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Insurance ... the big gamble Print E-mail
Thursday, 02 June 2016 07:29

More than three million dogs in this country are now covered by insurance, with premiums costing an average of £240 per year.  But is it worth it?

Four out of 10 pet insurance claims are rejected with insurance companies using every excuse in the book not to pay, including that your dog is too old or had a pre-existing medical condition.  This rejection rate of 37% is much higher than for motor insurance where just 1% of claims are rejected.  Complaints about pet insurance have rocketed: the Financal Ombudsman received 1,089 complaints in the 12 months up to April.  Some of this rise is due to owners trying to claim for alternative treatments such as hydrotherapy or acupuncture; even though vets are increasingly offering such therapies many insurers refuse to cover such claims. 

Another concern is that insurance firms such as Royal Sun Alliance - which comands a 30% share of the market and is underwriter for MoreThan and Tesco - has limited which vet practices can be used for specialist treatment to just 28 in the UK.  Of these, there is just one in the whole of the south west of England and two in Scotland - which may mean long journeys.  If the owner chooses another expert they could face a £200 penalty.  RSA plans to extend this limitation to other policies offered by, for example, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, arguing that the change relates only to non-emergency referrals.  It has also said it aims to increase the number of approved centres to between 40 and 50 by 2017.

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