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Pet insurance falls in quality

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Just 6% of pet insurance policies match what Sainsbury’s Bank believes is adequate cover, according to its Pet Insurance Charter.

The bank said this highlighted a deterioration in quality from the previous year, and it warned cat and dog owners to be cautious when they chose a policy.

Twelve months on from the launch of the bank’s Pet Insurance Charter, which outlined what it believes should be the minimum levels of cover for cats and dogs, the bank’s analysis reveals that just 6% of pet insurance policies currently meet this. The corresponding figure in 2005 was 12%.

It claimed that more than a third of policies didn’t cover veterinary fees in excess of £3,500 and around half did not include treatment for long-term conditions, the two key elements of cover pet owners are most likely to require from their pet insurance policy. This failure of pet insurance policies to evolve in line with advances in veterinary science means that pet owners could find themselves being left severely out of pocket and not being able to afford the necessary treatment for their cat or dog.

David Pickett, pet insurance manager, Sainsbury’s Bank said: “Pet owners need to make sure that the pet insurance they choose will provide the cover they need in the event of their dog or cat needing treatment. We find it incredible that despite the fact that vet bills are on the rise due to improvements in treatment, even fewer policies this year are providing cover for fees in excess of £3,500. Many pet owners may therefore have to make up a financial shortfall on the cover provided by their policies.”

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