Cat and dog owners are hit with a £232million vet bill every year as insurance companies wriggle out of paying out claims.
A new report claims caring pet owners could be ‘living in a false sense of security’, as almost four in ten claims are rejected.
But insurance companies are using every excuse in the book to avoid paying claims –including saying your pet is too old.
This rejection rate of 37 per cent is far higher than for motor insurance, where just one per cent of claims are rejected – according to comparison website money.co.uk.
Industry figures show just 13 per cent of travel insurance claims are turned down, and 21 per cent of home insurance claims are rejected.
Record numbers of animal-obsessed Britons are taking out pet insurance – with 3.9 million cats and dogs now covered.
Unusual claims include a python who needed £200 treatment for anorexia and a £333 pay-out to remove a tumour from a polecat.
But while the insurance industry has been only too keen to publicise these quirky successes, insurers continue rely on small print in policy documents to reject claims.
According to the money.co.uk report, just over one in five (23 per cent) pet owners were caught out when there insurance provider said their pet had a ‘pre- existing condition’ – meaning their
suffered from the medical problem before the policy was taken out.
A further 14 per cent were told the pet was too old – despite the fact the insurance company continued to accept payments for the policy.
And 9 per cent of claims were rejected because the treatment costs were too high.
More than half of customers felt that both the policies and the exclusions were not made clear enough in the policy documents.
Insurance companies have gained a reputation for burying exclusions in the small print.
Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk said: ‘Pet insurance is no different to any other policy – they’re extremely complicated beasts. 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.’
Pre-existing conditions is a big problem as most policies will not cover them. Those that do normally stipulate your pet must have finished treatment and be symptom free for around two years.
If your pet is more than eight years old some providers will not cover them. When your pet reaches this age, some may hike their premiums or ask you to contribute to the cost of treatment.
If your dog is registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act they may not be covered.
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