How to cancel your pet insurance policy
You may decide you want to cancel your pet insurance policy for a variety of reasons: you may have had second thoughts about the specific policy you've taken out, or you may inherit some money and decide that you can use savings to pay vets' fees rather than relying on insurance cover.
Can you afford to cancel pet insurance?
If you're cancelling your insurance because money is tight, however, simply to save on monthly premiums, bear in mind how expensive veterinary treatment can be – and how you would afford it without adequate cover. If your much-loved pet is injured or becomes unwell, you could be faced with huge vet bills - or the heartbreaking decision of having your companion put to sleep.
In 2011, figures compiled for Money Mail revealed that the average cost of pet insurance had risen by more than a third in one year, and that the average cost of treatment for a pedigree cat was £420 — a whopping 28 % more than the previous year. Treatment for a pedigree dog costs an average of £469, an increase of 13% in 12 months, and some larger breeds tend to attract even higher bills.
If, despite these statistics, you still want to go ahead and cancel your pet insurance policy, read on to find out how to go about it.
Cancelling because you've changed your mind
Most policies include a 'cooling off' period of 14 days from the date of purchase, during which time you can change your mind and cancel the policy without penalty. It may be that you've found a better or more suitable level of cover elsewhere.
This is the easiest time to cancel. You can expect to receive a full refund for the premiums you've already paid as long as you haven’t made a claim (and since most pet insurance policies exclude claims within the first two weeks of the policy term, this is unlikely!). Depending on the insurance company, you may be charged a small administration fee to cover the paperwork involved in the cancellation.
Cancelling once the 'cooling off' period has passed
You can still cancel your policy at any time after the 14-day cooling-off period has passed, but you won’t be refunded for any premiums you have paid before your cancellation date, and you may be charged an administration fee as well. It is not enough to simply stop paying your premiums – you need to contact your insurer and inform them that you wish to cancel the policy.
Changing insurance provider at renewal time
Another good time to switch insurance providers is on your annual renewal date. You don't actually need to 'cancel' – you simply don't renew. Just watch out if you have auto-renewal set up on your existing policy, and make sure you set up a reminder in your calendar to start comparing quotes from rival companies before your renewal date, so you don't overlook it. If you stop cover on your renewal date, you will avoid any charges.
Before you cancel...
If you're planning to cancel your insurance without taking out alternative cover, carefully weigh up the risks of going without insurance against the cost of keeping up with your premiums. Remember those statistics - that about one in three policyholders makes a claim on their insurance – so many pet owners do end up needing and using their cover.