insurance dictionary

Waggel's Pet Insurance Dictionary

Written by Ryan Gliozzo


Pet insurance can be daunting, and we believe it should be easy to understand and accessible to everyone. We created our insurance dictionary to highlight and guide you on all the common pet insurance terms you might need to know.
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Accident-Only policy: A type of insurance policy that only covers injuries that relate to accidents.

Annual Limit: The total amount that you can claim for veterinary medical bills during a given period. 


Bi-Lateral condition: A condition that arises on the one side of the body due to an earlier condition on the other side, and is classed as the same condition. This includes, but is not limited to, ears, eyes, elbows, shoulders, knees, hips and cruciate ligaments; these disorders are considered as the same condition.

Behaviour coverage: Relates to coverage for behaviour treatments when your pet experiences a change in their normal behaviour or negative emotional state. The treatment normally has to be performed by qualified behavioural specialists.


Claim Contribution (Excess): The amount you pay towards the vet bill before the insurer would start making payments. For example - If your claim is £900 and you have a £100 Claim Contribution, you pay the first £100 towards the bill and the remaining £800 is paid by the insurer.

Complementary treatment: Medical treatments that relate to: Physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, homeopathic treatments, medicines of any kind or laser treatment that is administered by a suitably qualified practitioner following a recommendation by a vet.

Commencement date: The date and time your cover officially starts.

Condition: Any illness, accident or injury that requires medical attention. Chronic conditions normally refer to conditions that are likely to be on-going, whereas Acute conditions are normally like to be curable.

Congenital: A structural or functional condition that is present at or before the birth of your pet and can be identified prenatally, at birth or later in life.

Co-payment: Another form of Excess. It is normally a percentage amount that you agree to contribute to the vet bill before the insurer will start paying. As an example, for a £1,000 vet bill and you had a co-payment of 20%, you would have to pay £200 before the insurer would then start contributing to the bill.

Cosmetic treatments: Any treatment that relates to elective cosmetics to your pet such as grooming, bathing and dematting. Given these types of treatments are elective, they are generally not covered by pet insurance.


Death coverage: Normally an additional coverage option on your pet insurance policy that allows one to claim for the original purchase paid to the breeder, re-homer or shelter in the event your pet passes away.

Dental coverage: Coverage for treatments that relate to dental injuries, accidents or illness. Not all pet insurance companies provide dental coverage. Be sure to check exactly what is covered, as few providers claim to offer dental, but only cover injury related treatments.


Effective date: The date the version of your policy commenced.

Elective treatment: Treatment that isn't absolutely necessary to the wellbeing of your pet, but you elect to have the treatment anyways. These types of treatments are not typically covered in pet insurance. This includes treatments such as spaying and castration.

Excess: The amount which you would pay towards the vet bill before the insurer would start making payments. For example - If your claim is £900 and you have a £100 Claim Contribution, you pay £100 and the remaining £800 is paid by the insurer.

Excluded breed: Any breed which the insurer elects not to cover. This normally includes cross breeds with the excluded breed. You can view Waggel's excluded breeds here.

Exclusion: Defines what conditions, treatments or other aspects aren't covered in your policy. Exclusions show you to see exactly what’s covered and what’s not in your pet insurance policy.

Exclusion review: A request to an insurer to check your pet’s medical records for Pre-Existing conditions in order to understand what conditions will not be covered in your policy.


Financial Service Compensation Scheme (FSCS): A scheme set up by the government, to provide compensation if a financial firm you've used has gone out of business and can't pay your claim. If the underwriter fails you would still be entitled to some compensation. It is definitely something you should be expecting from your pet insurer. Waggel's Underwriter, Red Sands, is part of the FSCS.

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS): A free and easy-to-use service that settles complaints between consumers and businesses that provide financial services. They resolve disputes fairly and impartially, and have the final decision on the outcome of a claim. You will first have to make a complaint directly to the insurer. If you are not happy with the outcome, you can then appeal the decision through the FOS.




Information Commissioner's Office (ICO): A regulatory body that upholds the information rights in the public interest. They are the regulatory body to speak with if you feel that your insurer has incorrectly handled your personal data.

Insurance Premium Tax (IPT): The tax on insurers, like VAT, that applies to most insurance premiums. The tax would be inclusive of your premium, and will paid to the govermnent after the insurer collects your premium. The current rate for pet insurance is 12%

Insurance Product Information Document (IPID): A standardised summary document required for each insurance product to allow customers quick access to what is and isn't covered.




Lifetime policy: Is a pet insurance policy that is designed to cover vet bills for the entirety of a pet's life. It provides coverage for accidents, injuries and illnesses. You make claims up to your selected limit each year, and as long as you keep renewing, your limit refreshes each year.

Loss & stray coverage: Normally an additional coverage option on your pet insurance policy that allows one to claim for the original purchase paid to the breeder, re-homer or shelter in the event your goes missing or strays.


Maximum Benefit Policy: A type of "condition-based" policy insurance product. It allows you to claim up to a chosen limit for a specific condition, and once that limit has been reached, it will be excluded from your coverage and you can no longer claim for that condition again.

Moratorium underwriting: An insurance process whereby conditions that we were excluded from coverage due to being pre-existing, would then be included if the condition hadn't been claimed for over a certain period of time. The normally timeframe is around 2 years.



Original Inception date: The first start date of your very first policy with an insurer.


Per-condition Limit: The limit you select will be available for each condition claimed during the policy year. As an example, if you had a policy with a £1,000 Per-condition limit, and you had to go to the vet for three different conditions (vomiting, broken leg & diabetes) you would be able to claim up £1,000 for each condition.

Policy wording: The policy wording is the exact offer from the insurance company to you. It is a document that is specific to your pet and tells you exactly what is covered and what isn't covered, including any applicable exclusions, conditions and limitations. They normally look like complicated legal documents, but Waggel changed that by making our an easy to read document in plain english. As much as they can be tricky to read, it is advisable to give it a read.

Premium: The amount you pay for your insurance policy. This can either be a once-off annual payment or monthly. Your premium is normally inclusive of an Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), which is a tax that the insurer needs to pay.

Public Liability: Also, known as Third Party Liability, it is additional cover for compensation and costs that arise from accidental injury or damage caused by your pet to another person or another person's property, where you are legally responsible.


Quote: When an insurance company provides you with a price for a particular pet insurance policy. It will normally have a certain period that it will remain valid.

Qualified specialist/practitioner: People with specific accreditations from regulatory bodies that are able to perform treatments for specific conditions such as complementary or behavioural treatments.


Routine coverage: Refers to any general check-up done by your vet. This is not normally covered by pet insurance as it is known treatment, whereas insurance is designed for the unexpected issues. This also includes things like flea, deworming and vaccinations.


Stray & loss coverage: Normally an additional coverage option on your pet insurance policy that allows one to claim for the original purchase paid to the breeder, re-homer or shelter in the event your goes missing or strays.

Sub-Limit: The maximum amount you can claim for within your Annual Limit for certain treatments. At Waggel, our Sub-Limits include Complementary, Behavioural and Dental treatments.


Terms of Business Agreement (TOBA): A document that accompanies your policy wording that explains how the the insurer will provide their services to you, along with their regulatory responsibilities. It normally comes as a separate document, but can be included in the main policy wording document.

Time-Limited policy: A type of pet insurance policy that covers you for vet bills for accidents, injuries & illness. It is know as "condition-based" policy, as you have a limit and certain time frame that you claim for for each specific condition. Once that time or limit has been reached, the condition is then excluded from further coverage.

Third party liability: Also known and Public Liability, it is usual an additional coverage on pet insurance for when a legal claim is brought against you for damage that your pet caused to somebody else's property or injured to another person.

Travel coverage: An additional coverage on pet insurance that provides coverage when you take your pet aboard. There are number of things that travel coverage can cover such as vet bills or emergency boarding. Each policy might have different coverage under this section, so make sure you read exactly what is covered.


Underwriter: An underwriter is a company that evaluates and decides what should be covered in an insurance policy at a given price point. Within pet insurance, underwriters take into account the various aspects of pet such as breed, age, location and provides a monthly price for the coverage of those vet bills. Waggel's underwriter is Red Sands. They have been involved in pet insurance for over 15 years.



Warm up period: The amount of time you have to wait from the start date of your policy to when you can first make a claim. Waggel has a 14-day warm-up period, which begins from the original inception date. Any symptom or condition that is presented within the first 14 days of your policy start date (warm-up period) cannot be claimed for and will be classed as a Pre-Existing condition.




Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.

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