Cat insurance is built on a reimbursement-based business strategy. As a result, when you take your cat to the veterinarian for treatment of an injury or illness, you must pay the hospital bill at the time of service and make a claim for reimbursement later. Because of this reimbursement-based paradigm, you are free to consult with any licensed veterinarian of your choosing.
Like car insurance, most cat insurance plans have:
- Waiting periods
- Annual or per-incident maximum
- Reimbursement percentage
What is cat health insurance?
Cat health insurance is coverage that has a monthly premium associated with it. If your cat becomes ill or injured, you are responsible for paying the bills upfront and then submitting a claim to your cat’s insurance company. Depending on the policy, a deductible and a percentage of the bill may also be required, and certain illnesses and previous conditions are often excluded from coverage under these policies.
The benefit of cat insurance, even though the monthly premiums can mount up to several hundred dollars per year, is that the cost will be less of a consideration when selecting whether or not to go with a significant surgery. Treatments for illnesses and injuries in cats can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars for their owners.
Radiation therapy, for example, might cost as much as $5,000 or $10,000 if your cat has cancer, and tumor removal procedures can cost as much as $6,000.
Cat owners who cannot afford a high vet bill may be forced to make a difficult decision if they do not have insurance. However, if you contribute approximately $30 to $40 each month to a cat health care plan, you can significantly lower your out-of-pocket expenses.
What does cat insurance cover?
Cat insurance helps to cover the costs of veterinary fees and certain medical expenses for your cat. Depending on the policy, vet fee insurance can cost as little as $1,200 or as much as $18,000. Cat insurance policies typically cover the following items:
- Death as a result of an accident or sickness
If your cat dies, you may be able to recover the amount you purchased for it or the amount it could have sold for. After a certain age is reached (usually eight to eleven years for cats and five to nine years for dogs), insurers will either refuse to pay out or require you to make a payment toward the insurance expenses.
- Missing cat cover
The majority of cat insurance policies cover the costs of putting up posters and giving a reward if your cat becomes lost or stolen.
- Liability to a third party
If you have a dog, your cat insurance policy should cover you if your dog causes injury to another person or animal. This includes legal fees and expenditures, as well as the claimant’s expenses.
- Travel insurance for international travel
Most cat insurance policies will give coverage in the event that your cat becomes unwell, gets involved in an accident, or requires veterinary care while traveling.
- Fees for catteries and kennels
If you are hospitalized, and there is no one else to care for your cat, most cat insurance companies will reimburse you for the cost of having your cat boarded in a cattery or kennel while you are recovering. You will be required to stay in the hospital for at least two to four consecutive days.
- Euthanasia, cremation, and burial
Depending on your coverage, you may be covered for the costs of putting your cat to sleep, cremation, and burial.
What is not included?
Before getting cat health insurance, it’s essential to understand precisely what the policy will cover. Standard cat insurance will cover the majority of accidents and diseases, but there are some exclusions, including the following:
- Preventive care
- Routine checkups
- Preexisting or hereditary conditions
- Behavior issues
- Dental disease
- Hip dysplasia
Even though even the top cat insurance companies do not cover previous conditions, which are illnesses that your cat had before you obtained coverage,
However, certain insurers, such as Embrace, will cover treatable preexisting diseases in exceptional circumstances, depending on the circumstances. The ailment will be considered to be resolved as a preexisting condition if your cat does not display any signs or symptoms for 12 months after its inception. Embrace Insurance will continue to cover the condition for the rest of your cat’s life.
If your cat is already ill and cannot be treated, cat insurance may not provide a significant amount of coverage for its medical expenses.
What is the procedure for cat insurance?
Companies often require a health checkup and a waiting period before coverage begins in order to prevent owners from purchasing insurance when their cat is already sick. Accident coverage typically requires a few days of waiting time before it becomes effective.
You must first pay the vet bill out of pocket before filing a claim with your insurance company when you need to use it. Insurers will examine your claim and, if it is approved, will either transfer the funds into your bank account or give you a check in the mail, depending on your preference. Filing a claim typically takes two to three business days, though it may take up to a week if the claim is complicated or if you get compensation cash in the mail. The amount of compensation you receive is determined by the structure of your plan. The key sections are as follows:
- Deductible: This is the number of funds you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in — either per year or per occurrence — and it often runs from zero to one thousand dollars.
- Percentage of reimbursement: After paying the deductible, the insurer will reimburse a portion of the expense, typically 50 percent to 100 percent.
- Annual maximum: Your insurance company will specify the total amount of medical expenditures it will pay each year. You’ll be responsible for any charges that exceed the maximum.
What factors influence the cost of your cat insurance?
The average cost of cat insurance varies depending on the type of cat you have, the amount of coverage you purchase, and your residence.
In addition, insurers will consider the following:
- Species: Dogs are more expensive to insure than cats, and male animals have higher rates than female animals.
- Cat breed: Larger cats are more expensive to insure since they have shorter life spans and are more prone to health problems.
- Age: Younger cats are less expensive to insure because they often have fewer health difficulties in their early years of life.
- Geographical location: Insurance premiums vary depending on the state and ZIP code where you live, with more densely populated areas charging higher premiums.
According to the general rule, a low deductible, a high reimbursement level, and a high annual maximum will lower your out-of-pocket costs per incident while increasing your monthly premium.
Cat Insurance Offers several Benefits
Although you consider your cat a member of the family, the insurance market views Fido or Fluffy as more of a piece of property. As opposed to health insurance, Cat insurance acts more like property insurance than it does health insurance. Nonetheless, before you remind someone that your cat is not a piece of property, remember that this distinction works to your advantage. When compared to health insurance policies created for humans, reading and comprehending the policy is a piece of cake.
Take a look at these benefits:
- Veterinarian of Your Choice: As long as the veterinarian is licensed, cat insurers will not restrict your choice of a veterinarian. There are no out-of-network doctors, such as those that are mandated by your own health insurance policy, in this area.
- Specific policies: Most businesses have only three tiers of policies to select from. There are three types of coverage: accident-only coverage, also known as basic coverage; accident and illness coverage, also known as comprehensive coverage; and wellness coverage, which is used for preventative operations.
Costs vary depending on the coverage and policy, but in general, wellness coverage costs $20 to $25 per month, accident-only coverage costs $11 (for cats) and $15 (for dogs) per month.
To be sure, the price will vary according to several factors, including the type and age of the animal, where you reside, and the alternatives you select as part of your policy.
If you know what insurance jargon means, you can figure out how to get a cat insurance policy. You have to pay a monthly or annual premium, as well as a deductible (a predetermined fund that must be paid before the insurance coverage kicks in), and you may be required to pay a co-pay. Deductibles can range from $0 to $1,000, and co-pays can be anywhere between 10% and 30% of the total cost.
There is one significant difference between this policy and many other human healthcare strategies. You, not the insurance company, must be the first to make a financial contribution. Or, to put it another way, as the sign outside some doctors’ clinics states, “Payment is payable at the time of service.” Your cat insurance provider will process your payment and provide a check to you once it has been received.
Some vets may be willing to waive their fees until your insurance company pays its half of the bill. However, before you consent to that high-dollar surgery, make sure that you understand the form of payment that will be used.
Pet insurance for exotic animals
If you have a pet that isn’t typical, you might only have a couple of options for insurance companies. Pet insurance for dogs and cats is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. If you have a bird, an iguana, or another type of pet, you should consider getting it insured through any good pet insurance
What to Keep an Eye Out For?
- If your cat has preexisting conditions, your insurance will not cover them
For example, in the case of abdominal discomfort in your animal, certain insurance companies may attempt to deny reimbursement for any ailment that includes stomach pain as one of its symptoms. Before agreeing to a cat insurance coverage, speak with the firm and ask it to explain how it determines what constitutes a preexisting ailment in the first place. Something in your cat’s medical records that appears to be innocuous may turn out to be significant if you subsequently file a claim. In a related vein, if a veterinarian hasn’t visited your cat in more than a year, you may be required to have it examined by a veterinarian before being approved for coverage.
- After then, there is a waiting period
When you discover that your cat requires a pricey surgery, you will not be able to purchase cat insurance. Insurers are well aware of this tactic. That is why they established waiting periods, which vary from state to state but are generally between 24 and 48 hours for accidents and between 14 and one year for illnesses and certain medical disorders, depending on the type of injury or disease.
- Inquire about the maximum payments
These could include maximums for each incident, for each year, or the entire duration of the policy. Generally speaking, the highest-level plans have the biggest payouts to their beneficiaries.
Then there’s the fact that most policies will raise your premium to account for escalating costs as well as the health and age of your cat. Some businesses, on the other hand, do not. Make sure to inquire about rate increases before signing the insurance policy.
Aside from core coverage, most plans also allow you to purchase “endorsements” or add-ons, expanding your coverage while raising your monthly price. Exam costs, routine checks, and prescription food are examples of endorsements that are common.
Please keep in mind that obtaining cat insurance is not always more affordable than the alternative of not purchasing insurance. It is possible that your cat will never become ill or injured and that the only medical expenses you would incur will be annual checkups paid for out of pocket. On the other hand, going without insurance is a risk that not everyone is willing to take. The right degree of coverage varies from cat to cat, but when making your decision, you should consider your cat’s disease history as well as whether or not your cat is prone to injury. If you don’t have hundreds and thousands of dollars in cash on hand to pay for a sudden surgery, you may be forced to make the difficult decision between assisting your cat and saving your finances.