Consumer asks us to investigate difficulties trying to take out pet insurance policy for his cat

Pet Insurance Distress and inconvenience Up to £300

Shai asked us to investigate whether an insurer should pay him compensation for difficulties he faced when trying to take out a pet insurance policy for his cat.

What happened

Shai was looking to take out a pet insurance policy for his cat. He went through the application process on the insurer’s website. At the end of the application, the website displayed a message confirming that the policy had been set up. Shai emailed the insurer a week later as he hadn’t received any policy documents or confirmation of cover beyond the message displayed on the website. There followed a lengthy back and forth which spanned a number of days. The insurer asked Shai to confirm various different pieces of information. In the end, it said something must have gone wrong with the application as it couldn’t find a live policy using any of the details he’d provided.

Shai complained to the insurer as he was worried to hear that his cat was still uninsured. The insurer invited Shai to go through a second application over the phone to prevent the same thing happening again. But the call handler noted down Shai’s payment details incorrectly, which meant that when it tried to take the first payment a week later, it failed.

Shai received a templated letter explaining that his policy had been suspended for non-payment and would remain so until he made contact to rectify the issue. At that point he lost faith in the insurer and took out a policy with another provider.

The insurer apologised to Shai and offered him £100 compensation. But Shai didn’t think this reflected the hassle he’d been put through and came to us for a second opinion.

What we said

We considered that it ought to have been relatively straightforward for Shai to have set up an insurance policy for his cat. But due to the unexplained failure of his application he’d had to have several additional interactions with the insurer over a two-week period.

We accepted it came as a shock to Shai to learn that his cat had been uninsured, and it was frustrating that he’d had to go through a second application. The impact of these issues was further compounded when the insurer suspended the policy for failing to take down his payment details correctly. There were repeated mistakes which led to wasted time, having to contact the insurer by email and phone. We accepted this had caused Shai upset, frustration and extra effort to get an insurance policy for his pet. So, we decided the insurer should increase its compensation offer to £200.