What is Pet Insurance Coverage and How Does It Work?

Your go-to resource for pet insurance coverage, in plain English.

Team LemonadeTeam Lemonade
ultimate guide to pet insurance

You already know your pet deserves the best, and this article will help you understand what pet insurance is, how it works, and explain the ways Lemonade’s pet insurance coverage is different.

Imagine this: Your adventurous Akita “Milo” swallows something they shouldn’t have on a hike and requires emergency surgery to remove it. 

With pet insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that something like a costly procedure (and so much more) could be reimbursed, allowing you to focus on your pet’s well-being, rather than the financial burden.

Here’s a quick preview of what we’ll be discussing:

You can also skip ahead to our FAQs about what pet insurance does (and doesn’t) cover

What does pet insurance cover?

Here are some common kinds of care that pet insurance could cover:

  • Accidents: If your pet gets into an accident, like if they’re run over by a car or eat something toxic, pet insurance could help cover the vet bills
  • Illness: Common afflictions ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to cancer and diabetes could be covered
  • Hereditary and congenital conditions: Your pet could be covered for hereditary conditions like cherry eye or epilepsy as well as congenital conditions like hernias and hypothyroidism. Keep in mind, though, that pet insurance would not cover treatment for these conditions if your pet exhibits symptoms of them before you sign them up for insurance
  • Routine care: If you purchase a preventative care package for your pet, they could be covered for things like annual wellness exams, bloodwork, and vaccines

Here’s a handy cheat-sheet on Lemonade Pet Insurance coverages:

TreatmentUsually coveredSometimes coveredNever covered
Diagnostics
Injury from accident
Cancer
Pre-existing conditions
Dental cleaning
Vaccinations
Flea & heartworm prevention
Flea & heartworm treatment
Allergy medicine (like Cytopoint and Apoquel)
Physical therapy
Arthritis medication

A basic pet health insurance policy covers the costs of diagnostics (like x-rays or blood tests) and treatments (like surgery or medication) for accidents and illnesses. Different insurance companies will offer different options, so you may have to do a bit of digging to figure out what the best pet insurance for your furry family member is.

When you’re shopping around, consider what kind of medical expenses your pet already faces, and what kinds of things are worth getting insurance coverage for. Some pet parents may decide that an accident-only plan is right for them, while others may want to make sure they’ll be reimbursed for preventative costs, like vaccinations, that can help to prevent their dog or cat from developing an illness. Also, it’s important to consider additional potential costs like vet visit fees and physical therapy, which are not included in basic accident and illness coverage. (We’ll deep dive into these types of coverage a little later.)

A Lemonade pet health insurance policy is an open-peril policy, which means pretty much everything is covered, unless it’s specifically called out as not covered. So, it’s really important to know what’s not covered by pet insurance.

How do pet insurance claims work with my vet?

If an accident or illness means you’re left with an expensive vet bill, your insurance would reimburse you for parts of the cost of what your pet needs to get better. A basic pet health insurance policy will help cover the costs of diagnostics, procedures, and medications to treat your dog or cat’s eligible accidents and illnesses.

Since Lemonade Pet works on a reimbursement basis, you can visit your pet in any vet you like in the U.S., as long as they’re licensed to provide veterinary care in the state they operate in.

You’d pay the bill for your pet’s care or treatment upfront, then submit those receipts to us in the Lemonade mobile app for reimbursement. Our claims team will review to make sure the situation you’re claiming is covered under your policy, and reimburse you for the amount you’re eligible for on the claim.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is a type of health insurance for your pet that can help cover some of the costs of veterinary care. It can offer financial protection for any unexpected accidents or illnesses your pet experiences. By paying a monthly premium, pet owners can get reimbursed for a portion of their pet’s medical bills, depending on the terms of the policy.

With a basic pet policy, your pet will be covered for emergency medical expenses, but most insurers also offer a variety of preventative care packages that help cover things like routine checkups.

How can I customize a pet health insurance policy?

Different pet insurance companies will offer different kinds of coverage for your pet’s medical care. At Lemonade, we’ve got a few different ways you can customize your policy.

For starters, a basic Lemonade pet health insurance policy will cover your dog or cat for the following, in the event your pet has an unexpected accident or illness:

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

So, if you’re hit with expensive vet bills if your pet needs to undergo cancer treatments, you’ll be covered. Same goes for broken bones, allergies, ingestion of toxic foods, and more. Of course, this coverage isn’t totally unlimited, which is one of the reasons we offer optional add-ons to your policy, like vet visit fees, physical therapy, dental illness, behavioral conditions, and end-of-life and remembrance, as well as three great preventative care packages to help extend your coverage and build the perfect policy for you and your pet.

Lemonade’s Preventative Care

While a basic accident and illness pet health insurance policy will cover you for the unexpected things in your fur fam’s future, adding preventative care to your coverage can help with expenses you’re already spending on. You’re probably already paying more than the cost of our Preventative package for your pet’s ongoing health care, and by adding it to a Lemonade pet insurance policy you’ll be covered for all kinds of things that help keep your pet healthy—like your annual wellness exam, blood tests, vaccines, and more. 

Lemonade’s Preventative+ package 

Want to get even more for your pet? Lemonade’s Preventative+ allows us to reimburse you for heartworm or flea/tick medication as well as routine dental cleaning. 

Puppy/Kitten Preventative package

If your furry friend is under 2 years-old, we’ve designed the Puppy/Kitten Preventative package for puppies and kittens, made especially to provide young pets with the care they need to stay healthy. It includes coverage for 2 wellness exams, 6 vaccines, 2 fecal or internal parasite tests, spay/neuter, microchipping and heartworm or flea/tick medication. Basically, all the major things your pup or kitten needs to grow to healthy!

Lemonade’s Add-ons

If you decide not to add preventative care, you can still select to include stand-alone add-ons to help pay for other costs of taking care of your pet. 

Lemonade pet insurance offers five optional add-ons that you can mix and match on your policy. Here’s what they can help cover:

  • Vet visit fees. Fees vets might charge for their time and labor when you bring your pet in after an accident or illness.
  • Physical therapy. Physical therapy, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy to help your pooch through the recovery process.
  • Dental illness. Procedures like tooth extractions and root canals, and treatments for things like gingivitis and periodontal disease.
  • Behavioral conditions. Vet-recommended therapy and medications for behavioral conditions like anxiety and aggression. 
  • End of life and remembrance. Vet-recommended euthanasia, as well as cremation, and commemorative items to memorialize your pet.
pet insurance add-on

You can also customize the payment structure of your pet insurance. It’s easier to explain that by looking at what a pet health insurance policy costs. Ready?

How much does pet health insurance cost, anyway?

A Lemonade pet health insurance plan starts at $10/month for both cats and dogs, but there are several factors that can impact how much your monthly premium will be. 

Dog insurance tends to be more expensive than cat insurance, and some breeds will cost more than others. Your pet’s age and where you live can have an impact on the cost of pet insurance too, so the best thing to do is shop around and compare pet insurance quotes from several different insurance companies. 

Don’t forget that you can customize your pet insurance plan by adjusting your co-insurance, annual deductible, and annual limits to customize insurance coverage to give your pet the care they need (and to help lower your monthly premium). 

It’s true: The lower your co-insurance or annual limit, the less you pay per month, and choosing a higher deductible will also keep your monthly price lower. But don’t forget that a lower price will mean less coverage when an expensive vet bill rolls in.

How do I get Lemonade cat insurance or dog insurance?

Remember how quickly you fell in love with your pet, within minutes of first snuggling them? That’s about how long it’ll take to sign up for a Lemonade pet health insurance policy… 

Click the button below, or get started in our mobile app on your iPhone or Android. From there, Lemonade’s friendly AI chatbot, Maya will ask you a few simple questions about your four-legged friend so you can lock-in the best pet insurance to cover your pet—and your wallet.

FAQs

What does pet insurance not cover?

Pet insurance can cover a lot, but it’s important to understand the potential exceptions such as: 

  • Something that happens before a waiting period is up—meaning the time from the start of your policy’s start date that your pet insurance company requires you to wait until your pet is eligible for reimbursement regarding specific conditions. 
  • Pre-existing conditions, which refers to any kind of illness or health issue your pet developed before your waiting period was up on your pet insurance. 
  • Bi-lateral conditions, AKA anything that can affect both sides of your pet’s body—like cherry eye, cataracts, or hip dysplasia. So 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.
  • Things that aren’t related to an accident or illness, if you opt for a base Lemonade Pet policy. But it’s easy to get coverage for more of your pet’s health and wellness needs when you include Lemonade’s preventative care packages and add-ons on your policy.
  • Something that you could have prevented. But the good news is “preventable” means you can do something about it to keep your pet healthy and safe! 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.
  • Treatments from more than 180 days ago, but make sure to check your policy for details. For example, if you have a Lemonade Pet policy in Texas, you have 90 days to file a claim after treatment.
  • Non-traditional therapies or “alternative medicine”—like CBD and aromatherapy. But if you include Lemonade’s physical therapy add-on on your policy, you might be eligible for coverage for things like your pet’s acupuncture, chiropractic care, or hydrotherapy.
  • Extending coverage to any of your pet’s buddies. But depending on where you live, you could be eligible for a multi-pet discount on your Lemonade Pet policy if you have (and cover) more than one cat and/or dog in your family.

Does pet health insurance cover diagnostics?

Yes! A Lemonade base policy will cover many of the things that vets use to keep your pup or kitty healthy. That includes blood tests, urinalysis, X-rays, MRIs, labwork, CT scans, and ultrasounds. Lemonade also offers a Preventative and Preventative+ care packages, which includes things like an annual fecal test and blood test and a heartworm or FeLV/FIV test.

If my pet is involved in an accident, will pet health insurance cover my vet bills?

Your insurance policy could come in handy if your pet gets a broken bone or is hurt by a car, or if they accidentally eat toxic foods or something dangerous they shouldn’t have. (This is provided that you’re past the accident waiting period, which varies by state.) For example, if you have a 2-day accident waiting period and the accident happens within the 48-hour span after you get your policy, it, unfortunately, won’t be covered.

Lemonade’s accident and illness policy covers diagnostics (like exams or x rays), procedures (like surgery or stitches), and medication (like antibiotics or painkillers) if your dog or cat gets into an accident or comes down with an illness. 

Your pet health insurance covers surgery that might result if your dog or cat ingests a toy. The only exception here is if your pet has a history of eating similar toys multiple times in the past. Being a good pet parent means watching out for your fur fam! If your cat chows down on a box of laundry detergent one day, and the vet manages to save her—that’s reason to celebrate. But it’s your responsibility after that to make sure your loved one isn’t able to get into that detergent. 

Does pet health insurance cover cancer treatments?

The Big C is one of the toughest challenges a pet can face, so it’s good to know that cancer treatments are indeed covered by your pet’s health insurance policy. 

If your cat or dog is diagnosed while they have a Lemonade policy, treatments like chemotherapy will be covered—just not experimental treatments. Your policy also helps pay for diagnostic tests. If there’s a suspicious lump that you want to have checked out by your vet, your policy will cover things like cytology, needle aspiration, or biopsy (for eligible conditions). But remember, the biggest factor is that you can’t wait until after a cancer diagnosis to purchase a pet health insurance policy. The key is in planning ahead.

Does pet health insurance cover hospitalization?

It does! Overnight visits at the vet can get pricey quick, and we’ll help cover those costs (provided they relate to an eligible condition). We’ll cover you for veterinarian recommended hospitalization, fluids, medications, and additional testing. We’ll even cover the costs for follow-up exams if you opt for our vet visit fees add-on.

Are allergy medications like Apoquel and Cytopoint covered?

Yup. As long as the allergy isn’t considered a pre-existing condition, your pet’s allergy meds, like Apoquel allergy pills and Cytopoint allergy injections, are covered.

However, if your pet has been diagnosed with an allergy, or had a test that showed signs of an allergy or sensitivity before they’re covered with pet insurance, their allergy would be considered a pre-existing condition, and would therefore not be covered.

Are vet visit fees covered?

That depends. Your base Lemonade policy won’t cover this. However, you can opt for a vet visit fee add-on, which covers your vet’s time and labor when you bring your pet for treatment.

Will my pet’s health insurance policy cover their arthritis?

If your pet has shown signs consistent with arthritis before you get a Lemonade policy, this will be considered a pre-existing condition—and therefore not covered. But if your pet develops arthritis while they have a health insurance policy, they will be covered. That’s yet another reason why it pays to get your cat or dog signed up when they’re young! 

What will your policy cover if arthritis is found while your pet has a policy? We’ll help with medications, including injectables like Adequan. Your plan will also chip in for supplements, as long as they’re not herbal products, like CBD. (Sorry, California kitties.)


A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.

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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.