No pet owner likes to think about their pet going missing, but sadly it does happen. In the unlikely event that it does your pet insurance can provide much needed support to advertise, incentivise and locate your furry friend as soon as possible.
Contents of this guide
Different providers have different names for lost and found cover, such as loss and recovery or loss and theft, but generally speaking they all provide protection for similar things. Usually they’ll support you to:
Each of the 3 elements above may come with different limits that you can claim up to which are worth being aware of.
There may be some differences between providers so make sure that you check the policy wording that relates to the cover you have selected.
Most, but not all, providers offer cover for lost and found cover. When we checked all the policies we found that 345 out of 442 did provide some level of cover.
With some providers, such as Bought By Many and others their lost and found cover is an optional extra that you can choose to include or not. This can be helpful if you are looking for flexibility in your cover or want to bring down the price you pay for your premium. Similar options are available for things like overseas travel cover and farewell/death of pet cover.
Policy limits for lost and found cover ranges from £100 with Puffin Insurance (with no cover for advertising or reward) up to £6,000 (with the same cover for advertising and reward) under Bought By Many’s Complete policy.
We feel that Asda Money, Everypaw, Petwise and Petplan also sit nicely in the middle offering £2,000 worth of lost and found cover with cover for advertising and reward both ranging from £1,000 – £2,000 depending upon the provider you choose.
Broadly, the cover helps to provide support for:
Every provider who offers lost and found cover will offer some level of protection for the third point above, however, depending upon the provider you choose this isn’t always the case for advertising and reward benefits. For example, Waggel offer up to £1,000 for loss and recovery but there’s no cover for advertising or reward – so any costs you incur towards this will be excluded and you’ll need to cover the cost yourself.
If your pet has been stolen, then this is also the cover that can help to recover or pay out in the event that they cannot be found.
When it comes to claiming for pet theft you need to ensure that you have followed the correct procedures for your provider, usually this includes reporting the theft to the police and obtaining a crime reference number which you should share with your insurer.
Importantly, make sure to call your insurance company to let them know before you start paying for things which you expect to claim for later. Some providers want to know in advance, and pre-approve, any costs related to theft or loss claims prior to costs being incurred.
Pet theft has grown through the Covid-19 pandemic even as other thefts have decreased, however, numbers are still relatively low. We estimate that there were are 2,000 cases of pet theft in the UK last year and it has risen so far in 2021.
The government has made some changes to the law more recently to tackle the rise in pet theft and we await to see the impact of this.
Read our guide to pet theft statistics to find out which breeds are most targeted, what to be aware of and how to prevent it happening to you.
If you are unable to find and recover your pet then you can claim for the cost of your pet. Make sure when you purchase your pet you ask for and keep the receipt for the purchase. Insurers will use the proof of purchase to inform the amount that they pay out under this section of the policy.
If you don’t have the receipt for the amount you paid then most insurers will pay a percentage of the market value of your pet based on their age.
Each provider also has there own time limits on how long your pet must be declared missing for before you can claim. This is often around 30 days but can be up to 45 days, so best to check with your insurer.
Like everything there are exclusions to loss and recovery cover that will be specific to each insurer, however the key ones that are most common include the necessity to have your dog microchipped with up to date details kept on record. No payment will be made if your pet goes missing whilst under the care of someone else (for example a dog walker) or if the pet was returned to you within 48 hours of disappearance.
Our guide to pet theft will give you some further tips on how to prevent your pet from being targeted by thieves, but some key things you can do are to protect yourself at home and your pet themselves.
Making it as difficult as possible for thieves to get in to your home and garden is vital. Most pets are stolen from front and back gardens, so locks, security cameras and alarms are key to protecting your pet from being targeted.
There are also a number of pets that are stolen after thieves have entered your house – not just the garden. With this being the case you can get indoor camera and alarm systems that are specifically built to recognise your pets. Given you the peace of mind that your alarm won’t go off in the middle of the night when your pet moves around but will alert you to any other suspicious activity.
Pet Trackers are the latest technology to help you understand your pet’s health but also where they go. You can set ‘safe’ areas and get notifications when your pets go beyond them. They can be a great way to check on your pet’s location in the event that they go missing.
This is a legal requirement for dogs in the UK, and key for you as a pet owner to keep up to date. Not doing this could see a claim for lost and found cover being rejected. They are a great way to prove you are the legal owner once your pet is returned as well as getting them returned in the first place.