Pet insurance for cats is like other types of insurance: The owner makes a monthly payment, and when the cat needs preventative or emergency care, the insurance covers some or most of the costs of treatment. But is insurance for your cat worth the cost?
Most monthly pet insurance premiums are low, but healthy cats don't need a lot of veterinary care. Kittens especially shouldn't need much vet attention unless they have genetic predispositions to certain diseases or chronic conditions that could raise your premiums.
Luckily, there are plenty of options when it comes to pet insurance. Most owners can find a plan that fits their cats' needs without breaking the bank.
Coverage depends on your specific plan, but most pet insurance plans cover accidental injuries, illness, alternative therapies, behavioral problems, and chronic conditions. Some also provide care for hereditary issues.
There is little evidence that most cats need to attend behavioral classes or receive alternative therapies, but, if you find that your cat needs these types of treatments, it might be worthwhile to look into coverage options.
Regular veterinary fees include checkups, vaccines, and spaying or neutering. Emergency veterinary care is more expensive than preventative care, so most cat owners opt for insurance for emergency reasons.
Veterinary offices charge anywhere between a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars for emergency services. If you don't opt for pet insurance for your cat, you may want to set aside some money in case of an emergency.
Is the cat an indoor or outdoor cat? Does the cat tend to get into mischief? Many cat owners opt out of pet insurance because cats are more self-sufficient than dogs and don't get hurt as often.
However, if the cat does go outside or has eaten stray objects before, the owner might want to consider insurance. It can cost up to $3,000 to have an object removed from a cat's stomach.
If the cat is older, the owner might want to consider insurance, too. Veterinary costs for conditions such as glaucoma can cost thousands of dollars. Of course, many pet owners choose to let their cats adapt to these conditions as they age rather than pursue treatment.
The cost of insurance always depends on the type of insurance and plan. On average, it costs around $20 per month, with a deductible between $500 to $5,000. Higher premiums usually come with a higher maximum benefit and lower deductible.
According to Consumer Reports, pet insurance could help those worried about unexpected costs. They also recommend opening a savings account dedicated to pet care. Instead of paying $20 per month for the insurance, the owner would invest that into a savings account. However, the downside is that by only saving $20 a month, it may take some time to save up enough to cover an expensive visit to the vet in the event of an accident.
One of the main benefits of cat insurance is peace of mind. Those who are worried about how they will afford treatment for a cat should consider purchasing insurance, but may also want to reconsider their decision to get a pet if that is a primary concern. Many people also worry that they might need to choose between the cat's health and putting the cat down. Most insurance plans are worth the cost if peace of mind is an issue, or if the owner couldn't possibly afford emergency treatments.
In addition to peace of mind, pet owners can enjoy several other benefits, including:
Reimbursement for scheduled visits
Reimbursement for emergency care
Preventative services that might otherwise be too costly
Reimbursement for shots and immunizations
Coverage for chemo and other expensive treatments
Drawbacks of pet insurance include:
Some plans don't cover preventative care
Some plans don't cover spaying and neutering (this service may be free through your local animal shelter)
Some plans have breed restrictions
Plans with a fee schedule aren't always in the owners' best interest
Some plans have high deductibles
Pet health insurance does not include pet life insurance -- which is a different cost
As a cat owner, you should make a list of all the reasons why cat insurance would be beneficial. You should ask yourself the following questions:
Why are you interested in cat insurance?
How old is the cat?
Does the cat suffer from any genetic conditions?
Did the cat's parents have conditions, such as arthritis?
Does the cat get into trouble often?
Is the cat an indoor or outdoor cat?
Can you afford emergency medical services without insurance?
Has the cat ever eaten objects not meant for consumption?
So is pet insurance for cats worth it? If your cat is young, healthy, and generally stays out of trouble - probably not. If those things don't apply to your cat and you don't mind paying a few bucks a month, having the peace of mind that you and your loved one are covered may be worthwhile.