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05 October 2021

Insurers extend cover for distressed dogs as owners return to office after lockdown

05 October 2021

Insurers have stepped up their cover to help distressed dogs as some owners return to office working, according to analysis.

Many people took on new pets during the coronavirus lockdowns – but now some owners have been returning to workplaces after previously having spent more time at home.

Pet owners may not realise that their insurance policy could include cover for veterinary treatment for their distressed pets, financial information firm Defaqto said.

Behaviour cover is designed to pay for therapy to treat emotional distress.

Defaqto found more insurers are now offering behaviour cover as part of their pet insurance products, compared with the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is not surprising then that some dogs are anxious when they are being left alone for the first time

Nearly half (44%) of dog insurance policies now include full cover for behaviour, compared with 30% in February 2020.

Insurers are also offering more generous cover limits compared with pre-pandemic times.

Among the products providing full cover to pay for behavioural therapy, the average amount of cover is now £2,984 compared with £2,205 pre-pandemic and one in four (25%) policies offer over £5,000-worth of cover for behavioural treatment.

Defaqto cautioned that insurers will exclude cover for claims where the behavioural illness could have been prevented by proper training and socialising.

Brian Brown, consumer finance expert at Defaqto, said: “Dogs provided much-needed companionship for their owners throughout the pandemic and for those that started life in lockdown, they have never known any different.

“It is not surprising then that some dogs are anxious when they are being left alone for the first time and displaying destructive behaviour. The good news is that this is treatable and insurers have stepped up to increase their cover for this.

“Many insurers offer free vet helplines where you can get advice over the phone, even if you don’t have to make a claim. If you find you don’t have insurance cover, speak to the animal charities to get advice.”

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