What is cat insurance?
Cat insurance is a type of pet insurance policy that helps cover veterinary costs for accidents and illnesses to your cat. Pet insurance pays the policyholder back for the cost of veterinary bills when the insured cat gets sick or injured. The right pet insurance policy can help you pay for the best course of treatment for your cat while giving you peace of mind that your cat is taken care of.
How does pet insurance for cats work?
Pet insurance helps reduce the financial burden of caring for your cat’s medical needs. Insurers generally require you to bring your cat in for a check-up before they agree to provide coverage. This is to ensure your cat isn’t already sick or has pre-existing conditions. Once your policy kicks in, there is usually a waiting period before you are eligible to start receiving coverage.
You pay the pet insurance company a monthly premium. The premium is based on the type of plan you choose, breed of your cat, your cat’s age, where you live, and much more. Most pet insurance companies use a reimbursement-based model. If your cat needs to go to the vet, you pay the vet out of pocket and then submit a claim online, through an app, or email, fax, or mail.
If the claim is approved, your insurance company will reimburse you for the covered services minus any deductible. Like car insurance, most pet insurance plans have a deductible, annual or per-incident maximum, reimbursement percentage or copay, and waiting periods. Based on the plan you choose, your reimbursement amount can range from 60% to 100% of your covered veterinary charges.
What is and isn’t covered by cat insurance?
Different pet insurance companies offer different pet coverage options for cats, so you may have to do a bit of research to find the best pet health insurance for your cat. Pet insurance policies may cover:
- New and unexpected illnesses and injuries
- Hereditary and congenital conditions
- Cancer treatments
- Diagnostic tests
- Hospital stays
- Prescription medications
- Veterinary supplements
- Prosthetic devices and mobility cars
What is not covered?
Even the best pet insurance companies have exclusions, which are things not included in your cat’s coverage. Coverage can vary from insurer to insurer, so it’s best to research and compare options. This will help you avoid any surprises. No pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions, but some insurers distinguish between curable and incurable conditions. Here are the most common pet insurance exclusions for cats.
- Pre-existing conditions
- Cosmetic surgeries
- Breeding, pregnancy, or giving birth
- Experimental procedures
Cat insurance is for the unexpected, so most accident and illness policies don’t cover preventative or routine care costs. Many pet insurance companies offer wellness and preventive care plans as an optional add-on.
What does cat insurance cost?
The cost for pet health insurance for your cat is based on a number of pet-based and policy-based factors. Pet-based factors include your cat’s breed, sex, age, and even where you live. Policy-based factors include the type of policy you get, your deductible, and reimbursement percentage. You can personalize elements of your policy to get the best plan for your cat’s needs and your budget.
Pet insurance companies typically offer three types of coverage options:
- Accident & Illness (A&I) Coverage: A&I policies cover accidents and illnesses such as cancer, infection, and digestive problems. A&I policies cost more since they are comprehensive policies.
- Accident-Only (AO) Coverage: AO policies only cover accidents such as car accidents, foreign body ingestion, lacerations, poisoning, and ligament tears.
- Wellness Coverage: Covers routine and preventative care, such as annual check-ups, vaccinations, and teeth cleaning. These policies tend to be riders to A&I policies.
Here are the average costs for each type of policy.
Accident and Illness average premiums
- Annual: $342.84
- Monthly $28.57
Accident-Only average premiums
- Annual: $130.24
- Monthly $10.85
Wellness coverage policies typically cost $20-$25 per month. They may be rolled up into comprehensive coverage policies. The cost of a wellness policy for your cat is what you would pay out of pocket anyway, so it may not be worth getting a standalone wellness plan.
Where you live also makes a difference in your monthly premium. Average monthly premiums can be as high as $31.97 in California and as low as $19.35 in Wyoming. Certain breeds like Siamese cats are more expensive since they tend to suffer from various types of illnesses.
Many pet insurance companies offer different plan options, along with customizable reimbursement percentages and deductible amounts. The higher the deductible you choose, the lower your pet insurance payment will be. Many also offer discounts such as multi-pet and military discounts.
Cats vs. kittens
Pet insurance costs also are based on the age of your cat. Premiums for younger cats are lower since older cats are more likely to need expensive veterinary care. Older cats are also at higher risk and cost more to insure since they are more susceptible to injuries and illnesses. Here are the average premiums based on the age of a cat.
- Average premium for 6-month-old kitten: $23.69
- Average premium for 18-month-old cat: $23.68
- Average premium for 5.5-year-old cat: $27.98
Average premiums for a 5.5-year-old cat can be as high as $35.80 in California and as low as $21.60 in Wyoming.
Regardless of the age and overall health of your cat, it’s highly likely that one of the best pet insurance companies for cats on our list will provide the right coverage to fit your needs.