Cat insurance for your new pet
Our cats give us a huge amount of enjoyment, as well as being our steadfast companions. So when they make us worry – for example, if they get lost or become ill – you want to have a good cat insurance policy in place to make sure they get all the help they need. After all, money is the last thing you want to think about if your cat is ill, lost or stolen.
Medical care for cats is improving all the time. However, these treatments can be costly, and added to the stress of your cat being under the weather they can really put the pressure on. Getting the right insurance for cats can take some of the worry away, as you’ll know you’re financially covered. Even so, it’s important to know how to choose cat insurance that will fit your pet’s needs – which means reading the small print!
You could chat to your vet about the types of insurance for cats that your pet might benefit from, and we’ve made a list of some general things to help you out too. Knowing how to choose pet insurance can be a little tricky, but once it’s done nothing beats the peace of mind you get from knowing your cat is in good hands!
How do I know the insurance company is right for me?
Before you look at individual policies, it’s a good idea to check out the companies offering them. A company that suits you means a less stressful experience if you do need to claim.
- The pet insurance company should have a good track record; can you find out how many other people have claimed, and how their experiences were? You could ask your veterinary practice for advice or suggestions, and a lot of useful information might be found on the company’s website.
- The company should offer a good, simple and straightforward service. For example, you might want to consider the opening times of their care line and how easy their forms are to fill out.
The company should be happy to answer questions, and the people you talk to friendly and helpful. Remember that you might need to call them at a difficult time, so you should feel that they are approachable.
How do I know the policy is right for me?
You’ll probably end up looking at all kinds of policies – and it can be difficult to choose between them if they all start to look the same! To help you out, here are the main things you might want to consider when choosing insurance for cats.
The cost of your policy
While you want the best policy you can get when it comes to your feline friend, you must be able to afford the cat insurance cost. If the cost of your cat insurance policy is too high, you’re just giving yourself extra stress.
- How much excess will you have to pay for each claim?
The excess is the amount of money you have to pay before the cat insurance company covers the remainder. If the excess is high, you’re less likely to claim for minor conditions – and this should be reflected in a lower monthly cost. Only you can weigh up the pros and cons, but make sure you think it’s fair.
- Does the cat insurance cover all the costs of your pet’s treatment?
It’s also important to find out if additional areas of treatment will also be included within the policy: for example, your cat staying in hospital, their medicine, anesthetic, operations, x-rays and ultrasounds, and laboratory fees. At a referral level, this would be if your vet sends your cat to a specialist.
You might also want to find out if the treatment of behavioral disorders and complementary treatments such as acupuncture are covered. Choose whatever’s right for you and your cat, but make sure you’re happy with what’s covered.
You might also ask if your cover will include the cost, or a contribution towards, special veterinary recommended diets.
- Does your cat’s age affect the cost of your cat insurance policy?
Some companies won’t offer policies for older cats, as there is more likelihood that they will need expensive treatments, and some will ask you to pay a proportion of their treatment if your cat is a certain age or above.
- What’s the maximum amount you can claim for each condition in a year?
Hopefully it won’t happen, but your cat might need treatment at a specialist centre – and the bills can add up. For example, £1,000 might sound like a lot of money as the maximum amount your company pays for something, but a bill for a broken bone could be double that amount or more! Think about the bills you’d expect should something go wrong, and decide accordingly.
Keep in mind that some companies have a maximum total sum that they’d pay you in one year, no matter how many conditions your cat has.
- Is the cost of your insurance for cats affected by your postcode or your cat’s breed?
It’s worth keeping in mind that the type of breed can change the cost of a policy. For example, more urban areas might attract a higher premium, as do breeds of cat that are known to suffer from more problems. If you have a lovely pedigree cat, check that congenital and hereditary conditions are definitely covered, too; some policies won’t let you claim for known hereditary conditions.
- Does your cover include third-party costs in case your cat causes an accident?
Cats don’t mean to cause trouble, but sometimes mishaps do happen! Check what will happen if your cat causes an accident – and have a look at your house and contents insurance, as some of these policies also cover legal liability for damage or injury caused by pets.
- Are there multi-pet discounts?
Many companies offer a discount if you have multiple pets within your home, which is good news for pet lovers. Have a look to see what’s available.
What does the policy offer you?
- Will your insurance company pay if you cat gets lost or is stolen?
Some companies offer a lump sum if your cat strays, gets lost, or is taken. Also check to see if your policy contributes to the cost of making missing notices and offering a reward.
- Will the company give you a lump sum if you cat has to be put to sleep?
Nobody wants it to happen, but sometimes we have to say goodbye to our pets. Some policies might offer a lump sum if you have to do this, which is important for pedigree cats and kittens that can cost several hundred pounds.
- Does the policy pay for cancelled holidays due to a cat emergency?
If so, the cat insurance company probably won’t cover any of the costs for the treatment of this condition; most of them only pay if your cat develops the condition while on the policy. However, some companies will reinstate cover for this condition if your cat doesn’t need treatment for a period of time. Have a chat with the company and ask if this applies to you.
- What other restrictions does the policy have?
Take a look at the conditions of your policy to ensure you don’t accidentally lose your cover. For example, some policies won’t cover dental treatment unless your cat’s teeth are checked by the vet once a year. Others might require complete, up-to-date vaccinations. Check the small print of your insurance for cats so you can stick to the restrictions and keep your cat fully covered.
Although there’s a lot to choose from, with these questions in mind you should be well on your way to finding the policy that’s right for you and your cat. After that, you can enjoy your pet’s company worry-free and prepared for anything the world throws at you.