You should secure pet insurance for cats if you own some. This is because an unexpected vet bill for a problem like a cat’s torn ligament or heart disease could set you back thousands of dollars.
Cat insurance can be a great way to offset emergency vet expenses. Common health issues like bite wounds, ear infections and allergies are also covered by this insurance. Stick around to learn more!
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is a health insurance policy for your pet that settles the medical expenses and sometimes other costs.
Pet insurance plans are commonly reimbursement-based, meaning you pay up-front for the pet’s vet bills and submit a claim to the insurance company.
A few companies can pay the vet directly, which assists keep your out-of-pocket payments low.
There’s usually a deductible before coverage begins. For instance, you might pay the first $500 in vet bills before the pet insurance starts to pay.
Even after you pay your deductible, the pet insurance might not pay 100% of vet bills. You can typically select your reimbursement level. typical reimbursement options are 70%, 80% or 90% of your vet bills.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
- Accident and illness plans (the most common)
- Accident-only plans
- Wellness plans for routine care like vaccinations, usually available as an add-on
Accident and illness plans generally cover injury or sickness like broken bones, cancer, hereditary conditions and congenital conditions, and more.
Accident-only plans cover only accident-related problems, such as a broken bone.
You can include a routine wellness plan to many pet insurance policies. This will settle the cost of the annual vet wellness visit, vaccinations, heartworm treatment and other routine care costs that help keep your pet healthy.
Pet insurance may not cover pre-existing conditions, implying that conditions your pet had before the policy went into effect, including any waiting period.
Ask whether there’s a look-back period so that conditions before the look-back period can be insured.
How Does Pet Health Insurance Work?
If you have a pet insurance plan, you’ll generally have a deductible amount that you pay for veterinarian bills before coverage begins.
After that, you’ll still pay your vet directly and then submit your bills to the pet insurer for funding.
The insurance company will send you reimbursement until it has paid the maximum your plan permits in a year, such as $5,000. Some plans provide unlimited payout maximums.
Inspect the plan documents for any limitations to what’s covered, such as:
Your policy will have a checklist of exclusions. Common exclusions include grooming, breeding costs, certain pre-existing conditions and expenses not connected to veterinary care (such as taxes or your vet’s administrative fees).
All pet insurance plans possess waiting periods. Your insurance coverage won’t kick in until the waiting period is over.
For instance, your policy might have a 14-day waiting period before it covers accident-related veterinarian costs.
Generally, pet insurance does not carry network restrictions, and most insurers will cover any licensed vet.
Check to see if your policy has any geographic restrictions or if your coverage covers other regions.
For instance, we analyzed a Trupanion pet insurance policy that covers licensed veterinarians in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico and any other region under Australian, Canadian or U.S. government control (such as a military base in a foreign country).
Average Cost of Cat Insurance
The average cost of pet insurance for a cat is $200 per year for $5,000 in annual coverage and $320 per year for unlimited coverage, according to a our analysis of pet insurance costs:
- Pet insurance with $5,000 in annual coverage costs an average of $30 a month for a cat or kitten.
- Pet insurance with unlimited annual coverage costs an average of $35 a month for a kitten and $38 for a cat.
How Cat Insurance Costs are Determined
The type of cat you insure is only one factor in determining your cat insurance costs. For example, the average cost of cat insurance is $30 per month, according to our expert analysis.
That’s based on a policy with $5,000 of yearly coverage, a $250 deductible and an 80% reimbursement level.
Here are some other typical factors that determine cat insurance costs below:
Annual Maximum, Deductible and Reimbursement Level
These are the three major variables that determine how much reimbursement you’ll get if you file a cat insurance claim: annual maximum, deductible amount and reimbursement percentage.
Cat insurance will cost more if you select a high annual maximum, low deductible and/or high reimbursement level.
Younger cats are commonly cheaper to insure than older cats. That’s because older cats are more likely to have injuries and illnesses, which means higher vet bills.
Those higher insurance claims are passed on to policyholders in the form of higher cats insurance premiums. We found the best prices for cat insurance are after a cat’s first birthday until around age six.
Certain breeds are predisposed to hereditary problems and illnesses, that could result in more vet visits and higher medical costs.
Pet insurance firms have found that female cats usually have fewer claims compared to males, so some insurers use cat gender in pricing.
Male cats cost about 5% more than females for pet insurance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
The average cost for a veterinarian visit is about $61, based on our expert analysis. Since average vet costs vary around the country, insurers account for that when fixing rates.
How to Buy a Cat Insurance Plan
The best way to locate a policy within your budget is to compare cat insurance quotes among several different insurers.
You can find free cat insurance quotes:
- Online: Many cat insurance companies offer free quotes online. You’ll typically answer a few basic questions about your cat. You can also utilze a pet insurance comparison site to look at several insurance options at once.
- Phone, email or in-person: If you decide to correspond with someone directly, you can contact a representative from an insurance company or an independent insurance agent.
In order to locate the best cat insurance, we used data provided by our experts to score each pet insurance company based on pet insurance rates; 40% of score, special waiting period; 10% of score, direct payment to vet; 10% of score, and so on.
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