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  5. Why cat insurance?

Why insure a cat or kitten?

Time to read: 5 mins

Cat insurance is there to protect your pet against injuries and illness that they may suffer from. Vet bills can be expensive, and depending upon the treatment your cat needs costs can run into thousands of pounds. A cat insurance policy can help to protect you against those costs.

How does cat insurance work

Cat insurance works in a similar way to other insurances you’ll be familiar with. In the event that your pet becomes ill or suffers and injury then your insurance may pay out for their treatment and recovery.

Key terms

Inner limits
Inner limits are worth being aware of as they limit the amount that you could be paid out. Inner limits sometimes exist on dental treatment, MRI scans or cruciate ligament treatment.

Excess
This is the cost that you will be required to pay towards your claim. This excess can also rise as your cat get older.

Coinsurance/Copayment
Coinsurance payments are in addition to excess. They are able to lower your premium, but at the point of claiming you’ll be required to pay your excess as well as a percentage towards the claim value (typically between 10-20%)

Wait period
This is typically a 14 day period from taking out your plan where you won’t be able to submit a claim. This is also known as your cooling off period. If you’re switching pet insurance from another provider then we will waive the waiting period and you’ll be fully covered for injuries and illnesses from day 1.

Pre-existing conditions
Pre-existing conditions describe any illness, injury, symptom or condition that happened or first showed signs before your policy begins regardless of whether your pet went to the vet for it. Our full definition is:

An injury or illness that:

– Happened or first showed clinical signs,

– Has the same diagnosis or clinical signs as an injury, illness or clinical sign your pet had,

– Is caused by, relates to, or results from, an injury, illness or clinical sign your pet had, before the start date of your pet’s first period of insurance (inception) or before the date the cover level on your policy was increased. No matter where the injury, illness or clinical signs are noticed or happen in, or on, your pet’s body.

What other things can it cover?

Fundamentally pet insurance for cats is there to cover you against the vet fees occurring from treatment. However, many providers offer additional benefits, such as:

Loss and recovery
If your cat is lost or stolen, pet insurers can cover you up to a certain limit to advertise to find your cat. In the event that the pet is not able to be recovered then the insurance could also pay towards the cost of your cat.

Boarding fees
If you are unable to care for your cat, for example if you are admitted to hospital, then your insurance may cover the cost of boarding at a cattery. Some insurers will also pay out if your cat is being looked after by friend and family.

There are typically conditions upon the length of time you’re admitted to hospital before you can claim under this section of your plan.

Holiday cancellation and abandonment cover
If your cat goes missing or becomes life-threateningly ill either before you are due to travel or whilst you are on holiday some insurers will cover travel and accommodation costs of needing to cut short or cancel your trip.

It’s also worth checking where you’ll be covered. Most insurers will cover you within countries that are covered within the EU PETS arrangement.

There are limits on the numbers of days before your holiday that you can claim so it’s worth checking this with your insurer.

Death and euthanasia
In the unfortunate situation of the death of a cat your insurer will pay towards the costs of your pet dying and, if they were put to sleep, they may also pay towards the cost of euthanasia.

How much is cat insurance?

Cat insurance prices can vary depending upon many factors, which are explained below. If you are unsure of what best suits your needs, it could be useful to use a price comparison website.

What determines the price?

The 4 main factors that will affect the price of a new cat insurance quote will be

Age
The older your cat, the more at risk they are deemed to be. As they exceed the age of 10 years old they become more expensive to insure and you may also be required to pay a higher excess on claims.

Breed
The breed you want to insure is key to the price. If you’re insuring cats which are known to have a higher risk of health problems then the price will be higher. Pedigree cats will be more expensive to insure because of their increased price to purchase and they typically a lower immunity to certain conditions compared to moggies. Explore how pedigree pet insurance works.

Pre-existing conditions
If your cat has any pre-existing conditions that you would like to cover then this will also increase the price. These are conditions that are known and likely to recur so the cost is increased to reflect this. Most providers won’t cover these by default however some pet insurers, including us, could help you to protect against pre-existing medical conditions.

Vet fee inflation
An often overlooked factor which can affect the price of dog insurance is vet fee inflation. This is price increased of vet treatment. This changes each year and so the increased cost of vet treatment is often reflected in an insurance premium rise. This is most notable on renewal prices even when you may not have claimed.

How can I affect the price?

The main way of affecting the price is by choosing a suitable cover level.

Accident only cover is the cheapest available but as the name suggests will cover you against vet fees arising from any accidents your cat has.

Time-limited plans are annual policies which provide cover for new injuries and illnesses occurring after the plan has started for up to 12 months from first date of treatment or the plan limit is reached, whichever happens first.

Maximum benefit is an annual plan which provides cover for new injuries and illnesses occurring after the plan has started up to the maximum level. You are able to claim for illnesses that are ongoing beyond 12 months with this kind of plan. Once the condition limit has been reached then it is classed as a pre-existing condition and will no longer by covered.

Lifetime pet insurance cover are annual plans which provide cover for all new injuries and illnesses up to an annual limit each policy year occurring after the policy has started. The annual cover limit for vets fees is fully reinstated at each renewal.

Pre-existing conditions pet insurance protects all new injuries and illnesses occurring after the policy has started, up to the annual limit each policy year. It could also cover certain pre-existing conditions that you declare which your pet has or has received treatment for in the past. The annual limit for vets fees is fully reinstated at each renewal.

What are common problems I need to protect against?

This depends upon your breed, but typically cats commonly suffer from dental diseases, abscesses, skin and coat problems and digestive issues. It’s worth fully researching your breed so you can fully understand what you may need any insurance to cover.

Exceptions

As with any insurance policy there are exceptions that you’ll need to be aware of.

Certain breeds
There are certain breeds that will be excluded from cover. So it’s worth checking the policy document of your provider to find out if you can get covered.

Age of pet
As your cat ages the more likely they are to need veterinary treatment, with this being the case some insurers won’t be able to provide insurance for older cats. Generally, cats over 10 years old will tend to be more expensive to insure.

Do kittens need insurance?

It’s not a requirement for any cat to have insurance, but it can become more difficult to get cover as your cat gets older or if they have a health condition. So if you plan to get cover it’s certainly easier to do so as a kitten.

So, is it worth it?

It depends, only you are able to tell if cat insurance is worthwhile for your situation but it can be a good solution to protect against large unexpected vet bills if your cat suffers from injury or illness.

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