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Research reveals pet owners
at risk of suffering shortfalls on pet insurance

Defaqto's latest report "Pet Insurance in the UK" has revealed that dog and cat owners could be forced to pay for expensive veterinary treatments if their insurance policy limits pay-outs on a time or condition basis.

Defaqto's research shows that although insurance policies for pets may appear at first sight to be very similar, there are significant differences in the way different policies treat claims for payments.

The top tier policies are those that have a sum insured limit for all claims arising in one policy year where benefits are payable each and every year with no overall time limit. These policies represent about 27% of all policies and examples of the best of them are Marks and Spencer, Pet Plan and Pinnacle. Second tier policies are those that have a sum insured limit and where benefits are payable for each and every condition, with no overall time limit.

These account for around 36% of policies and examples of these are PetShield, More Th>n and NFU Mutual.

Policies with adequate cover will pay benefits for each and every condition, with a maximum payment period. These plans account for around 30% of policies and include plans from Argos, Churchill, Tesco and Direct Line.

The poorest cover is provided by policies where benefits are payable each and every year but with a maximum payment period per claim. They account for about 7% of policies.
Commenting on the different types of cover available, Brian Brown, Associate Director, Research said, "Pet lovers need to be careful about what policy they buy because essentially they have to stay with the same insurer over the life of the pet.

"Unfortunately, you can't judge the quality of cover by the cost of the premium so thinking you have got the best cover because you are paying the highest premium may be misleading".

Brown continued, "If the worst happens and your pet develops a chronic condition and you have a policy that limits the amount or time the condition is covered for, you may be faced with the stark choice of having to pay out large vet bills or having you pet put down if you can't afford them."

Copies of the report entitled "Pet Insurance in the UK - April 2004" are on sale priced £495.00 each. For further information please contact Brian Brown on 01844 295454 or Chris Johnston on 01844 295457 or visit