How Does Pet Insurance Work? Here’s Your Ultimate Guide • Lemonade

Providing the best possible life for your pet can mean anything from giving them belly scratches to forgiving them when they ruin your favorite pair of shoes.

After all, this member of your fur fam isn’t just around to enhance the camera roll on your phone; your bond with your pet is one of the most meaningful relationships you can have. Nothing could compare to the devotion, acceptance, and unspoken, unconditional love your pet shows you at your best and your worst. 

You can’t help but want to do whatever it takes to give your pet the most amazing life possible. We feel the same way about our pets. It’s why we created our dream pet health insurance—a major part of what it means to take the best possible care of your pet.

You already know your pet deserves the best, and this article will help you determine whether or not a pet insurance policy is part of that for your family. We’ll talk about how pet insurance plans work, and explain the ways Lemonade’s pet insurance is different.

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

What is pet health insurance?
What does pet health insurance cover?
What isn’t covered by pet health insurance?
Who is covered by pet health insurance?
How can you customize a pet health insurance policy?
How much does pet health insurance cost anyway?
How can I get cat insurance or dog insurance?

What is pet health insurance?

Caring for a pet is actually really expensive, and the costs of veterinary care are rising. You could suddenly be hit with expensive emergency care or exam fees. Not to scare you, but a pet health insurance policy could be the difference between being able to afford to save your pet’s life, or not. 

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 standard 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. (more on all of that later!).

You may be familiar with some of the basic terms already, but we’ll unpack them anyway… here’s what you really get with pet health insurance:

What does pet health insurance cover?

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.

In general, you can expect your pet insurance to cover costs for a range of troubling things we hope your pet never experiences. Here are some examples:

Whats Covered Chart RESIZED

The list of things you’re covered for is actually way longer than the table above. 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.

What isn’t covered by pet health insurance?

It doesn’t matter which pet insurance company you go with, or how much coverage you add to your policy… you’ll never be covered for everything that could happen to your pet.

That includes things that happen during a waiting period, pre-existing conditions, and recurring conditions.

In general, a pet health insurance policy will only cover the things that happen while your pet is insured, and it uses waiting periods to protect the rest of the policyholders from someone who buys a policy just to cover one procedure, and then drops out (that’s not fair for everyone else!) A Lemonade pet insurance policy has three different waiting periods that determine when 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. We can only offer reimbursement for your claim after the applicable waiting period ends.

Your policy also won’t cover conditions that were diagnosed, or that your pet showed symptoms of, before those waiting periods end. These are called pre-existing conditions. 

So while treatment for diabetes is covered under a basic policy, you’ll only be reimbursed for eligible costs if your pet is diagnosed with diabetes (or has test results that show elevated glucose levels) after your policy was already active.

Your policy isn’t likely to cover experimental treatments, like CBD oils (shucks!) or kitty sound baths, and you’ll usually only receive coverage for things that are necessary because of an accident or illness. For a more complete view into what to expect you can check out this article about what’s not covered by your pet insurance.

Who is covered by pet health insurance?

When you get pet insurance you own the policy and your pet is covered. So even though you’re the policyholder you can’t use pet health insurance to get your wisdom teeth out… you also can’t use it for other pets.

A pet insurance policy won’t cover all pet owners living under one roof, nor will it cover you for more than one pet. So if your fur fam includes more than four legs you’ll want to make sure you have a separate policy for each of your pets… you won’t be able to claim veterinary bills for a cat who’s not covered (but if you and your spouse share a cat you can both file claims). Also, if you have more than one pet, you can get a multi-pet discount.

How can you 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

Cat basic policy RESIZED

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 two great preventative care packages to help extend your coverage and you 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 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. 

preventative scaled

As a bonus, we’ll even give you chat access to our pet health experts. 

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 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 a policy for a cat, 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. 

Changing your co-insurance, deductible, and annual limit are the easiest ways to lower your monthly premium… but remember that a lower price will mean less coverage. The lower your co-insurance or annual limit, the less you pay per month. Choosing a higher deductible will also keep your monthly price lower.

Now, while you might be able to lower your premium 10% or 15% by making one of these changes… remember that, while adjusting these reimbursement levels can lower your monthly payments, it’ll mean you’re covered for less when an expensive vet bill rolls in.

Busy cat 11

How do I get 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 above, 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 question about your four-legged friend so you can lock-in the best pet insurance to cover your pet—and your wallet.