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50,000 pet owners face crippling vet bills after their insurance is axed


More than 50,000 policyholders with state-owned Lloyds TSB and Halifax have been told they no longer have cover

Furious pet owners must now fund the veterinary bills themselves – totalling thousands of pounds – or face the painful alternative of putting their animals to sleep. Thousands of pet owners are preparing to pay huge veterinary bills – or face the heartbreaking prospect of having their beloved animals put down – after their insurance policies were axed. More than 50,000 policyholders with state-owned Lloyds TSB and Halifax have been told they no longer have cover.
Many who have sick cats and dogs will be unable to find pet insurance elsewhere, as other firms will not cover animals that have already been treated.

It is understood insurers are pulling out of the market because they claim it is simply unaffordable to offer pet cover.
Halifax and Lloyds announced that they would stop offering cover last October. Since 2009, a total of 13 pet insurers have done the same, blaming rocketing vets’ fees.

Lloyds customers are no longer able to renew their policies, and any existing cover will end in September.
Many of the affected pet owners have now lobbied Lloyds Banking Group, which also owns Halifax, to change its decision and some are threatening to take it to court.
Marc Gander, founder of Consumer Action Group, which is preparing the legal challenge, said: ‘The bank has gone back on its promises and betrayed these policyholders.

The cost of the average pet insurance policy has jumped by more than a third in the past year, and could now range from £150 to £600.
The average cost of treatment for a pedigree cat is now £420 – 28 per cent more than a year ago.
Treatment for a pedigree dog costs £469 on average, a jump of 13 per cent. Some larger breeds rack up higher bills.
Under the Lloyds and Halifax policies, if a pet developed an illness the owners could continue to claim for it when they renewed their cover.
And the Halifax policy had promised cover for up to £6,000 of medical treatment every year, which is why it was so popular.

A spokesman for Lloyds said: ‘Following a detailed review, Lloyds Banking Group has announced the decision to withdraw from the pet insurance market.
‘We are sorry for any inconvenience this might cause customers.’
It said its insurance policies were renewed annually and it reserved the right to cancel them.

source : dailymail