Tuesday 22 July 2008

Insurance for Cat Health Problems

Photo by fofurasfelinas


Insurance for Cat Health Problems
is really about risk. I wouldn't automatically think that I have to get insurance for cat health problems immediately upon adopting, buying or acquired a cat. I have never bought insurance for my cat and so far this has worked to my advantage without in any way being detrimental to my cat. The various veterinary associations say that insurance is part of responsible "ownership". They would say that as pet insurance benefits veterinarians as well as the cat. But a person who doesn't take out insurance can be equally responsible provided he/she pays up when it is needed and doesn't shy away from that responsibility.

I've always considered pet insurance from a basic standpoint and for what it is, which is the funding of health care for cats that are more often ill by those people who keep cats that are healthier. In other words the people who keep healthy cats fund the people who keep unhealthy cats to put it a bit bluntly. And I am talking about specific insurance for cat health problems rather than household insurance that may cover some pet health risks.

Everybody pays their premiums (a yearly or monthly subscription for the type of insurance cover selected) but not everybody will benefit from the insurance to the same degree. Those people whose pets require more than average levels of treatment will benefit more from the insurance than those people who keep cats that are in need of treatment less often than average. Of course the cat is the number one recipient of the insurance.

So, it is about risk. When your cat is uninsured you are taking a risk that you will not be paying large veterinarian bills. If you do you would have been better off paying for insurance for cat health problems.

Insurance companies have to work out very careful what the average vet bills are and charge a premium accordingly. Another way I look at insurance for cat health problems is to think that the insurance company has taken a fictional single cat and worked out his/her yearly vet bill. They they then pay that bill and make a profit out of it. And insurance companies are very big business.

Insurance companies themselves take out insurance for unforeseen losses due to larger than normal claims. This form of insurance is called "re-insurance". Some very big companies provide this kind of insurance.

Photo by jim270 (On Vacation)

Types of Insurance for Cat Health Problems

There are basically three different types of pet insurance. Tesco, who provide pet insurance calls them level 1, level 2 and level 3. Other insurers may have different descriptions but they should be similar. As at July 2008 Tesco charges start at £4.50 per month for cats. This gives a clue as to the likely cost. Tesco are probably competitive being a big company. I am not promoting Tesco nor do I get a commission from them!

--Level 1 is "Annual pet insurance cover". Tesco say it is often called a "12 month policy". This is be because the policy will pay out for the treatment of a certain condition (illness) for a limited time, namely 12 months. There is also a ceiling on the amount paid within the year. So the funding is both time and amount limited for each condition covered by the policy. I will presume the policy covers a fairly wide range of illnesses. This form of insurance for cat health problems is unsuited to cats with ongoing long term demands for health care funding. This form of insurance is probably suited to most as it will cover day to day health problems that are usually resolved within the year.

--Level 2 "Per Condition Cover" and is funding that is the same (or similar) to level 1 except that there is no time limit on the funding of treatment for any one illness (the total amount is, however, limited). The premiums will be higher obviously for this kind of insurance.

--Level 3 is "Cover for Life" or "Life time cover". This covers vet's fees generally in any one year for the life of the cat but the amount paid out is capped and the excess (the amount to pay over the amount paid by the insurers, which could be quite a lot) is picked up by the person taking up the insurance. This type is best for ongoing illness.

Insurance does not usually cover routine treatments and preventative treatment such as vaccinations and neutering. It is not intended to cover all the "maintenance" costs of keeping a cat or pet. Premium rates will be "reset" each year. In other words the insurance company will charge more if you make more than the usual number claims. I guess this helps to spread the burden of funding (amongst all those insuring with the company) more fairly.

Insurance for Cat Health Problems - Extras

Extras such as insurance for holidays and missing pets can be bought or may be included. Holiday cover is for traveling cats under the The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS - this is a UK based scheme). PETS allows pets to travel to and from the UK without quarantine provided they follow certain rules. It is operated by Defra. Each country has its own pet entry requirements.

It may also be possible to take out insurance for "complimentary medicine". These are treatments such as physiotherapy and acupuncture.

The level of premium is worked out from information provided by you on the application form. Some cats will on the face of it be more at risk of needing health treatment and the premiums will be higher for them. My research indicates that the insurance companies do not make a distinction between purebred and mixed breed cats (nor rescue cats). It is generally thought that purebred cats are more likely to have genetically based conditions, some of which will be long term. This is due to inbreeding. This should be a factor when deciding insurance for cat health problems.

Photo by WitekKurowski

Insurance for Cat Health Problems - Some other benefits

Insurance brings peace of mind which is valuable. So there are benefits over and beyond simple finance. It will also eliminate that most impossible of decisions as to whether we should have our treasured cat put to sleep if she/he has a very serious illness that will cost the earth to treat.

Also as veterinarian treatments become more advanced and sophisticated the cost of treatment goes up but these new treatments are able to cure and manage illness that were once untreatable. These advances make insurance for cat health problems more attractive.

Insurance also benefits the veterinarian who is providing the treatment. The vet will be free to treat to the highest standards without funding issues to deal with. However this cuts two ways as it may also encourage a vet to charge more than would otherwise be the case. If this happened a lot the premiums would go up making insurance less attractive.

Another hidden benefit for the cat (and the cat keeper and vet) is that a cat insured is more likely to be brought to the vet earlier. This may mean a better resolution to the health problem. Depending on the insurance policy there may be some other nice little benefits such as boarding cattery costs if the person taking out the insurance has to go into hospital. Or if you have to cancel a holiday due to your cats illness; the cancellation costs may be covered.

Insurance for Cat Health Problems - Inherited illnesses

As mentioned some purebred cats and indeed mixed breed cats will have a propensity to suffer (perhaps rarely) from inherited illnesses due to a genetic defect (usually a recessive gene that has mutated and whose presence has become apparent due to the inbreeding necessary to achieve the appearance of purebred cats).

You can see a brief summary by clicking on this link (this is not necessarily a complete list) and then go to the relevant cat breed page of the website to read more about these health issues. Each page describing each cat breed has a section on health issues if there are any to discuss. The links to the individual breeds are in the NAVBAR on this website or in a series of pictures (the best) and listed alphabetically beginning here, or on the home page.

Insurance for Cat Health Problems - Conclusions:

These are the views of a cat lover who has become through no fault of his own a little cynical:

---If you have a purebred cat you can probably afford insurance for cat health problems and as a purebred cats may be a little less healthy than the average Moggie the balance tips in favor of insurance. I'd take insurance and probably the slightly more expensive variety.

---If you have personal health insurance for yourself and family members, in the spirit of equality for all animals, the insurance should extend to the cat(s) of the household.

---If you really like the peace of mind element of cat insurance and can afford it whether you have a purebred cat or not I'd take out insurance.

---If you don't mind taking risks and are genuinely prepared to pay a lot for a serious illness I wouldn't buy cat health insurance.

Insurance for Cat Health Problems to Cat Health Problems

Photos: All are published under a creative commons license that has been complied with and more. Thank you to the photographers (and these are classy photographers) for allowing their photographs to be published. I love your photographs. These cat photos are on this page to entertain. They have nothing to do with health insurance other than that they are cats. They are all mixed breed cats. All cats are equal.

  • Mainly myself
  • Veterinary Notes for Cat Owners
  • www.petinsuranceonline.co.uk
  • Tesco
  • www.ibc.ca


  1. It is good thing to know that there are health insurance for our pet.With these we can assure that our pet will be in good condition if ever they get sick.

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