Cat insurance buyers' guide
Finding the best cat insurance for your feline friend can be an overwhelming task, with so many different options to choose from – so what should you be looking for when you get quotes and look at the small print? And is pet insurance really necessary?
Does my cat need cat insurance?
Unfortunately, there is no NHS for cats if they become unwell or are involved in an accident, and vets' fees can quickly mount up if the problem is serious. Despite this, recent estimates show that more than half of pet owners do not insure their pets. Some say it's a luxury they can't afford, while others don't think it's worthwhile paying out money every month when they may never need to make a claim.
If the worst does happen, however, and your cat is sick or gets injured, without pet insurance or at least adequate savings set aside for emergencies, you could find yourself unable to pay for expensive treatment.
If your cat breaks its leg it could cost you up to £2,000 to treat, according to MOneySavingExpert.com, and with vets' fees rising by as much as 12% per year these figures are constantly on the increase. If your cat develops a long-term, ongoing medical condition, lifetime bills could easily mount up to more than £10,000 – on top of your everyday expenses as a cat owner.
Without good cat insurance you could face having to decline the treatment he or she needs, and when you're talking about your much-loved family pet this is a heartbreaking decision to make. The only situation in which owners can really afford to pass on pet insurance is if they have substantial savings to cover any veterinary bills.
What does cat insurance cover?
If you take out pet insurance it will cover vets’ fees if your pet is unwell or has an accident – although there is usually a limit set on the maximum you can claim. Some policies offer additional cover, such as offering a reward if your pet is lost or stolen, or if you need to get urgent medical treatment abroad for your cat, while you're away on holiday. Some policies also cover you for accidental damage a pet causes to a third party, or contribute towards the costs of your cat staying at a cattery if you have to go into hospital.
Every policy is different, and cheaper policies may include certain exclusions, so you need to compare a range of quotes and read the small print before you decide.