When adopting kitties, we recommend that you look into getting pet insurance as soon as possible. Vet care can be very expensive within the UK, and just a hospital night can be around £1,000.
We really care for all of our cats and kittens and we know how much vets bills can be, which is why we believe that it is essential to take out an insurance as soon as possible, so that you are well prepared to take on the responsibility, and there’s a peace of mind when it comes to future trips to the vets.
What does pet insurance do?
Pet insurance policies are made to help you cover the cost of veterinary treatments and medical expenses, when your cat becomes ill or gets injured.
Why is insurance so important?
Taking out pet insurance is so vital to the wellbeing of your cat, because it is never guaranteed that your cat or kitten won’t develop an illness in the future. The costs of a trip to the vets can vary, depending on the treatments, or medications needed, as well as where you are located, but they can often cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, and this may be difficult to afford on the spot.
Due to high expenses, unfortunately pets are often surrendered as a result of their owners not being able to afford unexpected medical bills, so we need to be well prepared for our cats’ health in the future.
The better prepared that you are, means that you can better assist and take care of any sudden ill health in your furry friends.
Things to keep in mind
When looking around for pet insurance, there are a few things that should be considered to make sure that you are taking out the best possible cover for you and your cat.
Insurance policies normally start cover 14 days after the initial date, so you will most likely need to wait 14 days before you can make any claim.
Some insurance policies do not cover dental, so please have a look around if this is something that you will need, as dental can be costly. Otherwise, use your kitty savings account for this.
Insurance might not cover everything or might require some payment for excess, so we always suggest creating a kitty savings fund.
Open a savings account
Opening a savings account that acts as a fund for any unexpected vet care that your cat may need, is a good option for those that have cats with expensive pre-existing conditions that would not be covered by an insurance policy. A savings account also means that you will not have to pay the monthly fees of an insurance policy.
By opening a savings account for the sole purpose of funding vet trips and bills, you can be in charge of how much you save, and how often you save it - as long as you are realistic with the amount you put away, based on the conditions that your cat has and how much they are likely to cost you in the future.
The downside to this, is that it may take you a while to save up a large amount of money. If your cat becomes ill before you have saved up a sum of money that would be enough to cover the cost, then you will need to find the remaining fee in a very short amount of time, which isn’t ideal. With this in mind, it may be worth considering taking out an insurance policy, as well as setting money aside as and when you can. This way, you can ensure that your cat is covered for conditions that don’t pre-date the when the policy was taken out, as well as ensuring that you do have some savings that can go towards those pre-existing conditions.
How much does it cost?
Comparatives of each type of cover
Ultimately, it is for you to decide what type of cover is best for your cat, and we strongly recommend researching your options yourself, to get a better feel for each type of cover. To help you weigh out the advantages and disadvantages of different types of cover, please take a look at the table below.
We strongly recommend lifetime cover, as it is the most comprehensive type of cover and will ensure that you and your cat are well prepared for any vet trips within the future.
Covers can be limited per condition or per year. We suggest a minimum of £5K per year or £3k per condition keeping in mind that a trip to the hospital alone can be £1K minimum.
A closer look at the different types of pet insurance cover
Lifetime cover is a comprehensive type of pet insurance and offers a vets fees cover up to a maximum amount, which you set. This means that if your cat develops a long-term illness, such as diabetes, arthritis, an ongoing skin condition etc., it will be covered year after year - as long as the condition didn’t pre-date when the policy was taken out. This is one of the reasons that we recommend looking into insurance for your cat as soon as possible.
Time Limited Cover
Time limited cover is a type of pet insurance that is active for a set period of time. These types of policies tend to cover the costs of treating your cat for a certain illness or injury, for a span of 12 months from the start of that illness or injury. Time Limited Cover can be cheaper, however remember to note that when the set period has ended, or the fixed sum of money for a particular illness or injury has been reached, your pet will not be covered for that particular illness or injury again.
Cover Per Condition
Per condition cover is also sometimes referred to as the ‘Maximum benefit policy’. This type of pet insurance means that the insurance company that you decide to go for will pay a certain amount per condition that your cat develops, and there will be a maximum limit for this payout. Taking out this type of policy means that when you have reached that maximum payout limit for a certain illness, injury or condition, the insurer will no longer pay towards covering that particular vet bill.
Accident Only Cover
Accident only pet insurance will cover the veterinary expenses for your cat, if it has been involved in an accident, but it will not give you any cover if your cat develops an illness. Of course this type of pet insurance will be much cheaper, but they are also likely to have a cap on the amount that you are able to claim for each accident, and you will need to pay any remaining expenses. Although this cover is budget friendly, we do not recommend it. Accident only cover is not sufficient in ensuring that you and your cat are prepared for any surprising vet trips and bills.
Insuring FIV+ cats
When it comes to insuring cats with FIV+ (FIV positive), things can be different, so it is essential to consider your options.
When adopting a cat with FIV, it will usually be classed as a pre-existing condition within your insurance policy. This means that you will not be able to claim for any vet costs that are related to FIV, but you will still be able to claim for a condition, illness or injury that does not pre-date when the policy was taken out.
FIV is a slow acting disease that affects the white blood cells, which are the cells that defend their bodies against infections. This means that a cat with FIV is more likely to become ill, so it’s essential to be well prepared for if/when this happens. Taking good care of a cat with FIV, and looking into the best possible insurance policy for their condition can allow the cat to have a life that is just as good as any other cat.
When insuring a cat with FIV
Some insurance policies won’t cover FIV+ cats, so make sure the policy is ok with this.
Policies sometimes cover FIV+ cats as pre-existing conditions and this cover is usually limited in the first year but increases in the next year if you don’t make any claims.
Many Pets Insurance
If you have a cat with FIV, we recommend looking into ManyPets.
Many Pets have a special type of policy which is a form of lifetime cover, specifically for cats with previous medical conditions; The Pre-Existing Policy.
Most insurance companies consider a pre-existing condition to be any medical problems that your cat has faced, before taking out an insurance policy, whereas at Many Pets, they view pre-existing conditions as something that has needed either medication, treatment or veterinary advice within the last two years. This means that they will cover any condition that has occurred within the last two years, as long as it has not already required medical attention.
If your cat has required treatment for certain conditions within the last two years, such as FIV, this is where you’d need to look into the Pre-Existing Policy. This policy can cover pre-existing conditions, as long as your cat has not required treatment, medication or veterinary advice for three months before you claim for it. Once they have covered a pre-existing condition, they will then continue to cover it, regardless of how often treatment is needed. This lifetime, pre-existing policy will make sure that you are covered for pre-existing conditions, as well as ensuring that you have a separate vet fee limit, which will be to cover any new conditions that your cat may develop. As this is a lifetime cover, your limits will refresh at each renewal year.
Like any other type of cover, there are a few things that you need to be aware of;
When taking out this policy, you will have a £1,500 vet fee limit, for covering pre-existing conditions.
If after two years, your cat hasn’t needed any treatment, medication or advice for a pre-existing condition, it will then no longer be classed as a pre-existing condition, and you will be able to use the full £7,000 vet fee limit in the future, should you require it.
Petplan's approach to pre-existing policies
PetPlan have a unique approach to pre-existing policies. It is PetPlan's belief that it is not possible to provide an appropriate level of cover for all types of pre-existing conditions at an affordable price, and they therefore don't have a 'one size fits all' approach to pre-existing policies.
When getting a quote from PetPlan, they will ask if your pet has any pre-existing conditions, and they will then make a decision on whether or not they can provide an appropriate cover for your pet and their needs. There are three possible outcomes when giving information about your cat's pre-existing conditions.
PetPlan can provide cover for the pre-existing condition, if it happens again
In most instances, this means that the condition has been completely resolved. As a result, if your cat experiences the same condition in the future, it will be eligible for coverage.
PetPlan can’t cover the pre-existing condition now, but they may be able to in the future
On occasion, PetPlan cannot cover a specific condition as part of a policy immediately. However, in many cases they will review this once certain criteria has been met. This generally involves the cat not showing any symptoms for a set duration of time.
They cannot cover the condition
If the condition that your cat has is likely to affect them for the rest of their life (e.g. Arthritis), they would not be able to cover the costs.
PetPlan have a great article on how to ensure that pre-existing conditions are covered, in the right way. This has some great advice on how to get the best possible policy for your pet and their needs. You can read this here.
We strongly recommend making an inquiry about your specific situation on the Many Pets website. This can be done by pressing the ‘help’ button in the bottom right corner, which will allow you to send them a message, and they will reply to you by email.
If you have looked through each type of cover that different insurance companies can provide, and none of them seem to be a suitable fit for you and your cat, there are some other options that can help you to be prepared for any unexpected or costly vet trips.
Medical cost help
There are some charities that may be able to help with some vet costs, if you cannot afford them yourself. These charities are designed to be of help to individuals that are on benefits or income support, and should not be used if you can afford to take out an insurance yourself.
Please bear in mind that you should not rely solely on a charity, but they are a good option for procedures such as vaccination, spaying/neutering and microchipping.
Some charities that can offer help are:
How Can You Help Us?
L.I.C.K is a volunteer run charity, no one gets paid!
Every donation big or small allow us to do our work and care for all our cats and kittens.
All donations go towards medical costs.
Written by Sofi N