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Could your pet's passport be more valuable than yours?

23 July 2014
  • Shelling out for an initial pet passport could end up costing between £150 and £250
  • A UK passport costs £72.50
  • Only 31% of dog and cat insurance policies cover for a lost or stolen pet passport

The introduction of pet passports has made it much easier for people to take their cats and dogs abroad, but do they have the right kind of insurance cover?

With kennel and pet boarding costs outweighing the price of a pet passport, many people are choosing to holiday with their four-legged friends, but there are some insurance issues people should consider before heading off.

Gocompare.com is recommending that animal lovers check their pet insurance with care before taking their furry family member overseas. 

Travelling abroad with your pet:

By law, animals leaving the UK require a pet passport. These are issued by a registered official veterinarian. Animals need to be microchipped and have the relevant vaccinations for the country they are visiting, in particular against rabies and tapeworm. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure these measures are carried out.

Some insurance providers cover the loss or theft of a pet passport. Gocompare.com examined 279 dog insurance policies and found that only 87 (31%) offered cover for a lost or stolen pet passport. 66 polices offer cover of £250 or less, while only 16 offer cover of £1,500 or more.*

For cats, out of 271 insurance policies, only 84 (31%) offer cover for a lost or stolen pet passport, and 63 offer cover of £250 or less, and only 16 offer cover of £1,500 or more.**

Ben Wilson, Gocompare.com's pet insurance spokesperson, said: "It could cost you a lot of money if you lose a pet passport, as it is estimated that they can cost anything between £100 and £250 for a first passport, including microchipping and vaccinations.

"Your animal may have to be kennelled or held in a cattery and have extra health checks and vaccinations before it is allowed back into the UK - all of which will cost. In extreme circumstances they might even have to be quarantined before returning to the UK, that's why it's important to make sure you look after your pet's passport and health certificates when travelling and ensure that you have sufficient pet insurance for the trip."

Gocompare.com also found that 186 (67%) of the 279 dog insurance policies it reviewed would cover vet fees abroad. Only 50 offer cover of £5,000 and over and 93 (33%) policies offered no overseas travel cover at all.*

When it comes to cat insurance, 91 policies (34%) offer no overseas vet cover at all and 11 allow you to add that cover on. Only 46 offer cover of £5,000 or more and 30 offer cover of less than £1,500.**

Ben Wilson commented: "If you are planning on taking your pet abroad with you there are some important things to consider before you leave. Contact your insurance provider and tell them where you're holidaying and check that there aren't any cover restrictions for that destination. Some only cover vet fees abroad in EU countries that are part of the government's pet passport scheme.

"Find the nearest vet to your holiday destination. If your pet has pre-existing conditions take any relevant documentation with you, also take a translation of the illness with you and keep it to hand. If the worst happens and you do have to visit a vet, at least the language won't be a barrier to getting your pet treated as soon as possible.

"The same goes for travelling in the UK. Check where the nearest vet is and take all relevant documentation, such as vaccination cards to ensure that the vet has all the information they need to hopefully solve the problem quickly."

For some, going on holiday means a total break, even from the responsibilities of pet ownership, so many people holiday without their pets, leaving them at home with family or at a kennel, cattery or even with a pet sitter.

If your pet develops a life threatening illness and your holiday has to be cancelled, 153 (55%) dog insurance policies will cover holiday cancellation as standard. And a further 30 dog insurance policies allow you to add holiday cancellation cover.*

When it comes to the amount of financial coverage offered only 54 policies cover cancellations of £2,000 or more, while 128 (46%) cover holidays costing £1,000 or more.*

For cats it's a similar story - out of 271 insurance policies 149 (55%) offer holiday cancellation as standard, while 28 allow it to be added. Financially, if you were forced to cancel your holiday only 49 (18%) cover cancellations of £2,000 or more, while 125 cover holidays of £1,000 or more.**

Ben Wilson added: "If you are frequent flyers you may well want to consider checking whether your pet insurance policy offers holiday cancellation protection and how much it would pay out if you had to make a claim, as well as the associated excesses.

"We go out of our way to make sure that our pets are well looked after when we are on holiday, so it's important to make sure that your holiday is also looked after and if you do have to cancel, that you are sufficiently protected."

-ends-

Notes to editors:

* Source: Defaqto Matrix of 279 dog insurance policies - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial research company Defaqto (17th July 2014)

** Source: Defaqto Matrix of 271 cat insurance policies - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial research company Defaqto (17th July 2014)