How to get the best cat insurance policy
Cat insurance is primarily designed to cover the costs associated with your pet cat falling ill or getting injured and needing medical attention. However, many pet insurance policies also provide cover for a variety of other circumstances surrounding your pet’s welfare. These policies are paid for in either monthly instalments or annual premiums, depending on the policy you choose.
Read on for more information about how to find the right insurance policy for your cat, your options, the costs, and what you can expect.
Why should I get cat insurance?
The cost of veterinary bills can be expensive - among the most costly, in 2017 a cat with inflammatory bowel disease needed treatment costing £9,600 - and compared to the steep fees associated with veterinary bills, the average annual premiums for an insurance policy is considerably cheaper.
In 2017, the average cost of treatment reached £757, while the average annual premium for a cat insurance policy was just £171.
What are the different insurance options?
Like any insurance, you have policy styles to choose from. Policies will vary from company to company, but here are your standard options:
- Annual cover. This style of policy lasts for 12 months and during that time, should your cat fall ill or get injured, the provider will cover any vet fees. However, many providers choose to set a limit on the amount you can claim per condition.
- Lifetime cover. This style of insurance covers your cat for his/her entire life. But bear in mind, this style of policy is more expensive than an annual cover, and many insurance companies impose a cap of the amount they’ll pay out annually, usually around £5,000.
What does cat insurance cover?
Cat insurance policies vary from provider to provider, and change depending on the plan you take out, but here is a list of the most frequent things that cat insurance covers:
- Vet fees. This includes any diagnostic work, scans, and subsequent surgeries.
- The cost of medicine. Up to a certain limit set by the insurer you use.
- Cattery boarding fees. Should you fall ill and need to have your pets looked after, some providers will cover the costs of boarding fees.
- Straying/theft. Some providers cover the cost of advertising and provide a portion of the reward should your cat go missing.
- Holiday cancellation fees. If you cancel a holiday because your cat falls ill, some providers offer additional coverage which can help offset the cancellation fees.
- 3rd party accidental damage. Many insurers provide coverage for damage or injury your cat may cause to other people or their property - however, there will always be limitations on this and vary depending on the provider.
- Accidental death. Many cat insurance providers offer a cash sum should your cat die in an accident.
- Overseas cover. Some companies offer additional coverage which ensures your cat while taking them abroad.
- Dental. With many providers, you can purchase an additional cover that includes dental treatment in exchange for increased premiums.
Are there any exclusions?
Yes. Much like any insurance policy, each provider will have different exclusions, so it’s important to fully understand a policy before you sign anything. Here is a list of common exclusions that are stipulated by many insurance providers:
- Age. You may struggle to insure your cat until they are 6 - 8 weeks old, or after they turn 8 - 10 years old, depending on the provider.
- Pre-existing conditions. Many cat insurance providers won’t pay out for the treatment or associated costs of any pre-existing conditions.
- Vaccinations. Your policy won’t pay out for routine treatments such as vaccinations.
- Neutering and spaying. Many insurance providers won’t cover the cost of spaying or neutering your cat.
- Pest infestations. If your pet gets infested by lice or other pests, you’ll likely have to pay for the treatment yourself.
How much does cat insurance cost?
The cheapest cat insurance policies cost from £30 - £35 per year. However, these premiums vary between providers and depend on a variety of factors, going up to around £350 annually. To help you figure out what you need to consider, we’ve compiled a list of those factors:
- Your cat’s age. Like any insurance, age has a significant bearing on your monthly premiums, and it’s considerably cheaper to insure kittens.
- Your cat’s health. If your pet has experience ailing health in the past, it’s likely that they’ll be considered a higher risk and you’ll be expected to pay more.
- Your cat’s breed. The pedigree of your cat has a substantial impact on your premiums. Even within prestige breeds, the cost of insurance can vary - Sphynx cats have the most expensive premiums at roughly £330 annually, while Exotic Shorthair cats only cost £258 annually.
- The level or style of cover you want. With varying cover and a variety of add-on services available, your premiums will depend on the level of cover you choose.
- Where you live. The cost of vet fees varies depending on where you live in the country, so naturally, your monthly premiums will reflect this. For example, people living in Wales pay the lowest premiums annually, almost £100 less than those living in London.
- Whether your cat is chipped. This is particularly relevant in the case of lost/stolen pet cover.
What if I have other pets as well?
Some insurance providers allow you to set up multi-pet policies. These policies allow you to insure multiple species and breeds under one single policy. Generally speaking, 2 to 5 pets can normally be insured on one multi-pet policy, although some policies are willing to insure as many as 10.
Why shouldn’t I just pay the vet bills?
Ultimately, there’s no reason why you can’t just pay the vet bills yourself, so long as you can afford them. Many people do choose self-fund by putting money aside each month in preparation. However, many people find it easier to pay into an insurance policy each month.
With 1 in 3 pets needing medical treatments at least every 3 years, and the average claim under pet insurance being £757, the cost of self-funding your cat’s veterinary bills can be expensive. While pet insurers pay out £1.8 million on claims every day.
What should I look for in an insurance policy for my cat?
Once you’ve decided to insure your cat, you should first consider what health problems they’re likely to encounter based on their lifestyle and medical history. This should help you decide whether an annual, or lifetime cover is best for your cat.
You should also consider what you’d like the cat insurance policy to cover. Many additional covers such as third-party damage, cattery boarding fees, and theft, can help provide you with more comprehensive coverage, however you will likely see an increse in your monthly premiums for this.
In some cases, a multi-pet policy for more than one cat/animal is likely to be more beneficial financially, with some insurers even offering discounts to insure multiple pets.
What information will I need to provide to get a quote?
Here is a list of information you’ll need to hand when getting your cat insured:
- Your cat’s breed, gender, medical records, age and birthday.
- How much you paid for them.
- Whether your cat has been chipped.
- Whether you’ve received any complaints or legal action in the last 5 years resulting from your cat’s behaviour.
- If your cat has been used for breeding.
- How many pets you want to insure - some providers offer discounts for multi-pet policies.
How can I get a cat insurance quote now?
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