UK Pet Insurance market report
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Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Pet Insurance market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.
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Pet insurance is designed to cover medical expenses if the insured pet becomes ill or is injured in an accident. Most products cater for cats and dogs, although there are policies available for horses and ponies, rabbits, fish and more exotic pets.
Policies fall into three main categories:
- High-level/lifetime policies provide the most comprehensive cover, paying out a set amount for veterinary treatment (which may be a total amount per year or a set amount per condition), which renews each year in line with the renewal of the policy. They cover ongoing and recurring illnesses for the lifetime of the pet, providing the policy remains active (i.e. the premiums keep being paid). As a result, lifetime policies are often the most expensive option. Moreover, premiums rise with the age of the pet, and as a result of any claims made.
- Mid-level/‘per condition no time limit’ policies cover conditions up to a set amount but there is no time limit placed on how long the policyholder can claim for. Once the amount has been reached, the condition is then excluded from any future payouts.
- Basic-level/time-limited policies provide cover up to a maximum amount per condition for a limited period of time (usually 12 months). After this time, the condition is excluded, even if the policy is renewed. Any further treatment required after the 12-month period would need to be self-funded. These policies tend to be the cheapest, but offer the lowest level of cover of the three main types.
In addition, there are low-cost accident-only pet policies, which only provide cover for accidents and exclude cover for illnesses.
In the case of dogs, third-party liability will be included in the majority of policies in all three types of cover mentioned above. Under the law, cat owners are not legally accountable for their cat’s actions.
Insurance policies will not normally cover periodic visits to the vet or events that could have been anticipated, such as routine vaccinations and neutering. However, an increasing number of providers are offering health cash plans, which offer to spread the cost of preventative care with monthly payments covering regular treatments and consultations at discounted prices. These products are offered in addition rather than as an alternative for insurance, but are closely linked as failure to keep up to date with routine jabs and treatments, or claiming for a condition that could have been prevented by them, could invalidate insurance.
What you need to know
The market for pet insurance has shown continuous expansion over the last decade, and despite slower growth in 2016, the sector surged ahead again in 2017. Gross written premiums grew by 14% to reach £1.2 billion, while the number of subscribers rose by 11% to 3.6 million.
55% of pet owners say they have pet insurance, rising to 66% of dog owners. Penetration of policies has been increasing in recent years, despite average premiums being the highest on record. In part, this is down to the rising cost of veterinary treatments, driving consumers to choose insurance to protect themselves from unexpected costs.
This Report examines the UK pet insurance market, including an assessment of the size of the sector and a forecast for the next five years, the main market drivers and developments and innovations in competitive strategies. Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at the proportion of consumers who have pets, and the penetration of pet insurance among pet owners. The research also covers the type of cover held, the insurer used and the switching activity. General attitudes and behaviours towards pet insurance are explored, including reasons for not having pet insurance.
Expert analysis from a specialist in the field
Written by Irene Salazar, a leading analyst in the Financial Services sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.
The pet insurance market is enjoying another positive year, with growth projected to continue in the medium term. Pet owners are keen to ensure they have enough cover to take care of their animals, while the rising cost of vet bills makes insurance increasingly attractive. Innovative insurers have an opportunity to strengthen and redefine their relationship with owners, going well beyond what is expected of them to become active in every aspect of pet ownership.
Financial Services Analyst
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