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Pet Insurance Cover & Statistics

pet insuranceChristmas is just around the corner and many families in the UK will decide to buy a pet for their family or close friends. However, a pet comes with many new responsibilities and costs such as vets’ bills if you do not have a comprehensive pet insurance policy. Advances in research and technology are helping to increase the average lifetime of family animals, which is obviously a good thing. On the other hand, older pets are much more susceptible to injury and illness and vets’ bills can quite easily mount up to costing thousands of pounds.

A majority of animal lovers are turning to pet insurance as a solution, and the pet insurance industry is now worth a staggering £700 million. The question on pet owners’ minds: is pet insurance worth the premiums or do the costs outweigh the benefits?

Some pet owners have had a positive experience with their insurance policy, such as Mrs Brady. Both of her dogs needed complex eye surgeries, and she was able to claim the costs from her insurance with no problems at all. Mrs Brady commented on her experience, saying: “Both dogs were insured from puppies. We've had them from when they were eight weeks old, they both needed eye surgery, something called cherry eye. The vet dealt with it very well and we were pleased with the outcome. However, at the end of the year when the renewal came up, the premiums had gone up by 40%. Because they are young dogs and obviously we want to keep them healthy we will keep insuring them.”

In this case, the higher premiums were definitely worth it because the surgery was professional and ended in a great outcome. However, the latest statistics from the Financial Ombudsman Service have shown 830 new complaints in relation to pet insurance in 2012-2013, which is a 50% increase on the previous year’s figures. On a positive note, only 32% of the 830 complaints were justified compared to the previous year which saw a 50% justification rate.

James Savery, 19 December 2013

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