Cat and kitten insurance – Forbes advisor

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You love your cat’s playful and adventurous spirit. But when their curiosity leads to injury, treatment can be costly. On top of that, your feline friend could get sick or inherit a genetic condition, and the vet bills can add up quickly.

This is 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.

What does Cat and Kitten insurance cover?

There are two major insurance plans available for cats and kittens:

  • Accident and sickness coverage
  • Accident coverage only

Some pet insurance companies also offer optional preventative and health coverage for an additional cost. Understanding what pet insurance covers can help you determine the best plan for your situation.

Accident and sickness insurance for pets

Whether your cat swallows a large piece of string or is showing signs of hair loss that may have been caused by ringworm, accident and illness coverage can reimburse you for the veterinary expenses related to the treatment.

While cat insurance plans vary between insurance companies, accident and sickness insurance plans generally cover:

  • Accidents (such as an anterior cruciate ligament tear)
  • Common illnesses (such as an upper respiratory infection)
  • serious illnesses (such as cancer)
  • genetic conditions
  • work in the blood
  • X ray
  • exam fees
  • surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Medication prescriptions
  • Dental procedures

Incident plans only

If your cat gets into a fight with a neighborhood stray, only accident insurance can reimburse you for your vet bills. Accident-only plans are usually cheaper, but this coverage does not pay for illness-related expenses. If your cat gets sick, you will have to pay for any treatment.

Wellness and preventive coverage

A cat insurance wellness plan can cover routine care and wellness, such as routine veterinary exams, vaccinations, and flea prevention. Some pet insurance companies offer this type of coverage as an add-on to an accident and sickness plan for an additional cost.

What does Cat and Kitten insurance not cover?

Although cat and kitten insurance can cover a wide range of medical issues, there are some things that pet insurance does not cover. Here are some typical exceptions.

pre-existing conditions

Pet insurance plans generally do not cover pre-existing conditions. So if your cat was previously diagnosed with a problem such as an allergy, future allergy treatment may not be covered.

Some insurance companies, such as Embrace pet insurance, differentiate between treatable and incurable conditions. If your cat has not shown symptoms or treatment for a pre-existing condition for a certain period of time, some insurance companies may cover the condition. For example, if your cat’s condition such as an ear infection hasn’t recurred for 12 months, any recurrence of the ear infection after that time frame will be treated as a new problem and covered.

Other examples of problems that could be considered a treatable condition include respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Intractable conditions are permanently excluded from coverage. Examples of conditions that may be considered incurable include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, orthopedic conditions, and hip dysplasia.

Related: Pet insurance for pre-existing conditions

experimental treatment

Pet insurance plans usually only cover treatments and diagnoses within the level of care accepted by your state’s Board of Veterinary Medicine. Anything outside of this is usually considered beta and is likely to be excluded from coverage.

Some non-veterinary expenses

Other expenses that do not result from your pet’s care, such as taxes, access to records, or waste disposal, are not covered by cat and kitten insurance plans. However, some pet insurance plans cover non-medical costs such as advertising and stipend for a lost cat.

Food or nutritional supplement

If your cat requires a special diet or supplementation, cat insurance will not usually cover it. However, in some cases, a pet insurance company may cover prescription foods or supplements.

How much does cat and kitten insurance cost?

Related: Is pet insurance worth it?

Cat and kitten insurance cost factors

If you are looking for an affordable pet insurance plan, several factors can affect what you will pay for cat and kitten insurance.

Your cat’s breed

Some cat breeds are predisposed to certain diseases due to their size and genetics, so it may cost more to insure them. For example, Abyssinian insurance may be more expensive because they are more prone to retinal atrophy and periodontal disease.

The age and sex of your cat

Elderly cats are more susceptible to infection and disease. For this reason, it will cost more to insure older cats. Also, some pet insurance companies have age limits. For example, cats 15 years of age or older are not eligible for an accident and illness plan at Embrace, but you can purchase 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.

your location

Since vet costs fluctuate by location, so does the price you pay for coverage. You may not pay the same amount for pet insurance in Texas as you would for pet insurance in California.

breadth of coverage

The type of insurance plan you choose will affect the cost of insurance. For example, an accident-only plan usually costs less than a more comprehensive accident and illness plan because it covers fewer problems.

Additionally, there are several different components of your policy that can affect the cost of pet insurance:

  • for discount. Before your pet insurance company can start covering your vet expenses, you must meet your annual deductible, which is a set amount. Common discount options are $100, $250, or $500. Choosing a higher deductible will usually lower your premium cost because your insurance company will pay less if you file a claim.
  • reimbursement level. Insurance companies may also allow you to set a copayment percentage, which is the portion of the bill your insurance company pays after your deductible is met. For example, if you have already met your annual deductible and have a compensation level of 90%, you will be compensated $900 for a $1,000 vet bill ($90% x $1,000 = $900).
  • coverage limits. Some pet insurance plans give you the option to set coverage limits, which is the maximum amount of reimbursement you will receive in a given year. Depending on your plan, you can choose from several options. Setting a higher coverage limit can increase the 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 file an insurance claim for cats and kittens

Cat and kitten insurance is usually reimbursement-based, which means you’ll need to pay your vet bills upfront and file a claim. After your deductible amount is met, you will be reimbursed up to the reimbursement level you selected, up to your policy limits.

Here is an example of how a cat and kitten insurance claim might work:

  • Your cat is vomiting constantly so take her to the vet for a checkup.
  • When you check out, you pay your vet bill in full and get a copy of your itemized receipt.
  • You can then provide the receipt and medical history to the pet insurance company via an app, website, or mail.
  • Your pet insurance company will review your claim. If your insurance policy covers the problem, the insurance company will send you compensation. The deductible amount will be deducted from the claim check if it is not already met.

Some pet insurance companies such as Trupanion can reimburse the vet directly if the vet has the Trupanion Claims Processing Program.

How to compare Cat and Kitten insurance policies

It is wise to compare pet insurance policies among several insurance companies before making a purchase. This way, you can get the coverage you want at the best price. You can usually collect free quotes online or by speaking to 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 several companies at once.

Price is not the only factor to consider. Here are some other things worth exploring before purchasing cat and kitten insurance.

exam fees

Every time you visit the vet, you must pay an exam fee. Some pet insurance companies don’t cover this cost, but companies like Embrace, Spot, and TrustedPals do.

additional perks

Pet insurance companies may offer additional perks that can help with your cat’s care.

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 fill your own prescriptions at the counter at Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies.

Many pet insurance companies offer 24/7 veterinary helplines so you can access your vet’s advice at all hours of the day. But some pet insurance companies do not offer this feature, so if a 24/7 pet health line is important to you, go with one that does.

waiting times

When you purchase a pet insurance plan, you must wait for a predetermined period of time before your coverage begins. For example, it is common for pet insurance companies to have a 14-day waiting period to initiate sickness coverage, but accident waiting times can vary from a one-day waiting period to as long as a 15-day waiting period, depending on the insurance company.

Some insurance companies have extended waiting times for other types of problems, such as cruciate ligament problems or hip dysplasia.

Cat insurance discounts

The most common type of pet insurance deductible is the multi-pet deductible for insuring more than one pet with the same company. For example, Prudent Pet offers 10% off multiple pets.

Other types of pet insurance discounts include discounts on annual wages and bundling of multiple types of policies (such as auto insurance). You can also save if cat insurance is part of your employer’s benefits or if you are in the military.

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