The pandemic has really brought lots of people closer to their pets. Working from home means more time walking the dog, or watching the cat skylarking about with its toys. It has also prompted lots of us to become pet owners for the first time, as lockdown has meant you aren’t leaving your pet alone for 12 hours a day, which can be stressful for many dogs.
As part of Compare by Review’s continued analysis of pet ownership habits, the insurance review comparison site conducted a survey of over 600 members of the UK public. They assessed what the populous look for in a pet insurance policy, where they find their insurance options and how their chosen insurance policies can affect a pet’s overall care.
Compare by Review collated the independent data into an informative report and presented the research alongside expert insight from industry-leading professionals.
● 32% of pet owners are leaving themselves vulnerable by buying inadequate policies
● 22% of people ONLY look for the cheapest price on the market
● 37% of people that have made a pet insurance claim didn’t have enough cover
● 1 in 3 people buy insurance solely based on price
The Cost of Pet Ownership
Owning a pet isn’t cheap. The PDSA estimates that homing a dog will cost at least £4,500 to £13,000 throughout its lifetime and this estimate does not include veterinary fees should a pet suddenly fall ill or suffer from other health complications. Therefore it’s easy to understand why many individuals will look for ways to alleviate costs and opt for cheaper alternatives. It’s perhaps for this reason that Compare By Review found that a staggering 1 in 3 people buy insurance solely on price, not taking the time to check a review.
Broken down, Compare By Review found that 22% of people look for the cheapest price on the market, irrespective of whether it covers them adequately, and a further 10% of people shop around for deals and discounts. Unfortunately, this means a whopping 32% of current, and prospective, pet owners could be leaving themselves vulnerable to buying inadequate policies!
Compare By Review research also revealed that 13% of people avoid purchasing any pet insurance at all as they cannot afford it.
The Consequences Of Low-Cost Pet Insurance
Perhaps Compare by Review’s most startling finding is that 37% of respondents that have had to make a pet insurance claim didn’t have enough cover. This disconcerting data shows more and more pet owners have rationalised why their pet might not need the full level of care offered by an insurance policy, which sets a dangerous precedent.
To further examine the UK’s pet insurance crisis, Compare by Review spoke with Jessica Leeland, Veterinary Care Assistant at Palmerston Veterinary Group. To discuss whether insufficient insurance could impact the care of an animal, she noted that:
“In my experience, there are cases where pet owners cannot afford costly or ongoing treatments and therefore the animal has to be euthanized. I have witnessed diabetic cats being euthanized due to the owner not being able to afford the ongoing treatment for diabetes.”
In addition to pets being left underinsured, data has also found that many pets are completely uninsured – with an estimated 84% of cats and 67% of dogs in the UK being left in this situation.
Time To Change The Process Of Purchasing Pet Insurance
The parallels between owners’ intentions when purchasing pet insurance and the level of cover received after the fact cannot be ignored.
Like any cause and effect relationship, the obvious way to improve the overall outcome is to investigate the cause and make some level-headed adjustments. Compare by Review surmise that insurance is too often purchased on price alone, with individuals often solely relying on price comparison websites, rather than customer experience and this means that much-loved pets often don’t receive the level of cover they need.
To help combat this issue, Compare By Review recommends that individuals change their methodology when sourcing an insurance provider. So, instead of opting for providers at the top of a price comparison search alone, pet owners should be searching for a provider who has proven value and excellent customer reviews. This sentiment was reaffirmed by Mark Gordon, CEO at Compare By Review:
“People underestimate the importance of taking the time to find an adequate pet insurance policy. It’s all well and good purchasing a policy, but if it doesn’t provide you with enough cover for vet fees, you could be left paying thousands out of your own pocket, or worse losing your pet altogether.”