The Low-Down on Feline Health Insurance

Here at Just Cats we strongly recommend that you get health insurance from your feline friend. Cat health insurance can cover veterinary costs for any illnesses & injuries your cat may suffer throughout their life.

One in three cats will require unexpected veterinary attention every year. Costs of surgery and treatment can be expensive and having a good insurance policy, means not only can your cat get the best treatments available to them but also you don’t need to worry about the cost of these treatments. This allows you to focus on your cat’s recovery.

But my cat is healthy, why do I need insurance?

Illnesses & injury are often unexpected, and cat health insurance is a way of ensuring that when your cat does need veterinary care, that they get the care they need, and that you do not need to be worrying about vets bills. 

Blood tests, x-rays, MRI scans, chemotherapy, joint replacement surgery, intensive care hospitalisation and referral to specialists are all available to ensure your pet receives every chance of recovering. However, these come at a price and that is why health insurance is so important. Even some of the more simple conditions e.g. an episode of vomiting & diarrhoea, can end up costing more than you would think!

What will my insurance cover?

It depends on the policy you take out and what insurance company you decide to go with. Most policies will cover illnesses and injuries, others will cover third party liability, the monetary value of a pedigree cat, cattery fees and holiday cancellation costs. 

What you need to ask

•    “What the policy does not pay for” and “What the policy does     not cover”

•    Look beyond the policy price, if it doesn’t cover as much as other policies, it may just end up costing you more in the long run.  

•    Does the policy have ‘’Cover for Life’’, it must cover the 
    cat’s condition as long as you keep paying your policy on time.

•    Does your policy stop paying for your pets medical conditions 
    after a certain period of time or once you have reached 
    a ‘financial ceiling’. After this point you will be     responsible for paying all the costs of treating your pet.

Remember, that few extra cents spent on the initial policy may end up saving you a lot of money over the lifetime of your pet.

What will my insurance NOT cover?

Again this depends on the policy & company you insure your pet with. In general, policies do not cover routine procedures like vaccinations, neutering, maintenance diets, flea/worm treatments. 

What to look out for

Dental care is often not covered, so you need to check this with your specific company. Your insurance company will not cover ‘Pre-Existing Conditions”, that is, all conditions that your cat was diagnosed with before your cat was insured. For example, if your cat was diagnosed with a skin condition, then your insurance company will not cover any further incidences of skin conditions. 

You can still take out insurance and all other conditions will be covered in your policy. We can go over your cat’s medical history and give you an idea of pre-existing conditions that the company may exclude from your policy. But this is why it is so important to take out your cat’s insurance as soon as possible – so that there is no pre-existing conditions that can be excluded from your policy.

Depending on your policy there will probably be an excess to pay, which you have to pay per illness or injury – the insurance company will cover your costs except for a set amount, the Excess. The amount of the excess varies with each company and can rise once your pet goes over a certain age. For example most excesses are in the region of €75-€100, then the insurance company pays all expenses over this amount. In older patients you may pay €75-€100 excess plus 35% of all additional costs, and then the insurance company pays any additional costs after that. These do vary from company to company, so read all terms & conditions very carefully.

Can I change insurance company?

Yes, of course you can. However be aware, your new insurer will not cover any pre-existing conditions, so do ask your new insurer if they will offer you a quote & a full list of what they will cover, as this may depend on previous claim history.

How much does it cost?

Cost is dependant on many factors - Insurance provider, breed, pedigree, age, pre-existing conditions etc. Some insurers will offer discounts for microchipped cats, for insuring multiple pets, and for owners over a certain age. Quick online quotes are available from various insurers or on the phone. Get plenty of quotes to compare price but just be sure you are comparing like cover with like.

Picture courtesy of cats.lovetoknow.com.

Dublin's First Cat's Only Veterinary Clinic; Just Cats Veterinary Clinic, Coolmine, Clonsilla, Dublin 15.

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