With the high cost of medical care, most people take very seriously the option of having a health insurance plan of some sort for themselves and their family. But what about taking out health insurance for your family cat?
The veterinary bills to treat your family cat for a serious injury or illness can quickly become very expensive, especially if surgery or costly prescription drugs are required. These may be an unexpected burden on your budget, for example if your cat is hurt in an accident.
Some insurance companies will offer health insurance for pets, including several insurance companies that specialize in pet insurance. The terms often vary from company to company, so it pays to shop around for the deal that best suits your needs.
Most but not all pet health insurance policies set a deductible, which is the first part of a payment you must cover before the insurance cuts in. This might mean you have to pay the first $50 or $75, or some such amount, for each claim. It is expensive for insurance companies to administer many small claims, so they often will offer lower premiums in return for a deductible amount for each claim.
A deductible amount effectively says your insurance cover is for large claims rather than for every small health issue that arises. It means that even with pet insurance you will likely not be able to recover the costs of consultations with your vet for minor issues. It is, after all, the big unplanned vet bills that can be tough to budget for. Paying a small monthly premium for insurance as back up to cover them gives you peace of mind.
Insurance coverage may not be unlimited. Some pet insurers set annual or lifetime maximum pay outs that they will make for each pet covered.
Regular insurance premiums can add up to a large sum over the lifetime of your cat. In deciding whether to take out pet health insurance you may need to weigh up how much you are prepared to pay to care for your pet cat. Some people may prefer to put down a seriously injured or ill cat rather than incur the costs of nursing it back to health. They may argue it will never be the same again, and that it is best to start over with a new and healthy pet. Others are willing to pay whatever it takes to save a much loved pet or a valuable breeding cat.
The more willing you are to incur high costs to care for you pet, the more value you will see in taking out a pet health insurance policy.
Most pet insurance companies will not offer cover for pre-existing conditions, so it usually pays to take out cover early in the life of your pet. Younger cats are also generally more likely to be injured or to become ill than fully grown cats. As your cat ages you may find some companies will raise their premiums, and you may feel health insurance is no longer justified for an older pet.
Most cats that are kept just as pets are neutered or spayed at around three months of age. Often breeders will arrange for this to be done for you when they sell you the cat. Some pet insurance companies will cover this expense, but others do not see it as a health issue.
Before taking out a pet insurance policy you might consider checking that your preferred veterinarian will work with the insurer you have chosen. Some insurers impose caps on fees and other limitations that are not always popular with vets. You may even find yourself compelled to switch to another vet after taking out pet insurance, which may not be convenient.
Having pet health insurance for your cat is a choice you can make, but it can be expensive so you should make sure you are well informed before making your decision.