Pet insurance glossary

Unsure about what certain terms of your pet insurance policy mean? Our glossary below could help you understand your insurance better, as well as introducing you to additional forms of cover.

Associated condition

A medical problem related to or caused by another condition, including illnesses caused by the treatment of another condition. For example, arthritis in a joint can be caused by previous trauma to the joint, or damage can be caused to the liver due to the long-term use of certain medications.

Bilateral condition

A medical problem that can affect a body part of which your pet has two, such as bilateral conjunctivitis in the eyes or bilateral hip dysplasia.

Benefit or coverage

The cover offered by your insurance policy.

Clinical signs

Changes in a pet’s normal behaviour or bodily function.


Any manifestation of the clinical signs that result in disease. This is regardless of how many parts of the pet’s body are affected so cancer, for example, is classed as one condition.


A restriction on your cover that may be placed on the policy.This could be a restriction which means a certain veterinary condition or part of the body is not covered by your insurance, for example arthritis of the hips, or the hips themselves. Alternatively, it could be the removal of a full benefit (such as personal liability) or a benefit being restricted during certain circumstances (for example, personal liability not being in force when the dog is on business premises).

Entire female

A female dog or cat that has not been spayed and could, therefore, become pregnant.


A device holding personal information about the pet which is injected into the scruff of the animal’s neck. See our guide to microchipping for more information.

Multi pet policy

Insurance cover which applies to more than one pet in your household.

Neutering, castration or spaying

When a dog or a cat is neutered, an operation is carried out which prevents the animal breeding -  in a male, removing the ability to make a female pregnant and, in the female, removing the ability to conceive. Castration is the term used to describe the neutering of a male animal and spaying is the term used to describe the neutering of a female animal.

Personal liability cover

A feature of some pet insurance policies which provides legal cover if someone is injured, killed or falls ill as a result of an incident involving your dog and you are found to be legally responsible. This covers compensation and claimants costs, along with legal costs and expenses incurred for defending you.

Pre-existing condition

An injury which occurred, or an illness that showed signs, before your insurance started. Usually, pre-existing conditions are not covered by your insurance.


Treatment of an illness or injury may include veterinary care and advice, examinations, hospitalisation, surgery, diagnostic procedures, medication and nursing.

Veterinary fees

The costs incurred after seeking veterinary treatment for an injury or illness suffered by your pet.

Veterinarian, Vet, Veterinary Surgeon

A fully qualified veterinary surgeon who holds a current license with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

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