Pet insurance is a valuable tool that allows us to provide our pets with the care they need while alleviating the financial burden of unexpected veterinary expenses. To make the most informed decisions for your furry family members, it’s essential to understand the common terms and concepts in the world of pet insurance. We’ll help you decode the jargon and provide clarity on some common pet insurance terms to empower you to make the best possible decisions for your beloved pets.
Understanding Common Pet Insurance Terms
Accident Coverage: Most pet insurance companies will cover accidents, or incidents that occur without deliberate cause, beyond any reasonable preventative control. Common accidents include if your pet is hit by a car, if they eat something they shouldn’t like a sock, or if they’re stung by a bee. Some pet insurance companies offer Accident Only coverage, which excludes coverage for illnesses.
Alternative Therapies: Some pet parents choose to pursue more holistic treatment options for their pets either instead of or in addition to traditional veterinary medicine. These can include acupuncture, chiropractic care, and hydrotherapy.
Annual Limit: The annual limit is the maximum amount of money your pet insurance provider will reimburse you for veterinary expenses in a single policy year. This limit does not include your deductible. Some insurers offer unlimited annual limits, which may be beneficial for older pets or those prone to costly health issues.
Benefits: A general, catch-all term for what is covered by your pet insurance policy. Another word for “coverage.”
Claim: A request you submit to your pet insurance provider asking for reimbursement for a covered reason. Think of it like an invoice, or a list of services your pet received and the amount you paid for them, that you submit so you get paid back.
Congenital Conditions: A health condition your pet developed before they were born. Common congenital conditions include heart defects, FeLV (feline leukemia virus,) and cerebellar hypoplasia.
Coverage: The range of medical expenses and services your pet insurance plan will pay you back for.
Deductible: The deductible is the portion of the vet bill that you are responsible for paying out of pocket before your pet insurance coverage kicks in and you start getting reimbursed.
Effective date: The date your pet insurance policy becomes active. This is typically one day after you sign up, to allow time for processing and account set-up.
Explanation of Benefits: These documents often look like bills, but aren’t. Your explanation of benefits is a document that describes how much the insurer will cover for a submitted claim and how much the policyholder is responsible for, so you know what to expect.
Hereditary Conditions: A disease or disorder that is inherited genetically, or a predisposition for certain health conditions. These differ from congenital conditions in that they may not always be present at birth but develop later in life.
Illness Coverage: Most pet insurance companies will cover illnesses. This includes mild illnesses, like ringworm or ear infections, as well as more serious illnesses, like cancer or kidney disease.
Incident: Each illness, accident, condition, or vet visit your pet experiences, necessitating an individual claim.
Policy: The terms, conditions, and details of your insurance coverage that explain things like what is and isn’t covered and how to get reimbursed.
Policy Year or Policy Term: The span of 365 days that your insurance policy is active.
Pre-Existing Conditions: Pre-existing conditions are medical issues that your pet had or displayed symptoms of before enrolling in a pet insurance plan, regardless of whether they were formally diagnosed by a veterinarian or not.
Premium: Your pet insurance premium is the amount you pay regularly–typically monthly–to maintain your coverage.
Reimbursement: Reimbursement is the percentage of your vet bill that your pet insurance provider will pay back to you after you’ve covered the initial cost (your deductible.)
Waiting Periods: Most pet insurance plans come with waiting periods, which are specified time frames during which your coverage is not yet effective.
Now that you’re well-equipped to navigate the pet insurance world, get started with a quote today!