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Ask The Vets: Should I get pet insurance for my cat?

Investing in pet insurance could offset some healthcare costs for your cat.

Investing in pet insurance could offset some healthcare costs for your cat.

Veterinary medicine in many cases is on par with human medicine. This means cats are living longer, happier and healthier lives. The recent improvements in care are great for our cats but they do come with costs. A good way to offset these costs is investing in pet insurance for your cat.

Q. Which company should I use?
A. There are many different choices when it comes to pet insurance. Some of the top companies are VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance), ASPCA Pet Insurance and Embrace Pet Insurance. They all provide wellness and emergency plans.

Q. How much does it cost?
A. Pet insurance costs range from $12 to $50+ per month. Most pet insurances pay a percentage of your total bill. Some pet insurances have deductibles as well (meaning they would not pay until you hit your deductible). Just make sure you read the fine print.

Q. Which plan is best?
A. This depends on your monthly spending ability. At the bare minimum, you should go for an “accident and illness” plan. This will cover most unexpected veterinary bills. You can buy this for about $12 – $20 a month.

Q. How much will the insurance company pay if my cat is sick?
A. Let’s look at an example; say you buy basic insurance for $12 a month ($144 per year). The plan has a $500 deductible and reimburses at 80%. One day your cat eats part of a plastic bag that had turkey inside. This plastic gets caught in your cat’s intestine and surgery is necessary. For our example, we will set the surgery price at $4,000. End result, the insurance company will have paid $2,556. After yearly cost and deductible you will have paid $1,444; not bad after considering the initial cost.

Q. Do they cover pre-existing conditions?
A. Normally pet insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions. They will however cover other illness issues your cat may have. Older cats often have 3 or more disease processes as they age. The bottom line is to buy insurance when your cat is young and healthy for the most benefit.

Q. Is there anything else I should know?
A. Again, always read the fine print. Many consumers will buy pet insurance thinking it pays 100% of their veterinary bills only to be disappointed when this does not happen.

Northern Illinois Cat Clinic is a full service cat-only veterinary clinic that has been providing exceptional cat care with state-of-the-art technology since 1982. Their goal is to make your cat feel at home in their comfortable, safe and loving environment. Learn more at, visit them at 295 Peterson in Libertyville, or follow them on Facebook at

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