Our guide to common pet insurance terms and cover options
A sudden or unexpected injury with an identifiable cause, such as your pet being hit by a vehicle or hurting a paw on rough ground.
Benefit or cover
The financial and/or practical assistance that an insurance policy provides to the policyholder.
Certificate of insurance
The personalised document that details the cover provided by your insurance policy.
This is additional treatment your pet might receive from a vet. This treatment could include: hydrotherapy, osteopathy, massage and healing, laser treatment, electrical muscle stimulation, acupuncture and chiropractic treatment.
Any illness or accidental injury, including symptoms, even if they don’t end up being formally identified by a diagnosis.
The agreed maximum amount of money you have to pay towards the cost of each claim before your insurance cover starts to pay out.
A restriction on your insurance cover that sets out the circumstances in which your insurer won’t pay a claim. It could be a particular medical condition that your insurance doesn’t cover or a requirement that you have to meet such as microchipping your dog. If you do not microchip your dog your cover may be affected when claiming for loss through theft or straying.
Our rabbit insurance can cover the cost of vet fees for treatment for the first instance of flystrike (a life-threatening disease) – but we won’t cover any subsequent instances. Flystrike is a very painful condition so it’s important that you take preventative action by keeping a close eye on your rabbit, particularly during warmer months of the year. Preventative sprays can also help.
Handy guides for pet owners
To give you a helping hand when it comes to looking after your pet, we’ve written some guides that are packed full of useful information.
This is a benefit that can provide cover when you’re abroad with your pet for things like overseas vet fees, quarantine costs and replacing lost pet travel documents. It can also help with additional accommodation bills if you miss your return trip home because your pet goes missing or needs emergency treatment. This cover isn’t included with our rabbit insurance.
Any physical disease, sickness, abnormality, infection or body part failure suffered by your pet that’s not due to an accidental injury.
Pet insurance that provides cover during your pet’s life for conditions that affect them after you buy the policy. Once your pet suffers from a condition, the insurer will not exclude it from future policies, so long as you renew your policy each year. The cover can help to meet the cost of treatment for your pet’s chronic conditions or those it suffers from more than once during its lifetime. Lifetime policies have set amounts they will pay out each year if you need to make a claim. If you renew your policy, these limits are then reset for the following year.
The cost to buy a pet that is very similar to your own cat or dog in terms of age, breed, pedigree, sex and breeding ability.
The most an insurer will pay out for any individual part of cover that is included in your pet insurance policy.
An electronic device that holds a unique code to identify a pet and its owner. It is inserted under your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades, around the scruff of its neck.
Microchipping legal requirements
These are the rules set out in law by The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 and equivalent legislation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means that all dogs must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks of age.
Insurance cover which applies to more than one pet in your household.
My pet portal
The online administration hub where you can get your policy documents, amend your details and make claims.
A scheme run by the government that means pets don’t have to go into quarantine when travelling between member countries. PETS is the shortened version of the Pet Travel Scheme and is managed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It has specific criteria to meet if you want you and your pets to travel more easily.
The 12-month period of cover that begins on the start date you agree with your pet insurer when you buy a policy.
An injury which occurred, or an illness that showed signs, before your insurance started. Usually, pre-existing conditions aren’t covered by your insurance.
Any illness or accidental injury, including symptoms, that is connected to a condition your pet has suffered before.
Medical problems related to or caused by another illness, accidental injury or symptom, including diagnosis and illness caused by the treatment of another condition.
Sainsbury's Bank Vet Assistance
A 24/7 helpline and live chat offering advice and guidance from qualified veterinary nurses.
A physical or mental change that’s different to your pet’s normal self, their bodily functions or their personality. They might be limping, going to the toilet more often or being much quieter than usual.
Theft and straying cover
Insurance that helps if your pet is stolen or goes missing and you haven’t got them back after a certain amount of time. This cover isn’t included with our rabbit insurance.
Third party liability cover
This is insurance cover for legal and compensation costs in case your pet is found to be responsible for accidentally injuring another person or damaging their property. The Third Party Liability Cover normally only takes effect if there’s no other cover available from another policy, such as home contents or liability insurance policy. This cover is only included with our dog insurance, for eligible dog breeds.
Time limited cover
Time limited cover is insurance that pays for 12 months of treatment for your pet, or until the policy limits are reached. The 12-month period starts on the first day of treatment. After this, insurers will not pay out for the condition that affected your pet – or any others linked to it – in the future.
The intervention required to help your pet. This can be things like an examination, advice, X-rays, medication, surgery, or nursing care.
In the UK, this is someone who’s qualified or accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. If you are abroad, it is someone officially registered to treat animals, who works in a country covered by PETS.
The costs charged by a vet to treat your pet’s accidental injury or illness.
Our pet guides
All our handy guides in one place
Find missing pets
Get a plan in place if your pet goes missing
Taking pets on holiday
Top tips for travelling with pets
Looking for extra info?
If you’re searching for more details on a subject, our FAQs have got detailed answers to lots of questions we regularly get asked by customers.
Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.
Sainsbury's Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.
Sainsbury's Bank plc acts as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered Office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX. Sainsbury’s Bank plc and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.