Many policies will pay a “death benefit” in the sad event of your pet dying. Although this may feel “wrong” it can help to provide the funds to help you get another pet when the time is right.
Usually this is payable whether your pet dies as a result of accident or illness but a few policies only cover one or the other.
The death benefit shown in the policy details is the maximum benefit payable.
The most you will be able to claim is the purchase price of your pet (providing you have the documentation). If your pet is a rescue pet you can usually claim the amount of the donation you made to the rescue organisation.
This means that if you paid £250 for your pet this is the very most you will be able to claim even if the benefit is shown as £1,500.
However be aware that there are many policies that will pay less than the purchase amount.
Some policies will the “market value” of your pet if this is less than the purchase amount. (“Market value” is a very difficult concept for most pet owners to understand, as it seems impossible to put a monetary value on a much-beloved pet.)
The policy terms will state whether they will use the “market value” at the time you acquired your pet or at the time your pet died. Clearly, there can be a big difference between the market value of an 8-week-old puppy and that of a 12-year-old dog!
Other policies apply a discount scale to the purchase price or market value. So the older your pet the less you receive.
There are also policies which will only pay 75% of the benefit if your pet is neutered.
Maximum Age for Death Benefit for Illnesses
All policies have a maximum age at which they will pay a death benefit for pets which die as a result of an illness. This can be as low as 5 years old or even lower for selected dog breeds.
Missing Purchase Documentation
Most policies will specify what they will pay if you are unable to produce any purchase documentation. Some will not pay anything but many will pay the “market value”. Others will pay a fixed amount (e.g. £70 for dogs and £35 for cats).