We get it: You probably take better care of your pet’s health than your own. 

You’ve been muscling through that back pain or that throbbing wisdom tooth of yours for months now, but the second your dog or cat starts making a sound you’ve never heard before, panic ensues. That’s what pet health insurance is for– while you’re worrying about what was probably just a hairball, you can rest easy knowing that your next anxious emergency vet visit isn’t gonna cost you an arm and a paw. 

A basic Lemonade pet health insurance policy provides coverage for treatments or medical care for surprise illnesses, or mishaps that have injured your furry friend. Even though you’re taking excellent care of your pet, you can’t anticipate what might happen as they grow older–certain conditions can develop and worsen super quickly, and accidents can happen at any moment, no matter how old your pet is. 

But we’re not here to bum you out, and we definitely don’t want to make you feel stressed out about your pet’s health… just informed. 

We’ve got the ins and outs of what would be covered–and in this case, not covered–under your pet health insurance policy. That way, there won’t be any surprises when it comes time to pay your next vet bill or file your next pet insurance claim.

Here are some things that are probably not covered by your pet health insurance:

Something that occurs before your waiting period is up
Pre-existing conditions
Bilateral conditions
Dental care
Things that aren’t an accident or illness
Something you could have prevented
Treatments that are experimental
Your pet’s friends

Something that happens before a waiting period is up

A waiting period is the amount of time your pet insurance company requires you to wait until your pet is eligible for reimbursement regarding specific conditions. Once you activate a Lemonade pet health insurance policy, there are three different waiting periods to keep in mind before you can file a claim:

  • Two days for accidents 
  • Fourteen days for illnesses 
  • Six months for cruciate ligament events 

These waiting periods begin on your policy’s start date, and your insurance company can only offer reimbursement for your claim after the waiting period ends.

Pre-existing conditions

A pre-existing condition refers to any kind of illness or health issue your pet developed before your waiting period was up on your pet insurance. It doesn’t mean pet insurance companies won’t insure your pet, it just means your plan won’t cover costs that directly relate to any ailment they were diagnosed with, or showed signs of, before they had a pet insurance policy

For example, if your cat Anastasia develops allergies, you’ll want to fill her prescription quickly to get her the relief she needs. Those sneezes may be cute, but the cost of her prescription every month is less adorable. If you got cat insurance for Anastasia before she became allergic, your pet insurance company will be sending payouts your way… but if you wait until the allergies show up to get insured, you’ll be out of luck.

That’s why it’s so important to get insurance before you actually need it, especially when it comes to your pet insurance plan.

Bilateral conditions

You won’t hear about a lot of pet health conditions before they’re suddenly a part of your pet’s life, and a bilateral condition is one of the more confusing ones. These conditions are covered as part of your pet health insurance, but only if there’s no mention or indication of this on either side of your pet’s body (especially as noted in your pet’s medical records). How is that different from any kind of pre-existing condition?

Bilateral conditions are anything that can affect both sides of your pet’s body. Things like cherry eye, cataracts, hip dysplasia, or a luxating patella all count, and if one side of the body shows signs of a bilateral condition before your policy starts, your pet won’t be covered if the condition later affects their other side. 

So if your Havanese, Casper, developed glaucoma in his right eye before he got dog insurance, it wouldn’t be covered since it would be considered a pre-existing condition. If you get him pet insurance and two years later he develops glaucoma in his left eye—that wouldn’t be covered, either. 

Dental care

Dental care generally won’t be covered by a Lemonade policy. That means cleanings and any type of general orthodontia. We’re hoping to expand our coverages in the future to help contribute to these costs in the future, but for now it’s not something we can help with.

The exception to this rule is if your pet requires dental work as the result of an accident. Let’s say you have a clumsy pup who accidentally chips a tooth. A Lemonade policy would probably provide coverage for the treatments or procedures to fix broken teeth, or other mouth injuries that result from an accident or injury.

If you’re not doing so already, consider getting into the habit of cleaning your dog or cat’s teeth regularly! They’re usually pretty resistant, so it’s best to start them early. Without consistent brushing, you could be putting your pet at risk for bad breath, dental disease, or tooth decay.

Things that aren’t an accident or illness

A basic Lemonade pet health insurance policy will cover your dog or cat for the following, in the event that they experience an unexpected accident or illness.

  • Diagnostics: Blood tests, x-rays, MRI’s, CT scans and lab work
  • Procedures: Outpatient, specialty and emergency care, hospitalization, and surgery
  • Medication: Injections or prescription meds

If you need any of those for something that’s not an accident or illness you probably won’t be covered.

This includes microchipping; anal gland expression; spaying and neutering; something that happens because of breeding or pregnancy; prescription food; vitamins; and supplements, among other things.

So if you and your dog plan to go vegan this summer, you shouldn’t expect your pup’s boujee prescription diet food and supplements to be covered under your pet health insurance policy (the same way your new menu probably isn’t covered by your human health insurance). 

Going on a long trip and need to put your pet up in a daycare or boarding center? Unfortunately, your pet health insurance can’t cover any of those costs. Same with any kind of training. While obedience training is an important step in teaching your pup healthy behaviors, this would not be covered by your insurance.

Any type of grooming or elective cosmetic procedures are also not going to be covered.

As a general rule try to remember that if the treatment is something that’s not an accident or illness, you won’t be covered.

The exception? If you have an add-on package for preventative care, like the Preventative and Wellness package offered at Lemonade.

A wellness plan means you’ve got pet insurance coverage to cover the costs of your annual wellness exam and the typical procedures and tests you might encounter during those checkups.

What about exam fees? Our Extended Accident and Illness package allows policyholders to get reimbursed for the time and labor costs your vet might charge.  

It also provides things like hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and other physical therapies that go beyond standard medical care for your pet, and really help them find relief from chronic pain or commit to a fuller recovery from an unexpected injury.

Something you could have prevented

There’s this section in a Lemonade pet health insurance policy that talks about neglect and adequate care. We hate this part because it really bums us out to think about pets who aren’t being taken care of, and we would hate for you to think we’re suggesting you would ever do that.

But it’s important to know that a situation could be considered preventable even when a pet parent provides excellent care. The good news is “preventable” means you can do something about it to keep your pet healthy and safe! 

If your dog keeps getting an eye infection after running into the same bush in your front yard, you can invest in doggles (yes… dog goggles are real). Your policy defines this as a recurring condition, and it’s not covered. But at the end of the day, we know you’ll do what you can to avoid these conditions to keep your fur fam safe and healthy.

It should also go without saying that any injury or illness that may result from instances of fighting, racing, or abuse would not be covered. If you happen to witness suspected cruelty to animals, call your local animal control agency, or 311 if you’re unfamiliar with organizations in your area. (Now we’re in our feelings again.)

Treatments that are experimental

“Alternative medicine” is a broad term that refers to many types of non-traditional therapies, things like CBD and aromatherapy. While your pet might benefit from holistic medicines like these, don’t expect them to be covered by your insurance.

Things like acupuncture, chiropractic care, or hydrotherapy can also be considered “alternative treatments,” and may not be covered by some pet health policies.

CBD-infused lavender essential oil diffusion therapy to help relax your anxious dog would unfortunately still be excluded. (Sounds awesome though!)

Your pet’s friends

Maybe your dog is the most popular guy at the dog park. Maybe your cat, who likes to roam around the yard, made friends with the other felines in the neighborhood. We love a social butterfly! But it’s important to know that the policy you purchased for a single pet does not extend any coverage to any of your pet’s buddies, and cannot be transferred to other animals– even other pets that you own or live with. 

Your Lemonade pet policy is designed to provide coverage for your pet, benefitting you as the pet parent. This means that your pet would need to be in your care and primarily live at the address listed on the policy for the coverage to be valid. A general rule of thumb for any kind of insurance policy– always contact your provider if you change your address.

Ready to protect your pet?

So now that you’re an expert on all things that aren’t covered by a pet insurance policy we hope you think it’s worth it. Ready? Follow the pink button on the top right corner of your screen, or get started in our mobile app on your iPhone or Android. Want more information? Check our ultimate guide to pet health insurance.

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