\\\ Pet Holiday Insurance
Should I Buy Pet Holiday Insurance Cover?
Millions of us will be travelling this summer in the UK on staycations, short breaks, long weekends or taking a special day out with our pets.
One of the most forgotten policies can be holiday pet insurance where a pet either accompanies you, may be placed in kennels or a cattery, or looked after by a trusted house sitter whilst you are away.
The recent pandemic has seen millions of new pet owners, who may not be aware of the benefits of taking out holiday pet insurance until an unfortunate eventuality costing many hundreds of pounds in veterinary fees has to be put right or paying for an unexpected event that your pet has caused.
Pets in strange surroundings act quite differently, may bolt and stray off. They may feel anxious and can attack other pets for no reason at all.
As you book your holiday and check your holiday insurance policy, remember to do that for your pet.
The starting point is to check your existing pet insurance cover and household contents policies to see if either, or both, offer some sort of pet holiday cover.
Vehicle insurance generally does not cover pets for travelling other than assistance working dogs, such as guide dogs.
\\\ Domestic Pet Policies
Pet Domestic Holiday Insurance
Trusted House Sitters
If you are relying upon a trusted house sitter residing in your home taking care of your pet(s), then your current Home Content policy may include selected pet cover.
It is worth checking with your house sitter that they have taken out some form of insurance cover and present you with these details when you agree to the sitting along with other necessary checks, such as a DBS check. You are effectively allowing a stranger to look after not only your home but your beloved pet. Retain copies of all documents given to you, particularly if the agreement is informal and not made through the dedicated pet sitting agencies.
You need to check your cover with the insurance company ensuring that you, your home, and your pet sitter residing in the home are covered for unexpected eventualities.
If your trusted house sitter tries to sue you as the owner for a pet attack or causes an incident, costs may also be covered in your home contents policy, covering liability. Likewise, if your pet sitter causes damage to your pet, then this may be covered.
Generally, the insurers require the pet owner to buy a more expensive policy or ‘bolt-on’ extending their policy cover.
You should check prior to booking your pet into boarding that the owner is legitimate with adequate valid business insurance, such as comprehensive insurance for the pet business that includes employers’ and public liability, veterinary fees, animal in transit, loss by theft, or straying, custodial responsibility, professional indemnity, and negligence cover as standard all of which should be displayed prominently at the booking-in office when receiving your pet, with reputable businesses providing you with a copy of the policy details when taking charge of your pets.
Most pet insurance policies will cover boarding your pet, for example, if you have to cancel the booking at short notice, or partway through the boarding period. Again you need to check the policy wording. However, if you are abroad and need to break your holiday to fly back urgently to attend to your pet, this may not be covered unless you have emergency pet holiday cover ‘bolted on’ to an existing policy or a separate Pet Holiday Insurance cover.
Renting a pet-friendly property in the UK
Your pet on holiday may unusually cause damage to a property and you would be liable to meet the payments for repairs. This cost maybe just a small manageable amount or much larger for serious damage. You will find in most good rental property agreements clauses that detail how damage and destruction are assessed and how you would be charged for these. For example, Sykes holiday homes, one of the UKs largest holiday home rental companies, provides a useful q&a page about pet damage.
\\\ Pet Travel Abroad
Pet Overseas Travel
If traveling abroad, your home contents policy is unlikely to cover you travelling with your pet and you will require Pet Overseas Insurance Policy to be purchased, or an existing holiday policy extended if your insurance company allows this.
Most insurers will cover vet fees if your pet is in good health before travel. Holiday Cancellation normally covers you if you cancel your trip or cut it short because your pet dies, or needs emergency treatment and can no longer travel. If your pet is lost or stolen and goes missing you must report this in the country abroad.
It’s essential to prepare well in advance of travel, by reading policy terms and conditions and taking the details with you whilst travelling.
Policies can vary where insurers allow pets to be covered for a maximum of 90 days overseas, during any one year. Other insurers only allow a certain number of trips to be made with time restrictions or a combination of both.
Extra benefits may include quarantine costs if your pet is unable to travel due to illness.
The new AHC regulations must have been complied with if making claims within EU countries or Northern Ireland, (read The Royal Veterinary Information page about the AHC regulations that apply for travel to Northern Ireland and The EU).
Loss of your PETS Passport now referred to THE AHC Certificate (effective 1.01.21) and/or Health Certificate, insurers may also cover costs if lost during your trip abroad.
If your pet becomes ill you may be able to claim emergency repatriation with some insurers. This is likely to include the extra costs of getting your pet home if your pet falls ill or becomes injured. It may also cover additional accommodation costs if prevented from travelling if your pet is too ill to travel.
Staying longer than anticipated, you may be able to claim repeat tapeworm treatment for dogs if your departure is delayed.
Most pet insurance policies are likely to carry some form of excess.
- Most pet insurers won’t pay the first amount specified as the excess in any claim; this could be for the specific condition excess, or entire policy excess.
- It’s possible to reduce cat, dog, and rabbit pet insurance policy quotes by reducing the excess that you are willing to pay.
- The breed of your cat, dog, and rabbit affects the policy price. Pedigrees costing more to insure.
- Policy costs increase with older pets. Some may not be eligible.
- Vet fees are more expensive in cities and the South East of England, so policy prices can vary from region to region.
- The level of cover you choose for your pet alters policy costs.
- Certain dog breeds banned in the UK cannot be insured.
Some Items That Pet Holiday Policies May Not Cover
- 1. Replacement documents needed prior to travel.
- 2. Replacement pet travel documents if you don’t report their loss, theft, or destruction to the vet that issued them within 24 hours.
- 3. Costs where you have tried to obtain monies for trips and veterinary care abroad where the condition has already been known before travel.
- 4. Faulty pet microchips you knew about before you travelled with your pet.
- 5. Treatment without official receipting abroad, including veterinary address and mobile number.
- 6. Treating your pet abroad unless a vet has agreed that your pet is too ill to travel home on the scheduled date.
- 7. More than a number of stated days extra accommodation / daily allowance stated.
Covid – The pandemic has brought new updates with regard to health issues whilst at home and abroad and the cost of kennelling if you are delayed due to Covid. Check your existing/new policy updates carefully and always take the details with you when travelling.
Best Pet Policy Tips
- Always check the policy wording carefully. If you cannot find the information, then call the insurer.
- To get the right policy that fits your household and pet(s) you may need to shop around and sometimes pay a little more.
- Check the policy wording for things that are covered.
- If you require liability, your pet insurer may offer this in their policy package.
- Look for a policy that provides you with online vet care by video 24/7.
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