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They say cats have nine lives, but if you love your little purr-baby, it’s probably not best to test that theory. Cat insurance is a great way to ensure that your (mostly) self-sufficient feline is protected in the event of illness, accident, injury, even old age. Insurance also protects you, the owner, in case you find yourself in a financial tight spot (and who hasn’t found themselves a little strapped for cash before?). But this article is not about extolling the virtues of pet (specifically dog) insurance. We’ve already done that in our Pet Insurance Comparison article. In this article, we’re sharing specifically how pet insurance works for you and our top picks for felines, our dog-eat-dog-world counterparts. Because, hey, who said we were enemies anyway?
How Does Cat Insurance Work?
Most pet insurance companies, whether for cats or dogs, work the same way in the United States: Companies have you pay your pet’s vet costs upfront, and after paying the initial cost, you send the insurance company an itemized receipt along with completed claim forms. They then send you a reimbursement check, minus your arranged deductible, based on your policy details and exclusions, type and cost of procedure performed, and the allowance per procedure on your policy. (Turnaround time may vary depending on your insurance company and their respective workload, but a good average processing and payment time frame is around four weeks.)
Winners for Best Cat Insurance Providers
Below are our winners for best pet insurance for cats based on a variety of factors ranging from price and coverage options to reimbursement rates and customer service.
Healthy Paws was a clear choice for first in feline insurance based on their well-rounded performance. HealthyPaws has an annual deductible, reimburses up to 90% of the actual vet bill post deductible, covers all accidents, illnesses, and hereditary conditions (so long as they weren’t pre-existing), and they’ll never place a number on any of your claims. This means unlimited lifetime benefits for your cat with no cap. As if that’s not enough, HealthyPaws also weighs in with a more-than-reasonable quote of $22.10 per month (based on a four-year-old mixed breed kitty from Illinois) with a $250 deductible and 80% reimbursement. We think that sounds like a recipe for some healthy paws!
Use this link and you will automatically receive up to a 10% discount. The actual discount varies based on individual state regulations. You can also visit our dedicated HealthyPaws promotions page to discuss current offers.
Pets Best is our second pick because of their generally lower prices, reasonable claim repayment and multiple options for customer support. Pets Best is consistently one of the least expensive options when it comes to cat insurance. They typically pay claims within 5 days and they offer multiple forms of customer service, so you’re bound to reach them one way or another. A four-year-old, mixed breed cat from Illinois can have coverage that includes a $250 deductible, 80% reimbursement, and an unlimited annual maximum for $23.63 per month.
Our readers have access to an exclusive PetsBest discount of 5% off BestBenefit plans for the first year! Just use this link to get started (Eligible in all states except AK, FL, HI and TN and does not apply to accident only plan or wellness rider). You can also visit our dedicated Pets Best promotions page to discuss current offers.
We love that Petplan offers so many options, which is why we chose them as our #3 pick. Customers can customize their policy based on deductible, reimbursement percentage and coverage amount. The company provides these comprehensive plans with no per condition limits, no lifetime limits and no riders needed. They also cover periodontal disease, which is especially important for cat owners since 80% of felines over the age of 3 have periodontal disease. Petplan came in third due to reports of higher pricing with their recent policy updates and increase in customer service complaints. However, you won’t know the correct price for your four legger until you run quotes from multiple companies. One quote we ran on the Petplan website for a four-year-old, mixed breed cat from Illinois came in at $34.73 a month for unlimited coverage with a $250 deductible and an 80% reimbursement rate.
Use coupon code CanineJournal to receive an additional 5% discount (10% total if you sign up online). Alternatively, if you call 800-237-1123 you will automatically get the additional 5% discount! You can also visit our dedicated Petplan promotions page to discuss current offers.
Get Cat Insurance Price Quotes
Rather than taking our word for it, run three price quotes with our top recommended companies when you complete just one short form to get a better understanding of why pet insurance is a good investment for your cat.
Common Cat Health Issues
Be sure to get cat insurance before these common illnesses occur for your kitty.
Now that we’ve covered the important stuff, we want arm you with an extra bit of knowledge. Here are a few need-to-know terms to help you navigate policy jargon when looking for your purr-fect cat health insurance policy.
Deductible: Just as it applies in health insurance for humans, deductibles apply to pet insurance, too. The deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket before you receive reimbursement from your pet’s insurance plan. For most companies this deductible must be paid per incident rather than per year.
Co-Payment: Again, just as it applies to human insurance, the co-pay is the amount of out of pocket expense you must cover per incident after your deductible. The co-payment is usually listed as a percentage, for example 80/20 means that the insurance company will cover 80 percent of the remaining balance after your deductible is paid and you must pay the remaining 20 percent.
Pre-Existing Conditions: Every major pet insurance company excludes pre-existing conditions from their coverage. This means that any ongoing condition your dog or cat was diagnosed with prior to being covered by their policy will not be covered in future claims.
Incidents: The term incident is used to refer to the condition that is causing you to visit the veterinarian. Chronic conditions such as skin allergies are considered to be a single incident even if you pay your veterinarian multiple visits.
Exclusions: Exclusions are items which are not covered by your pet insurance policy, this can include: pre-existing conditions, certain musculoskeletal disorders, congenital disorders, hereditary disorders, intentional injuries caused by you or your family and elective or cosmetic procedures.
Schedule of Benefits: The document that is provided to you when you sign up for your pet insurance policy. This document outlines conditions that are covered under your plan and the monetary allowance you are provided for each diagnosis.
Code: The word “code” is listed on your schedule of benefits with most vet insurance companies. Underneath this term you will see a number listed. This is the “code” the company uses to identify the diagnosis given to your pet.
Primary Diagnosis or Condition: This term will appear on your schedule of benefits and refers to the financial limit that the company places on a primary diagnosis or condition which includes injections, hospitalization, exams, surgery and treatment.
Primary Diagnostic Testing Maximums: This term also appears on your schedule of benefits and refers to the cost limit the company places on primary diagnostic testing. This allowance is generally made per bodily system. In many cases, this benefit limit does not extend to specialized diagnostic tests.
General Anesthesia Allowance: On the schedule of benefits, companies will also outline the maximum limit for general anesthesia costs as they apply to specific conditions.
Chemotherapy and Radiation Treatment Allowance: The schedule of benefits will also list the maximum reimbursement limit for chemotherapy and radiation treatment as they apply to specific conditions. These two amounts are generally split in two allowances with the allowance for radiation being much higher than that of chemotherapy.
Secondary Diagnosis or Condition: If your pet is treated for a second condition that occurs as a result of the primary diagnosis it will be covered under the benefits listed as a secondary diagnosis or condition. This secondary condition will receive financial reimbursement in addition to the primary diagnosis or condition.
Endorsements: Depending upon the insurance company you choose, you may be given the opportunity to purchase an “endorsement.” Usually this comes in the form of a cancer endorsement. This would be an add-on to your purchased insurance plan and extends the amount of coverage your pet receives for the specific illness listed – cancer, in this case.
Do You Have Cat Health Insurance?
Do you have cat pet insurance? Ever thought about getting it for your feline or other pets in the family? We’d love to hear more about your experiences — good or bad!
Which cat insurance company do you trust most with your pet?