Pet Insurance: Why does my cat need it?

The cost of veterinary care is rising due to inflation and increased expenses for veterinary hospitals. Our feline companions can receive the same level of care that we receive in a human hospital, including advanced diagnostics like MRI, CT scans, chemotherapy, surgery, and more. Out of pocket expenses for a sick or injured pet can be high. The cost of emergency care, illnesses, and advanced diagnostics can be offset with an insurance plan for your cat. In addition, some policies cover routine wellness exams and dental procedures. Even if you have enough money set aside for your pet, insurance may be worth the investment.

There are several veterinary insurance companies available. Every policy is different, and you should compare the policies to find one that is right for you. Things to look at when comparing policies are:

  • Monthly premium for the plan
    • This is the fee you pay every month for coverage.
  • Deductible- Is it per year (annual deductible), or per disease (one deductible per illness or accident)?
    • You can often choose your deductible amount. This is your one time out of pocket expense that must be paid before your coverage begins. We have seen plans with $0, $250, $500, and $1,000 deductibles. Typically, the higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premium will be.
  • What kind of plan is it- Does it cover accidents only, accidents and illnesses, and/or wellness visits?
    • Most plans do not include wellness visits. If so, your annual or semi-annual visits for checkups and vaccinations will not be covered. In addition, often routine dental procedures aren’t covered in these plans.
  • Is there a cap (Annual Coverage) for the coverage?
    • An annual coverage cap is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for an illness or injury. Some insurance companies do not have an annual coverage cap, but you should be aware if they do.
  • What percent of the bill is covered? And is there a difference between visits to your regular veterinary office and emergency rooms?
    • Most insurance companies will reimburse a percentage of your total bill. They may cover 70-90% of the total and some companies have different coverage rates when your cat goes to the emergency room or a specialty hospital.
  • What is the waiting period to get coverage?
    • There may be a waiting period, often 30 days, before your coverage begins.
  • How do they cover (if at all) pre-existing conditions?
    • Most pre-existing conditions are excluded, however, some conditions, like dental disease, may have a waiting period before coverage will start for your cat.
  • Does your plan include prescriptions and prescription foods?
  • Does your coverage include alternative medicine like acupuncture and laser therapy?

Pet insurance costs can vary by location, breed, age, and what coverage you opt to carry. The best way to get your questions answered is to reach out to the insurance companies directly and speak to one of their representatives.

Pet insurance can make veterinary care more affordable. It often allows us to make decisions that are medically right for your cat without having to worry about costs. All cat owners should consider pet insurance for their companions to help offset the costs of accidents and illnesses.

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