Pet Insurance Glossary – Words You Need to Know

Pet Insurance Glossary – Words You Need to Know

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As you shop for pet insurance, there are several terms you will see over and over.

  • Accident – an accident is an unexpected or unintended action that results in Injury to your pet.
  • Alternative Therapy – these are treatments or medications that are not considered a part of traditional medicine and includes: acupuncture, chiropractic, holistic, homeopathic, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy or rehabilitative.
  • Annual Coverage Limits – Some health insurance policies only pay for health care up to a certain dollar amount per year. The insured pet may be expected to pay any charges in excess of the pet health plans maximum.
  • Benefit Schedule – One pet insurance company reimburses pet owners based on a benefit schedule (VPI). Benefit schedules set limits or payment amounts on how much they will reimburse for a given problem. For example – if your dog has an intestinal upset – VPI’s comprehensive plan will pay up to $630 for that diagnosis and up to $315 for the economic plan.
  • Co-insurance – also referred to as co-pay is the amount that the insurance company will pay vs. what you will be required to pay. This is a common variable that you will need to choose when picking a pet insurance policy. Common co-insurance percentages are 70%, 80% and 90%. If the pet insurance pays 90%, then you will be required to pay 10%.
  • Condition – a condition is also referred to as an illness, disease, or medical problem.
  • Congenital Condition – is a medical disorder that is present at birth.
  • Copay – See Co-insurance.
  • Covered Expenses – Expenses that are “usual and customary” costs for expenses that are eligible for coverage under your policy. “Unusual” or excessive charges are not covered under some policies.
  • Coverage Limits – Some health insurance policies only pay for health care up to a certain dollar amount. The insured pet may be expected to pay any charges in excess of the pet health plans maximum. Also – coverage may refer to the medical conditions “covered” under the policy.
  • Deductible – is the amount that is not insured and needs to be paid out of pocket before the health insurer pays their share. For example an annual deductible of $100 is the amount the insurance company will require off the top of the bill. Most pet insurance are annual but some are also per incident.
  • Diagnostics – are the tests used to diagnose a condition, disease or illness. These tests may include laboratory tests, radiographs (x-rays), Urinalysis, MRI or CT scans.
  • Eligibility – The term eligibility generally refers to if a pet will quality for the pet insurance coverage. Eligibility will generally refer to if the pet meets the age limitations and lives in the country of coverage.
  • Explanation of Benefits – A document explaining what is covered for a medical service, and how payment amount and patient responsibility amount were determined.
  • Genetic Condition – is a medical disorder that is inherited.
  • General Care Coverage – See under Wellness Coverage.
  • Guarantee – is the warranty or promise that if you are not satisfied with the pet insurance policy that you can cancel without penalty or obligation. Most (but not all) pet insurance companies offer a 30 day guarantee providing no claims are made during that period of time.
  • Hereditary Condition – is a medical disorder that is inherited by your pet. It can present early or later in life.
  • Illness – an illness is described as an disease or sickness.
  • Incident – is the occurrence of a problem or event such as an illness, injury or accident.
  • Lifetime Coverage Limits – Some health insurance policies only pay for health care up to a certain dollar amount in a pets lifetime. The insured pet may be expected to pay any charges in excess of the pet health plans maximum.
  • Pet Health insurance –  Is insurance against the risk of incurring medical expenses of pets.
  • Policy Period – is the period of time that your coverage or your policy is in effect.
  • Pre-Existing Condition – is any illness, injury, condition or disease that was present prior to the pet insurance policy being in effect.
  • Premium – Is the amount the policyholder pays to the health plan to purchase health coverage. Most premiums are charged monthly however some companies offer discounts if you pay yearly.
  • Reimbursement – Is the amount compensated or recompensed to you after submission of a claim.

Is Pet Insurance Right for you?

The best pet insurance offers coverage that’s broad enough for whatever care your pet needs and with enough options to get the perfect coverage for you and your pet.


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