What To Consider Before Getting Health Insurance for Cats


health insurance for catsHave you considered getting health insurance for your cats? Is it something you really need?  Is pet health insurance a good thing, or is it just another way for someone else to make money from you?

Let’s take a closer look.

Lassie – First Pet To Receive Pet Insurance

Pet health insurance has not been available for that long. In 1992, the first insurance policy for a pet in the United States was written for Lassie, the heroic TV personality.

In 1997, The Hartville Group began to offer health insurance policies for all pets in the United States. There was much skepticism at first, but after a while it began to catch on. In 2005, there were over 500,000 dogs and cats with health insurance in the United States, and most of them were written by the Hartville Group. Because of their expertise in this field, the ASPCA joined forces with Hartville to offer pet insurance that is affordable for most pet owners.

Many Options Associated With Pet Insurance

Today, pet insurance is accepted as a benefit, and more pet owners than ever are buying policies. So what does a typical health insurance policy for cats look like? What is and isn’t covered? Are there deductibles like there are with other types of insurance? Does it cover routine, preventive care – or just catastrophic care?

Actually, many types of policies are available – just like with other forms of insurance such as health or life insurance. When the pet insurance industry began, policies only covered events like surgeries or hospital stays. Today, the options available to you when buying your policy are far greater. You can choose preventive care, like annual rabies and distemper vaccines. You might choose coverage for feline HIV, or you might want to cover dental care – teeth cleaning and plaque removal. Pet Insurance Review is a great resource for finding and comparing different pet insurance options.

Often a company will offer different levels of insurance, with more benefits as the price of the policy goes up.  Factors such as the age and breed of cat can also make a difference in the cost of the insurance. Some cat breeds are more susceptible to certain diseases than other breeds.

Insurance Option Examples

Let’s examine several options for cat insurance, with different levels of benefits. A policy written under this type of plan might look something like this:

OPTION A: Coverage includes annual exams and immunizations. Tier 1 Medication, oral exam and annual teeth cleaning.

OPTION B: Includes all of the items in OPTION A plus Tier 2 Medications, Overnight stays,   x-rays, spay and neuter, and minor surgery.

OPTION C: Includes all of the items in OPTION A plus all of the items in OPTION B plus 24-hour emergency service, major surgery, chemotherapy, extended hospital stay, all other medications and MRIs or CAT scans.

As you can see, there is a wide range of covered services, and the more coverage that’s provided, the higher the price of the policy. The pet health insurance industry has become more standardized over the years, and there is now more consistency between one policy and another, and between one company and another. It is a good idea to have health insurance for your cat, but definitely do your homework and ask a lot of questions before you invest in any particular policy.

Photo: Courtesy of sub_lime79 via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at www.nickylamarco.com.