Is Pet Insurance Really Worth It For Your Feline Friend?


Pet insurance is a type of insurance policy that helps pet owners cover the costs of veterinary care for their pets. As veterinary costs continue to rise, pet insurance has become an increasingly popular option for many pet owners looking to protect themselves from large unexpected medical bills for their furry friends. The overall pet insurance market is growing rapidly, estimated to reach $40 billion by 2033. With so many pet insurance options now available, determining whether pet insurance is worthwhile for your own cat can be a difficult decision.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of pet insurance for cats, including the costs and benefits, different policy types, what is typically covered and excluded, how premiums are calculated, and an analysis of whether pet insurance is ultimately worth the cost for cat owners.

Costs of Caring for a Cat

The costs of caring for a cat can really add up over time. According to Daily Paws, the average annual medical costs for a cat are around $485. This includes routine vet visits, vaccines, preventative medication and any non-emergency medical issues that come up. Over the average lifespan of a cat, which is 12-17 years, total medical costs can reach $5,820 to $8,245.

Some common expensive medical issues cats may face include urinary tract infections, dental disease, chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and cancer. Treating these conditions can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the diagnosis and treatment plan. For example, chemotherapy for feline lymphoma typically costs $3,000-$5,000 while hospitalization for a severe urinary obstruction can be $1,500-$3,000 according to USA Today.

Benefits of Pet Insurance

One of the key benefits of pet insurance is that it helps cover unexpected vet bills in case your cat gets sick or injured. Pet insurance can cover a large portion of costs related to accidents, illnesses, cancer treatments, surgeries, hospital stays, X-rays, prescription medications and more.

Some pet insurance plans also cover routine vet services like annual exams, vaccinations, and preventive dental cleanings. This can be a cost-effective way to manage wellness care for your cat.

Having pet insurance provides peace of mind knowing you can focus on your cat’s health and wellbeing without worrying about the financial burden. You’ll have the freedom to choose the best treatment options based on medical needs rather than cost.

According to one source, pet insurance “allows you to choose treatments for your ailing or injured pet based on the best medical option available and not based on what you can afford out of pocket.”

Types of Pet Insurance

There are three main types of pet insurance for cats:[1]

Accident Only

Accident-only plans cover unforeseen injuries such as broken bones, bites, and other trauma. These plans usually have lower premiums but only cover costs related to injuries, not illnesses.[2]

Illness Coverage

Illness coverage pays for treatment of illnesses such as cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, etc. This coverage has higher premiums but provides more comprehensive protection against health issues.[3]

Wellness Plans

Wellness plans cover routine veterinary care like vaccines, dental cleanings, annual exams, etc. These plans help pay for preventative care to keep your cat healthy.

What Policies Cover

Pet insurance policies typically cover accidents, injuries, illnesses, cancer treatments, chronic conditions, and hereditary conditions (ASPCA Pet Insurance, Money, NerdWallet).

For accidents and injuries, pet insurance often covers emergency vet visits, surgeries, hospitalization, x-rays, diagnostic tests, and medications related to an accident or injury. This includes covered costs if your cat is hit by a car, experiences a bone fracture, swallows a foreign object, or suffers other traumatic injuries.

Pet insurance also provides coverage for illnesses, including viral and bacterial infections, skin conditions, digestive issues, urinary problems, diabetes, and more. Policies generally cover vet exam fees, lab tests, medications, and hospital stays to diagnose and treat a covered illness.

For cancer treatments, most insurance plans cover surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other care related to feline cancers such as lymphoma or mammary tumors. Chronic conditions like kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, asthma, and arthritis are also commonly covered.

Additionally, many insurers cover hereditary and congenital conditions. This includes genetic diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition prevalent in some cat breeds.


Pet insurance policies generally do not cover pre-existing conditions. This means any illness or injury that occurred before enrollment is excluded. Some companies may impose a waiting period before covering pre-existing conditions.

Routine wellness care like annual exams, vaccinations, and preventive dental cleanings are also typically excluded. These are viewed as basic costs of pet ownership.

Cosmetic procedures like tail docking, ear cropping, declawing, and dew claw removal are almost never covered. These are considered elective rather than medically necessary.

Finally, behavioral issues like separation anxiety, aggression, destructive tendencies, and inappropriate elimination are excluded by pet insurance. Specialized training or medication for behavior is generally not covered.

According to, other common exclusions include parasite control, grooming, boarding fees, prescription diets, vitamins, and supplements. However, some optional wellness coverage add-ons will cover a portion of routine vet services.

Cost of Pet Insurance

The average monthly premium for pet insurance is around $32 for cats and $53 for dogs, according to ValuePenguin (1). Premiums can vary widely depending on the policy details, coverage limits, deductibles, and other factors.

Most pet insurance plans have an annual deductible, which is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before insurance coverage kicks in. Common deductibles range from $100 to $1,000 per year. Plans with lower deductibles have higher premiums.

After meeting your deductible, pet insurance policies typically pay a reimbursement rate of 70% to 90% of eligible medical costs, up to an annual or lifetime policy limit. Higher reimbursement rates result in higher premiums.

For example, according to Progressive Pet Insurance, an accident-only plan for cats starts at around $6 per month. More comprehensive plans covering accidents, illnesses, cancer, dental disease, and other conditions can cost $20 to $40 per month for cats (2).



Factors Affecting Premiums

There are several key factors that affect how much you’ll pay in premiums for pet insurance, especially for cats.

Age is a major factor. According to CBS News, older pets are more prone to health issues than younger ones, so their care is more expensive. notes that the older your cat is when you get pet insurance, the higher your premium will be, since older cats tend to have more health problems.

Breed also impacts premium costs. Some breeds are genetically prone to certain health conditions, which can increase premiums. Location matters too – the cost of veterinary care can vary greatly by region, affecting premiums.

Additionally, policy limits play a role. Higher reimbursement rates, lower deductibles, and more comprehensive coverage will raise your premium. But they provide more protection if your cat has a major illness or injury.

Is it Worth it?

When deciding whether pet insurance is worth the cost for your cat, there are pros and cons to consider.

The main advantage of having pet insurance is that it can help cover expensive veterinary bills if your cat gets sick or injured. For example, a foreign body removal surgery can cost $1,500 to $5,000. With pet insurance, you may only have to pay a small deductible like $200 or co-pay like 20%. Without pet insurance, you’d be stuck paying the full surgical cost out of pocket.

Pet insurance can also give you peace of mind knowing you have financial assistance if an emergency comes up. This can prevent difficult decisions about treatment based on cost alone.

However, pet insurance does come with monthly or yearly premiums that add to the cost of cat ownership. Premiums may increase as your cat ages. Some policies also have exclusions, limits, co-pays, and deductibles that reduce how much insurance covers. For healthy cats that don’t need expensive care, the premiums may end up costing more than paying out of pocket over time.

To decide if pet insurance is worthwhile for your cat, consider factors like their age, breed health issues, your financial situation, and level of coverage needed. Getting quotes to compare plans can help determine if premiums provide good value.


In conclusion, pet insurance for cats can be a wise financial decision for many cat owners. Key factors to consider are your cat’s age, breed, health history, lifestyle risks, and the level of coverage you desire. Policies can offset costs for accidents, illnesses, cancer treatments, prescriptions, dental care, and more. But they do not cover exam fees or pre-existing conditions. Premiums range from $10-$50 per month depending on your cat’s details.

For young, pedigree or accident-prone cats, insurance is often worthwhile to protect against expensive vet bills. But for older or strictly indoor cats, it may not provide enough value. Evaluate your own cat’s risks and finances. In the end, pet insurance brings peace of mind by making vet care affordable. With a quality insurer, you can focus on your cat’s health and avoid budget worries. For most cat owners, the security it provides is well worth the monthly investment.

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