With any pet, unexpected health costs can really add up quickly in the face of illness or injury. Having insurance can give you peace-of-mind in knowing that you’ll be able to go ahead with proper diagnostics and treatment. Older cats are at higher risk of acquiring illness because of their age. Some examples of conditions common in senior cats include chronic renal failure, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism. Each of these may require a life-long treatment plan involving daily medications and quarterly re-check appointments. Most veterinarians will recommend having insurance for your pet at any age. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting one that fits your budget.
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Consider your cat’s pre-existing conditions
An older cat may already have some pre-existing health conditions that will have to be disclosed when taking out an insurance policy. If you aren’t sure whether your cat has a pre-existing condition, have a conversation with your vet. They can go over your cat’s medical history and pick out anything that should be mentioned. Unfortunately, these won’t be covered by most insurance plans. This is why it is best to insure your cat as early as possible after adoption.
Effect of age
As cats get older, they will generally become more expensive to insure. This is because of the increased risk of developing age-related disease. Keep this in mind when pricing up insurance plans and be prepared for your yearly premium to increase as your cat nears their senior years. Some insurance companies will not offer all of their plans to pets over a certain age! This is another reason to pick out a plan when your cat is still young.
Types of pet insurance coverage
This is the pet insurance that is most likely to be recommended by your vet. It will provide coverage for the length of your cat’s life and will cover the costs of most medical treatments, even if required over the long term. However, they are also the most expensive.
This type of insurance will only cover injuries caused by accidents. This does not include veterinary costs for illnesses.
With a time-limited coverage, you will be able to claim up to a given amount in the face of illness for up to one year. This means that any long-term conditions will be excluded from your policy after 12 months of treatment.
A per-condition insurance will pay out only a set amount for each separate health issue requiring veterinary care.
Don’t forget the excess!
An insurance policy will have an excess which is the amount that must be paid upfront when making a claim. You will generally pay a lower yearly premium with a higher excess. However, in the case of a claim, there will be a greater out-of-pocket associated cost.
How to choose a company
Each insurance company should have a website where they outline their different pet insurance plans. This is a great place to start when comparing providers. To see if they offer the right level of coverage for your needs, you can often get quotes online or over the phone. It is a good idea to ask around and check reviews to see how easy it is to make a claim. You’ll also want to check to see if the insurance company is able to pay your veterinary bills directly, or if you will have to pay initially and wait for a refund.
The fine print
For whichever insurance you decide to go with: ensure to read the fine print! Your insurance may, for example, require you to get yearly checks and vaccine boosters from your vet to maintain your full coverage.
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