As a cat owner, you want to keep your pet happy and healthy to live a long, fulfilled life.
And, of course, 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 home, and everyone’s happy.
But, what if he or she 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 insurance.
How Does Cat Insurance Work?
All pet insurances are pretty similar.
If they become injured in an accident or need treatment for an illness or medical condition, pet insurance helps cover the costs of your veterinary bills, so you can be sure that your pet will receive the best possible care.
Insurance is the assurance that you can always afford the medical bills in case of an emergency.
If your pet 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 insurance will cover the remainder of the bill.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
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 they 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 insurances 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.
Always check with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is not predisposed to any genetic conditions.
Some 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 you.
They can help determine the ‘what-ifs” that might occur. Pet insurance costs are also calculated by where you live, 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, mainly if they are a particular breed.
When Is The Best Time To Purchase Insurance?
The best time to enroll in pet insurance is when they are 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 common cat health problems, then insurance may not be worth the cost.
It is more expensive for older animals and won’t typically cover whatever allergies or conditions that won’t be covered.
What Is The Cost Of Insurance?
Price, of course, is a big factor in determining whether insurance is right for you.
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 pet insurance is less than dog insurance and can be less than $10 a month but can go up to $50 depending on the age, breed, where you live and the health.
As your he or she ages, the price for pet insurance goes up since they are more prone to illness. It’s always best to insure your them when he or she is young.
Many Factors Can Affect The Price Of Insurance
#1 – 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.
#2 – Copay
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 pet 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.
#3 – Reimbursement Option
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 An Insurance Policy
#1 – 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 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.
For example, if they have two accidents in one year, you might end up paying the difference out of pocket.
#2- 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, and you can decide which works best:
#1 – 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 pet 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.
#2 – Accident-Only Coverage
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 that might develop.
These plans are a good option for the older furballs that would otherwise be difficult to insure.
#3 – Wellness Plan
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 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 any current and potential future conditions will be covered.
Here Are Our 8 BEST Cat Insurance Companies:
They must be at least 8 weeks old to be enrolled, and the maximum age for 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.
You 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.
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 owners since typically at 4 years old they 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, they must be registered before reaching 10 years of age.
Premiums with Nationwide start at $18 a month.
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 felines.
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 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 they are 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 them starting as young as 7 weeks old, and there are no upper age limit restrictions.
The starting monthly premiums 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 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 pets 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 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 will cover veterinary costs (non-routine), hospital stays, diagnostic tests, medications, surgeries, and other treatments if they are 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 insurance policies which is a real benefit if they need to be treated continually for a specific illness or condition.
The monthly premium for an 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 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 owners a lot of flexibility.
The monthly cost for their insurance plans starts at around $9.
Read our full Figo Review.
5 Tips To Purchasing Cat Insurance
Just like a young boy who thinks he may just be a superhero, cats have a curiosity and daring that gets them into sticky situations. This may result in a vet bill for any owner.
The purchase of health insurance for your feline provides you with the comfort that your finances are not going to be jeopardized by your feline daredevil. But how do you go about buying it?
Luckily, choosing insurance that works for you is as easy as following these five simple steps:
1. Choose The Right Type of Reimbursement.
Insurance reimbursements are either made according to a set benefit schedule or as a percentage of your actual vet bill.
Set benefit schedules give you a fixed amount per condition, no matter how much you actually pay.
Percentage-based reimbursements give you a percentage of the covered costs.
If you’re unsure about reimbursements, refer to our pet insurance comparison chart to see exact dollar amounts by company and plan.
2. Check Out What’s Covered—And What’s Not.
Thoroughly review the specific types of accidents, ailments, and conditions that the various available plans cover.
The list of exclusions will tell you what is not covered; thus, for instance, few if any plans will cover pre-existing conditions, and you will also want to be certain that any conditions to which your breed is especially susceptible are not left out.
3. Review Coverage Levels.
Some plans offer only bare-bones coverage for accidents; others may include accidents along with illnesses, breed-specific conditions and even routine care.
Figure out what works best for you and choose your plan accordingly.
4. Weigh The Price Against The Value.
A low monthly premium is important, but there are equally important factors when choosing a plan.
Thus it may be worth paying a higher premium in order to ensure that you will receive everything you need.
Obtain several of the free insurance quotes that are available online and compare the yearly cost with the amount that you can expect to pay per year for your breed’s medical care.
5. Do Your Company Homework.
Use the internet to research company reviews, backgrounds and track records to ensure the plans you are considering are issued by firms that have been around for at least a decade and that have a proven history of living up to their claims.
A final tip is to purchase your cat insurance plan as soon as possible.
The longer you wait, the greater the chances that your fuzzy felineƒ will require medical care.
And since pre-existing conditions are almost never covered, it is best to enroll when they are young and healthy.
Start collecting and comparing quotes today.
Read more cat parent posts on our Cat Blog!