In its most basic form, travel insurance covers you if you need to cancel your holiday, you become ill while you’re away, or your property is lost, stolen or damaged.
But there are also a number of other hidden clauses that may be buried within the small print, such as being able to use it for cancelling a holiday if your pet is ill.
In fact some insurers allow customers to cancel a holiday if their dog or cat needs life-saving treatment in the week before they are due to go away.
Of the 235 annual travel insurance providers, 10 include pet surgery or treatment
It’s not common for pets to be covered on a travel insurance policies, and in those that do the cover varies.
Of the 235 annual travel insurance providers, 10 insurers include this in 24 policies.
Of those 24 policies, the cover including pets is available in 10 as standard, and with 14 policies it’s an add-on you’ll have to pay for.
When it comes to the 215 single insurance policies, just four insurers include it in eight policies, according to data from Defaqto.
These insurers include, Churchill, Crystalsure, Direct Line, and Worldwide Travel Insurance Services and while most won’t cover a pet’s death or if it’s gone missing, they will allow you to claim for cancellation of a holiday – if your pet is having urgent emergency treatment.
Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line said: ‘Holidaymakers are often unaware of features of their travel insurance policy which could protect them in difficult personal situations.
‘For example: if your beloved pet cat or dog requires emergency medical treatment in the seven days leading up to your trip and you need to be at home to care for them, Direct Line would cover you for the cancellation of your trip.’
It’s usually just cats or dogs that are included but some insurers, such as LV, will allow you to cancel a holiday if the policyholder has become ill due to the stress of having an ill or missing pet, or if the pet has died.
Dogs and cats are covered if they need lifesaving treatment the week before you travel
This can be if the trauma of losing the pet was so significant that the customer’s doctor has said they are not fit to travel. If they are having severe panic attacks, for example, then they would be able to make a claim for cancellation through their travel insurance.
However, what’s more common is to use a pet insurance policy if you need to cancel a holiday and something has happened to your pet.
Of all pet insurance policies on the market, 64 per cent include holiday cancellation cover as standard, 12 per cent only offer it under premium policies, and the remainder don’t include it on their policies.
Most will cover you if you need to cut your holiday short because your pet has gone missing while you’re away, or needs sudden and unexpected life-saving treatment while you’re away or in the seven days before.
Every policy is different but on the whole they generally won’t cover non-life saving treatment, a condition you already knew about or any instance in which the treatment could have been carried out before you went away (and before the week before you travel).
There are also clauses in some policies which mean in some instances only the policyholder will be covered, so not those travelling along too such as children or friends.
The amount paid out also varies considerably. In 14.8 per cent of pet policies, the limit is £1,000, in 12.8 per cent it’s £500 while in 10.2 per cent it’s £1,500, and 7.1 per cent it’s £5,000, according to Defaqto.
Therefore it’s worth checking what’s available if you need to use the policy to claim for cancellation, and which members of your party will be included in it.
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