The short answer, YES! But of course, we would say that! So here is some information, all about pet insurance for cats, that might help you to make up your own mind.
Table of contents
- The purpose of insurance is to manage risk.
- Naturally there are some ‘routine treatments’ that are not typically covered.
- No matter who you choose to insure with, there are 4 main types of policies to consider:
- With all policies you must READ THE SMALL PRINT!!!
- We recommend choosing an organisation that is well established.
- There is of course, no legal requirement to have insurance for your cat and there are alternatives such as self-insuring.
- You might also be interested in:
Wherever you are in the world, it’s likely that you will have some kind of insurance policy or maybe even multiple policies. Be it cover for your belongings such as your vehicle, electronic devices or home; for you and your family – perhaps including health, disability and life insurance or cover for your business. You may even take out insurance when you are planning a holiday. So why do so many people not consider insuring their pets too?
According to a recent survey (YouGov, 2021) cat owners are less likely to insure their pets than dog owners. Figures from 2020, estimates that only 41% of cats are insured in the UK (PDSA 2021), 26.7% in North America, 29.1% in Canada (NAPHIA, 2020) and around 21% in Australia (RSPCA, 2020). Although these numbers have risen over the last few years, there is still a large percentage of our feline friends who do not have any form of insurance.
The purpose of insurance is to manage risk.
It provides a financial ‘safety net’ if the unexpected happens. Pet insurance is designed to cover unforeseen and unpredictable accidents, illnesses and injuries that a cat may suffer during their lifetime. Although this is the main aim of an insurance policy, some policies also offer additional coverage for services such as:
- Complementary therapies (such as physiotherapy, acupuncture or homeopathy)
- Behavioural treatment
- Dental treatment
- Death, theft or straying
- Third party liability
Some insurance companies may even offer additional rewards and incentives like cash-back, 24hr vet telephone support lines and discounts on other products and services.
Naturally there are some ‘routine treatments’ that are not typically covered.
This includes preventative healthcare like vaccinations, flea and worming treatments and procedures like nail clips, grooming, neutering/desexing, routine dental checks/scale and polish.
Pet insurance policies are offered by everyone these days, from supermarkets, to banks, to department stores (to name a few) in addition to the pet-only insurance companies. There are so many different options out there. We appreciate it can be very overwhelming when searching for the right plan for you and your cat.
No matter who you choose to insure with, there are 4 main types of policies to consider:
- Lifetime policies
- Maximum benefit policies
- Time-limited policies (usually 12 months)
- Accident-only policies
Lifetime policies basically do exactly what they say, they offer ongoing cover for your cat, for life (if you renew your policy each year). They are the most popular policy type and tend to offer the most comprehensive cover. These are great for kittens and young cats (including rescues). Be mindful though that these policies normally have the highest monthly payments.
A maximum benefit policy is where you have a set amount of money per condition. Each time you claim you take money ‘out of the pot’ until it runs out. Then the cover for that condition stops. This type of policy can be good for older animals.
Time-limited (or 12 month/yearly policies as they are also known) usually have cheaper premiums. Insurance companies will cover any problems for the duration of a year. However, when the policy renews, any condition a cat may have suffered during the year will be excluded (claimed or unclaimed).
Finally, there is accident-only pet insurance. This is the cheapest and most basic type of pet insurance. As the name suggests, it only covers injuries and is not really recommended by veterinary professionals.
With all policies you must READ THE SMALL PRINT!!!
Some premiums may increase with the age of your pet, be influenced by where you live, when you make claims and/or with inflation. They may also have caps on procedures (both diagnostics and treatment) or dictate where you can take your cat for treatment. You may also be required to pay a percentage of the fee on top of the excess which can be as much as 20%.
We recommend choosing an organisation that is well established.
This is because companies can cancel policies AT ANY TIME (due to discontinuing the service or going out of business). This will leave you without insurance and potential problems with re-insuring if your pet is elderly or has ongoing health problems. Do your research and find a policy you are happy with, as unlike other insurance you cannot ‘shop around’ year on year to get a better price as anything the pet has been seen for at the vets may be excluded (even if you have not claimed).
There is of course, no legal requirement to have insurance for your cat and there are alternatives such as self-insuring.
You could set up a savings account and put money away each month to use when needed. But you must be consistent with your savings and realistic about how much you can afford each month. Please consider this option carefully: if your cat falls ill with a long-term condition that requires continuous treatment, it may end up costing you more than you can save (and perhaps more than the monthly fee for an insurance policy would have cost you).
There is also a rare chance that your cat could go through life without having any issues at all and many owners believe that it “won’t happen to their cat”, however, this is highly unlikely. Ask yourself, are you willing to take that chance?
Most people consider their pets to be part of the family. So perhaps think about pet insurance more like a trust fund or pension (or for our American visitors, a 401k) for your cat! There is no NHS or Medicare for pets so insurance can be a lifesaver, literally!
Accidents do happen and cats do get sick so please insure them! You do not want to be in the impossible position of choosing between money and your beloved feline companion.
Please speak to your vet if you have any further questions about insuring your cat.