Pet Health Insurance: What You Should Know

Author: Emily Burt, Nursing Team

September 8, 2011

Pet Health Insurance, just like your own health insurance, can be a valuable benefit during a difficult time. It can help cover the bill when your pet is sick, has an accident, or needs routine care. But there are so many plans available out there. How do you decide which one is right for you?

It is important to shop around and compare different policies. There are policies that cover injury and illness only, as well as ones that cover well-care. These will, of course, carry different premiums so it is important to consider what type of coverage you will need for your cat. Read the policies closely before selecting one. It is important to check for exclusions. In addition to preexisting conditions, some hereditary problems common to specific breeds can be excluded.

Most pet health insurance is indemnity insurance meaning you will pay the costs upfront and be reimbursed after submitting a claim form. Policies will limit payouts annually, per incident, or over the pet's lifetime. Be sure you know if there is a waiting period before coverage kicks in for certain conditions. Also, many plans require that you have gotten and documented regular well-care visits before they will pay on claims of illness.

Lastly, check to see if the policy works on a veterinarian network and if it offers prescription coverage. If you have a regular veterinarian that you want to stay with, ensure that the policy you select includes them. Additionally, drug costs for an injured or ill cat, or one with a chronic health condition, can add up. Some policies will offer prescription coverage to help offset those costs.

There is a company based in Washington called Trupanion that offers excellent coverage, particularly if you start insuring your pet at a young age. They do cover cats between the ages of 8 weeks and 14 years. They have an excellent website with lots of information where you can get a quote for what it would cost to cover your kitty today.