What is cat insurance?
Cat insurance helps you cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your cat falls ill or gets injured.
Some policies will also pay out if your cat is lost, or needs to go to a cattery because you're in hospital.
To find the best cat insurance policies, we've analysed insurers' policies, rating them on each element of cover.
And check out Which?'s cat food reviews to see how we've rated top brands of cat food to see how they stack up when compared with a premium product.
- Find out more: our individual pet insurer reviews
Types of cat insurance
There are three main types of policies that cover cats:
Lifetime cover cat insurance
Lifetime cover is the most comprehensive pet insurance on the market and pays out for ongoing issues your pet might have throughout its lifetime.
There are two main types of lifetime cover: per-condition per-year cover, and annual lifetime cover.
Annual lifetime cover has a maximum overall limit that includes all conditions your pet might experience, which resets each year. Some policies also have lower annual limits within this for specific conditions.
Per-condition, per-year lifetime cover has a maximum limit for specific conditions that your pet might have, which reset each year.
Both 'per condition, per year' and 'annual' pet insurance policies cover ongoing illnesses every year unless you cancel your policy.
Non-lifetime cover cat insurance
Non-lifetime cover is less comprehensive and excludes the conditions you've claimed for once you hit your claim limit.
There are two main types of non-lifetime insurance: per-condition cover, and time-limit per-condition cover.
Per-condition pet insurance cover pays a limited amount for each condition and, once the limit has been reached, the condition is excluded from future payouts.
Time-limited per-condition pet insurance cover has both a per condition limit and time limit, typically of 12 months, before the condition is excluded.
With a time-limit policy, even if your limit for a particular condition isn’t reached, the condition would eventually be excluded after 12 months.
Accident-only cat insurance
Accident-only pet insurance provides a fixed sum of money for each accidental injury to help pay for your pet’s treatment. It's the cheapest type of pet insurance policy but excludes cover for illness entirely.
To find our more about what pet insurance covers, and what's likely to be excluded, read our guide on pet insurance explained.
What are the best cat insurance policies?
There are a vast array of cat insurance policies out there, making it tough to figure out which one is right for your kitty.
Which? members can see:
- The full results from our analysis of dozens of different cat insurance policies, including our unique policy scores
- A full breakdown of how each pet insurer is rated for customer service, value for money, transparency of charges, experience with making claims and much more.
- Individual overviews of each provider, revealing everything from the deals they offer to how thousands of real customers rate different aspects of their service.
How can I save money on cat insurance?
Here's how to stop your four-legged friend from emptying your wallet:
1. Find out the needs of your cat breed
According to the Association of British Insurers, the average pet insurance claim paid in 2020 was £817. Factoring in the possibility of you needing to make multiple claims, we wouldn't recommend polices that would pay less than £2,000 annually.
But all pets are different, which means it will pay to understand your pet's needs to be sure you get adequate cover.
Cats are generally cheaper to insure than dogs, but can still be prone to chronic conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, later in life. And certain breeds can have more expensive health needs than others.
Talk to your vet about common conditions and what level of cover they recommend.
2. Buy insurance when your cat is healthy
This might seem counterintuitive, but as most policies exclude pre-existing conditions, buying early means you're maximising the cover your pet will get.
3. Make sure your cat is up to date on its jabs
Make sure your cat gets the appropriate inoculations and injections, including boosters, to minimise the chance of getting an illness that could lead to expensive premiums.
4. Get your cat microchipped
Microchipping isn't currently a legal requirement for cats (it is for dogs), but doing so could lead to cheaper premiums from some insurers.
5. Pay annually (if you can afford it)
Paying monthly usually means you're also paying interest, and this can be surprisingly expensive.
6. Haggle at renewal
If your insurer increases your cat's premiums without good reason (for instance by claiming some routine treatment was an indication of an underlying condition) seek advice from a vet and complain.
- Find out more: how to find cheap pet insurance
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