- Number of pet insurance policies increased by 59% in the last year, according to LV= GI.
- However, accidental damage claims caused by animals have fallen by 18% in the same period, as the nation’s pet owners stay home.
- The rise of the virtual vet: Pet insurance customers accessing virtual pet care grows by 400% in a year.
- In March, around seven in 10 ‘virtual vet’ appointments focused on puppy advice, as the UK gets to grips with its dog ownership.
Despite the rise in ‘pandemic pets’, LV= GI’s data also found that accidental damage claims caused by animals have actually fallen by 18% in the same period. This decrease is likely due to the number of pet owners currently working from home and being able to spend more time with them. However, there are concerns that as people return to the office the number of pet-related claims could rise. Recent data from The Kennel Club found that one in ten (10 per cent) owners who bought a dog during lockdown are now worried about whether they can care for them as restrictions 3. The RSPCA have also raised concerns that some people may have bought a pet on impulse without considering how their lifestyle might change after the pandemic.
During March this year, around seven in 10 appointments with FirstVet4, a free 24/7 video consultation service with a qualified UK vet for LV= GI pet insurance customers focused on puppy advice, as the nation got to grips with its new-found dog obsession. The number of LV= GI customers accessing ‘virtual vet’ appointments has risen by 400% in the last year, and nearly 70 per cent (69%) were able to get the advice they needed without having to visit a vet in person. Common queries included stomach issues, advice on excessive itching and scratching, and general discomfort.
Martin Milliner, Claims Director at LV= General Insurance said; “The pandemic pet boom has seen people across the country add to their families. It’s encouraging that we’ve seen the number of pet insurance policies also rise along with this, indicating that people are invested in taking the best possible care of their four-legged friends. We’re really proud to offer a service like FirstVet, offering a free video chat with a qualified vet for our customers. Many conditions can be assessed and solved in the comfort of your own home.
“As lockdown eases and our lives return to a relative normal, it’s possible that some families and their pets will struggle to adjust. Animals left unsupervised, possibly for the first time, may cause damage around the house. Accidental damage insurance is there for you when these incidents happen, so it’s worth checking your cover if you think you’ll need it.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1 LV= General Insurance Pet and Accidental Damage claims data from March 2020 - March 2021
2 Average pet premium for this year with LV= GI
3 The Kennel Club, February 2021
4 FirstVet is an independent digital veterinary service that offers video consultations to pet owners for advice and guidance. The service is for non-emergency issues and pets should be taken to a local vet clinic if an emergency.