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Brits make 1.8 million pet insurance claims a year

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30/01/2008

According to a recent survey by Sainsbury’s Finance, there are 1.8 million pet insurance claims made for veterinary treatment for cats and dogs each year.

Unlike most personal insurance products such as home and motor insurance, which can be changed annually, the nature of pet insurance means that it is likely to be taken out for the life of the pet.

This is because if pets are treated under one policy and then, at renewal, a new one is taken out, the new insurer generally will not cover any ‘pre-existing’ conditions, and therefore, policyholders will have to pay for the treatment of these conditions themselves.

Understanding exactly the policy terms relating to the reimbursement of vets’ fees could mean having a policy that covers the cost of your pet’s treatment and one that covered it for a limited sum of money or for a restricted time, or both.

In research company Defaqto’s recent pet insurance report “The UK Pet Insurance Market – Its bark is worse than its bite,” published in December, details are provided as to how the pet market settles claims made for veterinary fees. Essentially, there are three types of methods insurers use to pay veterinary claims.

The first are policies that pay vets’ fees on a ‘per condition with a 12 month time limit’ basis will provide cover up to the fee limit or 12 months, whichever is reached first.
Secondly, there are policies that pay vets’ fees on a ‘per condition limit’ basis will provide cover up to the fee limit. Once this limit has been reached no further cover is provided for the treatment.

The final method is ‘per year’ policies will pay vets’ fees up to the fee limit, however, provided that the policy is renewed each year, the insurer will continue to provide cover for the treatment.

Mike Powell, general insurance consultant at Defaqto, said: “While superficially straightforward, choosing the right pet insurance policy for your situation will repay the time taken to research what is on offer in the market.”

 

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