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You love your cat’s playful and adventurous spirit. But when their curiosity leads to injury, treatment can be expensive. On top of that, your feline friend may get sick or inherit a genetic condition, and veterinarian bills can quickly add up.
That’s where pet insurance comes in. It can be a good way to cover vet costs and other pet health-related expenses. Here’s what you need to know about cat and kitten insurance.
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What Does Cat and Kitten Insurance Cover?
There are two main cat and kitten insurance plans available:
- Accident and illness coverage
- Accident-only coverage
Some pet insurers also offer optional preventative and wellness coverage for an additional cost. Understanding what pet insurance covers can help you decide what plan best fits your situation.
Accident and illness pet insurance
Whether your cat swallows a large piece of yarn or is showing signs of hair loss that might be caused by ringworm, accident and illness coverage can reimburse you for veterinary expenses related to treatment.
While cat insurance plans vary among insurers, accident and illness plans generally cover:
- Accidents (such as an ACL rupture)
- Common illnesses (such as an upper respiratory infection)
- Serious illnesses (such as cancer)
- Hereditary conditions
- Exam fees
- Prescription medications
- Dental procedures
If your cat gets into a scuffle with the neighborhood stray, accident-only cat insurance can reimburse you for their vet bills. Accident-only plans are usually cheaper, but this coverage doesn’t pay for illness-related expenses. If your cat gets sick, you will have to pay for the cost of any treatment.
Wellness and preventive coverage
A cat insurance wellness plan can cover routine and wellness-related care, such as routine vet checkups, vaccinations, and flea prevention. Some pet insurance companies offer this type of coverage as an add-on to an accident and illness plan for an extra cost.
What Does Cat and Kitten Insurance Not Cover?
Although cat and kitten insurance can cover a wide range of medical problems, there are some things pet insurance simply won’t cover. Here are some typical exclusions.
Pet insurance plans generally do not cover pre-existing conditions. So if your kitty has been previously diagnosed with a problem such as allergies, future treatment for their allergies may not be covered.
Some insurance companies, such as Embrace pet insurance, differentiate between curable and incurable conditions. If your cat hasn’t had symptoms or treatment for a pre-existing condition for a certain amount of time, some insurers may cover this condition. For example, if your cat has not had a recurrence of a condition such as an ear infection for 12 months, any recurrence of an ear infection after this time frame would be treated as a new problem and covered.
Other examples of problems that may be considered a curable condition include respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, diarrhea and vomiting.
Incurable conditions are permanently excluded from coverage. Examples of conditions that might be considered incurable include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, orthopedic conditions and hip dysplasia.
Related: Pet insurance for pre-existing conditions
Pet insurance plans usually only cover treatments and diagnostics within the standard of care accepted by your state’s board of veterinary medicine. Anything outside of that is usually considered experimental and will likely be excluded from coverage.
Some non-veterinary expenses
Other expenses that don’t result from the care of your pet, such as taxes, record access or waste disposal, are not covered under cat and kitten insurance plans. However, some pet insurance plans cover non-medical costs such as advertising and reward for a lost cat.
Food or nutritional supplements
If your cat requires a special diet or supplements, cat insurance usually won’t cover it. However, in some cases your pet insurance company may cover prescription food or supplements.
How Much Does Cat and Kitten Insurance Cost?
Related: Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
Factors in the Cost of Cat and Kitten Insurance
If you’re looking for an affordable pet insurance plan, several factors can influence what you’ll pay for cat and kitten insurance.
Your cat’s breed
Some feline breeds are predisposed to certain illnesses because of their size and genetics, so it can cost more to insure them. For example, Abyssinians may be more expensive to insure because they’re more prone to retinal atrophy and periodontal disease.
Your cat’s age and gender
Aging cats are more susceptible to injury and illness. For this reason, older cats will cost more to insure. Also, some pet insurance companies have age limits. For example, cats age 15 and older are not eligible for an accident and illness plan at Embrace, but you can buy an accident-only plan.
Statistically, there are more insurance claims filed for male pets than for females. So it may cost more to insure your male cat.
Since vet costs fluctuate by location, so will the price you pay for coverage. You may not pay the same for pet insurance in Texas as you would for pet insurance in California.
Breadth of coverage
The type of cat insurance plan you select will affect your insurance cost. For example, an accident-only plan will typically cost less than a more comprehensive accident and illness plan since it covers fewer problems.
Additionally, there are several different components of your policy that can influence the cost of your pet insurance:
- Deductible. Before your pet insurance company starts covering vet expenses, you must meet your annual deductible, which is a set amount. Common deductible options are $100, $250 or $500. Usually, choosing a higher deductible will lower your premium cost since your insurer will be paying less if you file a claim.
- Reimbursement level. Insurers may also let you select a reimbursement percentage which is the portion of the bill your insurance company pays after your deductible is met. For example, if you already met your annual deductible and have a 90% reimbursement level, you’ll be reimbursed $900 for a $1,000 vet bill (90% x $1,000 = $900).
- Coverage limits. Some pet insurance plans give you the option to select coverage limits, which is the maximum amount of reimbursement you’ll receive in a given year. Depending on your plan, you can select between several options. Selecting a higher coverage limit can increase your cost of coverage. For example, choosing a plan with $5,000 in annual coverage will be less expensive than a plan with unlimited coverage.
How To Make a Cat and Kitten Insurance Claim
Cat and kitten insurance is typically reimbursement based, meaning you’ll need to pay your vet bills up front and submit a claim for reimbursement. After your deductible is met, you’ll be reimbursed up to the reimbursement level you selected, up to your policy limits.
Here’s an example of how a cat and kitten insurance claim would work:
- Your cat is continually throwing up so you take them to the vet for an examination.
- Upon check out, you pay the entire vet bill and grab a copy of the itemized receipt.
- You then submit the receipt and medical record to your pet insurance company via an app, website or mail.
- The pet insurance company will review your claim. If the problem is covered by your policy, your insurer will send you reimbursement. Your deductible amount will be deducted from the claim check if it has not already been met.
Some pet insurance companies like Trupanion can reimburse the vet directly if the vet has Trupanion’s claim processing software.
How to Compare Cat and Kitten Insurance Policies
It’s wise to compare pet insurance policies among multiple insurance companies before you make the purchase. This way, you can get the coverage you want for the best price. You can usually gather free quotes online or by speaking with the insurance company directly. You can also speak with an independent insurance agent or use a price comparison website to get cat insurance quotes from multiple companies at once.
Price isn’t the only factor to consider. Here are a few other things worth exploring before buying cat and kitten insurance.
Every time you visit the vet, you must pay an exam fee. Some pet insurance companies don’t cover this cost, but companies such as Embrace, Spot, and TrustedPals do.
Pet insurance companies may offer extra perks that can help with the care of your cat.
For example, Nationwide’s Pet RX Express program partners with Walmart and Sam’s Club. The program gives preferred pricing on pet prescriptions and the option to have your prescriptions filled at the counter at Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies.
Many pet insurance companies offer 24/7 vet helplines so you can access vet advice at all hours of the day. But some pet insurance companies don’t offer this perk, so if a 24/7 pet health line is important to you, go with a company that does.
When you buy a pet insurance plan, you must wait a predetermined amount of time before your coverage kicks in. For example, it’s common for pet insurance companies to have a 14-day waiting period for illness coverage to begin, but waiting periods for accidents can vary from a one-day waiting period to a 15-day waiting period, depending on the insurance company.
Some insurance companies have extended waiting periods for other types of issues, such as cruciate ligament issues or hip dysplasia.
Cat insurance discounts
The most common type of pet insurance discount is a multi-pet discount for insuring more than one pet with the same company. For example, Prudent Pet offers a 10% multi-pet discount.
Other types of pet insurance discounts include annual pay discounts and bundling multiple types of policies (such as car insurance). You might also save if the cat insurance is part of your employer’s benefits or if you’re in the military.
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