For non-pet owners, it might seem like a ridiculous question. But for anyone with furry four-legged members of the family, it’s a serious conundrum: How much is pet insurance for a cat? Like most questions about insurance, the answer is that it depends on the provider you choose.
Factors that can affect your insurance price include:
Age of your cat
Breed of the cat
How much coverage you want
Where you live
Previous illnesses that cat has had
A kitten can be as inexpensive as $11 per month to insure in a location with a low cost of living. For an older cat living in a large city, such as New York, that cost can be as high as $55 per month or more.
The current average price, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), is $29 per month.
Why Would a Cat Need Insurance?
Procedures, treatments, and surgeries for cats can be expensive. An intestinal blockage surgery can sometimes cost as much as $7,000, including exams, medications, follow-ups, hospital stays, and the surgery itself.
Depending on the specific insurance plan, most of the cost of the surgery could be covered. The question of how much pet insurance costs for a cat needs to factor into these possible large expenditures.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance works very similarly to human health insurance. Pay your premiums each month, and the policy remains in good standing. When you take your cat to the vet, you may have to pay the bill upfront, but you can submit it for reimbursement from your insurance carrier.
The best, most expensive plans will still require you to pay some portion of the bill, but the carrier may reimburse you for up to 90% of the cost. Lower-cost plans will reimburse less.
Depending on the specific plan you buy, you may have no deductible, or a deductible as high as $1,000. You’ll also have to look at the annual maximum, which usually ranges from $5,000 to $15,000. Most plans cover accidents and illnesses, such as cancer or bites from other animals that become infected.
Insurance most likely will not cover check-ups, hereditary and pre-existing conditions, and any preventive care or grooming. This is why it’s essential to get insurance as quickly as possible.
If your cat develops a cancerous growth and you try to get insurance, you’ll most likely be denied.
Why Is Age a Factor?
The older your cat is, the more care they’ll likely need. Insuring a 15-year-old cat costs, on average, nearly four times as much as a one-year-old cat. Insurance companies will often start covering cats as young as eight months. Any procedures, illnesses, or accidents before that age will likely have to be paid out of pocket.
Pet insurance carriers usually have an upper age cutoff, as well. Older cats simply have more problems, and the insurance company knows a 20-year-old cat is highly likely to get a serious condition — and that’s if it doesn’t have one already.
If you’ve been a policyholder for some time and have insured other cats, this could sway a provider to offer coverage for your older cat, but it will still be more expensive than the average policy.
What About Breed?
Your breed of cat may affect your insurance cost as much or more than any other factor. Insurance companies track which types of cats develop disease and incur more injuries than others. They’ll offer lower premiums to cats that are known for hardiness and general good health.
If you’re looking to insure an Abyssinian, expect costs close to $30 per month. Abyssinians are known for high rates of dental disease, kidney problems, knee issues, and eye degeneration. Insuring a Tonkinese, however, can cost less than $20 per month due to their reputation for stable health.
Is Insurance Worth It?
The question of “how much is pet insurance for a cat” may not apply to you. Healthy indoor cats may not need insurance, especially if you can pay out of pocket for any emergency procedures.
If your cat is older, it may not be possible to have it insured, either. But if you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can get your furry family member taken care of in case they need medical help, then you might prefer to pay for pet insurance.
Putting a pet down is the toughest decision any animal lover has to make. If the difference between a healthy, happy cat and one that needs to be euthanized is pet insurance, then it’s worth purchasing.
No matter what plan you end up choosing, you’ll still have to pay part of your bill. Look for a policy that covers what you believe your cat will need and decide your acceptable level of financial risk.