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How to Decide If You Should Get Cat Health Care Insurance
Lately, I’ve been hearing about the need to get health insurance for your nonhuman companion…especially if you’re short on money. But is it really profitable? You are betting that your cat will have health problems and the insurance company is betting that it will not.
After shelling out over $4,000 recently for two cats that needed serious medical attention, I can confirm that the idea of having help with veterinary bills can be very appealing. So I looked further.
Pet insurance policies are broken down by tiers. (I use ASPCA pet health insurance as a general model.) Level 1 covers accidents: mostly minor things like scratches and burns, but also covers broken legs. That’s about $8.50 per month per cat or $102 per year.
The maximum Tier 1 Incident Compensation is approximately $2,500, with an annual maximum compensation of approximately $8,000.
But almost everything for your cat’s medical care involves treatment related to injuries and illnesses. It means the next level. Level 2 covers diagnosis, procedures, x-rays, surgeries, prescription drugs and hospitalization at around $14.50 per month per cat or $174 per year.
The Tier 2 maximum incident compensation is approximately $1,500 with a maximum annual compensation of approximately $8,000 with the “continuing care option”. From level 2 to level 4, you can add the option of continuing care for long-term chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, allergies, thyroid conditions and osteoarthritis.
Level 3 not only covers accidents and illnesses, but also general well-being and preventive measures, such as the annual physical examination, various vaccinations, tests and sterilization. That’s about $29.50 per chat per month or $354 per year.
The maximum incident benefit is $3,500 with an annual maximum benefit of $11,000 with the Continuing Care option.
Then Level 4 covers almost everything you can think of, including preventative medications and dental cleaning. This is the most comprehensive protection starting at around $58.50 per month per cat or $702 per year.
The maximum incident benefit is $5,000 with a maximum annual benefit of $13,000 with the Continuing Care option.
Overall, you’re reimbursed for 80% of usual and customary fees when you use a licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada and meet an annual deductible of $100 per pet. You can save 10% with their multi-pet discount, but this does not apply to Tier 1 or Continuing Care options.
How profitable is pet health insurance really? I’ve seen it touted for people who are struggling economically and, especially, for those who have more than one feline companion. (By the way, insurance for dogs is about a third more than for cats.)
For the kinds of day-to-day issues your cat companion is likely to encounter, I’d reckon even an indoor cat would need at least level 2 insurance for the basics. After that, you bet on the odds that your cat won’t have any serious problems and that you can cover vaccines and the like yourself.
As the “Kitty Mom” of 20 elderly, disabled, and special-needs kittens, having comprehensive pet health insurance would, alas, not pay off. I decided to take it as it comes and bet that the cats won’t have any serious problems. Like everything in life, it’s a risk.
However, every human companion of a cat should at least educate themselves on cat health insurance. You should consider your cat’s medical history and the likelihood of an accident or serious illness in the future. You must consider if you want to cover your bet that your cat will have a problem and that the insurance will positively cover its overall costs. Want to keep your furry loved one at the peak of their health, but will cat health insurance help you do it more economically? It’s your decision.
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