Dr. Jack Stephens, President and Founder of Pets Best Insurance, is the veterinarian who launched pet insurance in the U.S. over 30 years ago.
Many people don’t think cats have as many medical problems as dogs, especially if they live indoors. Because of this misconception, people tend to get pet health insurance for their outdoor cats and dogs, but not for indoor cats.
Indoor cats still incur serious and expensive cat health care problems.
3 Common Reasons for Indoor Cat Vet Visits
1. Curious cats can get into trouble while playing with items in your home. Ribbons, yarn and string can cause internal blockages and often require surgery to remove.
2. Dozens of indoor plants are toxic to cats, and ingesting them can cause upset stomachs, heart collapse, kidney failure and even death.
3. Many food items you have around the house can cause serious damage or be fatal to your cat. Examples include: raisins, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol and uncooked dough.
When these things happen, cat owners often don’t realize that the veterinary cost can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars without the help of pet insurance.
5 Reasons You Need Pet Insurance For Your Indoor Cat
1. Cats are good at hiding symptoms: Cats are more sedentary by nature, which mean that cat owners are not as likely to notice symptoms their kitties might be displaying.
2. Indoor cats are still at risk: Common health problems for all cats include- cystitis, digestive upsets, cancer, diabetes, thyroid disease, leukemia, kidney failure and even heart disease. Thousands of medical conditions can occur in indoor cats.
3. The cost of treating cats is just as expensive as other animals: Cats tend to have fewer veterinary visits overall, but when they do have an illness or injury, the veterinarian costs can still be in the hundreds to thousands.
4. Pet insurance coverage is cost effective for cats. Pets Best Insurance Feline Illness plans start at just $4 per month and offer the same coverage no matter the age of the cat.
5. Pet insurance increases spending power: Pet owners who have insurance for indoor cats will be able to afford nearly five times the veterinary care than those who don’t. Veterinary medical advances have given far more treatment options than ever before, but these often come with a high price tag. At Pets Best Insurance, you can choose a reimbursement level up to 100% of the veterinary bill.
Overall, cat insurance allows pet owners to budget for their cats’ health care and provides peace of mind in the case of pet health emergencies and unexpected illnesses.
Consider protecting your cat’s health and your pocketbook with pet insurance.
Or Call 877-738-7237 to Add a Pet to Your Current Policy
Article originally published in June 2010; updated and republished February 2013.
Question: Why doesn’t pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions? My pet has chronic kidney disease which is very expensive, but none of the pet insurers will cover this condition.
Answer, by Dr. Jack Stephens, DVM, founder of pet insurance in the U.S. and President of Pets Best Insurance
Insurance is purchased to protect oneself against future unknown events that result in loss. In the case of car insurance, the loss could be in the form of a damaged vehicle. In the case of homeowners insurance, the loss could be in the form of a flooded basement. And in the case of pet insurance, the loss comes in the form of a pet needing veterinary care.
About the Insurance Pool
Just imagine – for a little cash, you could buy years of happiness with a healthy pet. Really! And we’re not just talking about pet insurance.
Vaccinating your pet to prevent disease is a smart move for both your bank account and the health of your pet. Vaccines have long been the best method to prevent some very serious and endemic diseases in dogs and cats.
Deadly Diseases Reigned In
The most notable vaccine, of course, is the rabies vaccine. Rabies is an incurable disease, transmissible to humans through bite wounds. Distemper is another deadly but preventable disease, known as canine distemper in dogs and panleukopenia in cats. Both are highly contagious within their species. Historically, distemper was a real problem for our pets, causing many deaths.
After vowing to never spend more than $1,000 on a pet, a friend of mine recently spent more than $8,000 to treat cancer in his dog. When I saw him afterwards, he sheepishly said, “I know I said I would never spend near this much for a dog, but our family loves him, how could I not? “
I often hear pet owners say they wouldn’t make financial sacrifices if a pet needed expensive vet care. Yet, over the years, I’ve seen that they often do the opposite. It seems the reality of their pet being ill or injured quickly becomes a high priority – and everything else takes a back seat.
We often hear from pet owners who are considering switching to Pets Best Insurance from another pet insurance provider. We’re always happy to welcome new dogs and cats into our family, and want to share the top 5 things we recommend you keep in mind when choosing a new pet insurance provider.
1. Check Out Their Customer Service
Take a few minutes to check out the provider’s website and do a little investigation. Do they answer the phone quickly? Is it easy to find contact information, and do they offer a live chat option? As a customer, will you be able to manage your account online?
The way you’re treated as a prospective customer speaks volumes about how you may be treated after the sale. Be sure you like the experience they offer, because it’s a sneak peek at how your relationship will be with the provider throughout the life of your policy.
2. Understand How Your Reimbursement is Calculated
Veterinary fees can vary widely due to your pet’s size and age, not to mention complications, severity, where you live and how your pet responds to treatments. In other words, when it comes to pet care, one size does not fit all. You want a predictable and reliable method of payment for your claims – ideally a flat percentage of your actual vet bill – and not a benefit schedule or fixed amount depending on the diagnosis or treatment option, which will usually reflect lower prices than what you were actually charged. Whether you choose a plan with 70%, 80%, 90% or even 100% reimbursement after a deductible, be sure that the reimbursement level is based on your actual vet bill.
3. Consider Your Pet’s Health History
If your pet has a serious or chronic condition, before enrollment or when switching to another pet insurer, remember, pre-existing conditions typically will not be covered. If your pet has a chronic or existing condition, be sure to inquire about future coverage before enrolling.
Most plans, however, like Pets Best Insurance plans, will allow for “curable” pre- existing conditions (like a broken leg) to become eligible for coverage in the future. One minor or inexpensive medical condition for your pet shouldn’t discourage you from enrolling or switching to a better pet insurance plan, since your pet will still likely be covered for future accidents and illnesses. Be careful, though, because some plans have extensive waiting periods, even for conditions Pets Best Insurance considers “curable”.
4. Look for Fast Claim Payment
Choose a company that has a reputation for paying claims fairly and quickly. Your veterinarian or a friend who has pet insurance can be a good source.
Pets Best Insurance processes most claims within 5 business days, and current turnaround time is just 18 hours. You can mail, fax or email your claim, and we offer free direct deposit reimbursement.
5. Don’t Fall for Perks You Don’t Need
If a pet insurance plan is too robust with benefits you’re not likely to need, you may be paying too much for coverage. And if the plan is too expensive, you may be tempted to drop it after awhile. (According to Murphy’s Law, your pet is likely to face a problem soon after you drop coverage.)
Be realistic about whether you really need the benefits you’re being sold – no pet owner needs a $1 million limit, for example. Ask your veterinarian or work with a knowledgeable sales representative if you need help figuring out just how much coverage you need, and which plan will be the best fit. If you’re using an insurance agent, choose one on salary instead of commission. The latter may be inclined to sell you more coverage than you need.