Whether your cat spends its time hiding under a bed or roaming the outdoors, there are many ways it can get hurt or develop an illness. If you don’t have pet insurance, you might someday find yourself faced with a large bill for veterinary care.
“Since it is estimated that people in the U.S. spend over $16 billion per year on veterinary bills, oftentimes pet owners will take a policy out on their pet to offset cost,” said Randy Wolfe, an insurance expert. “Cats in particular often eat things they shouldn’t, and injure themselves jumping off furniture, which is why pet insurance on cats is becoming more popular.”
If you’re thinking about getting cat insurance to protect your feline buddy, read on. We’ll help you understand the pros and cons of pet insurance for cats, and why this kind of insurance is important.
Jump to a section:
- What Does Cat Insurance Cover?
- Compare Cat Insurance Providers
- Benefits of Having Cat Insurance
- Risks of Having Cat Insurance
- How to Find the Best Cat Insurance Policy for Your Pet
What Does Cat Insurance Cover?
When it comes to any pet insurance, know that not everything is covered.
“Generally, pre-existing conditions are not covered,” said Wolfe. “Also not typically covered are breeding costs and preventative-type care.”
Accidents, illnesses like cancer, breed-specific illnesses, and other incidents usually are covered by cat insurance. Though most insurance plans have a deductible and a co-pay, insurance providers typically offer a choice between plans with different options. For example, co-pays can range from 10 percent to 40 percent, and deductibles can run as little as $100 or more than $1,000. No matter what kind of coverage you choose, it will help protect you from large, unexpected pet bills from illnesses or the need for surgery.
If you want preventive care coverage for your cat, you can often get it for an additional cost. This add-on coverage will usually cover an annual vet exam, heartworm and flea prevention treatments, dental care, and other types of common preventive care.
Be sure to read the fine print on your policy to understand exactly what is and is not covered.
Compare Cat Insurance Providers
Here are some top cat insurance providers to consider, along with details on their policies.
Nationwide is an insurance company that also provides pet insurance for injuries, accidents, illnesses, and wellness care.
Nationwide’s pet insurance policies start at around $12 per month and can be priced higher according to the kind of coverage you get. The policies provide up to 90 percent reimbursement for injury, accident, illness and wellness care, which includes exam fees.
Nationwide coverage also gives you 24/7 access to a vet helpline. Nationwide has payout limits that depend on the annual benefit amount of the plan you selected, but it also has a plan that has no annual limit. Deductibles vary, with a maximum deductible of $1,000. There are no age restrictions for its plans. They exclude pre-existing conditions.
Nationwide has a customer rating of 9.3 out of 10 on PetInsuranceReview.com.Nationwide can be a good option for your pet insurance needs, as it offers cheap pet insurance with a high level of coverage and extras, like a vet helpline, to give you peace of mind.
Healthy Paws offers pet insurance plans that cover both accidents and illnesses with unlimited annual and lifetime plan payouts. Their plans start at $15 and go up to $90 per month, depending on factors such as the coverage you select, your location, and your pet’s breed and age. The plans cover accidents, cancer, genetic conditions, alternative care, cancer, illnesses, and more.
You’ll have co-pay options of between 10 percent and 40 percent. There is no payout limit, but there is a deductible of between $100 and $750 and the amount will depend on your pet’s age. Your cat must be at least 8 weeks old to enroll and must be under 14 years of age when it is enrolled. Pre-existing conditions are not covered.
Healthy Paws has a customer rating of 9.8 out of 10 at PetInsuranceReview.com. This plan is well-rated, and the fact that it offers unlimited lifetime and annual coverage is a real plus. The downside is that there is an age limit on your pet — which many other policies do not have.
American Kennel Club
American Kennel Club Pet Insurance provides pet insurance in all 50 states. The plans start at just $5 per month and can cost up to $90 per month, depending on which coverage options you choose. It has a co-pay of 20 percent after you reached your annual deductible, which can range from $100 to $1,000.
American Kennel Club insurance offers per-incident payout limits ofd $1,500 and $8,000 and annual limits of $3,000 and $16,000, depending on the plan you choose. Your cat must be at least 8 weeks to enroll and there are no upper age limits. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. You can get additional coverage to protect you from the costs of inherited and congenital conditions as well as wellness care and exam fees. Cancer treatment coverage is included.
The company has a customer rating of 8 out of 10 at PetInsuranceReview.com.This is a cost-effective plan that provides a good level of coverage but, unlike other plans, you will have to pay extra for coverage of inherited and congenital conditions.
Hartville Pet Insurance
Hartville Pet Insurance provides coverage for your pet’s accidents, injuries, and illnesses. The cost of the plan starts at just $10 for a plan that includes accident coverage only. Its complete coverage starts at $16, depending on your location and your cat’s breed and age.
Hartville pays out a percentage of the bill which, depending on the plan that you choose, can be between 70 percent and 90 percent. It sets an annual deductible at between $100 and $500 depending on the plan you choose. Annual limits are selected by you and range from $2,500 to $20,000. There are no lifetime limits. Pets must be at least 8 weeks old, but there are no upper age limits.
The plans do not cover pre-existing conditions, breeding costs, or cosmetic procedures. You can get extra coverage for wellness care that includes things like tests, vaccinations, dental care, annual exams, and flea and heartworm prevention.
The company has a customer rating of 9.5 out of 10 at PetInsuranceReviews.com. There are options that will reduce the cost of your plan, but this typically involves selecting relatively low annual limits.
What Are the Benefits of Having Cat Insurance?
One of the main benefits of having cat insurance is peace of mind. You can spend your time loving your cat, rather than worrying about how their health will affect you financially.
If you adopted or rescued your cat, you might not know much about your cat’s health. This can make it even more important to get pet insurance.
Also, cats are known to do unpredictable things that could get them injured. Whether they’re fighting with other cats or jumping off high shelves, they could need medical attention or surgery in the event of an accident.
“The biggest benefit of having insurance for your cat is the protection from a large unexpected vet bill,” said Wolfe. “Depending on the amount of coverage, it can possibly save you thousands of dollars.”
What Are the Risks of Having Cat Insurance?
When it comes to the risks of getting pet insurance for cats, one big risk is the small print. Make sure that you read your policy carefully so you know exactly what is included and what isn’t. Some pet insurance policies can be misleading and the last thing you want is to find out that your policy doesn’t cover what you need, when you need it.
Other than that, the biggest downside of cat insurance is that you might pay for insurance every month and never need it. While this is, in many ways, a good problem to have because it means that your cat has stayed healthy, you need to be comfortable with the fact that you may end up paying for something you don’t use.
“The biggest drawback to having insurance on your cat is having to pay the monthly premium,” said Wolfe. “You hope you never have to use it, but if you don’t end up using it, then all of those premiums would really not have provided you anything.”
Finding the Best Cat Insurance Policy
When it comes to cat insurance policies, there are many options with very different coverages.
“Some plans will only cover accident and illness expenses associated with a vet visit, while others will even include wellness visits, surgical procedures and much more,” said Wolfe. “Deductibles also vary from plan to plan, as does the amount a plan will pay out.”
How do you know which plan is right for you? The first thing that you should do is carefully compare the plans and options. You also might want to ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
To save money, see if there are discounts for people who own multiple pets. Ask your current insurance provider whether they offer cat insurance; if so, there may be a discount for bundling your plans.
“Everyone is different, so it really comes down to the personal preferences a person has. If you are someone who is very concerned about having large vet bills, then you would be better suited with a more robust policy,” said Wolfe. “Someone who wants protection but is looking to keep their premium as low as possible might be better suited for a plan with a higher deductible.”
Cats live unpredictable lives. They could be roaming the alley behind your house one minute, then safely sunning themselves in their favorite window the next minute. Having cat insurance can help you feel more financially secure in the event that they become injured. While some people consider the cost of pet insurance excessive, the decision of whether to get insurance is a personal one. It could be worth the extra peace of mind.
“Pet insurance gives cat owners peace of mind primarily because they can rest easy knowing their out-of-pocket for any significant vet bill will be drastically reduced by having a policy,” said Wolfe.