We love our cats and it’s no wonder. Whether they’re confidently striding along the garden wall or sound asleep in a patch of sunshine on the lawn, owners could happily watch their cats all day.
That’s why it’s so upsetting to even imagine our cats being unwell or having an accident.
But as responsible owners we want to ensure that should the worst happen, our feline friends would have the best care possible.
Do I need pet insurance?
When money’s tight, products like pet insurance can seem like a bit of a luxury and many owners consider cancelling their policies or skip the cover altogether.
It’s understandable because many of us need to cut costs and no one needs unnecessary financial products right now.
But it’s not a decision to take lightly because not having pet insurance could leave owners seriously out of pocket.
It’s estimated that one in two pets will need veterinary treatment this year and the average vet bill is now over £300. Costs are reported to be rising sharply and medical care for conditions such as hip dysphasia (an inherited disease of the hip joint) can set owners back £4,000.
If your pet has ongoing medical needs, bills could easily be over £10,000. That’s in addition to all of the day-to-day expenses of keeping a cat.
Not having cat insurance means are taking a risk that your pet won’t be able to have the treatment he or she may need. It’s hard to think of a much-loved family cat needing an urgent operation after being in an accident or being diagnosed with a disease.
But if that happens, the situation is heartbreaking if you can’t afford to pay for the treatment needed.
If your savings will cover any unexpected bills as well as the day-to-day care of your pets, then you may be able to skip insurance.
For most people, however, rising vet bills mean treatment for their pets may be out of reach. In fact, studies show that the main reason people take out pet insurance is to cover vets’ bills and that one in three ends up claiming on the policy.
What does it cover?
Pet insurance can cover vets’ fees if your pet has an accident or is unwell. In many cases, it also pays out if you need to get urgent medical help abroad for your cat while you are on holiday.
It may also contribute towards the cost of advertising and a reward if your pet ever gets lost or stolen or pay out if your pet dies after an accident.
Some policies may also cover you for any accidental damage a pet causes to a third party and others will help pay the costs of a cattery if you have a medical emergency and need to spend more than a few days in hospital.
When you’re choosing a policy, you need to compare cover not just on the cost but also on what it offers. Policies vary and there may be exclusions to a cheaper policy that makes it not suitable for you, despite the attractive price.
Level of cover
Reports show that many owners are reducing the level of their pet insurance. However, pet owners with reduced cover find their savings seriously drained if their cat contracts a disease or has an accident.
That said, if you can only afford a lower premium, opting for a higher excess will reduce costs and at least you will be covered for the really big stuff.
By Joanne O’Connell
Find out more about pet insurance