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Pampered pooches: popularity of acupuncture adds to cost of pet insurance

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
A growing number of poorly pets are being treated with alternative therapies such as acupuncture and many treatments are covered as standard on insurance policies, research suggests.

Data from financial information firm Defaqto found that of 370 pet insurance policies, over 96% now cover alternative therapies as standard.

Acupuncture was the top alternative therapy of choice for cats and dogs, while homeopathy and herbal medicine are also covered by a majority of insurance policies.

The increase in alternative therapies, means the average insurance premium has risen by 5% in the past two years, from £1,636 in 2014 to £1,722 in 2016.

And over the past two years, the pet insurance market has also seen a notable increase in the number of products available on the market.

Since 2014 there has been a 28% rise in the number of pet insurance products on the market, rising from 292 in 2014 to 373 in 2016.

When looking at alternative treatment cover there has been a 24% rise in the number of policies on the market that treat pets via more unconventional methods.

Brian Brown, head of insight at Defaqto, said: “While insurers list acupuncture as an ‘alternative’ treatment, it appears that it is far more mainstream than the wording suggests. The number of insurers covering therapies like acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal medicine is on the rise.

“The large increase in policies which offer this cover show that it is very popular among pet owners and their interest in alternative therapies is growing. Many of these treatments can result in lasting benefits for your pet.”

However, Brown cautions that not all pet insurance policies are the same, so it is important to review all of the cover on offer.

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