Is it worth having pet insurance for my cat?
We asked John Brady, Head of Commercial at John Lewis Insurance, to share his expert view.
Q & A with John Brady
Q. What’s your background and what experience do you have in providing information about Pet Insurance?
A. I've worked in financial services for 20 years, including banking, credit cards and insurance. The last five have been spent at the John Lewis Partnership, where I’ve helped to launch and develop John Lewis Insurance, including our personal insurance cover for cars, weddings, travel, homes, events and of course, pets.
Vet treatment can be more expensive than expected, as many illnesses require ongoing treatment which makes
costs mount up.
Q. Why do I need
A. Pet insurance assists with the cost of your pet’s healthcare and wellbeing. This means that your insurance will pay for things like trips to the vet for consultations, X-rays, surgical procedures and medication. Some policies may even cover complementary therapies such as hydrotherapy and treatment foods.
Q. How much cover should I have?
A. This depends on several factors including your cat’s breed and pedigree status as certain cats are known to be more susceptible to specific illnesses.
John Lewis offers three levels of cover for vet’s fees:
- £3,000 per year
- £7,500 per year
- £12,000 per year
This may sound like a lot of money for treatment each year but vet bills soon mount up if your cat needs ongoing treatment for common problems like diabetes or poor eye sight, or even serious diseases like cancer.
Q. What are typical vet bills?
A. Vet bills vary greatly across the UK and you could be charged more if your cat needs treatment on a weekend or out of hours. Here’s an indication of what standard costs can be:
|Standard consultation||£25 - £35|
|Blood tests||£10 - £120 depending on illness (plus charge for vet’s time)|
|Prescribed course of treatment||£3 - £70 depending on prescription|
|Emergency out of hours supplement||£30 - £150|
|Overnight stay||£30 - £50|
|X-rays||£45 - £55 per x-ray|
|Chemotherapy||£150 - £5,000 depending on treatment (Two months to two years)|
These are approximate costs for single treatments, however one accident, such as your cat being hit by a car, could result in injuries which require treatment over a long period of time.
Q. How does pet insurance work with my vet?
A. John Lewis is often able to pay your vet directly, so you don’t need to worry about paying up front for treatment. If you have pet insurance, your vet will also be able to refer your pet to a specialist immediately, without delays
Q. My cat is a pedigree: do I need special insurance?
A. You can use standard pet insurance for pedigree cats, however you might require a higher level of cover.
Pedigree cats can be prone to specific illnesses due to their physical attributes or because of a low genetic diversity in the breeding pool. You should question your breeder about your cat’s pedigree and origins to make sure they’ve been screened for inherited diseases.
Q. How can I keep my cat healthy?
A. If your cat is ill, you should take it to be checked out by the vet. There are, however, steps you can take to keep your pet in good health and reduce their risk of illness:
- Keep vaccinations up to date (the cost of these will not usually be covered by insurance)
- Feed your cat a balanced diet
- Don’t feed your cat leftovers from the table, as this could make them ill
- Allow your cat regular exercise
Q. Is complementary therapy covered by Pet Insurance?
A. Yes, John Lewis Pet Insurance covers complementary therapy such as chiropractic manipulation, osteopathy, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments for insured conditions carried out by a member of our
Q. How can I choose the right level of cover for my cat?
A. You should ask yourself the following questions before choosing
- If my cat is a pedigree, will he or she have specific health needs?
- How much are standard vet bills in my area, and what estimated costs could I incur for standard care?
- Do I live in an area where my cat may be exposed to particular risks?
- Will my pet get the best level of care with this policy?
- Is the cover for vet’s fees enough?
- How much excess will I have to pay?
Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility criteria apply.
John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Pet Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Calls may be recorded and monitored.