Pet Insurance for Cats: Why You Need It and How To Compare Policies
There's one particular case that always reminds me when I first realized the value of pet insurance for cats. It was many years ago when some very loving cat owners walked into my hospital with a cat named Tiggy, who literally looked as though he was knocking on death’s door
. It was clear from the moment Tiggy came in that this was going to be a very expensive veterinary visit. He obviously needed hospitalization, IV fluids, possible tube feeding, bloodwork, urinalysis, and perhaps xrays or other imaging studies – and all of that just to diagnose
his cat health condition. Treating whatever feline illness Tiggy had, if it was treatable, could be quite expensive as well.
I was honest with his owners and told them that saving Tiggy, if we could, could cost thousands of dollars. They wanted to try, and explained that, fortunately, they had cat health insurance.
Cats can have any number of medical emergencies during their lifetime, from obstructions and blockages to viruses that stop them from eating to cat heart disease and kidney failure. In Tiggy’s case, he was in cat kidney failure, and he recovered and lived well until very recently partially because there was pet insurance for cats to cover his veterinary expenses.
It breaks my heart, but in both my veterinary practice and my consultations online, I have seen far too many cats lose their lives because the owners were unable to afford to treat their cats illnesses. For example,
this loving pet owner is sadly struggling with the decision of whether or not to euthanize her cat because of a heart condition that has developed secondary to feline hyperthyroidism. The saddest part is that this cat illness is very easily treated, and the cat could have many, many healthy happy years ahead, but due to financial constraints and the fact that maintaining a hyperthyroid cat does involve regular bloodwork and medical rechecks, the owner is in quite the heartbreaking predicament.
Cat Health Care Costs & Pet Insurance
Surprisingly few people have cat health insurance. Yet, more and more owners want to take the best of care of their cats and that care sometimes gets very expensive. What to do? Get Pet Insurance for your Cats!
Veterinary medicine has, over the last few years, acquired a degree of technology and capability that is comparable to that of human medicine. High-tech diagnostics, intricate surgeries, cancer treatment, and even organ transplants have become a part of our pets' lives. Treatments once reserved for humans are now available for pets. However, these state-of-the-art treatments may cost from $1,000 to more than $5,000. How do you afford high-cost care for yourself? Hopefully, you have health insurance. Well, your CAT needs CAT Health Insurance!
Many loving cat owners think that either they will never have an emergency with their cats, or that they would draw the line at a certain amount of money being invested in their cats' health care. However, when push comes to shove, many owners find themselves wavering on their feline health care budgets when a crisis starts. When emotions become involved, as they often do when your cat is sick, many wish they had pet insurance for their cats, although to some they may be "just pets," quickly become part of your family.
And then, of course, there are those of us that know we would want to do anything possible to save our cats, including spending thousands of dollars on pet medical or surgical care. If you belong to this group, it's time you signed up for pet health insurance, a preferable alternative to going into debt. It's time your kitty has Pet Insurance for Cats!
Why Having Pet Insurance for Cats is Necessary
In my mind, cat health insurance has become a necessity, not an option
. It may be hard to imagine yourself in the situation where your cat's life depends on pet insurance if your cat companion is very young and healthy and stays indoors. Your kitty may be in perfect health. Today.
But what about tomorrow? What about next year? What about when she's 8 or 10 or 14?
Things change, your cat grows older, feline illnesses can occur (and if your cat lives long enough WILL occur), and your kitty may need extensive veterinary care. This is where having pet insurance for cats becomes necessary.
I hate to bring up sad subjects, but you need to know why you should be considering cat health insurance. What if your cat is outdoors and gets hit by a car? Or bitten by another animal? Or ingests a plant that is poisonous to cats? Can you easily lay out hundreds or thousands of dollars to save your cat or would you need pet insurance? Cats, even indoor ones, can end up with some very expensive medical bills.
As you know, you can't predict when something is going to happen. In fact, if you're like me, difficult times usually catch you totally by surprise. Cats, in particular, are famous for appearing fine one day and very sick the next. Fortunately, the good news is that while you can't predict the future of your cat's health, you can prepare for it.
There are a few different ways you can prepare for unexpected pet expenses. However, there's probably many other things tugging at your savings and such. By far, the easiest method and the way to get the most for your money and have peace-of-mind is to get pet insurance for your cats.
You may be thinking that if you pay 10.00 per month for cat health insurance, therefore $120.00 per year, and you pay that for 18 years (a perfectly reasonable age to hope your cat reaches), you will have spent $2160.00? Sound like a lot? Sure, but not when you think about the fact that you could spend that or more on ONE feline illness or one cat accident. In the course of an 18-years lifespan, most cats experience far more than one accident or cat illness and with pet insurance, cats can receive the necessary care every time!
Statistics show that pets will require unexpected veterinary treatments at various times over their lifetimes. There has been tremendous progress in veterinary medical care. Your veterinarian is a highly skilled expert with the ability to practice the latest medical techniques that may be required to return your cat to good health. If you have pet insurance, cats care costs will be more manageable and you can provide the high quality veterinary care that you want for your feline friend.
You have to be careful, however. Not all pet insurance policies are created equally. Pet care insurance is similar to your own health insurance - many plans have deductibles, maximums, and even co-insurance.
Conducting a Pet Insurance Comparison
There are SO many different companies these days - selecting the right company can be overwhelming and confusing. Conducting a pet insurance comparison is the only way to decide which plan will work best for you and your cats.
It’s not difficult, but it’s necessary to compare pet insurance companies. When you're deciding which plan to sign up for, you have to evaluate several different factors: what it is going to cost you monthly, the amount of any deductibles, the amount of the co-pay for the various procedures, and the limit the insurance will cover in any given incident or time period.
Sound complicated? Fortunately, many pet insurance companies are now offering customizable plans or tiered plans, covering a variety of cat owners’ concerns. Most companies are also very open to helping you find your way through the world of pet insurance coverage.
While VPI (Vet Pet Insurance) is one of the oldest and largest, there are many other options now such as QuickCare Pet Insurance and Embrace Pet Insurance.
There are many different things to consider when selecting the best pet insurance. Cats are complex creatures, so you will have to consider any pre-existing problems, hereditary or chronic conditions, higher premiums for certain breeds, your cats age, and the number of cats you plan to insure.
Make sure you understand what you are buying and read through all of the inclusions and exclusions of your pet insurance policies. Some policies will only cover accidents or injuries, most policies cover accidents & illnesses, and a few offer comprehensive coverage, including not only accident and illness coverage, but also preventive care from annual or biannual checkups to vaccinations to neutering and more. Many cat health insurance companies are now offering ways to design your own policy to get some of all of these potentially coverable expenses.
Key Points About Pet Insurance for Cats
(1) There can be age restrictions associated with a pet insurance policy. Be sure you understand what they are. Find out if coverage begins at birth for a new kitten or if they have to a certain number of weeks old. Likewise, is there a cutoff age past which your cat will no longer be insured? You certainly want to know that. Older cats can need the insurance even more than younger so you don't want to get a policy that stops when your cat is 10 years old!
The age of your cat is a big factor in which pet insurance plan you select. Kittens have different needs from those of senior cats. For example, in the first year of life, kittens need more routine appointments as they get their vaccinations and boosters. They also need surgery, either spaying or castration. Kittens are also more likely to get into poisons or ingest foreign objects. You'll want to take that into account when doing a cat health insurance comparison.
After your kitten matures a bit, you will want to be more concerned with dental care, urinary tract infections, ear and eye infections, and other routine conditions such as those as well as any coverage you may or may not want for annual routine cat care.
Geriatric cats, on the other hand, are more likely to come down with serious but treatable conditions such as cat diabetes, feline hyperthyroidism, or feline chronic renal disease. These conditions require an entirely different kind of pet insurance. Cats that develop geriatric conditions, while very treatable most of the time, can become very expensive. Other disorders of senior cats include feline cancer, cat heart disease, and cat arthritis.
The elderly years are more likely to be the times you need the insurance most so be very careful about reading the policy before you buy. In general, pet insurance companies are usually willing to provide an insurance policy for your pet is he between the ages of 8 weeks and 8 to 10 years old. With a medical exam, you may be able to get coverage for a cat older than that.
(2) Is Your Cat an Indoor only Cat or Indoor/Outdoor? While indoor cats can certainly get injured, it is MUCH less likely than if they are outdoors. The chance of being poisoned also rises significantly if your cat is outside.
(3) Does your kitty have a hereditary condition? Very few pet insurance companies cover hereditary conditions so if your pet falls into this category, you'll definitely want to pursue a pet insurance comparison.
(4) Does your kitty already have an illness or condition that requires regular vet care? These are known to the pet insurance world as "preexisting conditions" and most companies do not cover these. Check the pet insurance company's policy details carefully.
(5) You definitely want to find out how soon after you get your new policy you will be able to use it. There is often a waiting period which is the period of time after the policy is issued until you are allowed to use it. That period of time can be anywhere between 2 days and 30 days, depending on the company and depending on whether the incident is an illness or an accident.
(6) Is there a discount for having multiple pets?
(7) What is the deductible per year? Per incident? Per visit?
(8) Is there a co-pay (an amount you must pay per visit or incident in addition to the deductible)?
(10) What are the exclusions (pre-existing conditions, hereditary exclusions, exclusions due to age, etc.)?
(11) Is there a maximum amount of reimbursement per year? Per incident? Per condition (disease or accident)? Per the life of the pet?
(12) What is the process for getting reimbursed and how long will it be before you are reimbursed?
(13) What type of rate increases can you expect and how often? Can the policy be discontinued for any reason?
(14) How long has the company been in business? What is their reputation? What do current or previous policy holders have to say about the company?
Pet insurance is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your cat. Be sure, however, to do your research and find the right pet insurance company for your cats.
Why Have Pet Insurance for Cats?
If you have pet insurance, cats can receive the treatments they need when they are ill or injured. Most often, you are required to pay the veterinary hospital for their services at the time they are performed and then you send in a claim and get reimbursed by your insurance company. Some companies can and will make exceptions to this but this must be arranged between you, your veterinarian, and the pet insurance company on a case-by-case basis.
Many companies offer totally customizable pet insurance. Choices can include varying options in pricing, a policy that is completely customizable, the ability to sign up easily online, and an educational website loaded with information.
You may find a company that has a wellness program that does not have a waiting period, does not require any type of copay, and doesn't even have a deductible. Some companies give part of your monthly premium to a charity that is affiliated with pet care.
Whatever your needs, be sure and compare pet insurance policies carefully. Every company will provide you with a pet insurance quote. However, there is much more to consider than price alone.
Don't you think you owe it to your cat(s)
to learn more about cat health insurance today? It's won't cost you a penny to look into it. I can almost promise you that once you do, you will wonder why you waited so long to get pet insurance for your cats!
You may want to visit the following pet insurance cat websites for more information:
QuickCare Pet Insurance
Embrace Pet Insurance.
Read Our Thoughts on Buying the Cheapest Pet Insurance
Click Here To Leave Pet Insurance Cats
and Return to The Cat, our Home Page