Want cover for your cat? Compare cat insurance policies and keep them purring.
If you take out pet insurance cover for your cat, you can get covered for up to 85 per cent of eligible vet bills when your buddy gets sick or injured. From snake bite toxicity and injuries resulting from car accidents, to gastrointestinal problems and even cancer treatment, pet insurance covers a wide range of common veterinary expenses.
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- Get back up to 85% of eligible vet bills – as much as $20,000 per year
- $3,200 cruciate ligament conditions benefit and up to $2,000 tick paralysis benefit
- No maximum age limit for illness cover, unlike other insurers
- Three levels of cover to choose from
A pet insurance policy is like health insurance for your cat. It reimburses a certain percentage of veterinary bills and can also help cover other expenses. Having the right type and level of cover in place for your pet ensures that you do not have to compromise on the level of care you give to your pet. This ensures that your pet will be looked after when something goes wrong, and gives you the peace of mind you need to simply enjoy spending lots of quality time with your cat.
How are vet bills covered?
Most accident and illness policies will reimburse you for 80% of veterinary bills for injury or sickness treatments, but some will cover 100% of costs up to your policy’s total annual limit. The annual limit is the maximum amount you can claim in a year. Typically this is about $5,000 with basic cover and can go up to around $15,000 with the most comprehensive policies.
Don’t forget the excess
There is also an excess to consider, and you can generally choose your own. The excess is the amount you need to pay when making a claim, and usually you’ll be given several options. Opting for a $0 excess means you won’t need to pay anything to make a claim but will have higher premiums. It can often be worth considering a $100 or $200 excess instead for lower premiums, but this is largely down to your own preferences and financial situation.
What can impact the cost?
Overall, the cost of your premium is determined by the likelihood of a claim. This means that certain breeds of cat cost more to insure than others, dependent on what type of cover you have. Persian cats, for example, are more susceptible to breathing difficulties which can make them a bit more expensive to insure with illness cover, but this also means it’s important to have this type of insurance.
What types of cover are available?
Accident and illness cover each pay for different medical costs. The precise conditions covered are outlined in the product disclosure statement and tend to be very similar in most cases.
Cover for accidental injury
Accident cover will typically pay for vet bills relating to:
- Lacerations, cuts, abrasions or other physical injuries
- Bite or fight wounds caused by other animals
- Bone fractures
- Snakebite toxicity
- Ligament or tendon injuries
Most accident pet insurance policies in Australia will also cover all injuries caused by car accidents, burns, electrocution and allergic reactions to insect bites other than fleas or ticks, unless specifically excluded. However they will generally not cover venomous spider bites or toxicity from animals other than snakes, and will usually not pay for more than one treatment for swallowed objects in a 12-month period.
Cover for illnesses
Meanwhile, illness cover will typically pay for all vet bills relating to sickness or illness, except those which are specifically excluded, or specified as not covered by the insurance policy.
Many policies, even the basic ones, will also include additional benefits to help protect you from the unexpected and defray other costs. These typically include:
- Overseas pet cover, to extend your cat insurance outside of Australia
- Cover of humane euthanasia costs, when recommended by a vet
- Emergency boarding benefits to help pay for unexpected boarding costs if you are hospitalised and there’s no one else to care for your cat
- Paralysis tick benefits
Routine care is also widely available as an optional extra. This is a fairly inexpensive addition which can help defray select costs such as microchipping, spaying, teeth cleaning and other expenses.
How do I actually compare policies?
It’s important to think about how your policy will work in the long term. You generally can’t get insurance for kittens younger than eight weeks, or cats over the age of nine years, although some insurers will make exceptions with certain policies.
To make sure your cat is covered for life, you can take out a policy before the age of nine and then maintain it. As long as your cover doesn’t lapse you have guaranteed renewal with all the insurers compared on this page. This is not a feature of all policies, and it’s a good idea to make sure you are able to get lifetime cover no matter how long your cat is with you.
- Talk to your vet before taking out a policy. If you have a kitten, it’s often a good idea to do it before the age of eight weeks.
- Look for lifetime cover options, such as guaranteed renewability, to make sure the policy is able to cover your cat for life.
- Compare policies with special attention to the exclusions and make sure it’s the right type of cover for your cat.
- Get quotes from multiple insurers, and compare policies by both cost and cover.
What won't be covered?
All insurance policies will specify certain conditions that are not covered. Some types of sickness specific to cats will generally not be covered. These are typically:
- Viral rhinotracheitis
- All forms of cat flu
- Feline leukemia (FeLV)
- Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
- Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
- Sickness caused by endoparasites such as worms
- Sickness caused by ectoparasites such as ticks, although you can still get a certain level of cover for conditions relating to paralysis ticks
It’s a good idea to consult your vet for a better understanding of how likely your pet is to encounter these ailments. If you find out that your cat is at particular risk of certain conditions it may be possible to contact an insurer directly and see how much it will cost to get cover for them.
How much will my cat insurance cost?
The exact cost of your cat insurance policy will be determined by a range of factors. These include:
- The breed of cat you own. Certain breeds are more prone to suffering certain injuries and conditions, so you can expect to pay higher premiums as a result. Rare and therefore expensive breeds may also cost more to insure.
- The age of your cat. The older your pet is, the more likely he is to suffer from illness and injury. He’ll also take longer to recover from health issues as he ages, so this will once again be reflected by increased premiums.
- Your cat’s gender. Males and females can experience an increased risk of suffering certain health conditions.
- Whether your cat has been desexed. Pets that have not been desexed can be more prone to developing certain conditions, so they will in most circumstances cost more to insure.
- Whether your pet is cross-bred or purebred. Cross-bred pets tend to suffer fewer health problems than purebred animals so will attract lower premiums.
- The type of policy you choose. A comprehensive policy will obviously cost more than a basic cat insurance plan.
- When you pay your premiums. You can typically elect to pay your premiums fortnightly, monthly or annually.
4 steps to save on your cover
3 things to remember before purchasing cover
- It is important to find the right cover and it is usually a good idea to buy early: With most policies excluding pre-existing conditions, it is crucial to find the right policy and purchase earlier to avoid having to switch further down the track. Any conditions that your pet suffered at the start of the policy will be excluded from cover, so this is especially important if your cat is purebred and predisposed to certain health conditions. As always, make sure you read the product disclosure statement to ensure you know exactly what your pet is covered for.
- Premiums will increase with age. Nearly all policies will increase the premiums for older cats. Another reason to buy earlier.
- Ongoing conditions. Beware of policies only offering limited cover for chronic or recurring conditions. Many policies will not give cover for conditions that returned after 12 months.