As a new pet parent you may be wondering “is cat insurance worth it? After all, your sprightly kitty is bouncing with health and energy.
Insurance is often something cat owners overlook. Dog owners on the other hand are far more likely to insure their pet. This is often because cats are perceived as independent and less likely to suffer accidents than their canine friends.
In this post you’ll discover if it really is worth insuring your cat, including all the pros and cons. Plus, how to go about finding the best cat insurance should you decide to take one out.
Is cat insurance worth it and how does it work?
Basically, any pet insurance you take out covers the cost of veterinary bills. It can be a godsend should your cat require urgent treatment.
However, just like car insurance, you often need to pay a small amount of excess on any claim you make. This depends on the type of insurance you take out though, and how much premium you’re prepared to pay.
In addition, some pet insurers pay the vet directly so you never need worry about paying upfront. This can make a massive difference to your budget and saves having to use credit cards.
You usually get the option of either monthly or annual payments. This would be taken by direct debit from your bank account or credit card.
Monthly payments can be a good option if you’re on a low income and don’t have a lot of spare cash. On the other hand, annual payments can often be cheaper. This is something you’d need to check carefully before making any decisions.
With any pet insurance there will be a maximum amount you can claim each year. This depends on the type and how much you’re paying.
If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest premium, you could always take out an accident only policy. This is fine if your cat goes outside and is young and healthy.
As many pet know all to well, some cats can be accident prone!However, should your feline friend fall ill, you won’t be covered.
Is cat insurance worth it-weighing up the pros and cons
If you’re still wondering “is cat insurance worth it?” you have to ask yourself if your cat developed a severe illness could you afford the vets bill. If you or I get sick we get free health care. However, it’s not the same for our pets.
For most people, owning a cat means giving the very best. This includes nutritious food, toys, and time spent grooming. In addition, providing care if your fur baby gets sick is essential.
If you’re lucky, your cat may live a long and healthy life with few visits to the vet. However, this can’t be guaranteed, and in any case an annual health check is recommended.
Vet fees can be astronomical in some cases, and unless you have savings put by, you could be in for a shock if your cat gets sick. Many pet insurance plans have monthly affordable options and at least you’d have peace of mind.
The Cons of cat insurance
The most obvious con is never needing to make a claim. However, knowing you’re covered should the unexpected happen easily outweighs it.
As your cat ages, the premiums will increase. A healthy young kitten may not cost much to insure, but a 16 year old senior with health problems could work out very expensive. Taking out pet insurance for older cats is typically far more costly than for a younger cat.
If you’re able to put aside a monthly amount to cover vets bills this may be the best option for some cat owners. This could cover annual vaccinations and routine health checks.
The main downside to this is suddenly finding yourself with a massive vets bill and not enough to cover it. At least if you take out insurance you can be covered for thousands of dollars within a short space of time should the worse happen.
There are some treatments most insurances don’t cover. Typically these include vaccinations, dental treatment unless the tooth has suffered trauma, and some alternative therapies.
This is why it’s essential to understand what you’re covered for before buying insurance. If your cat has pre-existing health conditions it can be very expensive switching insurers, and in some cases this may not be possible.
What type of pet insurance policies are there?
When considering a pet insurance for your cat there are a few types to consider. You’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of each and decide which best suits your budget and your cat.
Lifetime pet insurance
Lifetime is a very comprehensive cover often offering the best deal. It means you’re covered for the lifetime of your pet and also covers any pre-existing health conditions. The downside though is it can work out more expensive.
Some insurance companies won’t cover a pet if it has a chronic illness or is over a certain age. This is worth bearing in mind if your cat is in her senior years.
There are also two different types of lifetime pet insurance. The first is annual limit per condition. This means you’ll be covered for any potential condition your cat may get
The limit you can claim on each year will be fixed, and providing your veterinary fees fall under that amount you’ll be fine. However, should they increase you’ll have to pay the outstanding amount yourself.
Should your cat develop any new illnesses you’ll be covered for those as well, giving you an allowance for that year. One thing to note though is it would be unlikely you’d be able take out a lifetime policy on an older cat, and some don’t cover an entire lifetime.
The second type is lifetime limit. This means your covered for a variety of conditions for your cats entire life. Each condition is allocated a certain amount and once that has been reached you’ll need to pay the remainder.
For example, you may be given a lifetime limit for arthritis of $30,000. Should your cat develop this condition you’ll be fine. However, should any treatments exceed that amount over the course of your cat’s life you’ll need to pay the rest.
What does lifetime pet insurance cover?
As previously mentioned, always study the terms and conditions of any policy you decide to take out. A few minutes of your time could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars or pounds.
Typically, you’d be covered for;
- Boarding your cat in a cattery
- Veterinary fees
- Dental treatments
- Complimentary therapy
- Third party liability
- Euthanasia, burial and cremation.
Non-Lifetime pet insurance
Non-lifetime is less comprehensive and may not cover all conditions your cat could potentially get. However, it is cheaper and more affordable in most cases.
If you’re on a tight budget this may be your best option. However, should your have a pre-existing health condition such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, some insurers may not accept you.
Per condition will cover you with a fixed amount for each condition, but once you’ve exceeded that limit you won’t be covered any more. Even if you renew your annual policy it won’t make any difference.
Time limit per condition is a bit different as not only do have a fixed monetary limit, but a set amount of time before that condition is excluded.
This is the absolute basic of all pet insurances and is also the cheapest. It won’t cover any illnesses your cat may develop, and will only cover injuries. Obviously, this could come in handy if your cat got hit by a car or injured in a cat fight, but you’d have to pay if your feline friend developed kidney disease later in life. This is one of the commonest illnesses in a senior cat.
How to find the right cat insurance
The best way to find the best insurance for your cat is going to one of the comparison sites. These will give you plenty of options to choose from and you can take your time browsing.
Word of mouth from a trusted source is another option. For example a family member or friend who’s happy with their cat insurance. In addition, if you already have insurance with a company for your car or home, they may be able to offer you a special deal.
Whether you decide on lifetime, non-lifetime or accident only, always study the terms and conditions carefully. As mentioned previously, a few minutes of your time can save money.
Is cat insurance worth it?
Now you understand a little more about pet insurance do you think it’s worth it? There is no right or wrong answer, but if your cat was to get ill or suffer an unfortunate accident, could you afford to pay for it?
As mentioned previously, there are charitable organisations if you’re in financial difficulties, but these have certain requirements including proof of benefits.
If you’re not on benefit and have a job you may not be eligible. Self-insuring, or opening a savings account just for veterinary fees may work out. However, you’d need to build up a sizeable amount to cover unexpected treatments.
How would you cope if faced with a bill for $8,000 if your cat needed hip replacement or surgery for cancer. Whether you’re adopting a cat, dog, or other pet, you are responsible for its health and wellbeing.
Just as older people are more more likely to develop certain conditions so are our pets. In fact, felines can suffer very similar diseases. For example, diabetes, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, arthritis, and heart disease.
Knowing your cat is covered for any health problem gives peace of mind. There’s nothing worse than knowing your cat isn’t well and not being able to afford veterinary treatment.
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Wishing you a purrfect day:)