Pet Insurance Terms, Explained

Because "my dog ate my homework" isn't really an excuse.

pet insurance terms

Caring for your pet’s medical needs and getting them covered with pet insurance are parts of being a responsible pet parent. But let’s be honest, sometimes you can find yourself tangled in the jargon like a kitten in a ball of yarn (but not nearly as cute). 

We’ve collected and defined some of the most common terms related to pet insurance, from deductible, co-insurance, and pre-existing conditions, so you can find what you’re looking for in a flash.


When you apply for insurance coverage, the quote is an estimate of how much a policy would cost based on some factors you can change (like your annual limit) and others you can’t (like the breed or age of your pet.)

Note: your quote isn’t set in stone, so your final premium may be a little different. 

Once you’re ready to purchase a policy, you’ll receive a final premium price confirmation, based on your pet’s needs. The price of your premium will also be listed on your policy’s declarations page.

Learn more about the cost of pet insurance.


An insurance premium refers to how much your pet insurance policy costs, either on a monthly or annual basis.


An insurance deductible is an amount of money you set when purchasing a policy that will be subtracted from any future claims payouts. Your Lemonade Pet deductible is an annual deductible, which means you can exhaust it with one big claim, or chip away at it over the course of the year through multiple claims, after co-insurance is applied. 

With Lemonade Pet health insurance, you can choose a deductible of either $100, $250, $500, or $750 Keep in mind that the higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premium (but the more money you’re on the hook for when you actually file a claim.)


A claim is a request for reimbursement for a covered costs. 

After your pet receives treatment covered by their Lemonade Pet policy, you can file a claim directly through the Lemonade mobile app, and get reimbursed, fast. 


When you sign up for pet insurance, you’ll be asked to select an annual limit, which is the maximum amount your pet insurer will pay out on claims over the course of a year, after co-insurance and your annual deductible are applied.

Preventative Care packages and some other policy add-ons might not be subject to this limit.

With Lemonade Pet, you can choose an annual limit between $5,000 and $100,000.

That might sound like a lot of kibble, but common veterinary procedures and diagnostics like MRI’s, general surgery, or cancer treatments can cost well over $1,000 a pop. Not to mention overnight vet stays, which can set you back up to $1,700 a night. 

What is Pet insurance

Pet insurance offers financial coverage for some of your pet’s veterinary care. 

A standard pet health insurance policy with Lemonade will help cover the costs of diagnostics, procedures, and medications to treat your dog or cat’s eligible accidents and illnesses.

Lemonade’s Pet Health Insurance offers coverage only to canines and felines; apologies to our feathered, scaled, bovine, and equestrian friends. 

Waiting periods

A waiting period refers to the amount of time your pet insurer requires you to wait until your pet is eligible for reimbursement on specific conditions. Once you activate your Lemonade Pet insurance policy, there are different waiting periods to keep in mind before you can file a claim, which vary by state. So it’s important to check the specific details of your policy.

A waiting period does not mean you:

  • Need to wait to submit your vet invoice until after the waiting period is over, even if your pet went to the vet during the waiting period
  • Need to wait to take your pet to the vet until after the waiting period, even if they started showing signs or symptoms during the waiting period

In both of these cases, your claims wouldn’t be eligible for reimbursement.


Co-insurance is the percentage of the total cost your insurance company will reimburse you for eligible items on a covered claim for your pet health insurance. Lemonade offers co-insurance of either 70%, 80%, or 90%, meaning Lemonade Pet policyholders can choose to pay 30%, 20%, or 10% of the approved claim amount, plus the deductible. 

Here’s the formula we use to calculate what Lemonade Pet would pay you for a claim:


If you have already met your annual limit, you will not receive the full amount in the claim payment.

Preventative care

Preventative care describes treatments, services, or procedures that promote your pet’s health and maintain their general wellness.

Lemonade Pet is extremely customizable, allowing you to tailor coverage that’s right for your pet. We offer a number of preventative care packages that can cover things like your pet’s annual wellness exam, yearly vaccinations, and routine heartworm and fecal tests.

Lemonade also offers a preventative care package designed especially for puppies and kittens, which also covers spaying or neutering, even more vaccines, and microchipping, and more. 

Pet diagnostics

Pet diagnostics refer to different kinds of tests that can help provide a general overview of your pet’s health, or help to diagnose an illness or disease.

X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and lab work are all common diagnostic tools your vet might use to monitor things like your pet’s internal organ function or their complete blood count, or to check for broken bones or identify conditions like Lyme disease.

When related to a covered accident or illness these tests are likely to be covered by a standard Lemonade Pet insurance policy. 

Pet health conditions

Pet health conditions can refer to several different kinds of ailments, health problems, medical issues, and illnesses your vet may diagnose your pet with.

In their lifetime, your pet might be diagnosed with a hereditary condition, congenital condition, bilateral condition, behavioral condition, or conditions related to accidents or illnesses.

Pre-existing conditions

A pre-existing condition refers to any kind of illness or health issue your pet developed before your policy’s relevant waiting period was over.

Be honest when applying for your Lemonade Pet policy. Having a pre-existing condition doesn’t mean we won’t insure your pet, it just means your plan won’t cover costs that relate to any ailment they had in their medical history before they signed up for a policy.

In general, that’s why it usually pays to sign up for insurance when your pet is a puppy or kitten.

SOAP notes

SOAP notes are another name for your pet’s medical record, and are a must-have for pet insurance. Sometimes SOAP notes are casually referred to as a full “nose-to-tail exam.”

SOAP is an acronym for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. This method of documentation is designed to be shared between different care providers (including your insurance company). SOAP notes are organized in a pretty universal way that makes it easy for new parties to understand a patient’s chart.

Fur fam

Your fur fam consists of the non-human members of your household. The term is most often used to refer to cats and dogs, but is also broad enough to encompass other furry creatures.

Caution should be exercised when casually using this phrase with those who are not pet parents, since there’s a good chance they might not “get it.”

Eliana Sagarin

Eliana Sagarin is the Pet Product Communications Lead at Lemonade. She writes about fur friends, insurance, life hacks, and pop culture. Eliana has an MA in creative writing from Bar Ilan University.


Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.