There’s a lot to think about when travelling abroad with your pets. Most pet insurance policies come with some degree of cover for complications whilst you’re out of the country, but be aware of the pitfalls and exclusions, which might come back to bite.
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One of the key additional benefits that comes with pet insurance is cover for when you’re out of the country with your pets. Different insurers have different names for this type of cover but usually it’s overseas travel or holiday cover.
Typically it covers things like emergency treatment abroad, emergency repatriation, replacement pet passports and holiday cancellation cover but in some cases you may find not all these features are included or in fact that some providers offer additional benefits.
Current 80% of policies available in the UK offer a degree of cover for overseas travel cover. Bought By Many is probably one of the most comprehensive on the market in regards to the number of issues they’ll pay out for, however, the highest limits can be found with The Kennel Club and Purely Pets – who offer £15,000 worth of cover. The overseas travel cover limits start at £250 ranging up to the £15,000.
This is an area that we believe that pet insurers can be more flexible.
When you purchase pet insurance you’re buying into a 12 month policy. The overseas travel cover is – in most cases – built into the price of the policy. So as a consumer you’re paying 12 months worth of cover for something that you may only need for 3 or 4 weeks.
As an insurer, it’s a good way for them to add perceived value and earn a little extra premium without extra risk.
Now, however, there are some providers that are looking at offering flexibility. One is Bought By Many who, instead of including cover by default in all their policies, they give customers the choice about whether they want the cover or not. For those customers who aren’t planning on travelling abroad with their pets, or for example cat owners who are more unlikely to take them away with them, this provides more control over their policy and therefore price.
However, this is a decision that still needs to be made by the pet owner when taking out their policy, and provides cover across the year.
We wonder whether there could be even further enhancements to allow pet owners to buy overseas travel cover mid term when they decide they wish to go abroad, much like typical travel insurance policies.
Travel cover tends be provide support worldwide, but there are certain exclusions in place that means you still need to be aware of where you travel in order to ensure you will be covered.
These locations are generally determined by advice issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). If you choose to take your pet to a country that is against this advice then expect your claim to be rejected.
Exclusions under the overseas travel sections of policies can vary but generally speaking the most common things to be aware of relate to the length of time you travel, where you’re travelling to and the reason you’re travelling.
Always check your policy wording for the exact restrictions and exclusions your current provider imposes.
If you are travelling to the EU then you can no longer use a pet passport that has been issued in Great Britain, though if you have a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland then you will be fine.
Importantly when you are travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland your pet must:
More information can be found on the FCDO website or the government website of the country where you intend to travel. It’s important that you take care to ensure that you comply with the rules as this could invalidate your insurance cover and lead to a claim being rejected if you don’t follow all the official advice.