Bilateral Conditions: Covered by Pet Insurance?

3 min read
Apr 23, 2024

Bilateral conditions refer to a number of medical issues that can affect both sides of your pet’s body.1 However, symptoms may not always develop simultaneously, which can complicate things when it comes to figuring out what’s covered by pet insurance. Keep reading to learn more about bilateral conditions and what to expect from your pet insurance plan.

What Is a Bilateral Condition?

Bilateral conditions can impact either side (left or right) of the body, and they usually will affect both sides eventually. Examples of bilateral conditions common to pets include:1

As mentioned above, a bilateral condition can start on one side and move to the other. This is partly because many of these conditions have underlying genetic causes, but it’s also due to how some of them impact your pet’s overall physiology.1

For instance, hip dysplasia can cause weight shifting which puts abnormal stress on the hip joints. This may increase the chance of pain and development of degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis in dogs or cats.2

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Does Pet Insurance Cover Bilateral Conditions?

Most pet insurance policies won’t cover bilateral conditions if they were diagnosed before coverage began.1 That places them in the category of pre-existing conditions, which insurance policies don’t cover.3

Even bilateral conditions that develop after coverage begins won’t always be eligible for reimbursement. This is especially true if the condition developed on one side of your pet’s body after it had already manifested on the opposite side.1

A potential exception to this rule is curable conditions. If your pet develops a curable bilateral condition — such as glaucoma — years after it had previously affected one side of their body, then it might be covered as long as your pet has been symptom-free for a certain period of time after the initial diagnosis.1

Claims Story Box:

MetLife Pet members from California got reimbursed for over $9,000 after their Labrador went in for surgery to fix a cruciate rupture.4

Does MetLife Pet Insurance Cover Bilateral Conditions?

As with all pet insurance policies, a MetLife Pet dog insurance or cat insurance plan won’t cover pre-existing conditions. This includes bilateral conditions that were diagnosed prior to the beginning of coverage. Treatment for your pet’s bilateral condition might be eligible for reimbursement if the diagnosis was made after your plan’s waiting period ended. You can review the details of your policy for more information or contact our customer support line at (855) 270-7387 to learn more from our experts.

Dr. Hunter Finn has been paid by MetLife to discuss the importance of choosing pet insurance. He is an integrative veterinary expert first, and social media star second. America’s favorite veterinarian owns Pet Method in McKinney, Texas, where he cares for pets while prioritizing their emotional well-being. When he’s not at his clinic, he’s starring in viral videos on TikTok (2 million followers) and Instagram (500K followers) — where he’s been known to snuggle puppies and conquer the latest dance trends.


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**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

2 Medical review conducted by Dr. Hunter Finn, 2024

3 Based on a March 2023 review of publicly available summary information about competitors’ offerings. Competitors did not furnish copies of their policies for review. If you have questions about a particular competitor's policy or coverage, please contact them or their representative directly.

4 All claims paid amounts are based on MetLife internal claims data from October 2022. Story altered for illustrative purposes.

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

Disclosure for Maine Residents

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