Ultimate Guide To Cat Insurance: What It Covers

Written by Kirstin Opal
Updated: October 11, 2022
Image Credit Red Bow Tie Photo/Shutterstock.com
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If you live with a furry (or hairless) cat, odds are you get all the pet necessities to make your best friend happy: delectable snacks, plush beds, and plenty of toys. Apart from all the fun things, it’s also important to maintain your pet’s health. 

This includes routine veterinary appointments as well as medical care if your cat has a medical problem. However, pet medical bills may quickly mount. Per the American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, a normal veterinarian visit costs roughly $178 for a cat. 

And, based on the medical issue, operations for your cat cost approximately $201 for a cat. Cat insurance is one approach to help cover part of the costs of a pet’s medical treatment. Pet insurance is a type of health insurance that reimburses a percentage of a pet’s medical expenses. 

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You can buy complete coverage that includes a wide range of health-related issues. Some policies also cover fees like microchipping and pet end-of-life care.

Cat Insurance Eligibility

The majority of health insurance companies for pets cover both dogs and cats. Certain carriers only cover cats that meet certain age requirements. Kittens must be at least 6 to 10 weeks old to qualify, based on the insurance. While some programs are open to cats of any age, others prohibit elderly cats or limit first-time participants to pets under a specific age. 

Most policies, however, will insure your pet for a lifetime as long as you continue to pay for coverage. Some policies require your cat to have recently visited a veterinarian or undergone an inspection before they can provide coverage.

Cat with Elizabethan collar
Depending on your policy, your cat insurance may cover accidents, sickness, and/or wellness care.

Martin Haas/Shutterstock.com

Types of Cat Insurance 

Accident-only coverage, accident and sickness coverage, and wellness coverage are the three basic coverage choices insurers offer. Because the benefits and limitations of each plan vary by firm, we discuss pet insurance pricing independently. 

Some companies have certain restrictions such as an age limit. For the same issues, other cat insurance carriers have no limits, which is why it’s so important to shop around.

Accident and Illness Coverage

Although a few insurers offer illness coverage individually, it’s far more typical to see it combined with accident coverage. Accident and sickness insurance, often known as comprehensive insurance, covers a wide range of conditions. This includes less severe illnesses such as vomiting and diarrhea. 

This type of coverage can also cover the catastrophic, such as cancer. They can also include all veterinarian evaluation and examination bills, as well as hospitalization, therapies, operations, and prescription medicine charges. The majority of insurance policies will cover genetic and congenital conditions that are specific to your cat’s breed. The most common found in house pets is torn ligaments. 

There is a catch with this – your vet has to find the condition or specific health issue after you purchase the insurance policy. It’s rare for pet insurance carriers to cover pre-existing conditions. There are also policies out there that cover specific medical conditions if they appear after a certain amount of time. 

For example, you may need to have the cat insurance for six months before they offer to cover certain surgeries for joint issues. It’s also important to mention that policies won’t include specific prescriptions, especially if they’re for behavioral issues, like separation anxiety. This policy covers the majority of serious and major illnesses.

You can typically find coverage for the following common feline health issue: 

  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Hip dysplasia 
  • Skin allergies 
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Type II diabetes

Comprehensive Plus Wellness Coverage

Certain comprehensive policies can be combined with wellness coverage. Wellness coverage can cover alternative medicines as well as a variety of other services, such as psychological treatment, acupressure, and pain control, as well as light therapy and hydrotherapy. Other plans also include nutritional supplements and meals that are required to address your kitten’s medical condition.

Vet giving a cat a vaccination
Some cat insurance policies cover routine physicals and vaccinations.

Irzhanova Asel/Shutterstock.com

Accident-Only Coverage

Accident-only coverage covers the costs of addressing injuries and diseases caused by accidents, whether the animal inflicted them or the owner was at fault. Although claims for accidents caused by such actions will not increase your monthly rates, the price of accident insurance and comprehensive plans that contain the coverage may be affected. 

Accidents that can be linked directly to the pet owner, such as willful wounds or those resulting from the usage of the pet in professional combat or competition, will not be insured, and any accident resulting from a pre-existing ailment will not be covered. 

The most common things that will be covered under accident-only policies are:

  • Ingesting foreign items
  • Broken bones
  • Motor-vehicle accidents
  • MRIs
  • X-rays
  • Sprains
  • Lacerations 

Wellness Coverage

Wellness coverage, sometimes known as “preventive care,” is provided as an add-on or extra to a broader policy or, in certain cases, as distinct stand-alone insurance. Many common veterinary treatments are usually covered. Other services, including bathing and training, are occasionally provided. 

Other popular things covered under this type of add-on are:

  • Microchipping
  • Vaccinations
  • Broken bones 
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm medication
  • Surgery for spaying or neutering

What Cat Insurance Can Cover

Not all pet insurance companies are the same. Some cover everything you could ever come across, while others are a bit more strict. Here are some of the most common ailments, procedures, and items that cat insurance companies cover. Keep in mind, that you should reach out to the specific carrier to find out what they cover. 

Chronic Conditions

Diabetes and cancer are examples of illnesses that require treatment throughout various plan periods. You shouldn’t have to stress about an illness being disqualified for treatment just because it is recurring with pet insurance.

Prescription Medication

If your pet is ill or sick, they may require prescription medications to aid with pain relief, inflammatory reduction, or infection prevention. They may also require medicine to treat chronic diseases like thyroid issues. Prescription drug coverage for qualifying diseases is frequently part of cat insurance policies.

Prescription Food & Supplements

To aid your pet with specific health concerns, your vet may prescribe prescription food or supplements. When you use these items to treat an ailment, some insurance providers will reimburse you. Other carriers may not offer this coverage or may only offer it as an add-on. Some companies may place restrictions on how long you can use this service.

Microchip Implantation

A microchip may appear insignificant, but it may make a significant difference in ensuring that you can easily track your cat at any time. Several pet insurance carriers cover microchip implantation because they understand how essential it may be in reuniting you with your four-legged family member.

Hereditary and Congenital Conditions

This insurance covers the costs of genetic diseases and congenital abnormalities that don’t manifest problems until later in life. Cardiovascular disease, intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), eye diseases, and hip dysplasia are among them. 

It’s critical to get cat insurance that covers genetic diseases, particularly if your feline is likely to have them. Certain pet insurance companies only give this coverage as an add-on. If you want to include it in your plan, you’ll have to pay extra.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative treatments are now widely accessible to assist cats in recovering from accidents or diseases. Reflexology, hydrotherapy, chiropractic care, rehabilitation therapy, and moderate laser therapy are some of the treatments available. Whenever a pet insurer provides for alternative therapy to address a covered ailment, they repay you. Other carriers may not offer this coverage or may only sell it as an add-on.

Accidents

When your pet has an injury, accident coverage can allow you to properly care for them without worrying about the expense. Torn tendons, puncture wounds, fractures, shattered bones, ingested objects, and poisonous overdoses are among the injuries and emergencies covered. 

It also covers X-rays, MRIs, sonograms, bloodwork, stitches, prescriptions, hospitalization, and surgery, among other treatments linked to accidents. 

Kitten with an injured, bandaged back leg on a white background
Accident coverage typically covers tests such as MRI’s and X-rays, surgery, stitches, hospitalization, and other emergency treatments.

GoodFocused/Shutterstock.com

Illnesses

You can receive compensation for the costs of severe and minor diseases including cancer, diabetes, Hashimoto’s disease, skin infections, digestive disorders, and urinary tract infections if you have illness coverage. It can include it all from detecting your pet’s illness to the therapies he or she requires to recover. When you’re struggling with the burden of providing for a sick cat, having this financial support may be a huge help

Behavioral Issues

Persistent licking, fur pulling, restlessness, and destructive biting are all indicators of behavioral difficulties that can be stressful and detrimental to your pet. They can also cause harm to your house and disturb your family’s routine. 

A few insurance carriers cover the costs of identifying and treating these problems. This protection isn’t available from all pet health insurers, but it’s sometimes just available as an add-on.

What Isn’t Covered By Cat Insurance?

Because every cat insurance company is different, we’d like to discuss what’s often not covered in most plans. To avoid unpleasant surprises later, be sure you fully understand the limitations of any policy you’re contemplating.

Pre-existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions exist before or during the waiting period for coverage. These problems aren’t covered. However, if the illness is treatable, this does not rule out coverage in the future under our plans. With the exception of knee and ligament problems, an injury or sickness that is healed and clear of medication and effects for 180 days is no longer considered pre-existing. 

Any future knee or ligament conditions will not be covered if they arise before the insurance start date or during the waiting time.

Bottom Line

Cat insurance can save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you have a kitten that has many years left. It can also be beneficial if your furry friend has a disease or ailment that needs continued treatment. 

Whatever your situation is, getting health insurance for your feline friend pays off. With many premiums costing less than $30 a month, you can rest easy knowing you won’t have to break the bank to keep them safe and healthy. 

Pet Insurance Brands

As you can see, selecting the right cat insurance depends on a wide variety of factors. You’ll need to consider your cat’s breed, age, health, and more. You’ll also need to determine what type of coverage, such as accident-only, and what types of add-ons, like wellness care you want your policy to include. Finally, you’ll need to select a plan that fits your budget. The in-depth, brand-specific pet insurance reviews below will help you choose the right insurance for your feline friend.

Lemonade Pet Insurance

Lemonade Pet Insurance offers preventative care packages specifically for kittens that cover all the basics, including spaying or neutering, microchipping, up to six vaccines, and more. Lemonade’s insurance for cats of all ages is some of the most affordable. Pet parents love the company’s lightning-fast, AI-powered claims payments. Plus, you can take your kitty to any licensed vet you choose.

Pros:

  • Responsive customer service
  • Low monthly premiums
  • Affordable prices
  • 2-day waiting period for accidents
  • Wellness plans available

Cons:

  • Microchips not covered
  • 6 month waiting period for cruciate ligaments
  • Exams coverage costs extra

Many Pets Pet Insurance

Many Pets Pet Insurance offers coverage in 36 U.S. states, the U.K., and Sweden. Though they’re not as widely available as some other options, their costs are very competitive. Simply answer a handful of questions on their site to receive a quote within seconds, including costs, coverage, and restrictions. Many Pets covers cancer care, including diagnostic tests and treatment, as long as the cancer isn’t a pre-existing condition.

Pros:

  • Up to 100% reimbursement of care
  • Low waiting period for customers switching from another insurance company
  • International coverage
  • Covers most emergency, illness, and injury care
  • Can visit any licensed vet

Cons:

  • Only available in certain areas (UK, Sweden, and 36 U.S. states)
  • Coverage for routine care is extra
  • Does not cover behavioral health

Pets Best Pet Insurance

Pets Best Pet Insurance offers highly customizable plans and coverage options for accidents, illness, and routine care. Their claims reimbursement is fast and can be paid directly into your bank account. Plus, veterinary experts are available on their 24/7 Pet Helpline to answer health questions about your kitty day or night.

Pros:

  • Multiple deductibles and premium plans
  • Pay vet directly
  • Accident and illness coverage
  • Additional coverage for routine care

Cons:

  • Wellness care costs extra
  • Top-tier plans are considerably more expensive

Spot Pet Insurance

Spot Pet Insurance is another customizable cat health care option. You start by choosing accident-only or accident-and-illness coverage. You can add preventative care coverage for a nominal fee. Spot Pet Insurance doesn’t have upper age limits on their cat insurance plans, so you can get your senior cat the best veterinary care possible. In addition, Spot offers a 10% multi-pet discount for additional pets.

Pros:

  • Different plan options
  • Can customize deductible and annual limits
  • Can use any licensed vet
  • Accident only coverage plan

Cons:

  • 14-day waiting period
  • Unlimited coverage is expensive

Cat sitting next to an easel with
Pet insurance can defray the cost of your cat's medical care.
Red Bow Tie Photo/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs, her 14-year-old dog, or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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