Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: October 22, 2022 by Crystal Uys
Could you easily afford to pay $1000 to $3000 if your cat had a sudden medical emergency? Could you cover the cost of a prolonged illness, which can easily run into several thousand dollars? Can you easily pay for your cat’s annual or bi-annual exam, preventive lab work, and dental cleaning? Costs for routine exams vary depending on location, and can range anywhere from $50 to $150. A routine dentistry can cost $500; add in a few extractions or other problems, and you’re looking at $1500 and more.
If your answer to any of these questions is no, you owe it to yourself and your cats to look into pet insurance.
Myths about pet insurance
There’s a lot of false information out there about pet insurance, much of it from people who may have looked into it several years ago, and never took another look. At this point, there truly is a plan for everyone out there, and even older cats or cats with pre-existing conditions can obtain some coverage. Another argument I often hear is that pet insurance won’t let you choose your own vet. Nothing could be further from the truth. I debunk five of the most common pet insurance myths here.
The following questions can help you choose a pet insurance provider
There are a lot of options in the pet insurance market place, and you’ll have to do your homework when choosing a plan. Ask these questions when evaluating a 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, per lifetime?
- Is a physical exam required prior to enrollment?
Why I’m glad I have Embrace Pet Insurance for Allegra
I got pet insurance for Allegra and Ruby in 2015. Allegra was six years old, Ruby was five. After looking at a number of different plans, I chose Embrace Pet Insurance*. They’ve been around for more than 15 years and they have a solid reputation in the veterinary community.
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. I don’t recall what the premium was when I first started with Embrace. At this point, it’s about $45 a month for 12-year-old Allegra.
I’d say that’s well worth the price of peace of mind, and it’s already paid off for us more than once. When Allegra had to have several teeth removed due to resorptive disease in 2015, Embrace covered a big portion of the $1,800 bill. When Ruby had to have all her teeth extracted in 2017, Embrace covered almost half of the $3,500 bill. For Allegra’s recent dental, they covered two thirds of the $3,000 bill. (The reason they didn’t cover more for all the dental procedures was because gingivitis was a pre-existing condition for both girls, resorptive lesions were not.)
Choose a plan that works for you and your cats
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.
I recommend pet insurance for all cat parents. It’s best to get it while your cat is young and healthy, but many companies now offer plans for older cats. Most plans won’t cover pre-existing conditions, but will still cover unrelated emergencies or medical issues. To me, there is nothing more heartbreaking than hearing from cat parents who were unable to afford life-saving treatments for their cats.
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.
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