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Looking for suitable pet insurance for your cat? Our guide tells you all you need to know.

Choosing the right pet insurance for your cat can feel confusing, with so many options on the market and benefits available to you. Many pet owners find themselves asking is pet insurance worth it?

While there are many advantages of pet insurance, from accidental cover to peace of mind for future health conditions, you should consider the types of cat or pet insurance available and choose what is best for you and your furry friend.

We’ve put together this handy guide to help you decide what level of pet insurance you might need, understand the potential costs, and help you make an informed choice.

Is pet insurance worth it?

We understand that keeping your beloved cat happy and healthy is a top priority, and it can be difficult to imagine a time when they may fall ill or require veterinary care.

However, one of the best ways you can look after your cat’s wellbeing is to plan for the future. 

Pet insurance can provide peace of mind, by covering the cost of unexpected veterinary bills, as well as protecting your cat from unnecessary suffering by helping you pay for the treatment they need when they need it most.

What are the advantages of pet insurance?

There are many advantages of pet insurance, it can:

  • give you peace of mind, knowing your cat is protected should they fall ill
  • help manage the cost of unexpected veterinary bills in case of an accident
  • arrange payment to your vet directly to save you time and hassle
  • provide financial assistance if your cat is lost or stolen, i.e. offering a reward
  • cover boarding fees for your cat if you are hospitalised
  • assist with end-of-life costs for your cat including euthanasia, cremation or burial

How does pet insurance work?

A common question asked by cat owners is, how does pet insurance work? Essentially, it is health insurance for your cat. You select a policy that suits your needs, and in the event of needing veterinary treatment, you can make a claim to cover the costs.

The best time to take out cat pet insurance is when they are young and healthy, as some providers do not cover pre-existing conditions. Cats adopted through Cats Protection have the option of coming with four weeks’ free insurance through Petplan, providing you with peace of mind from the start.

It is important to remember that pet insurance doesn’t typically cover the cost of routine treatment such as worming, neutering, vaccinations and annual check-ups.

Find out more about the benefits of homing a cat with us

How much is pet insurance?

The cost of cat pet insurance will vary, depending on the level of cover your cat needs. Many insurers will allow you to spread the cost monthly, or you can choose to pay in full at the beginning of your policy.

The total cost of your policy, known as the premium, is often calculated based on several factors which may include your postcode area. Here are some things pet insurers may take into consideration:

  • age: like humans, the risk of illness increases as your cat gets older, therefore the cost of your policy may increase over time
  • breed: some pedigree cats are more susceptible to certain conditions, which may increase the cost of your policy
  • neutering: neutering your cat may lower the cost of insurance as doing so reduces some risks; for example, unneutered males may be more likely to get into fights
  • pre-existing conditions: if your cat has a pre-existing health condition, such as a chronic illness, this may increase the cost of your premium
  • It is worth discussing your pet insurance policy with your provider each year, as some will offer loyalty discounts. If you want to shop around for a better deal, do bear in mind that some insurers will not cover pre-existing conditions.

What to consider when choosing an insurance policy for your cat

Choosing the right pet insurance will depend on your personal situation, your cat’s needs and how much protection you think you may need in the future.

For example, if you have an outdoor cat you may choose a policy that covers accidental injuries, whereas for an indoor cat you might be more interested in a lifetime policy to protect them in their golden years.

There are many types of cat pet insurance on the market. When choosing your level of cover, you should bear in mind that you need enough to pay out should your cat need treatment, both now and in the future. For example, even while your cat is young unforeseen problems can occur, a comprehensive policy can continue to cover your cat as it gets older.

You should carefully review your policy terms and conditions to ensure you have selected cover that is right for you and your cat.

Keeping your cat’s vaccinations up-to-date and making sure they are neutered if you don’t intend to breed your cat can help keep your premium low. If you have more than one cat, you could save money by taking out a multi-pet policy.

What are the types of cover available?

There are four main types of cat pet insurance available.

  • Lifetime cover – Pet insurance lifetime cover allows you to claim up to an agreed amount for any health condition, every year of your cat’s life. This tends to be the most expensive kind of policy but is also often the most comprehensive.

  • Maximum benefit policies –With this kind of pet insurance you can claim up to an agreed amount of money, for each illness or injury, with no time-limit i.e. £2,000 for diabetes. Once you reach this limit, your insurer will no longer pay for further claims for the same condition.

  • Time-limited policies – You are only able to claim against a specific condition for a limited period, usually up to 12 months, with a limited monetary value. After this, any ongoing costs will need to be paid by you, as your pet insurance will no longer cover it.

  • Accident-only cover – This is one of the most basic policies available and usually the least expensive. It will only cover your cat for treatments related to accidental injuries, meaning there will be no cover for any treatment required for any type of illness.   

Other benefits that may be covered

In addition to the advantages of pet insurance we have already discussed, some pet insurance providers offer additional benefits such as:

  • overseas travel cover if you wish to take your pet abroad
  • covering the cost of advertising and offering a reward if your cat is lost or stolen
  • compensation for holiday cancellation, if you need to cancel or end your holiday early because your cat has unexpectedly fallen ill and requires urgent treatment
  • dental cover to protect your cat against dental illness or injury

Pet insurance jargon explained

We know that pet insurance jargon can be a little overwhelming, so we’ve broken down the key terms you should know.

Claim

 A claim is when you contact your pet insurance provider to ask them to pay the sum of money owed to you, under the terms of your insurance policy.

Excess

The excess is the amount of money you must pay toward a claim, for your insurer to make a payment. You’ll be able to find details of this on your policy schedule.

Elective or preventative treatments

Routine care such as worming, flea treatments and neutering procedures. These types of treatments are not typically covered by pet insurance. 

Pre-existing condition

A pre-existing condition is any health condition or injury your cat may have had before your pet insurance began.

Premium

A premium is the total cost of your insurance policy, usually you can choose to pay this monthly or pay in full at the start of your policy.

Settlement

This is the amount that your pet insurance provider will pay out for a claim.

Cooling off period

This is a period of time at the start of a policy, or at the renewal of a policy, where a customer can cancel their policy and usually a refund will be provided for any premiums paid for that policy year.  Most insurers also allow customers to cancel their insurance at any time.

Deferment or waiting period

This is a period of time at the start of a policy where illnesses are not covered.  This means that if your cat gets an illness, or shows symptoms of an illness, in that time, your policy will not cover any treatment.  For example, if your cat shows the first signs of diabetes in the deferment/waiting period, then your policy will never cover diabetes. Some insurers also include injuries in their deferment/waiting period.

Related topics

Worming

Neutering

Vaccinations

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