Pet Insurance for Older Cats

As your cat ages, her health care needs will change, and her need for pet insurance for health may increase. Doing a little research ahead of time will help you know which diseases and conditions are covered and what the best policy is for your pet’s senior years.

The Special Needs of Older Pets

As your cat ages, her risk for contracting certain diseases, such as heart disease or cancer, may increase. She may also require ongoing care for chronic conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis. Pet health insurance can help cover the cost of treatment, which can provide peace of mind for you and a better quality of life for your cat.

How Pet Health Insurance Works

One company, PetCare Insurance Programs, offers QuickCare Senior for Cats, an insurance plan designed to meet the needs of older cats. It is touted as the first-ever illness coverage for older pet cats and offered fixed deductibles, no waiting period and no upper age limit for enrolling a pet.

The company offers both illness and accident benefits, along with some owner benefits, including coverage for boarding your cat in the event you are hospitalized and unable to care for her, and trip cancellation coverage in case you need to cut short a vacation to respond to a health emergency that your cat might have.

Many pet health insurance companies will continue to insure your cat as she ages, but some require that you enroll your cat when she is a kitten to qualify for coverage. As with human health insurance, costs increase as the insured party ages, whether she’s feline or human, so be prepared to pay a little more each month for coverage for your pet.

Depending on the carrier you select, you may be able to choose from one of several levels of cat health care coverage. Some policies cover only accidents, while others include coverage for both accidents and illnesses. Other, more comprehensive, policies include coverage for a broader range of veterinary medical situations, including routine preventive care.

Unlike many human health insurance policies, pet health insurance usually requires an up-front payment to your veterinarian, with reimbursement to you after you submit your claim to the insurance company.

What Pet Insurance Covers

Most pet health insurance plans help cover the cost of accidents and major illnesses, along with routine and urgent visits to your veterinarian. Coverage is also provided for diagnostic tests, medications, preventive dental care, surgery and hospitalization.

What Pet Insurance Doesn’t Cover

The list of non-covered items varies by pet health insurance company, which is why it’s important to read the fine print in the policy before you enroll. Alternative treatments may be covered by some companies, but not all. Some genetic conditions may be covered, but many are not. Review your policy carefully, and ask questions to ensure you know what coverage you’re purchasing when you enroll your cat.

Most companies do not cover congenital or pre-existing conditions. They also do not usually pay for services such as grooming or transportation or products such as food or supplements.

To determine the cat health insurance coverage that’s best for you, ask your veterinarian for information on the policies his or her office accepts. You can also search online to review coverages available from the major pet health insurance companies.