Ask any pet owner who has had to rush to the vet because their pet is injured or waited by the phone to hear their pet has come through an operation ok if they think pet insurance cover is worthwhile and the majority will say ‘yes!’.
When we get a cat or kitten, there are so many other things to buy, not to mention the ongoing costs of cat food, flea treatments, etc. that pet insurance can often be viewed as an unnecessary expense at the time. Then as the weeks pass it can be tempting to think that you might not need it after all. However, should the unthinkable happen and your cat becomes ill or injured, you could be left facing an intolerable decision simply because you can’t afford the treatment to help him.
Depending on the nature and severity of the illness or injury, your cat could need to have several courses of treatment, numerous operations or continued medication for the rest of its life. It goes without saying that something like diabetes or arthritis can cost far more than a simple short-term infection. As animal lovers, don’t we owe it to our pets to ensure that they are taken care of, no matter what happens?
But the costs can start to accumulate even before treatment starts. If your cat has been unwell and the initial diagnosis from the vet seems to be incorrect, tests or investigative procedures may be required in order to confirm the cause of the problem or rule out various possibilities. Advances in diagnostic treatment mean that it is not uncommon for your feline to be referred for a CT or MRI scan which can cost around $1300 alone. According to an online advice site Money Supermarket, X-rays can amount to $390 and blood tests between $130 and $150.
When you add to that the fact that recent figures show one in three pets need veterinary treatment each year, it would make sense to consider paying a monthly insurance premium rather than being faced with a bill in the hundreds, even thousands, of pounds if your pet becomes ill.
It is worth spending a little time comparing policies from various pet insurance companies as the things covered by their policies and the different premiums you will pay can vary tremendously. You can use the online comparison websites, look at a few companies individually or ring them for information if you don’t have a computer. Several things can affect the premium, including your cat’s age, where you live and any medical history (pre-existing medical conditions are very often excluded – all the more reason to ensure your pet from an early age).
It can be helpful to read the customer reviews on the websites – the cheaper companies may not always offer the best or most reliable service. You should also make sure your cat is up to date with all relevant vaccinations in order to be fully covered.
If you own more than one cat, some pet insurance companies offer a discount which can be a welcome saving and you should include this point in your research too.
Ask if the policy will cover your cat into old age. Some do not. It is cheaper to pay for an annual policy, renewable every year, but if this excludes an elderly cat or your cat develops an illness during that twelve months, the insurers may not be willing to renew the policy. As some insurers exclude pre-existing conditions, this can be tricky and potentially leave you with hefty bills when your cat is most likely to require some form of treatment.
The alternative to an annual policy is lifetime cover. These policies are more expensive but mean there is no limit as to how long your cat will receive treatment. However, some impose a maximum financial limit on the amount you can claim so make sure you ask about this before making your decision.
“As animal lovers, don’t we owe it to our pets to ensure that they are taken care of, no matter what happens?”
So far, we have only mentioned illness and injury but what if your cat doesn’t come home one evening or is stolen from your property? Some pet insurance companies will pay towards the cost of producing flyers and posters, placing an advertisement and even offering a reward if this happens to your pet.
Others will include the cost of housing your cat in a cattery if you ever need to be admitted to the hospital and there is no-one else to care for him.
Your cat may not necessarily appear to be ill but start behaving in a strange or uncharacteristic way. Alternatively, he could show obvious signs of being stressed. It is likely in such situations that you may need the services of a behaviorist or pet behavior counselor. You have to be referred to one of these by your vet and you will need to pay a fee for their visits or consultations.
The peace of mind in knowing your cat will be looked after, no matter what can be worth its weight in gold. After all, we insure some of our other personal belongings so when it comes to ensuring something as valuable to us as our cat, it shouldn’t really be questioned. Our pets have to be worth it, don’t they?
When deciding which policy is best for you and your pet, consider the following points:
- Veterinary fees
- Third-party liability
- Old age cover
- Limit on the amount of a claim
- The excess you have to pay in the event of a claim
- Cremation/burial costs
- Behavioral problems
- Overseas travel protection
- Boarding fees if you need to be hospitalized
- Travel expenses
- Holiday cancellation (if your pet is ill)
- Death from illness or accident
- Advertising and rewards for a missing pet
Here is a list of the best pet insurance for your cats and kittens in 2020: