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Pedigree pets warning – make sure your cover is ‘best in show’

23 April 2015

Research reveals that only 54% of dog and cat insurance policies include cover for the loss or theft of your pet as standard

Gocompare.com Pet Insurance is warning owners of pedigree pets to choose their pet insurance carefully and not buy on price alone – otherwise they could be seriously out of pocket.

Pedigree pets are the supermodels of the pet world. But, not only are they are more expensive to buy than moggies and mongrels, they cost more to insure because of their susceptibility to hereditary illness and attractiveness to thieves.

Gocompare.com compared over 270 dog insurance and 260 cat insurance policies which revealed:

  • Only 54% of policies include cover for loss or theft of your cat or dog as standard, while 15% offer it as an optional extra;
  • One in ten cat and 9% of dog insurance policies exclude cover for hereditary conditions;
  • Most policies either restrict or exclude cover for congenital conditions;
  • Almost all (99%) policies exclude claims which arise from breeding your pet.

Ben Wilson, spokesman for Gocompare.com Pet Insurance said: “Insurance premiums for pedigree cats and dogs tend to be higher than for cross-breed pets. This is because pedigrees cost more to buy and selective breeding has resulted in many animals being at higher risk of certain hereditary illnesses. For example, animals bred to emphasise a flat face can be susceptible to breathing difficulties while those with long ears can be more prone to ear infections – which may need regular veterinary attention and care. However, a significant number of policies exclude hereditary conditions. 

“Pedigree animals are expensive to buy, with the cost of some breeds running into thousands of pounds, so loss and theft cover should also be a key consideration. However, this cover is included as standard in only 54% of policies, while 15% offer it as an optional extra. There’s also wide variation in the amount policies pay-out: 9% of cat policies only pay-out between £150 and £450 worth of cover, while 55% provide pay-outs from £500 to £1,500. Only six policies covered the purchase price of your pet.” 

Ben concluded: “Checking what’s not covered by a policy and any terms and conditions which may apply - is just as important as what is covered. Nearly all pet insurance policies exclude cover for breeding your cat or dog so wouldn’t pay-out for the cost of any veterinary treatment in connection with breeding, pregnancy or giving birth.

“In the event of a claim for the loss or death of your pet, insurers will ask for proof of the value of your pet so it’s important to keep the purchase receipt, birth certificate, Kennel Club and registration documents in a safe place. Otherwise, your claim may be limited to a fixed sum or the market value of your pet, which could be considerably less than you paid for it. In addition, if your pet strays or is stolen, your insurer will expect you to have reported the loss to the relevant authorities, local vets and animal rescue centres.”          

Policy cover

Dog insurance

Cat insurance

Maximum value pet can be insured for

Unlimited: 94%

Reminder limit value from £500 to £2,000

Unlimited: 94%

Reminder limit value from £500 to £2,000

Premiums vary if pet is pedigree on non-pedigree

Yes: 74%

No: 26%

Yes: 74%

No: 26%

Premiums vary if pet is a specific breed

Yes: 91%

No: 9%

Yes: 91%

No: 9%

Hereditary conditions covered

Yes: 88%

No: 9%

Not stated: 2%

Yes: 88%

No:10%

Not stated: 2%

Loss or theft cover included

Yes: 54%

Optional extra: 15%

No: 31%

Yes: 54%

Optional extra: 15%

No: 31%

Maximum pay-out for loss or theft cover

Pay-outs range from £200 to £2,500 or the purchase price of the dog.

Pay-outs range from £150 to £2,500 or the purchase price of the cat.

Cover for breeding risk included

Yes: 1%

No: 99%

 

Yes: 1%

No: 99%

 

Breeding risk - maximum payable for death from whelping

Pay-outs range from £1,000 to £2,500

£1,000

Congenital conditions covered

Yes: 11%

Restricted: 73%

No: 17%

Yes: 11%

Restricted: 72%

No: 17%

Gocompare.com is the headline sponsor of the London Pet Show at Excel, London – 9th and 10th May 2015.

For more information on pet insurance, visit Gocompare.com's pet insurance guide.

-ends-

*Source: Defaqto Matrix of 277 dog insurance and 269 cat insurance policies - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto (23 & 24 March 2015). Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number.