Health Insurance For Cats

Veterinary bills for a cat can be very expensive. A buildup of costly procedures can force an owner to make uncomfortable decisions weighing the cost of treatment against the life of the cat. Health insurance for cats can offset these costs for a nominal monthly charge.

Cat Health Insurance Explained

Health insurance for cats works much in the same way as health insurance for humans. An insurance company will offer a policy covering veterinary visits and procedures for which an owner will pay a monthly premium.

Many policies will also cover preventative treatments, such as regular check-ups and blood screening. Other more creative policies will also cover property damage caused by the cat and boarding fees for the cat.

Terms of Cat Health Insurance Policies

All cat health insurance policies will carry specific terms describing coverage provided, cost of the plan and any deductibles or co-pays the owner will be required to pay for visits and procedures. Many plans offer a flat deductible of around $50 that the owner must pay for each visit. The policy will then cover the remaining costs of the visit, depending upon the type of plan.

A cat health insurance policy can also carry co-pay riders, which dictate that the owner must pay a small percentage of the total cost of various veterinary procedures. This co-pay is usually between 10 percent and 15 percent of the total cost of the procedure. Insurance companies include co-pay riders in hopes of reducing the amount of visits cats make to their veterinarians.

Cat insurance policies also often carry exclusion riders for various illnesses and pre-existing conditions. These riders exclude the policy from covering the cost of treatments associated with vaccinations, flea control, spaying or neutering and dental care, among other things.

Another consideration related to health insurance for cats is the total coverage limit, or cap, to which the policy will pay benefits. One company limits coverage to $12,000 with the disclaimer that only one is 50,000 cats ever exceeds that amount.

How to Insure Your Cat

Health insurance for cats is quick and easy to obtain. Most companies merely require that the owner go online or make a phone call and request coverage.

The insurance company will want to know the age and breed of the animal, as well as how long you have owned it. Insurance companies may ask for veterinary records for older cats to determine if any exclusions need to be added to the policy. It is then only a matter of determining the type of coverage an owner wishes to purchase before a policy will be issued.

Considerations When Buying Cat Health Insurance

When considering insuring their cat, an owner must take many things into consideration.

  1. First and foremost, an owner must decide whether or not to insure the cat in the first place. All types of insurance are a risk in that the cat may never require treatments and visits that cost more than the monthly premiums. Then again, a combination of veterinary bills running into the thousands of dollars may make an owner wish they had bought coverage.
  1. Another consideration is the type of coverage an owner may want. Not all policies are the same. Most companies allow an owner to customize the plan to limit coverage based on what they are willing to pay in monthly premiums. Some owners may choose to buy coverage that only provides compensation for high-cost procedures. Others may choose to insure their cat for any and all situations that may arise. The more things a policy covers, the greater the monthly premiums will be.
  1. It is also important to read the fine print of the policy to determine if the cat”s existing veterinary provider is included in the plan. Some companies offer coverage only for visits to specific veterinary clinics. Owners may choose to change providers or decide to seek another policy that includes their current veterinarian.

Resources

Syufy, Franny (n.d.). Before You But Pet Health Insurance for Cats. Retrieved on October 3, 2007 from the About.com Web site: http://cats.about.com/od/pethealthinsurance/bb/bybpetinsurance.htm.

VPI PetInsurance (n.d.). Pet Health Insurance. Retrieved on October 3, 2007, from the VPI Pet Insurance Web site: http://www.petinsurance.com/.