If an element can be interacted with, use the pointer to indicate to the user. A cursor change is an event that provides visual hints.
This very page uses the pointer cursor for elements that are for:
- Creation: 'Ask Question'
- Navigation to another page
- Editing: Text formatting, inserting media, images
- Preferences: Voting and favoriting
- Undo / Redo: in the toolbar
- Details on demand: Hover on user profile
- Updates: Click on inbox or reputation points
The exception is the 'text' cursor, used for input of text for search or the text in the answer or comment fields
MDN (Mozilla Developer Network) has a good guide to cursors, along w/ css and descriptions. For the pointer cursor they state:
The element can be interacted with by clicking on it. Used, e.g., when hovering over links. Typically an image of a hand.
If the other visual indications aren't perceivable (e.g. link colors that the user can't differentiate, lack of underlining), the cursor change on hover will provide some hint that potential for interaction exists.