If you still have a pet insurance policy with AXA you should by now be aware that AXA are pulling out of the pet insurance market and have sold their pet insurance business to NCI. This transfer took effect on 1st September 2014.
If you are an AXA policyholder (like me!) then you will be understandably concerned about the terms of the new policy and the extent to which it will cover any pre-existing conditions. This is the information I have at present. I will keep it updated as more information becomes available.
NCI have put a FAQ page on the their pet insurance website specifically for AXA policyholders which provides lots of useful information. Link to NCI Information for AXA Customers.
In a letter written to all policyholders recently AXA said “NCI pet insurance will cover any of your pet’s ongoing illnesses which you have told us about already and will cover all conditions which have previously been treated under your AXA pet insurance policy subject to the policy terms and conditions of the NCI Pet Insurance policy” (further details below).
Note: NCI have confirmed on their website that this also includes any illnesses or conditions that you had whilst your pet was on cover with AXA which were not notified to them.
NCI have designed a new policy specifically for those transferring from AXA with the same policy limits for most benefits. Link to NCI Life Plus Policy Details.
The Small Print
According to NCI this policy very closely matches the levels of cover offered by the AXA policy. However as usual it is very important to read the small print. Here are the significant differences we found when we did so!
Vet Fees: You need to get pre-authorisation for any treatment expected to cost in excess of £850.
Dental Cover: This is included but only if your pet has had a dental examination in the last 12 months.
Prescription Food: The new policy will only pay for prescription food for the treatment of bladder stones or crystals and will pay 40% of the cost for a maximum of 6 months (whereas the AXA policy would pay for any non-obesity clinical diet for 4 weeks (up to a maximum of £200).
Physiotherapy: Is included in vet fees in the new policy which is means it is not included in the £250 limit for complementary therapy.
Hydrotherapy: Is limited to 10 sessions per condition (no limit on hydrotherapy in the AXA policy except for the monetary limit of £250 per condition.
Death Benefits: You claim will be limited to the market value of your pet (at the time of acquisition) if this is less than the purchase price. The AXA policy in common with most other quality policies paid the purchase price.
Lost/Stolen Benefits: The new policy includes an exclusion (not found in the AXA policy) which says that you cannot claim if you voluntarily parted with your pet even if you were tricked into doing so.
Boarding Fees: Can only be claimed under the NCI policy if you or your partner goes into hospital whereas under the AXA policy they also be claimed if one of your children living with you went into hospital. The NCI policy has a limit of £5 per day if you are paying someone (other than a boarding kennel or cattery) to look after your pet. There was no daily limit in the AXA policy.
Third Party Liability: The new policy includes an exclusion (not found in the AXA policy) which says that you cannot claim for an accident that was caused by you failing to follow advice given by a previous owner or rescue organisation.
Other Benefits: The new policy does not appear to include cover for euthanasia, cremation, accidental damage or referral transport costs (all included in the AXA policy).
Travel: The NCI policy will only provide travel cover for travel to EU countries which are members of the PET travel scheme, whereas the AXA policy provided travel cover for any country included in the PET travel scheme. However there is no separate limit for vet fees incurred abroad in the NCI policy whereas the AXA policy had a limit of £1,000.
Premium, Excess and Contribution
These details will be sent to you with your policy information as they may well be different depending on your circumstances.
However it does seem that if your pet is over 10 years old you will be required to pay 10% of the vet fees in addition to the fixed excess. (Not required by the AXA policy).
We have already received some information about alarmingly high premiums for those with pre-existing conditions!
We are aware of many AXA policyholders who are deeply unhappy about this situation, several of whom tell us that they have already made formal complaints to the Financial Ombudsman. We will be monitoring developments closely. If you have information to share or just want to stay in touch then please do join us on our social media pages.