There is a strong possibility that the Coronavirus pandemic will affect all forms of insurance, including pet insurance. The insurance industry, will be, with the onset of unimaginable volumes of claims across the board as a result of the global financial crisis, fighting for their business survival. They will look at how they can increase income whilst reducing their exposure to future claims and avoid paying out on claims if at all possible.
- Increase income – Income from premiums is the main form of turnover that an insurance company generates. In order to increase its level of income, premiums for all forms of insurance ranging from pet insurance, through to life-insurance, car, house, wedding, travel and of course business insurance will all see premiums rise in the future. In doing so the insurance industry will be able to counteract part of the claims that they are likely to face in the coming years as a result of the Coronavirus and world lockdown.
- Reduce economic exposure – The insurance industry works in a similar way to any form of betting. In that they look at the risk they are being asked to undertake in providing insurance. They then calculate the likelihood that they will have to pay out on this risk and from this they formulate a cost. This cost takes into account the likelihood that they will have to pay out but also builds in a profit because of any business they are looking to make money. In order to risk their future economic exposure policies are likely to change and a variety of conditions or elements of a policy will either be reduced or removed from the policies protection. For instance in light of the pandemic, if this was to happen in the future the likelihood is no travel insurance policies will cover this eventuality or if they do they will attract a significant premium if you wished to add this to a policy.
- Avoid paying claims – The main area, certainly initially, that the industry will look at saving money will be via claims that are made being challenged or dismissed. These won’t be just in relation to claims directly made as a result of the Coronavirus and lockdown, such as business interruption insurance claims or travel insurance claims. These will also include all other forms of claims where the insurance industry is looking at reducing its exposure. Whether they are right or wrong to decline claims such as for pet insurance will be decided upon as people challenge the insurance industry when they take this approach.
Why would Coronavirus affect your pet Insurance?
It is not necessarily the fact that Coronavirus will directly affect pet insurance. In that pets will not go to the vets as a result of catching Covid-19, it is that the industry will look at any claims such as with pet insurance to see if they can avoid making payouts unless absolutely necessary. Even then they will probably adopt an attitude of challenging any claim to see if the claimant has the appetite to take the insurance company to task by way of making a complaint either direct to them, or following this if the claim is rejected taking the complaint on through to the Financial Ombudsman.
Pet insurance is no different to any other form of insurance in that it is wrapped up in an insurance policy that was agreed and signed at the outset. The vast majority of people signing any policy do not pay attention to the minute details of any policy that they are signing as is the case with pet insurance. They look at the bullet points that are placed in front of them by way of sales particulars or the sales process. These highlight the various benefits and protections the will be in place should a policy be taken out.
It may well be that when claims are made in relation to insurance policies that the insurer runs through the detailed terms and conditions which are contrary or to the sales promotional material. So in relation to pet insurance they will question any claims that may be affected by the annual Jab not being administered as the vast majority of vets are only providing emergency services, so jabs or annual boosters may lapse.
With insurance companies now desperately trying to survive all forms of insurance claims are likely to be challenged. No doubt this will include pet insurance as it does form a considerable liability in relation to claims and where there is potentially a lot of opportunity for the insurance industry in declining claims to save themselves considerable amount of money.
How does pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance works in exactly the same way as any other of insurance. It became popular when first launched only in recent years to cover the growing love that we have for pets of all shapes and sizes. The insurance tends to cover many different aspects of treatment, with capped limits. These limits may well be the avenue that the underwriters of the pet insurance use to challenge any claims.
Pet insurance is not normally something that is mis-sold. In that if you do have a pet there is considerable benefit having protection in place to cover unforeseen medical conditions or requirements that your pet or pets may have. However, unlike other forms of insurance there are many different aspects of cover just under the umbrella of one policy, all of which normally have a cap in place for maximum payment.
Pets and their medical conditions can run into certainly the hundreds but also in the thousands of pounds as there is little difference in cost treatment between an animal and human being.
What are the Benefits of Having pet Insurance?
- The insurance allows the pet owner the financial cushion to not have to choose between a pets life and personal finances.
- The policy provides the benefit that family finances are not drained in the event of a pet being ill or injured.
- Treatment costs can be reduced regarding stays in the veterinary hospital or on x-rays.
- Options surrounding treatments for the pet can be provided where they otherwise might not due to the cost implications.
- Some pet insurance can cover legal costs if a dog causes damage or injury to a third party.
- Rewards can be in place for the safe return of a pet if lost or stolen.
- Costly procedures can be covered.
- Owners can focus on their pet’s health rather than the care cost.
Pet insurance can therefore offer many benefits both in the love and care that you share for your pet which is particularly important in your life and probably even more so in these times of lockdown. Financially, there is or was pre-pandemic, a considerable level of protection from that insurance policies that provided piece of mind should the unfortunate decisions have to be made with regard to treatment of your beloved pet.
These treatments could be discussed and attended to without the obvious concerns of the financial impact that any treatment would have on the family finances as they would ordinarily or to a large part be covered by insurance policies that were in place.
Can I take my pet to the vet during the Coronavirus Outbreak?
With the lockdown in place as a result of the Coronavirus any unnecessary contact with people outside of the immediate household are to be avoided at all costs. Working conditions for those businesses that are still operating rely on the compliance of a 2m separation between individuals. As such the vast majority if not all of the veterinary surgeries are only open for emergency appointments and treatment.
As such collection of any medication is to be organised beforehand where this will include any regular treatments such as against fleas and ticks, as well as regular worming medication.
Annual boosters for pets is not classified as an emergency and these are being delayed for up to 3 months so that the requirement to provide additional boosters to maintain the protection that the annual booster provides is hopefully not necessary.
Can pets get the Coronavirus Disease?
There is a variety of news reports suggesting that animals can catch the Coronavirus. It would appear that this is in negligible numbers and not something certainly at this stage anyone should worry about. However, the government and worldwide authorities are always assessing transmission of the virus but it does appear that pets are free certainly of the symptoms. As with any contagion there will always be anomalies.
Can I get Coronavirus from my pet?
Again, transmission of the Coronavirus hasn’t been singled out as being transmissible by pets or any animal. Although, the initial suggestion was that the virus was transmitted through the Chinese ‘wet markets’ via a bat. There don’t appear or certainly haven’t been publicised in any great depth or discussed in the various meetings and press conferences concerns relating to animals transmitting the Coronavirus. Of course that does not necessarily mean it doesn’t happen it is just incredibly unlikely to.