dog school teacher wearing glasses and black necktie in front of a blackboard

The ABCs of Pet Insurance

When it comes to the world of pet insurance, there can be a long list of confusing terms and definitions. With such a long list of insurance-related words, it can become confusing or overwhelming when it comes to choosing an insurance plan.

You should make sure you fully understand what you’re getting with a pet insurance plan before purchasing. Become pet insurance savvy by reading over our pet insurance definitions and other important coverage information.

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet Insurance [pet in-shoo r-uh ns]


1. Reimbursement-based coverage for vet bills when your pet gets hurt or sick.

Note the part of our definition that says hurt or sick. Why do we define pet insurance this way? Because most pet insurance plans do not include coverage for preventive care – they only cover costs associated with accidents, injuries, and illnesses. However, some providers allow you to add preventive care coverage to your plan for a little more money per month.

In case you’re on the fence about your pet insurance provider’s preventive care coverage, you don’t need to fret about making an immediate decision. Most providers that offer preventive coverage usually allow you to add it later if you skip it initially. For instance, with our plans, you can add preventive care coverage at the start of a new plan period.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Overall, pet insurance works quite similar to human health insurance. After visiting your veterinarian, you simply pay your pet’s bill as you normally would, but you also submit your claim online, with our app, or by mail. After your claim is submitted, all you have to do is wait, and you will receive your reimbursement for the items that your plan covers.

It is important to note that some differences will exist between various insurance plans.

black and white cat sitting on a womans lap in front of a computer screen at home

How Much Will Pet Insurance Cover?

The amount you will receive back on your pet’s covered healthcare needs will depend on your plan’s coverage limits, deductible, and reimbursement percentage.

Asking yourself what those terms mean? Here are our definitions:

Coverage Limits [kuhv-rij lim-its]


1. The maximum amount a pet insurance provider will pay for your claims.

Not all coverage limits are the same. Having an annual coverage limit versus a per-incident coverage limit makes a big difference. Be certain you know what kind of limit a pet insurance provider offers before enrolling in one of their plans.

If you go with a plan that allows you to choose a higher annual coverage limit, you’re likely to get more coverage overall than you would with a plan that has a per-incident limit.

Deductible [dih-duhk-tuh-buh l]


1. The amount you must pay for covered veterinary costs before you can start being reimbursed.

Given the definition of deductible, you may be wondering, “How do deductibles work for pet insurance?”

Pet insurance deductibles work nearly the same way as any other insurance deductible. As mentioned previously, there are also annual and per-incident deductibles. Depending on how many incidents occur in a plan period, you may find that one deductible, in particular, will fit you and your pet’s needs the best. It is worth noting that an annual deductible only has to be met once per plan period rather than for each incident.

Reimbursement Percentage [ree-im-burs-muh nt per-sen-tij]


1. The percentage of covered costs paid back to you after your deductible is satisfied.

So, how does pet insurance reimbursement work?

Typically, pet insurance providers reimburse customers for a percentage of the covered veterinary costs. This is after the deductible is met, of course. It’s important to know what your reimbursement options are. Some pet insurance providers offer reimbursement percentages in the range of 70-100%.

Pet Insurance Pre-Existing Conditions

Pet insurance providers do not typically cover pre-existing conditions. Each provider may have their own definition of a pre-existing condition.

Here is ours:

Pre-existing Condition [pree-ig-zist-ing kuh n-dish-uh n]


1. Illness, disease, injury, or change to a pet’s health that occurs or shows symptoms before coverage is effective or during a waiting period.

The exclusion of pre-existing conditions could make anyone skeptical, but there is sometimes more leeway with it than you’d think. For instance, we will no longer consider a curable condition to be pre-existing if your pet has been cured of it and treatment-free and symptom-free for 180 days, with the exception of knee and ligament conditions. Therefore, the condition could be eligible for coverage at a later point in time.

It’s best to enroll your pet as early as possible to avoid future conditions being considered pre-existing.

Pet Insurance Waiting Period

Waiting periods apply to many pet insurance plans, so that is something you’ll want to check for when researching coverage offered by different companies.

What is a waiting period?

Waiting Period [wey-ting peer-ee-uh d]


1. The amount of time that must pass before coverage can start.

For example, we have a 14-day waiting period for illnesses, ligament issues, and accidents. There are no waiting periods for preventive care coverage. Our waiting periods only apply in a customer’s first 12-month plan period.

Is Pet Health Insurance Worth the Cost?

This is a common question among pet parents considering pet insurance. Many may wonder if putting aside money every month into a savings account is more worthwhile than investing in insurance.

It’s important to keep in mind that some procedures and treatments can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which could add up to be the total amount of money you had saved. However, if your pet is covered through one of our insurance plans, you could get reimbursed for a large portion of your total bill cost after you pay your veterinary bill and file a claim.

Accidents and unexpected injuries are just that—unexpected. To help stay prepared and ahead of the game with your pet’s health, anytime is a great time to research plans and sign your pet up for one. Want more details and rates for Hartville Pet Insurance plans? Get a quote now.