Cat Insurance 101: A Cat Owner’s Guide

Cats have cute ways of touching a man’s soul. Every cat owner can probably agree that cats are more like life masters than pets. We cannot get close with them unless we soften our stone hearts, learn the art of patience and live a life from love. Perhaps, if you too have been around a cat for a while, you begin to notice more, smile often and care big time. 

The joy that cats bring to our homes pushes us to go great lengths to make their life worthwhile. We buy them food, litter, scratch pads, beds, accessories and toys. We take them to routine check-ups and grooming. Sometimes we even bring them to cat playdates and cat cafes. Despite our efforts, the reality is our cats are not always okay and safe.

Just like humans, cats get sick, injuries and accidents too. And when these things happen, we do everything to restore their health. But our resolve often meets barriers. And frequently, the greatest hindrance is the costs of vet services and procedures. Great thing that cat insurances are here to help us in these kinds of challenges.

In this article, we will talk all about cat insurance. We will also list and review the best cat insurances available today. Our goal is to provide you the basic information that you need to take a proactive approach for uneventful circumstances. So what are we waiting for? Let’s start!

What is cat insurance?

A cat insurance is a type of pet insurance for cats. Owners buy cat insurance policy in order to avoid paying out-of-pocket expensive vet services and procedures in the future. 

With cat insurance, cat owners only shell out a reasonable amount every month to their insurance provider, cover a manageable initial amount of vet bills (deductible) and pay only a small fraction of succeeding vet expenses (copay). If their cat falls ill or incurs an accident, the cat insurance provider steps in and reimburses as much as 90% of the fees. 

But before we explain to you the details of how this works, let us first tell you why it is important to avail one. 

Why get cat insurance?

No one can foresee if our cats will get sick or have an accident. And we can never really know how much to save to cover the expenses. But data shows that 1 out of 3 pets have at least a health emergency each year. These costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Which majority of our population finds difficult to pay. Just like we said earlier, our finances often stand in the way of our cat’s welfare. 

But it can be a totally different story if we have cat insurance. Money is not the biggest issue anymore. Thus, our cats can be diagnosed if we notice some problems. They can undergo complete treatment and medication for their condition. And we can prevent further complications. With cat insurance, we can worry less and focus more on supporting our cat’s fast recovery. 

Cat Insurance Key Concepts

Now that we know the importance of having a cat insurance, let us scratch into the details of how it works. For starters, we need to get acquainted with the key concepts. 

Premium

A premium is the amount that you have to pay for your cat insurance every month. Cat insurance monthly premiums can range from $10 to $50.  

Reimbursement

The reimbursement is the percentage of the vet bill that you can claim from your cat insurance company. Usually, reimbursements range from 70% to 90%. This means that for every $100 vet bill, your insurance company will give you back $70 to $90, depending on your reimbursement policy. 

Copay

Copay or copayment is practically another way of understanding reimbursement. If reimbursement is the amount that your cat insurance company gives back to you, copay is the percentage of the vet bill that you have to shoulder.

For example, if your cat insurance policy has 80% reimbursement, then your copay is 20%. If the reimbursement is 70%, then your copay is 30%. Pretty simple, right?

Deductible 

Now, this concept is quite tricky to understand. Deductible is the amount of vet expenses that you first have to pay out-of-pocket before your cat insurance company begins to reimburse succeeding vet expenses. There are usually two types of deductibles. The annual deductible and the lifetime per condition deductible. 

The annual deductible is the fixed amount of vet expenses that you have to pay first before you can claim reimbursements for a policy period. This type of deductible resets when you renew your cat insurance policy each year. 

The lifetime per condition deductible on the other hand means that you have to pay a fixed amount for each and every condition before your cat insurance company begins to reimburse. 

Maximum Annual Benefit

The Maximum Annual Benefit or Maximum Annual Limit is the total amount that your cat insurance company reimburses for given period. You will have to pay for any additional costs beyond the maximum annual limit.

Inclusions

Inclusions refer to all the cat health conditions and cat health care services that are covered in the cat insurance. Just like dog insurances, inclusions can cover accidents only, illnesses only, and both accidents and illnesses. 

Listed below are the most common cat insurances inclusions that you will encounter.

  • Common Illnesses like Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Accidents and Injuries like poisoning, sprains, and wounds.
  • Serious Illnesses like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease.
  • Chronic Illnesses like allergies, arthritis, and skin conditions.
  • Hereditary Conditions like blood disorder, hip dysplasia, and eye disorder.
  • Testing and Diagnostics like blood tests, ultrasounds, MRIs and CT Scans.
  • Procedures like chemotherapy, endoscopy and surgery.
  • Holistic Alternatives like laser therapy, acupuncture and chiropractor
  • Wellness like vaccinations and flea heartworm.
  • Hospital stays, medications, and veterinary supplements
  • Behavior issues

Related: Dog Behavior Issues: Reasons Behind Your Dog’s Antics

Remember that each insurance company has its own list of inclusions. It is up to you to choose which cat insurance package has the combination of inclusions that you prefer.

Exclusions

Exclusions are the cat health care needs that are not covered in the insurance. The most common examples of exclusions are routine care (like regular check-ups, teeth cleaning, and grooming) and pre-existing medical conditions (because cat insurances are made specifically for unexpected veterinary needs). 

Waiting Period

Waiting period is the length of time that has to pass before the insurance policy takes into effect. Usually, waiting periods for accidents are 2 days and for illnesses are 2 weeks.

How does cat insurance work?

Cat insurance can seem intimidating but it is simple. As long as you understand the key concepts mentioned above, the process is easy to understand. 

  1. Choose a cat insurance policy that fits you.
  2. Apply for the cat insurance policy of your choice and follow the contract.
  3. Take your cat to the vet If your cat gets sick or incurs an accident after the waiting period.
  4. Pay for the vet bill and apply reimbursement to your insurance provider. Most cat insurance companies have easy-to-use apps or online reimbursement applications.
  5. Claim your reimbursement after it was approved. 

To claim reimbursements, check if your cat’s condition is covered. Make sure that you are past the waiting-period, you are done paying the deductibles and you haven’t exceeded the maximum annual limit. 

How much is cat insurance?

The average cat insurance monthly premium costs $25. The lowest is around $10 and the highest is about $40. 

But remember that aside from the monthly premium, you also have to shoulder the cost of the deductible and the copay on each vet bill. 

When should you get cat insurance?

We always say, the sooner the better. While most cat owners wait until their cats are a few years old before they get them an insurance policy, we highly advise that you insure your cat as early as six months old. This way, you will get the maximum benefits from the insurance policy. Especially that pre-existing medical conditions are not covered. 

Top Picks for Cat Insurance  

To help you get started, we reviewed the best cat insurance providers in the industry today. 

Pumpkin

Pumpkin claims that it is the best-in-class cat insurance. On top of the most common insurance inclusions, it offers wellness benefits, preventive packs and first-class customer service.

Pumpkin has a 90% reimbursement rate for all covered vet bills. It has 3 annual deductible options. You may choose $100, $250, or $300. If you want a lower monthly payment, choose a higher deductible.  The options for annual limit are either $7k or $15k. 

Inclusions: Eye, ear and skin conditions, behavior issues, dental illnesses, hereditary conditions, digestive illnesses, respiratory infections, urinary tract infection, kidney disease, cancer, parasites and infectious diseases, diabetes, orthopedic injuries, swallowed objects and toxins, diagnostics, treatments, medications, hospitalization, surgery, stem cell therapy, and microchipping.

Embrace

Embrace is the leading pet insurance company for emergencies. It offers a 24/7 pet health hotline, fair evaluation of pre-existing medical conditions and behavioral therapies. 

Embrace has a diminishing annual deductible. Each year that you do not receive a claim payment, you get $50 off from the deductible. 

Inclusions: Exam and consultation fees, diagnostic testing, prescription medication, emergency room and specialist care, surgery and hospitalization, cancer treatment, alternative therapies, rehabilitation and dental illnesses up to $1000/year.

Petplan

Petplan provides superb customer service. They have an easy-to-use app. This insurance covers comprehensive dental conditions that most cat insurance policies excludes.

It offers a customizable premium, deductible, and annual limit. You are not limited to few options. With Petplan, you can design your own cat insurance based on your needs and capacities. 

Inclusions: Injuries, illnesses, diagnostic tests, vet exam fees, virtual vet visits, comprehensive dental, breed-specific conditions, cancer treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, holistic care, emergency and specialist vets, behavioral therapy, and chiropractic care.

Trupanion

Trupanion has award-winning customer care. As high as 99% of policy holders stick with Trupanion every month. It has a good record of reimbursements. 65% of claims are settled within the day and 80% are settled within the week. 

Trupanion covers 90% of the unexpected veterinary costs. It has a customizable deductible ranging from $0 to $1000, depending on your needs. The waiting period is 5 days for injuries and 30 days for illnesses. 

Inclusions: Illnesses, injuries, hereditary and congenital conditions, diagnostic tests, surgeries, hospital stays, medications, supplements, prosthetic devices and carts.

Lemonade

Lemonade provides speedy transactions. With Lemonade pet insurance, you sign up in seconds and get paid in minutes. This cat insurance company provides free-digital experience powered by AI. They receive high ratings on google play and so much good feedback from its clients. 

Lemonade’s premium starts at $10 per month. You have to create an account and sign-up to see the specifics of their pet insurance policy. 

Inclusions: Diagnostics, procedures, medication, accidents, vomiting, diarrhea, infections, cancer, allergies, arthritis, skin conditions  elbow and hip dysplasia, hernias, blood and eye disorders, wellness exam, heartworm test, fecal tests, bloodwork, vaccines, and medical advice chat.

Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws is the number 1 customer rated cat insurance from 2010 to 2020. 99% of claims are processed within two days. It provides fast and easy customer service. You can transact with them through your mobile phone or computer. 

Healthy Paws reimburses as high as 90% of vet bills. The waiting period for injuries and illness is 15 days. While hip dysplasia is 12 months.

Inclusions: Illnesses, accidents, hereditary conditions, congenital conditions, chronic conditions, cancer, diagnostic treatment, x-rays, blood tests, ultrasound, surgery, hospitalization, prescription medication, emergency care, specialty care and alternative treatment.

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