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Advertising feature: Are pet insurers doing enough to support pre-existing conditions?

Pet insurance

Pre-existing medical conditions have long made the process of shopping around for pet insurance an often challenging endeavour. Iain Howie, managing director, life, health and travel at Verisk Underwriting, UK & Europe, asks how can insurers offer customers clarity around the terms of their policy and ensure that they are confident they have the right level of cover in place?

Unlike other personal lines of insurance such as home or motor, customers rarely have the luxury of being able to seek out a better deal when their pet insurance is up for renewal. Pre-existing medical conditions are often excluded from cover, leaving many cat and dog owners feeling trapped with their current provider.

In a recent survey carried out by Verisk and OnePoll, we found that 78% of UK cat and dog owners would consider switching insurer if conditions they had claimed for would be covered by a new insurance policy.

For owners whose pets(s) were not insured for their pre-existing medical conditions, 69% said they would consider taking out insurance if they knew those conditions would be covered.

When pet owners were asked what they believe to be the most important factors when deciding which policy to purchase, pre-existing conditions were ranked third by respondents, behind coverage for vet fees and policy limits.

There is clear demand in the market for more suitable coverage options and the flexibility to switch providers for customers with pets that have pre-existing conditions. Verisk has long been an advocate of the market, providing more coverage options for customers with pre-existing conditions in the travel, health, income protection, and pet insurance markets.

Unfortunately, there is a common tendency among insurers to assess a pet’s medical risk level at the point of claim rather than the point of sale, meaning premiums set by the insurer are rarely individualised until after the insurer has access to the clinical history of that pet. This can often be at the expense of the customer, who is now faced with a substantial hike to their premiums after they make their first claim, and a difficult situation if they wish to switch insurer. The industry could do a lot more to provide customers with much-needed clarity around policy terms and any exclusions to avoid any nasty surprises.

More coverage options for pre-existing conditions will help insurers keep their customers happy, giving them that much-needed assurance that their pet’s needs will be covered.

To find out more about customer attitudes towards pet insurance, you can access our report on Insurance Hound, The changing face of UK Pet Insurance. 

This is a paid-for advertorial.

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