Self-insurance is the best pet insurance in my opinion and I explain way. I’m going to apply common sense in deciding whether a person should take out pet insurance. We know that pet insurance is about risk and reward. We know that you don’t know until 10 years time whether it has been worth paying insurance premiums of about £25 per month in the UK or $30 and $50 per month in the USA or whether it has been money down the drain except that the peace of mind it brings. Purebred cats are more likely to become ill but the insurance providers know the data and will ask for higher premiums. Beating the insurance companies is not an option. 3.6 million individuals had pet insurance in the UK in 2020 (Statistica).
Ideally self-insurance is the better way to go. Self-insurance means that you save money every month until you have about a maximum of £5,000 in a savings account to which you have access at reasonably short notice and which is designated for veterinary bills only. It should not be raided for other expenditure. £5,000 may be too high but it should be above £1,000 because veterinary bills can reach that level of expenditure.
The problem with self-insurance is that it may take a lot of people quite a long time to save £5,000. Some people may never be able to save it, in which case the same principles apply in this article. You can set a lower target. I’d suggest that savings of £1,000 would cover most emergencies. The average pet insurance claim is £793 in the UK (Statistica). Taking proactive steps must be a consideration in minimising the risk of injury or illness.
If you are a risk averse concerned cat owner who would always take your cat to the veterinarian when needed and who does not have sufficient savings to operate a self-insurance scheme you should seriously look at pet insurance. You should make sure, too, that you check over at the policy, top to bottom, and ask questions because the terms and conditions are critical and you can’t make assumptions that the insurance company will pay out. There are deductibles, premiums and payout issues. Also perhaps the best thing to do is to go to one of those comparison sites and then talk to the insurance company that you have selected. I can’t advise on the insurance company but I think I’m qualified to advise in general terms as I am here.
If you decide to take out an insurance policy because you fit into the criteria I mentioned above then you should carry on with that policy until you have sufficient savings to operate your own self-insurance scheme. At that point you should cancel the policy and run with your own scheme. I realise that a lot of people don’t have the means to save or pay a large vet bill. They are often excellent cat caregivers but if they have to pay a large bill and can’t they become poor cat owners.
In respect to public liability insurance, if your cat causes a road traffic accident you are not legally responsible for his or her actions. This is because they are considered free spirits under the law. Therefore there is no need to check your home insurance to see whether it covers public liability insurance.
In short with respect to a domestic, cat self-insurance is the best route, in my opinion, because you control things and you don’t have to pay the administrative fees of a large insurance company who may find ways to wriggle out of their obligations. Don’t forget that insurance companies are in it for a profit and at the end of the day they always win. They can put up premiums under their terms and conditions as and when they want to. It is tantamount to printing money. I’m not wholly against insurance companies but they are not much different to bank and banks don’t have a great reputation do they?