Pet Insurance: essential or too expensive?

Ben TobinYouGov PR Manager
August 11, 2014, 11:01 PM GMT+0

A new YouGov report reveals why Pet Insurance companies may struggle to appeal to different sectors of society. Less affluent pet owners perceive cover to be too expensive, whereas the better off often pay for operations and treatment out of their own pocket.

The most recent research, which compares to a similar 2012 study, shows that the main factors limiting the uptake of pet insurance are poor value for money and the high cost of premiums. These factors are more important than in 2012. Almost four in ten (39%) of pet owners without insurance said it was not good value for money, and was the main reason for not taking out cover. This compares with 31% in 2012. Over a quarter (26%) said they could not afford the premiums.

The words that uninsured pet owners most associate with pet insurance are ‘expensive’ (68%) and ‘waste of money’ (30%). Even 57% of those with insurance deem it expensive. However, pet insurance policy holders also believe that such insurance gives ‘peace of mind’ (78%) and is ‘essential’ (49%).

There is also an increased propensity to self-finance vet bills over the last two years. Almost one in five (19%) say they can afford to pay for any treatment out of their own pockets, up 4 percentage points from 2012. 13% also say they save money each month in case they need to pay bills. The above suggests that self-financing of veterinary bills had become easier over the past two years, a fact that might be explained by the improving economic picture in the UK.

James McCoy, Research Director, YouGov Reports said; ‘Although social grade is important to being able to afford to take out pet insurance, our research suggests that those at different ends of the financial spectrum share the opinion that cover is not necessarily always a sound financial option.

‘More affluent pet owners find insurance poor value because they can afford to pay for treatment up front; for less affluent pet owners, while pet insurance is perceived as offering good value for money, the cost of premiums is prohibitive, leading some to save money instead.'

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Image: PA