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One in three pet insurance claims are declined

Pet owners are struggling to cover their vet’s bills even when they pay for insurance, new research by claims.

The research involved almost 1,000 dog and cat owners who have made a claim, showing that despite one in four of the 17 million cat and dog owners in the UK taking out pet insurance, more than one in three (37 percent) claimants have been declined.

With the average policy costing £241 a year, these pet owners have been forced to pick up vets bills for rejected claims worth £232 million.

The main reasons cited for 44 percent of the rejected claims was that the policy didn’t cover the treatment.

Just over one in five (23 percent) were caught short when the insurance provider said the pet had a ‘pre-existing condition’ and therefore rejected the claim.

A further 14 percent were told their pet was too old, which raises the question as to why the policy payments were still being accepted.

Finally, nine percent of claims were rejected because the treatment costs were too high. Many of these rejections could be borne out of the fact that 55 percent of those surveyed felt both policies and exclusions are not made clear enough by providers.

When it comes to finding the money to pay for insurance policies, one in eight (12 percent) of the dog and cat owners surveyed admitted that if they only had enough money for one policy they would spend it on pet insurance. This is three times the number that would spend their money on life insurance (four percent) health insurance (three percent) and travel insurance (two percent).

Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of comments; “Pet insurance is no different to any other policy – they’re extremely complicated beasts. It’s crucial you go in with your eyes open and find out exactly what you’re getting from a policy before you sign on the dotted line and tie yourself in.

“You must be clear when the policy will and won’t pay out, which vets you can go to and when your cover will be cut off after you claim. Some policies are riddled with more loopholes than others so you must pick and choose carefully, really paw through the small print. Don’t keep anything secret, pre-existing conditions must be declared otherwise you will invalidate your policy.

“If you’re not happy with the outcome of your claim you have the right to complain and escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman. It’s a complete waste of money paying so much for pet insurance that doesn’t cover the cost of treatment when you need it.”

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