Many pet owners are all too familiar with the problem of having to cope with expensive veterinary fees when their animal falls ill or is involved in an accident. The bill can come as an added shock when misfortune is unexpected — as it so often is — and can greatly add to the worry of having to care for a sick animal, which is bad enough in itself. That’s where pet medical insurance schemes can cushion the blow.
The last thing you want to worry about when your cat is sick is the size of the bill! A medical insurance policy can take care of that problem for you, so you can concentrate on helping your cat recover.
The ‘small print’ varies between insurance companies, so it is worth checking with several companies before you make a decision. First of all, check the monthly or annual rates. Then look at the excess (the amount of each claim that you will have to pay). Often, minor treatments will only cost in the region of £50, so if you have an excess of £40 you will be paying most of the bills. You need to balance your monthly payments with the excess. Also, some companies will charge more to insure a pedigree cat, and some will give you a discount on the second and third cats you insure.
Every pet owner moans about how much their vet charges. The total cost of treatment for a sick cat can run to many hundreds of pounds, but the last thing you need to worry about at this already difficult time is how much your vet’s bill is likely to come to.
BEARING THE COST
If your cat turns out to have a long-term, chronic condition, such as diabetes or kidney failure, for example, or if it is in need of expensive surgery, your vet’s fees might prove to be more than you can afford. So having had the forethought to take out a pet medical insurance policy when your cat was still young and an insurance company was willing to take on the risk might prove to be – quite literally – a life saver. It might have seemed like a lot of money at the time, but it could save you a small fortune.
Different pet insurance policies offer you different levels of cover, but generally speaking they offer you cover either for a maximum per illness or accident or for an overall maximum per year. The policy should also cover death by accident and death by illness (if under a certain age). If your vet provides alternative therapies, such as homeopathic treatments, acupuncture or osteopathy, check that the company also covers this type of treatment.
Many vets prefer you to take out insurance with a particular company that they are used to dealing with, which may make it easier to pursue claims.
You may want to use a company that covers cattery costs if you are hospitalised and unable to care for your pet; some also cover the cost of advertising to find a lost pet.
Some insurance companies will pay all the recovery costs when you lose your animal, including advertising and the offer of a reward. It may be cheaper for them than paying the cost of ‘replacement’ .
You cannot be held responsible for the actions of your cat, so third party liability and legal costs are not included.
Most companies will charge more to insure an older cat, unless you have taken out a policy with the company when the cat was young.