How to insure your pet to travel abroad

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If you want to take your pet with you on holiday you should make sure they are properly insured. Here is how to find pet insurance that covers your pet abroad.

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You no longer have to put your beloved pet into kennels or a cattery when you go on holiday as many places will let you bring them along too. If it’s not a holiday, and you’re travelling or moving to another country, you can also bring your furry friend although there are strict rules to follow.

You’ll need to check if your pet needs their own passport, any extra vaccinations and if they will need to be quarantined for the trip. Insurance is also key and will save you a lot in vet fees if your pet becomes ill or injured. 

What is pet travel insurance?

It is an extension of pet insurance that can be added to cover trips abroad. Some pet insurance policies include overseas cover as standard, but with others, it's an optional extra you’ll need to pay for.

GOV.UK — Pet travel: entering and returning to the UK

What does it cover?

Every policy varies but you’ll usually get some of the same cover as you do in the UK:

  • Vet fees: You will have the same level of cover as you would at home, but you will only be covered if your pet was in good health before you went away.

  • Advertising and reward: You must report your pet lost in the country they go missing. Insurers will not pay a reward claimed by anyone travelling with you.

  • Holiday cancellation cover: This covers you if you cancel your trip or cut it short because your pet dies, or needs emergency treatment and can no longer travel.

You also get extra benefits specific to travelling abroad with your pet:

  • Quarantine costs: This covers the cost of quarantine kennelling if your pet is unable to travel due to illness, as long as you have complied with the regulations for the country you’re visiting. Most policies cover quarantine costs up to £1,500.

  • Repeat tapeworm treatment: You can claim the cost of your pet getting repeat tapeworm treatment while abroad if you have to stay longer because your departure back to the UK is delayed.

  • Emergency repatriation: This covers the extra cost of getting your pet home if they are ill or injured while you are away. You can also claim for the cost of accommodation if your departure is delayed because your pet is too ill to travel.

  • Loss of your pet's passport: Your insurer can pay the cost of replacing your pet's passport or healthcare certificate if you lose it while on your trip.

Here is what is covered under a pet insurance policy

How long is your pet covered for?

This varies between insurers, but most will cover your pet for a maximum of 90 days overseas per year.

Some only allow a certain number of trips each year, for example, a maximum of three trips which last no longer than 28 days each.

Pet passports

You can no longer use a pet passport issued in Great Britain for travel to an EU country.

To travel within the EU - or Northern Ireland - your pets (including guide dogs) must have an animal health certificate (AHC) to confirm that they are microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. The certificate should be issued by your pet's vet.

Your pet will need a new AHC each time they travel, and you will need to apply for one at least 10 days before you leave.

The certificate will be valid for four months, but only for one trip.

When you arrive in the EU you will need to enter through a travellers' point of entry, where your pet will undergo documentary and identity checks by the local authorities.

How to find the right pet travel cover

If you already have a pet insurance policy, check to see if overseas travel is covered as standard. If not, contact your insurer to see if you can add it as an extra benefit.

It’s well worth shopping around to make sure you find a policy that suits your pet but also one at an affordable price.

You should look at the following:

Make sure the policy you choose also gives all the cover you need at home. Here is everything you need to know about pet insurance, including what it should cover.

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