t’s fun having a kitten around the home, but it can also be stressful and expensive for their owners. Kittens can be accident-prone as they explore their new surroundings and that, in turn, can end up requiring a trip to the vet.
Kitten insurance is a specific type of pet cover that helps to pay for medical treatment should your furry bundle of joy have a mishap or becomes sick. It also meets other costs, for example if your kitten should get lost or if it is stolen.
We look at how this type of cover works and ask if it makes financial sense to take it out.
What is kitten insurance?
Kitten insurance is similar to cat insurance that tends to be aimed at older felines. It pays towards vet costs for visits involving blood tests and X-rays, as well as for actual treatments.
Kitten policies may also include advertising cover. If a kitten went missing, for example, this would allow the owner to claim back the cost of putting up posters and even funding a reward. Cattery fees may also be covered. For example, where an owner had to go to hospital and didn’t have anyone to look after their kitten at home.
Why take it out?
While insurance is yet another bill to pay, on top of other pet necessities and treats such as food, vaccinations, toys, and so on, it can also provide valuable financial peace of mind. As pet owners know, even a minor visit to the vet can end up with a big bill.
Another reason to take out kitten insurance is that so-called ‘pre-existing conditions’ aren’t always covered with traditional cat cover.
If, however, you buy lifetime cover for your kitten, it means your pet is insured before it goes on to develop any medical conditions. Providing you renew the policy each year, if your pet does go on to develop any health problems then it should be covered for them.
You can normally take out insurance for your kitten once it has reached five or six weeks of age.
Kitten insurance providers include Healthy Pets, Animal Friends, The Insurance Emporium, 4 Paws, Bought by Many and Pet-insurance.co.uk. Some insurers, such as John Lewis and Sainsbury’s Bank, cover kittens aged eight weeks and above under their cat insurance policies.
What types of cover are available?
Kitten insurance comes in four main versions, namely: accident-only; time-limited; maximum-benefit; and lifetime.
If money is tight, to keep costs down you could choose an accident-only policy although, as the name suggests, this type of cover is relatively limited in scope. It can be a good idea if your kitten is particularly bold, fearless, and accident-prone. It won’t, however, cover any costs associated with illness.
Time is of the essence
A time-limited policy provides cover for your kitten against both accidents and illnesses. As the name suggests, it lasts over a certain time frame such as 12 months.
Meanwhile, maximum-benefit policies, also known as money limited policies or per condition policies, cover kittens for new conditions up to an agreed cost limit.
There’s no time limit, but when the cost limit for a particular treatment is used up the cover runs out. To ensure the cover lasts as long as the money lasts, customers must renew their policies at the end of each policy period.
Finally, lifetime policies tend to be the most comprehensive, covering kittens up to a set amount each year for as long as the insurance policy remains in force. Both accidents and illnesses are covered. Where the annual cost limit is reached, however, the pet won’t be covered for any further treatment that year.
What affects the cost of premiums?
The cost of kitten insurance depends on the type of cover you take out, along with factors such as your pet’s age and breed.
Searching online shows that accident-only cover can be taken out for around £3 a month. For a six-week old moggy in London, a maximum-benefit policy with a £1,000 condition limit can be bought for as little as £4.32 a month.
The more comprehensive a policy you take out, combined with higher annual cost limits, the more this will push up the price.
Some cat breeds are attractive to thieves or prone to developing certain conditions, so cost more to insure. In addition, where you live has an impact on the premiums, as well as whether you have previously made an insurance claim on your pet.
Can I insure several kittens at a time?
It is possible to insure several kittens under one multi-pet insurance policy. Insurers often offer a discount where an owner adds multiple animals to one policy. But it doesn’t always work out cheaper than having individual policies for each pet.
Do your research and make sure you shop around for the best quotes. Having a kitten microchipped isn’t necessarily a condition of insurance, although this can vary from one provider to another. Again, make sure to check. In some cases, microchipping might reduce the policy premium.
What isn’t covered?
Kitten insurance won’t cover vaccinations, spaying, castration, routine check-ups, or treatments for your pet such as worming tablets and flea control. It’s also unlikely to cover microchipping, or conditions that emerge within the first 14 days of taking out the policy.
Is kitten insurance worth it?
As with other forms of cover, it’s a case of weighing up all the variables and seeing what offers you the best peace of mind against the costs involved. It’s possible with kitten insurance that you’ll end up paying more in premiums than you recoup for treatments carried out on your pet.
Don’t forget that exceeding your cover limit means you’ll end up paying the balance for any remaining treatment costs your pet might need. Check what the limits are before you buy, to make sure you’re comfortable with what’s on offer.
If your kitten develops a health condition, you’ll need to stay with the same insurer to ensure it remains covered. Switching to a rival provider, it’s likely the condition would become deemed ‘pre-existing’ and is unlikely to be covered going forward.