diagnosed prior to enrollment — meaning you would not receive reimbursement for related treatment costs.
  • Be aware of how long your pet may go unprotected between policies in effect, as well as the financial risk you could face for unexpected veterinary bills during the mandatory waiting period.
  • Evaluate the immediate and long-term cost vs. savings you stand to gain before switching pet insurance providers, especially if your pet has pre-existing conditions.

Kari Steer, Licensed P&C Insurance Agent at Pawlicy Advisor

About the author

Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent

Customer Support - Pawlicy Advisor

Kari Steere is a licensed P&C insurance agent in all 50 states and has focused entirely on pet insurance since 2019. As an animal lover with a rescued Terrier named Barry, when she's not helping pet owners find the perfect plan on Pawlicy Advisor, she runs a ranch in Oregon and rehabilitates any animals that come across her path.

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