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Pet Insurance and Obesity

Insuring your pet helps you to avoid huge veterinary bills if your furry friend requires surgery or other costly treatments. But cover doesn’t come cheap. Which makes it all the more frustrating if you are refused payment following a claim.

You probably realise that you must declare all of your pet’s pre-existing conditions and previous health issues when you take out your policy. But did you know that your insurer could refuse to pay out if your pet is overweight?

Refused Claims

Many pet owners are finding that their claims are being rejected because their animals are obese. So many, in fact, that the Financial Ombudsman Service received 422 complaints in the last three months of 2017 regarding failed claims which involved obese pets.

But the Ombudsman didn’t have much sympathy for the pet owners and upheld just 26% of their claims. In the remaining 74% of cases, the Ombudsman ruled that the insurance companies were justified in refusing to pay out.

Pet Insurance Complaints Soar

Complaints about pet insurance are on the rise. Indeed, complaints increased by a massive 38% last year. One complaint which was referred to the Ombudsman was against Allianz Insurance after the company refused to cough up for medical bills relating to a dog’s treatment for a cruciate ligament condition. The owner concerned had not declared any issues with his dog’s knee. He then visited his vet because the dog was limping and a cruciate ligament problem was diagnosed.

Overweight Dog

The dog underwent surgery and physiotherapy to address the problem but when the owner submitted his claim to Allianz, it was refused on the grounds that the pooch was overweight. The company said that they would have excluded hip, leg and shoulder disorders from the policy if they had known that the dog was overweight at the time the policy was purchased.

Complaint Upheld

But the owner did not believe that the ligament issue was related to his dog’s weight and complained to the ombudsman. On this occasion, the owner’s complaint was upheld because the dog’s vet has classified the animal as overweight but not obese and Allianz had not asked any specific questions about the dog’s weight. Allianz were instructed to reassess the claim and to pay £350 compensation to the owner of the dog.

How Overweight is Your pet?

It would appear that the outcome of a claim could rest on exactly how overweight a pet is and that could be a grey area. It would be best to ensure that your pet is the correct weight, not just to satisfy your insurer, but for the sake of your animal’s health and wellbeing.

Have you had a claim refused because your animal is overweight? Has your insurance company asked about your pet’s weight? Let us know!


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