As a cat owner, you want to keep your cat happy and healthy to live a long, fulfilled life.
And, of course, to keep your cat healthy, it’s important to keep up with the annual vet visits.
Most of the vet visits are quick and routine, and you take your healthy kitten or cat home, and everyone’s happy.
But, what if your cat suddenly becomes ill or gets into an accident and the medical bill is way more than you expected?
This is the exact scenario when you are happy to have cat insurance.
Table of Contents
- How It Works
- Is It Worth It?
- Best Time To Buy
- Other Factors
- Types of Coverage
- Best Companies
How Does Cat Insurance Work?
Cat insurance is similar to dog insurance or any pet insurance.
If your cat becomes injured in an accident or needs treatment for an illness or medical condition, cat pet insurance helps cover the costs of your veterinary bills, so you can be sure that your cat will receive the best possible care.
Cat insurance is the assurance that you can always afford your cat’s medical bills in case of an emergency.
Cat insurance works like any pet or health insurance policy.
If your cat gets hurt or very sick, the insurance will pay for a significant portion of the vet bill depending on the percentage of reimbursement you choose.
Once you have a met your annual deductible, the cat insurance will cover the remainder of the bill.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Cats?
Even if you have an indoor cat, a simple paw injury can result in a big, unexpected medical bill that you might not be able to pay.
As cats age, they are prone to kidney disease and an array of illnesses that even just the tests for these illnesses can become very expensive.
Further, certain cat breeds are pre-disposed to some genetic conditions and in this case, having pet insurance might save you a lot of money.
Some purebred cats will be more expensive to insure they tend to have hereditary or congenital issues. In fact, not all pet insurance will cover genetic issues.
And most cat insurance won’t cover pre-existing condition or any illness that exist before you enroll in their plan. This is also common with dog insurance.
Embrace covers breed-specific and genetic diseases and is an excellent place to start if you have a purebred cat.
Always check with your veterinarian to make sure your cats are not predisposed to any genetic conditions.
Some cat breeds are more prone to certain genetic conditions, and your veterinarian can help answer any questions you may have regarding this particular point.
Your veterinarian is always a good resource to help you decide whether pet insurance is right for your cat.
They can help determine the ‘what-ifs” that might occur. Pet insurance costs are also calculated by where you live, your cat’s breed and age.
Your vet is always a great resource to help you get a sense of what a specific illness or condition might cost for your cat, mainly if they are a particular breed.
When Is The Best Time To Purchase Insurance For My Cat?
The best time to enroll in cat insurance is when your cat is young because not only are they less expensive to insure, but they tend to be healthier and free of genetic conditions that might occur later in life.
If you have an older cat with existing conditions or ailments, then cat insurance may not be worth the cost. It is more expensive for older cats and won’t typically cover whatever allergies or conditions that won’t be covered.
What Is The Cost Of Cat Insurance?
Price, of course, is a big factor in determining whether cat insurance is right for you.
Many factors can affect the price you pay for cat insurance, including your choice of copayment and deductible, the level of coverage you choose, your location, and your pet’s age and breed.
Make sure to shop around and compare different pet insurance companies before you make a final decision.
Four Factors That Affect The Price Of Cat Insurance:
The good news is that cat insurance is less than dog insurance and can be less than $10 a month but can go up to $50 depending on the age of your cat, the breed, where you live and the health of your cat.
As your cat ages, the price for pet insurance goes up since they are more prone to illness. It’s always best to insure your cat when he or she is young.
Many Factors Can Affect The Price Of Cat Insurance
Each Plan has a Deductible
Most pet insurance plans have deductibles, which is the amount you pay out of pocket before the policy kicks in. Depending on the policy you choose, the deductible will typically range between $50 and $250 annually. The higher the deductible, the lower the percentage of each bill you have to pay out of pocket.
In choosing a deductible, look for a policy that has an annual deductible which means that you only need to hit the deductible one a year.
If your insurance only offers a per-condition deductible that means you might be paying multiple deductibles each year if your cat has two different illness or conditions each year.
A copayment (or copay), is the percentage of the vet bill you’re responsible for after you’ve met your deductible.
For instance, lets’ say you have to bring your cat in for an injured paw. If the medical bill is $1,000 and you choose a deductible of $250 and an 80% reimbursement level, you would first pay your $250 deductible and then a $150 co-pay (20 % off the $750). Your pet insurance provider would then pay you $600 to cover the rest of the bill.
If you have another bill that same year for $2,000, then this time you would pay $400 and be reimbursed $1,600 since you already paid your deductible.
The majority of pet insurance companies require policyholders to pay their vet bills up front and then get reimbursed according to their coverage (usually 70% to 90%).
Some plans will pay the veterinarian directly which is always a nice option, so you aren’t ever out of pocket for the entire bill.
Make sure to find a plan that reimbursement on the costs of the actual bill and not what they consider as ‘usual and customary.
What To Look For In A Cat Insurance Policy
Look for a plan that has unlimited benefits
The best plans are those that offer unlimited lifetime benefits, meaning they have no payout caps for reimbursement.
With veterinary costs increasing, it is common for procedures to cost between $7,000 and $10,000, and you want to have enough coverage to reimburse you on the majority of the vet bills.
Even something as simple as a lab test for your cat can cost a pretty penny, so we recommend unlimited benefit payout to cover anything from major procedures to routine tests.
Some cat insurance policies only offer a benefit schedule which is not our favorite since they set a maximum benefit limit per condition.
So if your cat, for example, has two accidents in one year, you might end up paying the difference out of pocket.
Does the policy cover your breeds’ specific condition?
Talk to your vet about your pet breed’s predisposition for specific medical conditions and make sure the pet insurance company your choose covers those genetic or hereditary illnesses.
Types of Coverage
There are three different types of plans of coverage for your cat, and you can decide which works best:
Comprehensive Medical Coverage
One of the more critical factors to look for in a pet insurance policy is that it includes comprehensive medical coverage.
Comprehensive pet insurance should include both accidents and illnesses, including swallowed objects, broken bones, ear infections, diabetes, cancer, and other conditions and occurrences.
We highly recommend comprehensive medical coverages because they provide for a host of potentially expensive medical conditions that could happen over the course of your pet’s life.
For example, if your cat is diagnosed with cancer and receives treatment for the condition, you’ll want to make sure he or she will continue to be treated when the policy rolls over into the next plan year.
As the name suggests, these types of coverages only provide a benefit for accidents like insect bites, hut paws, and swallowed objects.
While more affordable, an accident only-coverage won’t cover illnesses or diseases your cat might develop.
These plans are a good option for older cats that would otherwise be difficult to insure.
Wellness plans, also call preventative care plans, will reimburse you for the more common veterinary bills.
Wellness plans differ in what they offer. Some include vaccinations and spaying and neutering, while others include dental.
They are typically an add-on to an existing comprehensive pet insurance plan and really do not provide much value because you can pay these expenses that aren’t usually too costly.
Check For Exclusions In The Policy
When looking for cat insurance, specific conditions, treatments or procedures will not be covered:
Some of the most common exclusions are:
Many pet insurance policies wouldn’t pay out for dental treatment unless your pet’s teeth were damaged in an accident.
All pet insurance providers have a waiting period after you enroll in their plan.
Each has a different number of days that you need to wait before making a claim. Illnesses and injuries that take place during this period will not be covered. And will then be called preexisting.
Before opting for a pet insurance plan, pet owners should always consider their particular situation and ability to cover monthly premiums as well as the benefits included in or excluded from the policy.
To make the best-educated choice, read the fine print and make sure that your cat’s current and potential future condition will be covered.
Here Are Our 8 BEST Cat Insurance Companies:
Your cat must be at least 8 weeks old to be enrolled, and the maximum age for cats is 14 years. Their comprehensive pet insurance plans usually cover accidents, illnesses, emergency vet visits, and even alternative treatments.
Healthy Paws does not offer a wellness plan which is not really necessary for routine procedures that aren’t expensive.
Cat owners can choose an annual deductible ranging from a $100 minimum up to $750, and reimbursement level choices of 70, 80, or 90%.
There are unlimited benefits, which is why it is our preferred choice, and Healthy Paws pays off the actual invoice.
Cat insurance plan with Healthy Paws starts at around $15 per month, depending on your cat.
Read our full Healthy Paws Review.
They cover essential services such as medical treatments as well as extras like as pet-theft reimbursement. What’s stands out for us is that Petplan offers a lot of flexibility regarding deductible, reimbursement, and coverage options.
Pet owners can customize their plan by choosing their own deductible, coverage amount, and reimbursement percentage. These comprehensive plans don’t have per condition limits, lifetime limits or required riders. Petplan is one of the few insurance providers currently covering periodontal disease, which is especially important for cat owners since cats starting at 4 years old typically need dental care for this disease and other dental issues.
Petplan also offers several discounts upon enrollment, which help policyholders save on their monthly premiums! There are discounts for those who enroll online, insure multiple pets, or include coverage for medical services. With so many savings opportunities, Petplan USA really stands out from the crowd.
Read our full Petplan Review.
When you purchase their Whole Pet with Wellness Plan, you’re really getting one of the most comprehensive policies in the market.
While it will cost more than a standard pet insurance plan, it will cover everything from spaying and neutering to illnesses, accidents, vaccines, physical exams, and flea and heartworm prevention treatments.
With Nationwide, you can get full wellness benefits through their Whole Pet plan or their dedicated Wellness-only plans.
Since wellness is not an add-on with Nationwide, their plans are prices but offer excellent benefits for routine visits.
Additionally, there are no copayment requirements for Nationwide cat insurance.
The catch? There’s an age restriction, as cats must be registered before reaching 10 years of age.
Premiums with Nationwide start at $18 a month for cats.
Read our full Nationwide Review.
There are two policies to choose from: the lifetime and the standard.
While Lifetime policies have annual limits, Standard policies have per-incident limits. Each plan can be customized through a variety of deductible and copay options to fit your needs and budget.
Since PetFirst has no upper age limits and will cover hereditary, congenital, and chronic conditions, it’s an excellent option for owners of older or pure breed cats.
Enrolling in coverages with Pet First is quick and easy, as the company does not require a veterinarian exam before signing up.
Also, accident coverage with the company starts in 24 hours, much faster than some of the other pet insurance companies out there.
These plans also cover a few conditions many other providers don’t include, and there is no waiting period for them.
For every year claim-free year, PetFirst offers a healthy pet discount, which can help balance out the steep cost of their upper tier plans. These, however, don’t provide unlimited coverage.
Pet insurance prices for cats start at $9 a month.
Read our full PetFirst Review.
This cat-specific option provides an extra $10,000 of lifetime coverage if you know that your cat is of a particular breed that is prone to an illness or condition.
Pets Best allows for easy customization, which can range from deductible and copay options to wellness coverage.
Pets Best offers three levels of coverage: Essential, Plus, and Elite plans that typically cover accidents, illnesses, emergency care, and non-pre-existing hereditary conditions similar to other pet insurance providers. All plans also include prescription coverage which is a nice bonus, and not all companies provide this option.
You can enroll your cats starting as young as 7 weeks old, and there are no upper age limit restrictions.
The starting monthly premiums cats are $16 a month, or if you opt for the accidents only policy, the price can be as low as $10 a month. This could be a great option for those cat owners who want the just-in-case scenario.
Read our full Pets Best Review.
They also include spaying and neutering, and up to $650 for dental cleanings. Unlike Healthy Paws which offers unlimited benefits, Embrace has a benefit limit of up to $15,000.
Wellness and prescription drug plans are offered as separate coverages for an additional cost.
Annual deductible options with Embrace include $100, $200, $300, and up to $1,000, which gives policyholders the ability to budget their plans better.
Embrace’s Healthy Pet Deductible program is another nice bonus because it decreases your annual deductible by $50 every year that you don’t file a claim. Coverage is extended to pets over 6 weeks old, yet cats over 14 years of age may only qualify for accident-only coverage.
On the plus side, Pets can remain insured regardless of age once they are enrolled. The starting monthly premium for cats is $10.
Read our full Embrace Review.
The plans provide a flexible deductible, ranging from $0 up to $1,000, and 90% reimbursement for injuries and illnesses after the deductible is met.
The Trupanion cat insurance policy has one reimburse option of 90%. This typically with cover veterinary costs (non-routine), hospital stays, diagnostic tests, medications, surgeries, and other treatments if your cat is sick or injured.
While this is an excellent reimbursement option, it doesn’t allow you the flexibility of reimbursement options like Petplan does.
There is no benefit limit on Trupanion cat insurance policies which is a real benefit of your cat needs to be treated continually for a specific illness or condition.
The monthly premium for a cat insurance plan starts as low as $22 per month.
Read our full Trupanion Review.
This is similar to both PetFirst and Pets Best.
Figo stands out among other cat insurance providers since they offer reimbursement policies up to 100% of costs for accidents, illnesses, injuries, veterinary exam fees for diseases, and even alternative treatments.
Plans include the Essential, the Preferred, and the Ultimate, giving you three different options for coverage and pricing.
You can choose a deductible ranging from as low as $50 to as high as $500. Benefit limit choices start at $10,000 up to unlimited coverage, giving cat owners a lot of flexibility.
The monthly cost for their cat insurance plans starts at around $9.
Read our full Figo Review.
Wrapping It All Up
If you want to see how the pet insurance companies compare to each other, make sure to take a look at our pet insurance comparison chart.
Cat insurance is great to have in case something unexpected happens or if you have a particular breed that tends to have issues.
Call the different insurers, have a list of questions ready and get a few quotes.
In the end, you will know if cat insurance is a good fit for you.
If you need to learn more about pet insurance, take a look at our guide that gives you a detailed look at what to look for in pet insurance.