Sometimes it seems there is an insurance for everything in life and we can end up spending most of our money insuring against something bad happening. But while the kitchen appliances might break down or the TV might stop working, when the subject is question is your cat, it is worth considering because the right treatment can save their lives. But it can also be extremely costly.
According to figures taken by American Pets Products, US pet owners spend around $15 billion a year on vet care. This means that every six seconds, someone will face a vet bill in excess of $3,000 and costs look set to increase as the techniques and equipment used before ever more complex. Something as simple as an ear infection can cost over $4,000 while a series condition such as hip dysplasia over $9,000 and brain cancer $14,000.
All policies will have their own exact wording but the examples here are taken from the Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Foundation and the GoPetPlan Insurance.
The basic cover on cat insurance includes hereditary conditions, congenital ones and also chronic conditions. This means anything the cat is born with, that occurs due to a genetic condition and anything that continues long term such as diabetes or heart disease. It also covers accidents and illnesses that occur such as a collision with a car or a respiratory condition. Cancer is also included on the list.
What it covers you for in the basic form is any x-rays, blood tests and ultrasounds needed to diagnose the condition. It will also cover the surgery and hospitalisation to deal with the conditions including emergency care and specialist care. Prescription medicines needed afterwards such as to deal with diabetes or hyperthyroidism are covered, as are alternative treatments such as to help with arthritis.
The policies won’t cover pre-existing medical condition that began before the policy started. They also exclude the vet fees for annual check-ups, vaccinations and the cost of the cat being spayed or neutered. Teeth cleaning isn’t covered nor is any vet check-up when you first get the cat. Each policy will have a full list of exclusions and what these mean.
How policies work
Again, each policy will have its own terms but in general, once you have a policy in place and something happens to your cat, you can take it to any licensed vet, though there is usually a 15-day period after taking a policy before cover starts. Claims processes vary but generally you submit the invoice for the vets’ fees you have paid and the company will send you a cheque to cover the costs.
You can choose different levels of cover to suit your budget and requirements with most companies. Their basic level of cover, for example, might see you reimbursed 80% of the fees up to $10,000. The middle cover level may go up to 90%, have a limit of $14,000 while the top level will reimburse all the costs, and have a limit of $22,000. Other companies have no limit to the amount they will pay out.
As with all insurance policies, shopping around is the best way. Look at not just cost but what you are covered for, how easy the claims process is and if there are any limitations and exclusion applying. Hopefully, you will never need the cover but if the worst does happen, it may prove to be a great relief.