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Taking your pets on holiday abroad?

10 April 2015

Failure to meet Pet Travel Scheme requirements could be a costly mistake.

In recent years changes to the rules on travelling abroad with pets and the introduction of pet passports has made it easier to take your cat or dog on holiday with you. But, Gocompare.com Pet Insurance is warning pet owners not to overlook Pet Travel Scheme requirements and insurance when planning their trip.

New research* reveals around a third of pet insurance policies exclude overseas travel.  However, where overseas travel is covered, policies generally exclude claims where the policyholder has not met the Pet Travel Scheme requirements – these include their pet being micro-chipped and vaccinated against rabies. Owners must bear in mind that their pet isn’t protected against rabies until 21 days after it has received its rabies vaccination. The day of vaccination doesn’t count so, if you have your pet vaccinated on the first day of the month the earliest it can travel is the 22nd.

Dogs holidaying abroad must also have been treated against tapeworm. As part of your holiday preparations, it is essential that you allow sufficient time for vaccinations and worming treatments to take effect – otherwise you could end up seriously out of pocket.

Gocompare.com Pet Insurance compared the overseas cover available under 326 pet insurance policies* and found that 31% of pet insurance policies exclude overseas travel, 6% offer it as an add-on, 63% provide cover as standard. 

Of those policies covering overseas travel, there are big differences in the number of days’ overseas travel allowed, pay-out limits and cover provided:

  • The maximum number of days you can take your pet abroad a year ranges from 30 to 365 days, but 56% of policies provide between 30 and 90 days of cover. However, policies also include limits on duration of each trip – while the limit ranges from 30 to 365 days, many (59%) cover trips lasting between 30 and 90 days.
  • Vets’ fees are generally limited to emergency treatment only. There is a wide variation in the maximum amount which can be claimed from £500 to £15,000.
  • Only 36% of policies cover quarantine costs - which you might need if, while on holiday, your pet’s micro-chip fails or your pet has an illness and is not allowed back in the UK.  Pay-outs to cover quarantine costs range from £150 to £2,000.
  • Loss of pet’s passport – only 29% of policies covered this for cats and 30% for dogs, depending on the policy, the maximum pay-out ranges from £150 to £1,500.
  • 18% of policies cover you for the cost of repeat worming and tick treatment required as a result of your carrier delaying your return to the UK.
  • Two thirds of policies provide holiday cancellation cover as a standard feature; 9% as an optional extra while 12% don’t provide any cover if you have to cancel your holiday if you pet requires immediate, life-saving treatment or surgery.

Ben Wilson, from Gocompare.com Pet Insurance, said: “The pet passport scheme allows you to travel abroad with your dog or cat, without them being placed in quarantine upon your return. Documentary evidence of the vaccinations required for your trip and veterinary inspections is required and your pet must be inspected by vets - both in the UK before departure and abroad before your return journey.

“It’s the responsibility of the owner to ensure the pet passport scheme requirements are met and any other requirements for the country you are visiting. This includes making sure you’ve allowed sufficient time for vaccinations to work and remembering to give booster vaccinations on time.

“It’s also wise to check the local opening hours of vets in the area you are visiting to make sure that timings work for your pet to receive their return journey inspection.  For example, most vets in France are closed on Sundays and Mondays.”

For more information about travelling with your pet, read our guide.

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


Notes to editors:

*Source: Defaqto Matrix of 326 pet insurance policies - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto (19 March 2015).