4 expert tips to finding the purr-fect insurance plan for cats and kittens
Cats and kittens have got it waxed, let me tell you. They come and they go as they please and have a certain air of “heck, ain’t this life easy?” about them. Fierce hunters by night (hello dead bird on my doormat) and selective couch loungers by day, what’s all the fuss about getting them insured?
The reason is, that whilst cats are very self-sufficient and agile creatures, they are still at high risk of illnesses or accidents that we simply can’t predict. This is where pet insurance kicks in. Taking your cat or kitten to the vet is a costly affair that I hope you aren’t too familiar with. This is where I found some great (I say great with a pinch of salt) examples of how much your vet bills will cost you without insurance - read at your own risk.
With all the policies and plans out there, it can be a tricky process trying to figure out which one is going to be the most beneficial. Do you need a hospital plan? Should you forgo insuring routine care checks? How much should you be paying? If these are the questions you’re asking, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve done my research and put together all of the important aspects you’re going to want to be included in your policy for your feline. Without further delay, here’s what you should keep an eye out for when picking a great policy:
1. Protection against illness
When our pets get ill, we are their only option for getting healthy again. We need to know the signs and the symptoms, and we also need to know when they need professional care. Making sure your policy covers illness (in cats young and old) is how you’re going to save big bucks in the long run.
Some common illnesses that affect cats include:
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
- Feline Leukemia Virus (FelV)
Knowing how expensive these treatments are for humans gives you an idea of how expensive it is to treat your cat for these illnesses: you can check out this read on how expensive it really is to own a pet.
2. Protection against injuries and accidents
Let’s all be adults here: we know the end result between curiosity and the cat. Kittens are especially adventurous creatures and can get themselves up to all sorts of nonsense. Whilst endearing when they find themselves stuck in an old peanut butter jar, other nonsense-related accidents are far more frightening and significantly more expensive.
Let’s look at it this way: your cat swallows something it shouldn’t have. For imagination’s sake let’s say that something was a bird and the wings are obstructing his digestive tract - that’s going to set you back anywhere between R5000 - R15 000 depending what the foreign object is.
3. Cover for pre-existing conditions
This is a tricky one to find in a pet policy, but not impossible to find! Most insurers are wary of taking on pre-existing conditions because they know the risk of them having to pay out is nearly sitting at 100%.
What I did find, however, is that Oneplan insurance is the go-to if pre-existing condition cover is something you need. You’ll need this kind of cover especially if you are re-homing or adopting a cat, whether they are young or old. Any new cat you are bringing into your home comes with a health history you may not have known about. Oneplan is incredibly welcoming of shelter pets (in fact, they encourage it ) and they show it through their policies.
Although there is a waiting period of 12 months before cover for your cat or kittens pre-existing conditions, 12 months goes by in the blink of an eye when you’re looking at the five to ten years ahead you would be paying for yourself without insurance.
4. Hereditary and congenital conditions
These types of conditions are not the same as pre-existing conditions - although they are similar. A hereditary condition is something that lives in your cat’s genes that can be or are passed down from its parents/lineage. These conditions can present themselves later in life and hopefully, you’ll know about them beforehand from the breeder, pet shop or shelter.
A congenital condition is something your cat has been born with - you will most likely know about it from the get-go but you’ve chosen to stick it out with your furry-baby anyway and for that, I give you a huge high-five.
Having insurance that covers both hereditary and congenital conditions means two things. Firstly, you have chosen an insurer that truly understands the ins and outs of being a pet owner and how much life can cost. Secondly, it means that you won’t be paying out of pocket for hugely expensive conditions that you will have to deal with for at least five years in most cases - trust me, it adds up.
*Please note that these costs may differ between vets, pets and various treatment options and you may end up spending more than this on your cat or dog. The costs mentioned here serve as an example of what you might pay in these situations.
Hopefully, this has given you a well-rounded idea of what you should be looking for when it comes to choosing a pet insurance policy for your kitty.
Until next time,