Cats are generally a lot harder to train than dogs, and they’re less predictable, which can lead to accidents, illnesses or injuries – cue unexpected vet fees.
Pet insurance for your cat can help cover or contribute to the cost of healthcare if it gets injured or falls ill. If your cat has a recurring health problem, it can be covered by a pre-existing conditions policy.
It depends on a whole host of factors. Insurers consider the age, size, breed and health of your pet, plus the personal information you give when getting a quote.
It’ll also cost more if you’ve made a claim before.
You’ll need to consider whether pet insurance is affordable, especially as your cat grows older. It could be more manageable than an unexpected vets bill or for treating an ongoing condition. Just make sure the cover limits for vet fees meets your needs.
The cost of treatment varies, depending on things like the type of injury or illness, whether it’s a chronic condition, the breed of your cat, where you live and which vet you use.
For example, a fractured leg means expensive x-rays, surgery and physiotherapy. But this could easily lead to longer-term costs, such as further surgery for the removal of stabilising pins and treatment for joint stiffness or lameness resulting from the original fracture – depending on the type of policy you pick, these ongoing treatment costs might not be covered.
This is usually the cheapest option because it only covers your cat for treatment due to accidents.
If you’re worried about your pet developing a condition, then this might not be the best option for you. Pre-existing medical conditions aren’t covered either.
A time-limited policy covers new illnesses or conditions developed in a 12-month cover period.
After the period is up, you’ll have to cover the treatment costs yourself, and pre-existing conditions won’t be covered when you renew your policy. There might also be a cost limit per condition.
This type of policy covers your cat’s illnesses and accidents up to a maximum amount per condition.
If your pet’s health condition becomes long term, and you reach the maximum amount, you’ll have to pay the rest of the treatment fees yourself.
Lifetime cover insures your cat for injuries and illnesses up to a fixed amount per year.
For example, you’d be covered if your policy limit is £8,000, and you need to claim £5,000 for the cost of asthma treatment for your cat.
If you renewed the cover at the end of the year, your cat would continue to be covered as the asthma limit would reset to £8,000.
You could also claim up to £8,000 each year for any other insured condition your cat develops.
Insurance for your cat will probably have upper and lower age limits – usually older than eight weeks, but the maximum age will vary between insurers. As long as you keep paying your premiums, your cat will be covered even when it passes the maximum age.
If you make a claim, you’ll need to pay an excess. On some policies, you might have to pay a contribution or co-payment towards your cat’s treatment too. It’s usually a fixed percentage. Check policy docs, and make sure you’re comfortable with how much you’ll need to contribute towards a claim.
Third party claims aren’t usually covered by cat insurance as they're considered ‘free spirits’, meaning their owners can’t be held responsible for their actions.
Standard treatments, like worming, flea control and pet vaccinations are rarely covered, so you’ll need to pay for these yourself.
You might be offered extra cover for lost or stolen cats, emergency boarding fees, dental care or accidental damage in your own home.
No, it’s not currently required by law, but it’s highly recommended by most vets and is being considered by the Environment Secretary.
Pedigree cats are likely to be more expensive to insure as purebreds are more prone to certain illnesses.
Vomiting, feline lower urinary tract diseases (FLUTD), tapeworms, eye problems and fleas are some of the most common conditions, but this depends on the breed of your cat, as well as it’s ancestry.