Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: January 25, 2023 by Crystal Uys
I’ve been on the fence about getting pet insurance for a long time, mostly because I’d rather put my money in a savings account than pay it to an insurance company. I’m pretty disciplined about putting money aside for Allegra and Ruby’s regular veterinary care. At five and four years of age, they’re both young, healthy cats. They get regular check ups twice a year.
Of course, this is also the best time to get pet insurance: while cats are young and healthy. And while I can easily cover their regular veterinary expenses, if, God forbid, I was faced with an emergency, the hit on my budget would be more significant.
I learned the hard way
I learned this the hard way when Amber came down with a sudden illness five years ago. After extensive diagnostics and three days in intensive care, I had to say goodbye to my beautiful girl. And with the devastating grief that came with such an unexpected and sudden loss, I was also faced with having to dip into my savings to pay off her vet bill, which was close to $10,000.
Responsible cat guardianship includes ensuring regular health care for your cat throughout her life. Costs for routine care varies; depending on what part of the country you’re in, they will range anywhere from $45 to $150 (exam only). And that’s only for well cat care. Illnesses and accidents can quickly increase these costs. The average cost for a visit to an emergency vet can run between $1000 and $2000, depending on the severity of the problem.
I was fortunate that I had the resources to deal with this expense when Amber was ill. I never once took money into consideration when I made decisions about her care. The only deciding factor was what was right for her, and I realize how fortunate I am for being able to do that. The sad reality is that when cost becomes a factor, euthanasia often becomes a part of the decision process. This is known as “economic euthanasia” in the veterinary profession, and it’s a sensitive topic that is handled with great care by veterinarians and staff. “We can never really know what a pet means to an owner, “says Kris Boucher, the CEO at the Hope Center, a multi-specialty practice in Vienna, VA. “We make recommendations that fit into the client’s budget, and we offer payment options, but we never judge a client’s decision.”
When a friend’s dachshund recently had to undergo a $6,000 emergency surgery for a ruptured disk, I took it as a sign that it was time for me to reconsider pet insurance. There are a lot of different companies and a lot of different plans out there, and choosing the right one can be overwhelming.
The following questions can help you choose a pet insurance provider:
- Is the company licensed in your state?
- Does the company have a good reputation?
- How long have they been around?
- Is the policy information easy to understand?
- Does the company offer customer service during business hours?
- Can you see any veterinarian you want?
- How much have premiums increased over the last few years?
- Will premiums increase as your pet gets older?
- What is covered and what is excluded from coverage?
- What is the company’s policy on pre-existing conditions?
- Does the company cover benefits for wellness visits and preventive care?
- Does the company cover holistic care?
- Is there a waiting period before coverage becomes active?
- Is there a maximum age for enrolling your cat?
- Are there reimbursement limits per case, per year, or per lifetime?
- Is a physical exam required prior to enrollment?
Why I chose Embrace Pet Insurance
After looking at a number of different plans, I chose Embrace Pet Insurance. They’ve been around for twelve years. They have a solid reputation in the veterinary community. And most importantly, I personally know Laura Bennett, Embrace’s co-founder and former CEO. I have chatted with Laura at several conferences, and have been impressed with both her business knowledge and her energy (something that, while elusive, is critically important to me when it comes to making decisions about anything.)
I chose a plan that covers illness and accidents only with a $8,000 annual maximum, $500 deductible and 70% reimbursement. I chose not to get a wellness plan. The premium to cover both girls is only about $25 a month. I’d say that’s well worth the price of peace of mind.
Pet insurance is one of these things you hope you never need to use. I’m glad I finally made the leap for Allegra and Ruby, and I’ll be even gladder if I end up paying all that money to Embrace “for nothing.”
If you decide to get pet insurance for your cats, do your research. Look at a lot of different plans, then choose the plan that is right for you and your cats.
If you would like more information about Embrace Pet Insurance, click on the image below to get a free quote for your cats. (Please note that I am an affiliate partner for Embrace, so if you do purchase insurance after clicking through on the banner below, I get a small commission.)
Do you have pet insurance for your cats?
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.