Co-op Pet Insurance coronavirus information

Last updated at 9am on Wednesday 13 May 2020

In these unprecedented times we know there is uncertainty around many things. We've created these coronavirus related questions and answers to help Co-op Pet Insurance customers.

Frequently asked questions

Payment delay, what is it and how do I request one?

We know this is a difficult time for many of our customers, and we want to be there to help you.

If you’re worried about not being able to pay your premiums and leaving your pet unprotected we have some options.

What is a payment holiday/delay?

A “payment holiday” is another name for a payment delay. This is where we agree to delay collecting your insurance premiums for up to 3 months.

Premiums will still be owed at the end of this period, not written off. You can choose whether you would like to delay collection of your premium for 1, 2 or 3 months.

Am I eligible for a payment delay?

A 1, 2 or 3 month payment delay is available for customers who have made at least one payment on their policy since taking out cover and pay by monthly direct debit.

If you pay annually and would like  to talk  to us about switching to direct debit at your renewal then please call us on 0345 075 4582^.

How do I pay back the premium owed?

The payments that you request to delay payment for will be spread evenly across the remainder of the payments you have on your policy.

For example, if after the delay you have 4 months left on your policy we would divide the premium you owe us between these months and add it to your normal monthly premium.  This will be different for customers who renew in this time.

Can I still claim?

We’ll continue to pay your claims as normal in this period.

However, if you claim whilst you are not paying your usual monthly premiums but you cancel your policy at the end of the delay period without paying the outstanding money owed, we reserve our rights to ask you to pay us back any monies paid out in relation to claims in this period.

How quickly can I start a payment delay?

Normally to collect your payment we send a request to your bank before your scheduled payment date to ensure that we collect on time.

Unfortunately this means that if you have less than 5 working days left before your next payment is due to be collected, we will be unable to stop this collection and instead will delay the subsequent payments.

Am I still eligible for a payment delay if my policy is due to renew?

If your policy is due to renew during a payment delay period, the delayed premium from the period before your renewal will be collected in full after the delay period ends.

This will be outlined in the new payment schedule we send you. Any delayed premiums from the period after your renewal will be spread across the remaining payments in your policy year.

What if a payment delay isn’t right for me?

If a payment delay doesn’t meet your needs and you currently have a Select Plus policy, you can always speak to us about downgrading or changing the cover you have.

It is best to ring us on 0345 075 4582^ to speak to one of our team directly as they will be able to explain to you not only what options you have but also make sure you understand if this would have any effect on the extent of cover your pet has.

What if I have multiple policies?

If you would like to start a payment delay on more than one policy, you will need to contact us on 0345 075 4582^ to discuss your options further.

How can I apply for a payment delay?

Please email us at [email protected] to let us know if you’d like start a 1, 2 or 3 month payment delay and we will get back in touch with you. Alternatively you can call us on 0345 075 4582^.

Will you cover the cost of telephone/video veterinary consultations (tele-medicine)?

Yes, these costs are covered the same as a face to face vet consultation. This applies regardless of whether the customer is in self-isolation or not.

Will you cover veterinary home visits for customers who are in isolation?

No, tele-medicine rules have been relaxed which allows vets to prescribe medication through this medium. Therefore, the need for home visits should be as before the crisis and only when the pet’s life is in danger etc. 

We'll continue to cover these costs as detailed in the terms and conditions, the current home visit rules will not be changed.

If my vet is offering out of hours consultations to try and spread consultations out across the day, would I still be covered?

It's likely vets will do this but we wouldn’t expect these consultations to be classed as out of hours. We'll continue to cover these costs as detailed in the terms and conditions, the current out of hours claim rules will not be changed.

If my veterinary practice decides to post or deliver medication - will the cost of postage or delivery be covered?

Yes, we'll temporarily cover the cost of postage or delivery. This is when the medication is sent to the customer through the mail, courier, or when the practice delivers the medication to the customer themselves. 

There's a limit of £5 for each delivery, which covers up to a 1kg parcel being sent first class.

If there is a delay in dental treatment being carried out - will this affect my ability to claim?

The three month requirement will be temporarily removed and won't form part of the claim assessment.

Can I claim for medication if I bulk buy?

Owners can only get six months’ worth of medication at a time, so bulk buying will be limited by this to some extent.  The normal rules should apply for 12-month policies, where we only cover the medication that will be used up to the 12-month limit.

What happens if I can’t get a veterinary practice to sign my paper claim form?

Where possible you should use our online claim forms. This option means no face-to-face contact is needed between the vet and the customer.

If a paper claim form is received without a vet practice signature:

  • If the practice has filled in their side, it can be assessed as if the form was signed, providing we have supporting invoices and the claim is to pay the vet direct.

We can’t carry on with assessing the claim if any of the below apply:

  • There are no supporting invoices
  • The claim is pay direct to customer
  • The vet hasn’t filled in their side of the form.

In these scenarios, we will get in touch with the vet and ask if they can make the claim through VetEnvoy and if that isn’t possible we’ll contact you to see if you are able to submit an online claim.

What will happen if veterinary treatment is delayed? Will you still deal with claims where treatment would’ve taken place in the 12 month limit but was delayed until afterwards?

We'll treat these cases as if the treatment was carried out within the 12-month limit providing the vets confirm the delay was due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cover can be extended by a maximum of three months.

If my vet gives me a prescription and I get the medication online, will I still be able to claim?

We cover prescription charges so there will be no change in our claims handling.

Will holiday cancellation be covered if the holiday is cancelled due to coronavirus?

No, this isn’t cover provided by the policy. In the very unlikely event the virus develops to where domestic animals can become infected, there may be cover in some situations.

I am self-isolating at home after being discharged from hospital with coronavirus – if my pet is in a boarding facility and I can’t get anyone to pick them up, will cover still be provided for the boarding fees?

Yes, we will continue to cover the boarding fees until you are able to get the pet home, or until the maximum benefit is reached, whichever happens first.

Does the boarding fees section provide cover for owners self-isolating in a home environment due to coronavirus?

The boarding fees section does not provide cover when a person is self-isolating in a home environment. 

However, we appreciate that there will be a small number of cases where a customer would likely have been hospitalised with coronavirus but wasn't because of hospital capacity. 

In these scenarios, we will assess the claim as if the customer was in hospital.

In there is a delay in routine care such as vaccines and dental examinations - will this impact my claim?

On 9 March 2020 the UK government advised people to stay at home. From this point vets may have cancelled routine treatments. 

This means pets who should’ve had an annual vaccination or annual dental check from this time onwards may not have been able to. We will take a flexible approach to this.

For routine care required from 1 March:

  1. If the routine care is carried out up to six months after it should’ve been, the delay will be accepted and the claim assessed as if the delay didn't happen.
  2. If the routine care is carried out six months or more after it should’ve been, we will assess the claim on the basis that the care wasn’t carried out within our required timescales.

Vaccination examples:

  • Vaccination was due 1 April and wasn’t done, the pet then suffered from an illness that  they would’ve been vaccinated against on the 1 August – the claim will be assessed as if the delay didn’t happen
  • Vaccination was due 1 April and wasn’t done, the pet then suffered from an illness he/she would’ve been vaccinated against on the 1 December – the claim will be assessed on the basis that the care wasn’t carried out within our required timescales.

Dental examples:

  • Dental exam due 26 March and wasn’t done, the pet is then seen for a dental injury/illness 1 May – the claim will be assessed as if the delay didn’t happen
  • Dental exam due 26 March and wasn’t done, the pet is then seen for a dental injury/illness 1 November - the claim will be assessed on the basis that the care wasn’t carried out within our required timescales

As the pandemic continues to develop we will review the 6 month timescale to ensure it remains appropriate.

The policy provides cover when the pet is outside of the UK, in an EU country. This is limited to 90 days in each policy year.  Will this limit be extended for customers locked down in an EU country?

Yes, we'll continue to cover the pet while they are in the EU country. We're happy to extend this until 14 days after the lockdown in the country is lifted. This will ensure the pet is still covered while arrangements are made to get the pet home.