36 Important Pet Insurance Terms Every Insurer Must Know

As pets become more and more like members of the family, the demand for pet insurance is reaching all-time highs. Insurers wanting to expand into the pet insurance niche must stay abreast with consumer needs and current market solutions. 

The pet insurance glossary below is designed to help insurers (and pet owners) understand the terms involved in pet insurance.

Pet Insurance Glossary

Behavioural condition

Any change in a pet's behaviour that's accompanied by signs of a negative emotional state diagnosed by a professional animal behaviourist, such as separation anxiety, litter box pickiness, and household stress.

Behavioural therapies

Behavioural therapies provided by a professional animal behaviourist to treat a diagnosed behavioural condition.

Boarding Kennel/Cattery Fees

A service where dogs or cats are temporarily housed and taken care of when the pets cannot stay at their owner’s home. Boarding kennels are for dogs, while boarding catteries are for cats.

Bilateral Condition

When a condition or disease affects both sides of the animal’s body.

Breed-specific Condition

A condition or disease that is more prevalent in certain breeds than others. 


Registered breeding services for owners who wants to use their pet for breeding for the purposes of selling, bartering, trading, or any other kind of commercial activity.

Complementary Treatments

Alternative treatments to traditional veterinary care. These include acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homoeopathy, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and more. 

Chronic conditions

Conditions that last a long time or periodically come back over time. 


Any injury, illness, or disease linked to a single cause or diagnosis. Multiple conditions can be present after an accident. 

Congenital conditions 

Conditions that exist since birth, but their symptoms may manifest later in life. 

Dental or gum treatment

Any treatment related to a pet's teeth or gums. This can include removing a pet's teeth or repairing gums after an accident or injury. There are also treatments for gum diseases unrelated to an accident, known as periodontal disease, such as epulis or gingivitis.

Death of pet benefit

Coverage for when a pet dies by accident, natural causes, or is put to sleep. 


Treatments that eliminate common types of worm infection in dogs or cats, such as roundworms, lungworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. 

Diagnostic tests

Tests to determine the cause of a pet’s illness or injury or to help diagnose conditions. Tests can include MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays.

Excluded breeds

Some breeds are known to have higher risks for certain congenital diseases. Excluded breeds are breeds that you as an insurer can decide not cover in your policy or certain claims.

Flea control treatments

Fleas are tiny bugs that are common amongst pets. Flea bites can cause itchiness for pets and have the potential to transmit diseases. Some pets may even develop flea allergy dermatitis. Regular flea control treatments help keep flea-related diseases and fleas at bay. 


Coverage for senior pets. The definition of senior age can vary according to species and breed. 


Heartworms are parasitic worms transmitted by mosquitoes that can infest the hearts of dogs and other animals. The symptoms of heartworm infection include respiratory difficulties and fatigue.

Holiday cancellation coverage

Holiday cancellation coverage would cover the pet owner's costs of canceling or cutting short a holiday if a pet needs emergency treatment. 


Any sudden change in a pet’s physical health condition that is not caused by an accident or injury.


Any damage to a pet’s body part or organ that is caused by accident. 


A microchip that is injected under the pet’s skin. The microchip holds the pet owner’s personal information, allowing a third party to contact the owner if the pet is lost or is in an emergency.


An operation to prevent the pet from being able to breed. Castration is the neutering procedure performed on male animals, while spaying is for female animals. 


These are animals you list on the Declarations Page of your policy. It will define the animals you consider as pets that qualify for your pet insurance policy. 

Pet ambulance

Specialised medical transportation service for pets equipped with animal emergency care equipment, including stretchers, hydraulic tables, and oxygen. Pet ambulances typically also have a veterinary technician on board.

Public liability coverage

Public liability coverage protects a pet owner when their pet's actions result in property damage, injury of a person, or manslaughter. Coverage can include settling legal claims, compensation fees, and legal costs.

Prescription medication

Any medicine to treat an injury or illness that has a written prescription from a registered veterinarian. 

Repeat medication claims

Claims for repeat prescription medication that has been previously claimed for a diagnosed condition or chronic condition.

Routine and preventative treatment

Treatments to maintain pet wellness and prevent illness or disease. These treatments include vaccinations, neutering, flea control, deworming, and more.

Theft & straying coverage

Pets can go missing when they stray away from home or are stolen. Theft and straying coverage covers the cost of searching for the lost pet, such as advertising and reward costs. Insurers can limit theft coverage to instances when the pet owner's home was broken into, as opposed to a pet being stolen from public or other areas.

Transport costs

Any cost associated with transferring a pet between hospitals if the vet has referred the pet elsewhere for specialist treatments or diagnostic tests.


Any form of veterinary care, complementary care, examinations, diagnostics, surgery, medication or nursing required to treat a pet of an illness or injury.


Pet vaccinations administered by a registered vet to protect pets from infectious diseases. Insurers can choose to invalidate a policy if pets have not received specific vaccinations according to recommended schedules. 


A fully qualified or registered veterinary surgeon. An insurer can outline the conditions of a licensed vet, such as the veterinary body their license is registered with. Vets are sometimes also called animal doctors.


Intestinal parasites that can affect dogs and cats and may cause weight loss, diarrhea, coughing, wheezine, dull coat, swollen belly, or anemia. 


Any illness or disease that can be transferred from an animal or pet to a human.

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