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What is cat insurance?

Cat insurance is a shorthand term used to describe pet insurance, which helps cover the costs of any unexpected bills related to the health and well-being of your feline friend. Whether your cat gets into a fight with a neighbourhood tabby, develops an illness or swallows an unidentifiable object, your pet insurance provider may cover up to 85% of the vet bill – depending on your level of cover.

A standard pet insurance policy should be able to cover any breed of household cats. Alas, it does not cover meerkats!

Different types of cat insurance

There are usually three different types of pet insurance that you can choose from depending on what your cat needs.

The level of cover you need typically depends on the age, medical history and indoor/outdoor preference of your cat.

Accident cover

An accident-only policy is the most basic level of cover you can get for your cat. If they get into a fight or they’re hit by a car, this policy will help cover a portion of the treatment costs.

Accident and illness cover

In addition to what’s offered in an accident only policy, accident and illness cover may reimburse you up to 85% of vet bills for certain illnesses. These typically include treatment for cancer, skin conditions and infectious diseases.

Comprehensive cover

A comprehensive policy will cover everything that an accident and illness policy covers with a higher claim and annual limit. For an additional cost, you may also opt in for extra cover for routine treatments and essential procedures, such as desexing, microchipping and regular check-ups.

A female vet using a stethoscope to examine a domestic long-haired cat

How much does cat insurance cost?

Unlike dogs, breed doesn’t significantly affect how pet insurance premiums are calculated for cats. Most breeds will cost a similar price to insure.

The cost of your premium is much more likely to be affected by the health and age of your cat, as well as the policy you decide to purchase. The price tag may also vary depending on whether your cat has been desexed and microchipped.

Generally, the price of cat insurance will increase as your furry companion gets older. This is because your cat will become more susceptible to accidents and illnesses with age.

Frequently asked questions

Will cat insurance cover my entire vet bill?

An insurance policy may not cover everything, but it does offer financial support at critical times. Most cat insurance policies will cover up to 85% of eligible vet bills. Many insurers will have you pay an excess amount per claim and the remaining percentage of the cost which isn’t covered.

For example, if the insurer covers 80% of a $1000 bill and you’ve agreed to pay a $100 excess, you will have to pay $200 (20% of $1000) and the $100 excess, which totals $300.

However, in a lot of cases you can choose not to pay an excess, so that the insurer covers the entire agreed amount. Keep in mind that as the excess amount decreases, the premium may increase.

Are there any exclusions with cat insurance?

Depending on your insurer and policy, there will normally be several exclusions. Some exclusions apply to all policies, while others are policy-specific. Common policy exclusions include pre-existing conditions, bilateral conditions (medical conditions that affect both left and right versions of a body part, such as eyes and ears), elective treatments, and treatments for conditions in which there is a known vaccine.

Excluding bilateral conditions doesn’t mean that any body part that has a bilateral counterpart won’t be treated, but rather that your insurer will likely only cover treatment for one side of the body.

Vaccinations, desexing and preventative treatments may also be excluded in some policies, but not in others. Policy-specific exclusions can be found in an insurance provider’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Can I insure my cat for life?

It depends on the policy. Provided your cat is insured before the age of nine, they can be covered for their entire life for accidents and illnesses, as long as the policy is constantly maintained.

That is to say, older cats cannot be covered by certain policies once they reach a certain age. So, it’s a good idea to insure your kitten before it turns nine years old so that it can be protected for accidents and illnesses for life.

Accident only policies, on the other hand, typically don’t have age limits. You can cover your cat for accidents regardless of what age they are when you purchase your policy.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Meet our pet insurance expert, Stephen Zeller

As General Manager of GI, Pet and Business Insurance, Stephen Zeller knows that while cats may have ‘nine lives’, even an agile feline can run into trouble. Stephen hopes to demystify pet insurance by ensuring consumers get the facts and learn how pet insurance can help pay for expensive cat vet bills.

Stephen has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, and is an Allied Member of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) and helps review general insurance content on Compare the Market to ensure it accurately breaks down complex insurance topics.

Ready to find pet insurance for your cat?

Accidents and illnesses can befall your best friend at any time, which is why pet insurance is a wise investment. If you decide that cat insurance is the best way to protect your feline friend, then try our free pet insurance comparison service. Our handy tool makes it quick and easy to compare pet insurance quotes with a convenient side-by-side view.

Compare policy features, costs, limits and exclusions from some of Australia’s top pet insurers in minutes. Best of all, purchasing a policy through us costs the same as going direct.

So, what are you waiting for? See why it pays to compare today.

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