If you have emergency savings, you’ve probably considered that you may need to use them for personal accidents, illnesses, family emergencies, or any unexpected fee you find yourself faced with. But many Americans fail to factor in their pets when it comes to emergency savings as they factor in their families. Much like your children, your pet cat, for example, is technically relying on you and your savings when it needs medical care, even though that cat likely doesn’t know the first thing about money. It’s just another figure in your household that you’re fiscally responsible for. So at the end of the day, whether you’ve factored in the chances of a cat emergency into your savings, you’re going to have to get your cat the care it needs when faced with the worst. And without cat insurance, the costs will put a significant dent in those emergency savings.
The question of whether insurance is necessary comes up frequently. From dental insurance to renters insurance to accident insurance and more, we’d be paying thousands a month if we chose them all. So I opt out of many of them and am willing to bet on my luck. But when it comes to your cat, it’s essential to realize it’s part of the family. And your family’s health is not something you want to gamble on. So if you don’t have cat insurance yet, and you’re still on the fence, here are a few common reasons why cat owners sign up.
Cats Get Sick, Too
They may be smarter than us and much better at climbing trees and jumping onto high surfaces, but cats aren’t immune to illness. From their version of the common cold (cats can get upper respiratory infections too!) to UTIs to cancer, there’s a whole slew of illnesses or diseases that may at least require antibiotics, if not more from your vet, like exams and follow-up care. Without cat insurance, some of the more minor illnesses and treatments won’t exactly break the bank, but they’ll still cost money that you wouldn’t otherwise have to pay. With cat insurance, exams and treatment are at least mostly covered, often regardless of how much it needs. And if your cat needs severe treatment (Feline Leukemia Virus, for example, is one of the most common diseases in cats and requires more than just a check-up and some meds to take care of), then you might find yourself in financial trouble. The bottom line is, as impressive as cats are, they can still get sick. And if you want to prepare for that, just like you prepare for your illnesses, you’ll get cat insurance.
The Older They Get, the More Care They Need
Cats of any age can get sick, as we mentioned above. But you can get by dealing with their (hopefully) rare illnesses in the early years of their lives. If your cat has a relatively healthy and lucky life, it’ll cost you a hundred dollars here and there, without cat insurance, to get exams and treatment for minor issues as it grows up. But as the cat ages, those visits to the vet will become much more frequent and necessary—possibly more urgent. Illnesses and injuries are a legitimate threat as a cat’s bones and muscles weaken, and their immune system does. And much like with other kinds of insurance, the more likely it is to be used when you purchase it, the more expensive it’ll be. If you wait until your cat is older to get cat insurance, you’ll be paying much more than is necessary. It’ll probably still be worth it, as older cats need more medical care, but if you insure your cat when it’s younger, you’ll be getting a great deal and potentially saving yourself thousands once your cat reaches old age.
The Cost of Medical Emergencies
One of the most common reasons people sign up for cat insurance is the omnipresent (if distant) threat of a severe accident requiring a trip to the vet emergency room. Without insurance, that trip could cost up to about $9,000. With insurance, you’ll save thousands. It seems pretty evident that insurance would save you here, but it’s essential to see the numbers you could be facing to recognize how much it would save you.
Post Accident/Illness Care
While the cost of medical emergencies might be more widely known, an unexpected (but often large) cost frequently overlooked is post-incident care. This includes checkups, medication, and even physical therapy. For example, last winter, my friend’s house burned down, and her dog was inside at the time. He inhaled tons of smoke and had frequent seizures post-fire. He also wasn’t walking. They thought he likely wouldn’t make it. But fast forward a couple of months, and he’s just about back to normal, and it’s all thanks to physical therapy that he regularly attended to get him walking again. Without insurance, she would never have been able to afford the care her pet needed in the weeks following the fire to get him back on her feet. So when you think you might have enough savings to cover the initial trip to the vet emergency room, remember that the care doesn’t stop there. And if you neglect the after-care, you’ll likely be having a lot more vet visits in the future as your pet doesn’t heal correctly.
The Extras: it’s Not Just for Emergencies
Cat insurance will save you a lot in case of an accident or illness. But it goes much further than just emergency or even the typical medical care. Cat insurance plans can include behavioral help, the symptoms associated with behavioral problems, various kinds of alternative therapy for your cat, from laser therapy to acupuncture, and the option to ramp up your preventative care is always available as an add-on. With preventive care add-ons, you can count on your vaccinations being up-to-date, your cat will receive dental cleaning and care, spaying or neutering is covered, and anything that might help prevent your cat from getting sick will be taken care of. Cat insurance plans also often include telehealth options, where you can have a telehealth appointment to chat with an expert if you have questions that don’t require you to go to the vet. In addition, you can get training help, health tips, and more.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, there are a lot more reasons to get your cat insured than just in case of an emergency. If your cat is guaranteed and your vet trips are covered or significantly cheaper, then you as the owner are much more likely to take advantage of the resources. And if you’re paying for it, you will want to use it. Overall, you’ll have a much healthier, happier cat on track to living a long and healthy life.