Expert tips for finding the right pet insurance for you
Our resident pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor, some helpful tips for pet owners looking to insure their cat or those switching to a new policy.
Insure your pet early
Get pet insurance for your cat when they’re a kitten or before they develop health conditions that insurers may treat as pre-existing conditions to exclude from cover. It’s recommended to insure your furry friend within their first year.
Increase your excess to reduce your premiums
You can save on your pet insurance premiums by simply increasing your excess. While this means you pay less in monthly premiums, you would pay a higher excess if you make claim. This can yield immediate and long-term savings, but it’s not suitable for all pet owners. You can always re-adjust your excess to pay higher premiums later if you wish. Read your pet’s policy terms for the full details.
Find out more about pet insurance
There’s sometimes a difference in coverage and price for indoor and outdoor cats, so choose a policy accordingly.
Accident and illness cover is a standard policy that covers some vet costs for specified accidental injuries and illnesses like skin conditions, gastrointestinal problems, cancer, and more.
Choosing the right pet insurance for you
What is cat insurance?
A cat insurance policy is simply pet insurance cover for your feline. It can pay a portion of eligible vet expenses if your cat gets sick or injured. Pet insurance will reimburse some of your cat’s medical expenses up to an agreed amount each year. You may have to pay the entire vet bill upfront and make a claim with your insurance provider for reimbursement after.
What does cat insurance cover?
Pet insurance for cats can help cover unexpected vet bills and other costs you can’t always budget for. There are typically three coverage tiers available, including:
Accident and illness cover is a standard policy that covers some vet costs for specified accidental injuries and illnesses like skin conditions, gastrointestinal problems, cancer, and more. Select policies may also include emergency boarding.
Routine care is an optional extra that covers vet consultations and preventative treatments like vaccinations, de-sexing, microchipping, etc. This comes at an extra cost as it’s the most comprehensive cover option combined with a suitable policy.
Accident-only cover is the lowest level of cover that insures your pet for accidental injuries only. This may include cuts, bone fractures, car accident injuries, snake/insect bites, etc.
Most pet insurance policies typically have a benefit percentage. This is the percentage of the bill your insurer will pay for. This typically ranges between 70% and 90%, although it can be more or less depending on your policy and insurance provider. In most instances, you’ll need to pay the vet’s invoice upfront and then claim some of your eligible costs back from your insurer.
Benefit limits and sub-limits
Most pet insurance policies also have an annual benefit limit – a cap on how much your insurer will pay in claims each year. Also, there may be sub-limits for specific conditions. For example, your policy may have an annual benefit limit of $10,000 but a $500 sub-limit for cruciate ligament conditions.
You’ll normally have to pay an excess when claiming on your pet insurance. Some insurers will apply the policy excess before the benefit percentage, while others will deduct it after. Paying a higher excess can reduce your policy premiums, and vice versa.
What does cat insurance exclude?
Pet insurance exclusions are typically pre-existing conditions, diseases with a known vaccine, breeding and obstetrics, elective procedures, alternative therapies, and dental illness (unless included as an optional cover). Check your pet insurance Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) for more information.
What if my cat is injured or falls ill during the waiting period?
You can only claim on your pet insurance once you’ve served your policy’s applicable waiting period. There are typically no waiting periods for accidents, but most insurance providers have a 30-day waiting period for illnesses. Check your policy terms for full details.
How much does cat insurance cost?
Pet insurance for a cat can cost between $25 and $50 per month1, although premiums will vary depending on your cat’s age and health status, level of cover, and insurer. Cat breeds don’t impact pet insurance like dog breeds. Cats are also cheaper to insure because of their smaller size and reduced likelihood of injuries.
Can I insure my cat for life?
You can insure your cat for life by taking out cover before they turn nine, and if there’s no break or lapse of that cover. Most new policies won’t cover older cats once they reach a certain age, except for accident-only policies which don’t typically have age limits.
Meet our pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor
As our expert on pet insurance, Adrian Taylor knows that cats get themselves into all sorts of mischief. One part of Adrian’s work is to help empower consumers to understand how pet insurance can help save them from exorbitant vet bills when their cat or dog gets injured or falls ill.
As the General Manager of General Insurance at Compare the Market, Adrian Taylor has over 13 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Adrian specialises in customer experience and is dedicated to helping customers better understand insurance products so they can save money on their household bills.
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1 Obtained from completed quotes on our comparison service. The cheapest quote was for a young (< 1 year old) Ragdoll cat, de-sexed, in Brisbane. The dearest quote was for a senior Burmese cat (> nine years old), de-sexed, in Sydney, with the highest possible benefit percentage and highest annual limit, and all options included (26 April 2023).