We've reviewed the latest independent research to come up with our list of the Best Pet Insurance for Cats 2016. You can learn more about the providers with our individual reviews.
- John Lewis Insurance: Premier
- More Than: Premier
- Animal Friends: Prestige
- Petplan: Ultimate
- John Lewis Insurance: Plus
- Tesco Bank: Premier
- Sainsburys Bank: Premier Plus
- M&S Bank: Premier
- More Than: Classic £8,000
- Sainsburys Bank: Premier
- Debenhams pet insurance: Gold
Read on to learn more about:
- How we came up with our Top 10 Cat Insurance list
- Making sense of the results
- "Best Cat Insurance" vs "Cheapest Cat Insurance"
- What does Cat Insurance cost?
- Cat Insurance Reviews
How did you come up with this list?
We reviewed research on pet insurance conducted by independent financial services review companies, including Which?, to find the best pet insurance for cats in terms of all round quality (not just cost).
Which? gives each pet insurance policy for cats a percentage score out of 100. We last updated this research in March 2016.
Last year Argos, Admiral, Computerquote, Vetsure Plus, and Animal Friends Superior Plus dropped out of the best cat insurance list. They were replaced by M&S Premier, More Than Classic, Sainsburys Bank Premier & Premier Plus, and Tesco Bank Extra. Debenhams is a relatively new provider that offers a comprehensive policy.
Making sense of the results of this list
- They provide a higher amount of cover for vets fees (in some cases, up to £12,000 per year) than most pet insurance policies for cats
- There are fewer terms and conditions attached to when they will and won’t pay out. Lifetime pet insurance for cats will continue to pay out for a medical issue up to the vet fees limit for the full length of the cat’s life (in contrast to "time-limited" policies which stop paying out after one year)
- The cover for cats goes beyond just vet fees, and may include cover for end of life, dentistry, cattery fees, and even cover overseas
Why is your best cat insurance list different to your dog insurance top 10?
There are a few differences between the insurance cover available for cats and dogs, and in how pet insurance companies regard the risks of insuring them.
Firstly, cat owners don't need public liability insurance. This is because - unlike dogs - cats are seen as "free spirits" in the eyes of the law, and owners cannot be held legally responsible for the things they do. Interestingly, this principle has been enshrined in law since Ancient Rome.
Meanwhile, the cost of vet treatment for a cat during its lifetime is significantly less than the cost for a dog. This is partly because procedures for cats cost less in the first place, and partly because the probability of cats needing treatment doesn't increase as sharply as they get older as the probability of dogs needing treatment does. (Pet insurance companies refer to this as "lower claims inflation").
As a result, the total amount of vet bills cover in an insurance policy influences the ratings less for cats than it does for dogs, meaning policies with lower levels of vet bills cover (such as John Lewis Insurance Plus, which offers £7,500 of cover) feature highly in the top 11.
It is probably for the same reasons that fewer cat owners choose to buy pet insurance than dog owners. In the UK, around 45% of dogs are insured, but only 25% of cats.
“Best Cat Insurance” versus “Cheapest Cat Insurance”
It’s quite common for cat owners who haven’t previously bought pet insurance to choose the cheapest policy available. Although this is a good way of keeping your pet insurance costs down month by month, it can lead to bad experiences when your cat needs vet treatment and you have to claim.
In this article, we particularly wanted to go beyond looking at pet insurance costs for cats. But if you're not convinced, and you're simply looking to minimise your costs while giving your cat some insurance cover, have a look at our Cheap Pet Insurance for Cats article, where we reveal the 5 cheapest pet insurance policies currently available.
What does cat insurance cost?
The average annual premium paid for pet insurance by UK cat owners is £205 - equating to just over £17 per month (source: Key Note). But you might pay much more or much less than this, depending on the 3 factors that influence the cost.
Although it's possible to insure a cat on a no-frills "Accident Only" policy for as little as £3 a month, the cat insurance policies in our Top 10 list are likely to cost between £10 and £20 per month, as they are mostly "Lifetime" pet insurance policies. The exact cost will vary from cat to cat and owner to owner, depending on these factors:
- Your cat's breed. Pedigree cats are more expensive to insure than moggies.
- Your cat's age. Older pets cats typically cost more than younger cats to insure.
- Your postcode. Cat insurance costs more in the parts of the UK where vet prices are highest - particularly London & South East England.
You can compare cat insurance prices at Gocompare.com.
Our reviews of pet insurance companies
We've reviewed most of the pet insurance companies in our list. Learn more about them in our reviews:
- MoreThan Pet Insurance Review
- John Lewis Pet Insurance Review
- Pet Plan Pet Insurance Review
- Animal Friends Pet Insurance Review
- M&S Pet Insurance Review
- Debenhams Pet Insurance Review
- PetPlan Insurance Review
- Argos Pet Insurance Review
And here is our full list of pet insurance reviews.
If there are other cat insurance policies you'd like us to review, please let us know through our pet insurance group forum.