Pet Insurance for Cats – Key Terminology

By Craig / October 12, 2017
cat insurance terminology

In my initial article on cat health insurance I gave an overview of key things you need to look out for when you start looking into health insurance for your pet. This article is specifically geared toward providing additional detail on the key terms worth knowing for cat insurance. Most of them will overlap heavily with health insurance for humans, but if you’re not too familiar then it is worth taking a quick read through the glossary.

Glossary of Cat Health Insurance Terms

Here are a few need-to-know terms in alphabetical order:

  • Chemotherapy and Radiation Treatment Allowance: Most plans will list a  maximum reimbursement limit for chemotherapy and radiation treatment. These amounts are generally split in two separate values and the allowance for radiation is typically much higher than that of chemotherapy.
  • Code: The “code” is the unique identifier the company uses to identify the diagnosis given to your pet. It is typically a unique number of some sort and each diagnosis will have its own code.
  • Co-Payment: Just as it applies to human insurance, the co-pay is the amount of out of pocket expense you must cover per incident after your deductible. The co-payment is usually a percentage, for example 90/10 means that the insurance will cover 90 percent of the balance after your deductible is paid and you have to pay the remaining 10 percent.
  • Deductible: Deductibles apply to pet insurance, too. They are the exact same thing as they are in human health insurance. The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay yourself before you receive reimbursement from your pet’s insurance plan. Keep in mind that for pet insurance you might have to pay the deductible for every single incident. Be sure to read closely as many plans don’t have a yearly deductible like human health insurance. 
  • Endorsements (Add Ons): Some insurance companies give the opportunity to purchase an “endorsement.” The most common one you’ll find is a cancer endorsement. This is basically an add-on to your purchased insurance plan and extends the amount of coverage your pet receives for the specific illness listed. Another very common Add On is a Wellness Add On which is used to cover preventative care.
  • Exclusions: Pretty straight forward, but these are items not covered by your insurance. This can include: pre-existing conditions, certain musculoskeletal disorders, congenital disorders, hereditary disorders, intentional injuries caused by you or your family and elective or cosmetic procedures. You’ll want to pay special attention to this if you have a pure bred cat because they often have special exclusions due to known genetic issues.
  • medicine and syringeGeneral Anesthesia Allowance: Companies will outline the maximum limit for general anesthesia costs.
  • Incidents: The term incident is used to refer to the condition that is causing you to visit the veterinarian. Chronic conditions such as skin allergies are considered to be a single incident even if you pay your veterinarian multiple visits.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions: Every major pet insurance company has exclusions built in for pre-existing conditions. This means that any ongoing condition your cat was diagnosed with prior to being covered by their policy. These are typically not short term conditions, but things that will last the entire life of your pet.
  • Primary Condition Maximum: This means the financial limit that the insurer places on a primary condition. This will include everything from injections, hospitalization, exams, surgery all the way through to the specific treatment.
  • Primary Diagnostic Testing Maximums: This refers to the cost limit the company places on primary diagnostic testing. This allowance is generally made per bodily system. In many cases, this benefit limit does not extend to specialized diagnostic tests.
  • Schedule of Benefits: The document that is provided to you when you sign up for your pet insurance policy. This document outlines conditions that are covered under your plan and the monetary allowance you are provided for each diagnosis.
  • Secondary Diagnosis or Condition: If your pet is treated for a second condition that occurs as a result of the primary diagnosis it will be covered under the benefits listed as a secondary diagnosis or condition. This secondary condition will receive financial reimbursement in addition to the primary diagnosis or condition.
  • Waiting Period: The amount of time you have to wait before you can file a claim to be reimbursed. There are two main kinds, illness and accident. Most plans carry a short waiting period for an accident, but a much longer waiting period for illness.

Wrapping It Up

I realize this isn’t exactly the most exciting article I’ve ever posted, but hopefully you find it helpful if you’re in the market for cat health insurance.  If you happened across this article on accident and are looking for the key things to know about cat insurance then check out this article here.

And always remember one of the best ways to keep your cat happy and healthy is to provide lots of play sessions and a healthy diet while ensuring your cat gets to the vet at least once a year for a check up.

If you have any other thoughts on cat insurance (or pet insurance of any kind) then please do leave a comment below or shoot me an email at so I can update this post. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


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