Table of Contents:
- Health Risks for Indoor Cats
- What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
- How Does Pet Insurance Work?
- More Pet Insurance Considerations
- How to Find the Right Pet Insurance for Your Cat
There are many different species of cats, all ranging in size, color, and markings. Just as there are different species of cats, there are different kinds of cats. These can be classified in the following three categories: indoor cats, indoor-outdoor cats, and outdoor cats.
Indoor cats live in homes and spend all of their time inside the house. Indoor-outdoor cats live in the house, but may roam the streets as well. Finally, there are outdoor cats, who live in nature and don’t have much interaction — if any at all — with humans. If you have an indoor cat, you undoubtedly love your little feline friend and have concern for their safety, so you might come to ask yourself, “Is pet insurance worth it for an indoor cat, and, if so, what does it cost?”
Health Risks for Indoor Cats
Some health risks can occur for any cat, regardless if they are indoor, outdoor, or a little bit of both. Every pet has health risks that you as a pet owner have to try and avoid if you want your pet to live a long, happy, and healthy life. This is one of the challenges of being a pet owner. The health risks of indoor cats include boredom, stress, obesity, feline urinary problems, anxiety, and exposure to toxins.
To start, lack of exercise and boredom can lead to physical and emotional stress for your cat or kitten. A stressed cat can be unhealthy and they are often subject to stress more easily than other animals. Cats can show signs of illness when they’re stressed. Stress in a cat is a matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even when it comes to something simple like a common inflammatory disease, they will usually become healthier once their stress levels are reduced. It’s important to recreate a similar environment within your home that a kitty would typically encounter when in the wild. This will allow them to feel at ease, stress-free, and happy. This includes offering high places to hide, climbing towers, window perches, and scratching posts.
Obesity and diabetes are also common reasons that indoor cats begin to see a decline in their health. Lack of exercise can result in weight gain very easily, and once weight is gained, it becomes very hard to shed, especially as your pet ages. Making sure that your kitty stays active and has plenty of toys to run around and play with is important. Limiting the amount of time that they’re inactive is crucial to their health. Unlike outdoor cats, indoor cats have much less room to run around and play and hunt, thus expending less energy.
Another big health risk in indoor cats is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Feline lower urinary tract disease is the result of a variety of conditions that affects both the bladder and urethra in cats. Symptoms of this disease include difficulty and pain when urinating, an increase in the number of times they urinate, as well as a presence of blood in their urine. They also tend to excessively lick themselves and can be found urinating outside their litter box on cooler, smoother surfaces. While the disease can occur at any age, it mostly occurs in middle-aged, overweight cats that get limited exercise, have zero to little outdoor access, and eat a dry diet. A urinary tract blockage caused by a urethral obstruction is a life-threatening condition and affected pets must receive immediate treatment.
Separation anxiety is another factor that can affect indoor cats. As we all know, felines are usually the pet of choice for busier people, but they can become very attached to their owners and will suffer separation anxiety when they’re left alone. These cats are typically described as being needy when you are around, and then when you’re not, they can cause complete chaos around the house until you return.
Along with the health risks stated above, cats are also subject to indoor hazards. Always make sure to keep your home clear of potential hazards if you have a cat that spends a lot of time home alone. Houseplants, such as lilies, are toxic, so it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot have around the house if you plan to leave your furry friend to their own devices. A good practice is to avoid using dangerous products or pesticides in your cat’s common areas. Doing some research on hazardous products can go a long way. It is also important to never use or give any medication to a feline that is meant for a human or canine. Some medications are extremely toxic to cats, even in small doses. Toxin ingestion can occur at any age but can be more common in young, curious kittens.
Diagnosis and treatment of the various feline health conditions noted above can range in costs from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the condition and response to treatment. These kinds of medical bills can really start to add up.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Maybe you just got a cat and you’re intrigued by the concept of pet insurance, but you’re not really sure what costs would be covered if your cat were to get sick or hurt.. So, you’re stuck wondering if pet insurance is worth it for an indoor cat, which really depends on a few different factors.
Typically, pet insurance covers medical costs if your pet becomes sick unexpectedly, or if they were to get into an accident, but unlike health insurance for humans, pet insurance does not normally cover costs for routine care, such as checkups and standard shots. Pre-existing conditions are also not covered by pet insurance, so if you are looking into it for a pet that already has some sort of ailment, it may not really be worth it for you. Pet insurance is the best value when purchased before any medical conditions. This way, everything will be covered at the lowest possible cost.
There are four different kinds of pet insurance plans available, which are accident-only plans, accident and illness plans, insurance with embedded wellness, and endorsements.
- Accident only insurance plans will cover incidents and various types of injury such as the ingestion of foreign objects, poisoning, bite wounds, or if your pet was hit by a car.
- Accident and Illness insurance plans are the most frequently used type of plan. This plan covers accidents, plus illnesses and conditions such as digestive issues, infections, urinary problems, allergies, and cancer.
- Insurance with embedded wellness is a comprehensive plan that covers both accidents and illnesses, as well as wellness coverage. Wellness plans cover things such as flea and tick control products, spay and neuter surgeries, annual wellness examinations, heartworm prevention, vaccinations, dietary consultations, and/or dental products and dental cleanings. Also, alternative therapies such as acupuncture are covered by some plans. Many company policies even cover cremation,burial, and food.
- Insurance endorsements include cancer or wellness add-ons. Wellness plans are usually only purchased as an add-on to an existing plan.
When it comes to the four types of pet insurance, 98 percent of insured pets are covered by either accident or illness insurance, or insurance with wellness add-on. The remaining two percent are covered by accident-only coverage.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
The terms “premium,” “deductible,” and “coverage limits” may be confusing for many pet parents seeking an insurance plan. There are over a dozen companies in North America offering pet insurance and each company offers something slightly different, which can add to the confusion. Here is how pet insurance works and what you really need to know.
There are 4 parts a pet insurance policy that include:
- Premium: This is the amount you pay to the pet insurance company for your pet’s insurance. This can be paid monthly or annually. There may be a discount with annual payments or auto-pay with some companies.
- Deductible: The deductible amount is the amount of the vet bill you must pay before insurance benefits “kick in.” This is similar to the deductible on your homeowners or car insurance policy. You may have a $500 or $1000 deductible, which means that you pay $500 or $1000 before the policy starts. It is important to note that some insurance companies have an annual deductible and others have a per-incident deductible. This means that if you have a policy with an annual deductible, once you reach that amount, you are cost-free for the rest of the year. The other option is a per-incident deductible, which means you need to meet that deductible every time you have a health problem with your cat.
- Maximum Coverage Limit: This is how much money an insurance company will pay out per health issue, per year, or lifetime. Each company varies slightly with their coverage limits.
- Reimbursement: The reimbursement is the amount of a bill, after the deductible, that will be paid by an insurance company. There are different options with most companies from 70%, 80%, 90%, to 100%. The very best coverage policy would be a $0 deductible with 100% reimbursement. This means the insurance company would pay for everything but also means you will have the highest premium. Another example of a plan is one with a $500 deductible and 90% reimbursement. With this plan, you would need to pay the first $500 then the pet insurance would kick-in. After that, they will pay 90% of the veterinary bill.
The deductible and reimbursement variables that you choose are the primary factors that influence the cost of your pet insurance policy. Other factors that impact the cost of your coverage are the age and breed of your pet, as well as your location in the country. Another factor that impacts costs are discounts. Discounts are available with many companies, which can help save you money on your policy.
More Pet Insurance Considerations
There are several things to consider when choosing a pet insurance company.
Commonly asked questions include the following:
- At what age can you I purchase pet insurance? You can obtain insurance for kittens, young, and middle-aged cats from most companies. Not all companies will insure senior cats. Premiums are least expensive for younger cats and become more costly (higher premiums) as pets age.
- What happens when we visit the vet? Ultimately, you want to know what happens when you visit the vet. Pet insurance can be used at any licensed vet clinic nationwide, including veterinary emergency and specialty hospitals. Generally what happens after services are completed is that you pay your vet and then submit the claim (receipts) to the pet insurance company. The insurance company then reviews the claim and pays you directly.
- Does the insurance company dictate care? You choose the diagnostic and treatment plan that works best for your situation. Pet insurance companies do not determine which tests your veterinarian will conduct, which conditions they will treat (unless there is a pre-existing condition), or which treatment your cat will receive. That is up to you and your vet.
- How do I submit a claim? You submit your claim by mail, fax, or online. Most providers generally service claims in as little as 24 hours to a couple of weeks.
- Are hereditary conditions covered? Hereditary or genetic conditions are covered with some policies, but not all. If you have a concern over a particular condition, ask before you sign up for a policy.
- What is the easiest way to get a quote? Getting pet insurance quotes is easy. You can get a quote by calling a pet insurance company directly, going to their website, or enrolling at MyPetInsurance for a free quote. Most pet insurance company websites allow you to choose the coverage variables that work for you and will provide you with an immediate free quote. You can see how your quote will vary by changing the coverage variables. There are discounts depending on the company, including multi-pet, military, paying annually, auto-pay, and more.
- Once I have a pet insurance policy, when does it start? Once you have a pet insurance policy, when it becomes active depends on the type of coverage and the company. Many plans will immediately cover wellness and accidents while illnesses and genetic problems may have a waiting period of days to weeks.
- Is wellness coverage included with my policy? Wellness can be included with your pet insurance plan, but is more often an add-on service that comes at an extra cost.
- What is the best thing about pet insurance? The best thing about pet insurance is how it can help pay for costs related to unexpected illnesses or injuries. It can be a real struggle to pay for veterinary costs. Veterinary medicine has many sophisticated options that can treat a variety of medical problems, including cancer and other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, and kidney problems.
- Is pet insurance worth it for an indoor cat? This depends on your financial situation, budget, and desire to provide your cat the best possible care. You will never be able to predict an accident or illness. Pet insurance is a good way to protect your budget from high veterinary bills, while allowing you to give your cat the best possible care.
How to Find the Right Pet Insurance for Your Cat
It’s always best to research a pet insurance provider’s credibility. You will want to be sure that they’re reputable, offer what you’re looking for, and have good customer feedback. After doing so, you’ll want to consider how much coverage you need. If your pet has pre-existing conditions, find out what is covered and what is not. Adding additional insurance coverage may be worth it, depending on your cat’s activity levels and proneness to getting hurt or injured. Make sure to always read the fine print when signing up for a plan. An incident you thought might be covered, may not be. Finally, visit your vet to seek their advice on pet insurance. They can give you some guidance as to how you should approach pet insurance and what kind of specific plan would be smart, based on your situation.