The best pet insurance for cats

What is cat insurance?

Cat insurance is a type of pet insurance policy that helps cover veterinary expenses for your cat’s accidents and illnesses. Pet insurance pays the policyholder the cost of veterinary bills when the insured cat becomes ill or injured. The right pet insurance policy can help you pay for the best course of treatment for your cat while giving you peace of mind that your cat is taken care of.

How does pet insurance for cats work?

Pet insurance helps reduce the financial burden of caring for your cat’s medical needs. Insurers usually require that you bring your cat in for an examination before they will agree to provide coverage. This is to ensure that your cat is not already sick or has any pre-existing conditions. After your policy goes into effect, there is usually a waiting period before you are eligible to start receiving coverage.

You pay the pet insurance company a monthly premium. The premium is based on the type of plan you choose, your cat’s breed, your cat’s age, where you live, and more. Most pet insurance companies use a reimbursement-based model. If your cat needs to go to the vet, you pay the vet out of pocket and then file a claim online, via app, email, fax or mail.

If the claim is approved, your insurance company will reimburse you for the covered services minus any deductibles. Like car insurance, most pet insurance plans have a deductible, an annual or per-incident maximum, a reimbursement or co-pay rate, and waiting periods. Based on the plan you choose, your reimbursement amount can range from 60% to 100% of your covered veterinary fees.

What does and does not cover cat insurance?

Different pet insurance companies offer different pet coverage options for cats, so you may need to do a little research to find the best pet health insurance for your cat. Pet insurance policies can cover:

  • New and unexpected illnesses and injuries
  • Hereditary and congenital conditions
  • Cancer treatment
  • Diagnostic studies
  • Surgeries
  • Hospital stays
  • Prescription drugs
  • Veterinary supplements
  • Prosthetics and wheelchairs

What is not covered?

Even the best pet insurance companies have exclusions that are not included in your cat’s coverage. Coverage can vary from insurer to insurer, so it’s best to research and compare options. This will help you avoid any surprises. No pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions, but some insurers distinguish between treatable and non-treatable conditions. Here are the most common pet insurance exclusions for cats.

  • Preexisting conditions
  • Cosmetic operations
  • Reproduction, pregnancy or childbirth
  • Experimental procedures

Cat insurance is for the unexpected, so most accident and illness policies don’t cover preventative or routine care costs. Many pet insurance companies offer wellness and preventative care plans as an optional extra.

How Much Does Cat Insurance Cost?

The cost of pet health insurance for your cat is based on a number of pet-based and policy-based factors. Factors related to pets include breed, gender, age, and even where you live. Policy-based factors include the type of policy you get, your deductible and reimbursement rate. You can customize elements of your policy to get the best plan for your cat’s needs and your budget.

Pet insurance companies typically offer three types of coverage options:

  • Accident and Illness (A&I) cover: A&I policies cover accidents and illnesses such as cancer, infection and digestive problems. A&I policies cost more because they are comprehensive policies.
  • Accident Only (AO) Cover: AO policies only cover accidents such as car accidents, foreign body ingestion, lacerations, poisoning and lacerations.
  • Wellness coverage: It covers routine and preventative care, such as annual checkups, vaccinations and dental cleanings. These policies are usually riders on A&I policies.

Here are the average costs for each type of policy.

Average accident and sickness premiums

  • Annually: $342.84
  • Monthly $28.57

Average accident only premiums

  • Annually: $130.24
  • Monthly $10.85

Wellness coverage policies typically cost $20-$25 per month. These can be combined into comprehensive coverage policies. The cost of a wellness policy for your cat is what you would pay out of pocket anyway, so it may not be worth it to get a stand-alone wellness plan.

Where you live also affects your monthly premium. Average monthly premiums can be as high as $31.97 in California and as high as $19.35 in Wyoming. Some breeds like Siamese cats are more expensive as they tend to suffer from various types of diseases.

Many pet insurance companies offer a variety of plan options along with customized reimbursement rates and deductibles. The higher the deductible you choose, the lower your pet insurance payment will be. Many also offer discounts such as multi-pet discounts and military discounts.

Cats vs kittens

Pet insurance costs are also based on the age of your cat. Premiums for younger cats are lower because older cats are more likely to require expensive veterinary care. Older cats are also at higher risk and cost more to insure because they are more susceptible to injury and illness. Here are the average premiums based on the age of the cat.

  • Average premium for a 6-month-old kitten: $23.69
  • Average premium for an 18-month-old cat: $23.68
  • Average premium for a 5.5-year-old cat: $27.98

Average premiums for a 5.5-year-old cat can be as high as $35.80 in California and as high as $21.60 in Wyoming.

Regardless of your cat’s age and overall health, it’s highly likely that one of the best pet insurance companies for cats on our list will provide the right coverage to suit your needs.

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