You might be putting off getting pet insurance for your cat. If you’ve had your pet for a few years now without any need to visit the vet other than a check-up, you might wonder whether there is any point in getting cover.
But insurance can be a life saver, literally. It could mean you can afford an unexpected operation, or medication for your beloved ball of fur.
Here we explain why you should invest in pet insurance and how to choose the right one for you.
Why get pet insurance?
Pet insurance is like life insurance for your pet. By paying an amount each month, you can cover the costs of any veterinary services or medication if your cat becomes sick or injured. It’s an efficient way of giving you protection for your pet so you don’t have to dip into your savings, or worse, make any tough decisions because you can’t afford treatment.
According to the Association of British Insurers, the average cost of claims for pet insurance is £650. And it might not be a one-off cost, as your pet might develop an ongoing condition.
Insurance can be a particularly shrewd decision if you own an expensive or pedigree pet, which might be prone to certain diseases.
What does it cover?
Most insurance providers will offer differing levels of cover to suit different budgets, usually at a standard level, which will run from year to year, or a lifetime policy which offers better coverage and you don’t have to claim within 12 months.
Lifetime policies are recommended because they offer you better cover and could give you value for money in the long-term if your pet gets seriously ill. For example, vet bills for a cat who needs treatment for cancer can easily run into thousands of pounds.
The types of things your policies could cover include:
- Accidents and injuries
- Help with funeral costs if your pet passes away
- Help if you’re unwell
- Help with advertising costs or a reward if your pet goes missing
- Refund your pet’s purchase price if it’s not found
- Pet travel
How much does it cost?
Cat insurance costs vary considerably but according to the Money Advice Service the cost of insuring a cat in a low risk area is around £150 per year, that’s just over £10 per month.
Insurers will base your monthly premiums on the age of your pet, their medical history, breed and, if your cat goes outdoors, where you live. You could reduce your insurance by ensuring your cat is neutered and microchipped and has regular check-ups. It’s always best to insure your cat from as young an age as possible before they have a chance to develop an illness or condition, so they are covered for anything they develop in future. If you get an insurance policy when your cat has a pre-existing condition it’s likely that the insurance policy won’t cover it.
How to choose the right pet insurance for your cat
First it’s best to decide on the level of cover you want for your cat. Then it’s worth shopping around for the best price – there are plenty of comparison sites that can give you an idea of what you will be paying.
You also want to make sure you choose a company that provides a good service and will payout when your cat needs it the most. Ensure you check what each policy doesn’t cover too.
Industry awards are a good indication of this, while Defaqto star ratings also help you to work out how each different policy compares against one another. A five-star rating is classed as an excellent product, while a one star rating is basic with a low level of features and benefits.
There is a lot of information out there to help you decide. These resources are very helpful if you need more advice:
Choosing the right policy and cover – Money Advice Service
Getting a good deal on your pet insurance – Moneysavingexpert.com
Find out more about Cats Protection Brighton & District and how you can help support your local branch.