It’s that time of the year again: you've received a renewal quote from your insurer and are wondering what to do.
For some people, the price will look fine. But many owners see big increases that may make them consider switching. Our guide to pet insurance renewal can help.
Why did my pet insurance premium increase?
It might not be much of a consolation, but you are not alone when it comes to price increases. Most pet owners see the cost of their pet insurance increase year after year. There are several reasons why:
- Insurance costs are increasing overall. Due to impressive advancements in veterinary treatments, vets can now do more for pets than ever before. These treatments come at a cost though, and they inevitably have an impact on pet insurance premiums.
- Your pet is older. As animals age the risk of them becoming ill increases, and so the cost of insurance goes up. The only exception to the rule can be for pets in their first year of life.
- Your pet got sick during the past year and you made a claim. The claims history might indicate a greater likelihood of an animal needing further treatment in the future. However, not all insurers increase prices if you claim. At Bought By Many, your individual claims history does not affect your price.
- If you joined a new company a year ago you may have had an introductory discount. When that ends owners can see a big jump in their price. Although introductory deals can be enticing, we do not offer them at Bought By Many because we believe they're not helpful at renewal when we end. We also do not agree with the loyalty penalty that means new customers get a better price than existing policyholders. Our existing customers pay the same price as new customers for the same policy.
- Finally, insurance companies are businesses and they try to make a profit. Some of them are more aggressive than others in increasing their prices and are willing to run the risk of seeing customers leave because of that.
How much does pet insurance increase each year?
According to the ABI, the average pet insurance premium dropped from £281 in 2017 to £279 in 2018, which is the first drop in eight years. And that in the last 10 years the average increase in premiums has been around 10%, compared to the average increase in claims, which has been around 75%.
It's likely the ABI is looking at mix of premiums for cats and dogs. Dogs cost more to insure and it's not uncommon for annual cover to cost over £500.
The average claim stood at around £793 in 2018.
With so many people buying pets during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 the price of pets shot up. The price of a cat or dog will affect their insurance premium so it's likely the average pet insurance premium increased significantly this year.
However, it's impossible to predict how much someone's per insurance premium will increase each year.
Each insurer uses different rating factors to decide their prices. But there are a number of known factors that can affect your price.
Pet insurance costs more in cities and the South East of England so if you move to London you're likely to end up paying more.
Some pet insurers will increase your premiums because of a claim. At Bought By Many we don't do this.
And prices are likely to increase more steeply when your pet is older than 7 or 8. And for some breeds prices can start to increase at younger ages.
What can I do when my pet insurance is up for renewal?
You might come to the conclusion that the renewal price is fair, though higher, and you are happy to stick with your current insurer. In which case you might not want to take any action.
Generally speaking, if your pet needed treatment for a serious injury or illness in the past, it can be worth sticking with your current provider. Most pet insurance policies do not provide cover for pre-existing conditions and a new insurer will most likely decline a claim if your pet already had the condition before the policy was taken out.
All Bought By Many vet fee policies cover conditions that ended at least two years ago and we have a policy that covers more recent pre-existing conditions.
It's important to understand the cover you will get for an existing condition when you switch insurers so make sure you read the policy documents or speak to the company.
On the other side, if the increase in price doesn’t seem to be justified, don’t be tempted to give up.
If you can find the cover you need from another insurer you could shop around. And if you find a lower price elsewhere, don't be afraid to negotiate with your existing insurer.
At Bought By Many we have removed the 14-day exclusion period for pet owners wanting to switch from their existing insurer. This means that as long as you switch straight from your existing insurer to Bought By Many with no break in cover, then we will pay vet fee claims in the first 14 days if you need to claim.
In addition, we believe in offering new customers the same price as existing customers, with no introductory discounts. Meaning everyone gets a fair price.
You might question whether you need a pet insurance at all. Pet insurance might be expensive but it can give you peace of mind - by paying an insurance company a set amount monthly or yearly, you don’t have to worry about covering the costs of expensive vet treatment yourself if your pet becomes unwell or is in an accident.
As with all your finances, it’s worth reviewing your pet insurance regularly.