Getting a new kitten involves a bit of preparation – getting food and water bowls, sorting the location for the litter box and their bed, picking a range of toys. Ill health isn’t something that you think about with a kitten but it prepares to be ready for the unexpected. For that reason, on your to-do list for the kitten’s arrival should be getting pet insurance in place.
Why insure a cat?
As a rule, cats are less prone to health problems than dogs and those that spend their lives indoors are less so again. But there is always the unexpected factor and illness or injury can attack any animal, regardless how safe its environment.
The quality of the vet service in the US is among the best in the world but this doesn’t come cheap. This means that a visit to the vets can be costly and unless you have a reservoir of money saved for this, can cause real problems. Vets have known cat owners having to miss out on treatment or go into debt to pay a bill.
What does it cover?
Pet insurance is like many other types of insurance – there are a variety of products with different levels of cover and different benefits. From one state to another, there can be changes in what is covered and of course the price. In fact, apart from California, there isn’t even statewide regulations about this type of policy so checking the fine print is important.
The basics of the cover include elements such as illness and accident but don’t cover annual reviews or check-ups as well as the cost of vaccinations. Some policies may cover if the cat goes missing or causes damage to a third party as well as even money to help advertise for them if they run away. But with most policies, you can pay for as much or as little as you require.
You can also get different levels of how much the policy pays out – this can be 80%, 90% or 100% of the bill. So the bill could be $1000 and if you choose the first level, the insurance company will pay you back $800 or $900 on the second level. The more money you are refunded, the higher the premium the insurance company will take for it.
If you don’t like the idea of pet insurance, you can always take the self-insure idea. This involves setting up a bank account for the purpose, putting a set amount into the account every month and not touching it for anything apart from emergencies or illnesses. Don’t use it for normal check-ups or to buy stuff the kitten needs – save it and hope you don’t need it until there is plenty of money in the account!
Whatever option you choose for your kitten, it is important to start the plan as soon as the kitten arrives. While that cute little face will bring you love and affection, it can also bring you a very big vet’s bill and it is best to be prepared for it.