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Your pet insurance premium explained

How we work out the cost of your pet insurance

Your pet's breed 

Mongrel or pedigree? Moggy or Maine Coon? The breed of your pet will impact the price of your insurance. 

Some breeds of cats and dogs have a longer life expectancy than others. Pure breeds may have hereditary health problems, for example, while cross breeds are more robust. 

And size does matter: bigger pets need larger doses of drugs if they're sick and can take longer to recover – so their cover can sometimes be more expensive.

Your pet's age

Just like humans, the older our pets get, the more likely they are to have health hiccups. Cats and dogs age faster than we do, too. One cat or dog year is the same as about seven human years.

The cost of insuring your pet will go up as they get older. This is because older pets are more likely to need veterinary treatment to keep them in tip top shape. 

 

Your pet's gender 

Did you know female cats and dogs tend to have fewer medical problems than males? And if females do get ill, they're often more resilient and need less treatment.

Also, male pets can be more boisterous, which means they're more likely to have accidents or get into fights with each other.

Normally, you'll pay more for your pet insurance if you have a male dog or cat.

Where you live

The region you live in has a bearing on the cost of your pet insurance. This is because the majority of your premium is set aside to pay out claims for vet fees.

So, if you live in the South of England, it's likely you'll pay more for your pet insurance because the average cost of treatment and medication is higher than in the North.

Advances in medical treatment

With so many developments in human medicine and complementary therapies, it's no surprise veterinary medicine is also improving at a rapid rate.

Poorly pets can now be referred to specialists for treatments, including acupuncture, orthopaedics, surgery, hydrotherapy and even chemotherapy.

This means the cost of treating pets is going up, which will be reflected in the price of your insurance.

The number of claims

We pay out on hundreds of pet insurance claims every month. The expected number and cost of these claims is what we base our overall premiums on. If the number of claims goes up because of things like a parvo virus epidemic, or an outbreak of Lyme disease, this could mean large increases to everyone's pet insurance.

At an individual policy level, if claims are made, the increases at renewal will be higher than if no claims are made. Increases may vary depending on the number and value of claims.

Liability

Imagine you're out for a lovely walk in the country with your dog. He's off the lead, exploring all the rabbit holes and sploshing in puddles. Suddenly, he catches sight of someone on a bicycle, chases and bumps into them, causing them to fall off and hurt themselves.

Because you're responsible for your dog's behaviour, the cyclist could sue you for negligence. They could make a personal injury claim to cover the cost of medical treatment or demand compensation.

As the cost of liability claims increase, prices have to go up to cover these costs.

Legislative changes

Insurance companies have no say on how much tax is charged on each policy. The government sets the rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT); this rate has increased incrementally since it was introduced.