The hundreds of jaw-dropping Instagram photos hashtagged #adventurecats want to make you think it’s all fun and games, but let’s be honest: traveling with a cat can have its ups and downs.
We always hope it never happens, but there could be accidents, illnesses, emergencies. Sometimes, you are faced with expensive vet bills.
If the risk of an emergency is never pleasurable back home, when you’re traveling it’s twice as daunting. You ‘re away from home, have no local support network, and the closest vet might be hundreds of miles away.
If you need to see the vet multiple times – to continue a treatment or check on your cat after a surgery, for example – you might have to visit several new specialists depending on where you are.
You can’t really count on one single vet that knows your cat’s medical history or offers discounts; often, you’re left hoping that you can trust that new local vet and praying that an emergency vet visit won’t have you high-tailing it back home with an eye-watering bill.
If you are planning to long-distance adventure with your cat – especially in countries when vet bills can quickly pile up – you might want to look into pet insurance. With the right insurance for your traveling cat, you’ll be covered if your s/he develops an injury and, in turn, will be able to focus more on your kitty’s healing and stress less about your finances.
Now, most insurances probably don’t assume that you’ll be traveling long term – on national or international ground – with your cats.
That’s why you should always read the small print. So, first things first:
Is your cat insured when you’re traveling?
In a large-scale investigation of pet insurance policies, GoCompare discovered that “34% of the policies offered no overseas vet cover.” And for those that did, “just 46% offered over £5,000 worth of protection”.
This means that while you might be paying a premium fee each month – comfortable with the belief that you’re protected in the event of an emergency – you may be excluded from coverage.
And not all policies that do include coverage when you’re out-and-about or abroad are made equal. While some may cover you for multiple trips throughout the year, others may only insure you for one. Others may have stipulations for how long you’re travelling, how far you’re staying, and if you’re crossing borders.
If your traveling cats are currently covered under a pet insurance policy, you should probably read the small prints. If they aren’t – but you’d like them to be – and pouring over terms and conditions give you a migraine, don’t fret.
We’ve put together a guide to the top 5 pet insurance policies for our nomad cats – and yours.*
What kind of costs should be covered when traveling?
Every cat insurance policy is different, with some boasting broader benefits than others. Some policies cover overseas vet bills, and nothing more. Others will help fund emergency boarding, public liability (like if your kitten scratches up the curtains), or even covering the fees associated with cancelling a holiday if your cat gets sick.
As with anything in life, you can generally expect to pay more for the more extensive benefits – and it’s up to you to decide what you consider worth the upfront cost.
E&L Pet Travel Insurance stands out on this list as they are the only standalone travel insurance for pets. While the others mentioned might have options and add-ons for travel, or travel coverage in the premium packages, they are otherwise standard pet insurance schemes. E&L boasts a unique package exclusively for travel.
- Two level options: either single trip (or monthly) cover, and yearly cover.
- Cover for quarantine fees, holiday cancellation, accommodation, theft or straying, and public liability including in the standard package.
- Competitive pricing due to their nature as a standalone travel insurance.
- The website interface has left us wanting, and may not be as easy to navigate as others.
Brought By Many is a unique pet insurance policy with a highly flexible collection of packages. Their system of coverage means you can pick-and-choose which package suits your individual cat – with some of the higher-premium packages including coverage for your travelling felines.
- Offers packages for cats with pre-existing conditions, at reasonable prices.
- Has some of the most comprehensive lifetime packages for those looking to spend more.
- Covers up to £15,000 of treatment fees in their complete package.
- Will not cover claims that occur after more than 90 days abroad; meaning they might be better suited to short-term travellers.
Animal Friends offers relatively robust packages, with some more detailed in their travelling-related coverage than other policies. They include multiple categories of cover so that you can choose the most appropriate package; however, they are not quite as flexible as others on the market.
- Detailed coverage for the biggest risks while travelling, including: theft or straying, boarding kennel fees, holiday cancellation and more.
- You need to stray into the higher-premium packages for coverage against travel-related conditions, so it may not be the most cost-effective option.
Healthy Pets boast competitive prices while also having a wide variety of coverage options – including complementary medicine, CT/MRI Scans and costs associated with feeding a special diet. Alongside their more expensive premiums, they also feature accident-only coverage for emergency injuries.
- Multiple overseas offers from 30 days to 6 months, meaning you can pick a package depending on your travel plans.
- Does not cover overseas travel beyond 6 months, so may not be ideal for long-term nomads.
For travellers on a stricter budget, Pet Insurance Co promises “stunningly low prices” for comprehensive coverage – including an introductory discount, multi-pet discount policies, and standard cover packages as low as £5.05.
- A broad array of benefits, including boarding fees, holiday cancellation, theft and straying and more.
- Offers a unique ‘advertising reward’ where they will contribute to paying a prize to return your lost or stolen cat.
- Some of the low prices advertised are only accessible when on a multi-pet discount, so single-cat owners may not benefit quite as much.
Do your research
This list includes insurances from the UK, and is not comprehensive. We want to give you an idea of what’s available out there, so you might need to research your local market for an insurance (generally, where your permanent address is registered).
And even though we’ve put this guide together for the time-poor traveler and their cat, we always recommend putting in the research for the policy you choose.
Cat insurance should be about reducing your stress – not contributing to it. And, when we’re out to explore the world with our cats, we shouldn’t worry about unfair policies or sky-high vet bills or impractical policies.
Is you cat insured for traveling? Tell us in the comment ?