Our pets are like a member of the family, sometimes finding the correct pet insurance when travelling abroad can seem hard. When we drive into Europe we want to talk our fluffy friends with us, to share our adventure!
The precise pet cover can give you peace of mind that your beloved pet is protected no matter what happens on your holiday. Luckily in the modern era, it’s much easier to travel abroad with your cat, dog or ferret than it ever used to be.
Historically animals entering or leaving the United Kingdom would have a six month stay in quarantine. This was to make sure no diseases or injections where spread from country to country. However, this level of quarantine is no longer in place, if certain conditions are met before you travel.
The United Kingdom has a ‘Pet Travel Scheme’ also known as (PETS), this means your pet dog, cat or ferret can return to the UK if they have been:
• Have a pet passport
• Have been vaccinated against rabies
• Dogs will usually require ‘tapeworm’ treatment as well.
Before You Travel
Apart from the steps outlined in the above ‘PETS’ Scheme, travel insurance for your pet should be a high priority. If you already have pet cover then you need to check your existing plan. This will clearly state whether your pet is covered for overseas travelling. Some insurers will already provide cover for accidents, injuries and treatment ‘away from home’, while others will not.
It has been estimated that around 35% of dog policies offer no cover for veterinary fees abroad. A good piece of advice is to simply call your insurer and tell them of your travel arrangements, they will then see if your policy is covered. Sometimes for a charge insurers may cover your pet; however this is an ‘optional’ extra and the cost will vary massively.
Equally if your pet needs additional injections or to be microchipped before leaving the United Kingdom, this generally won’t be covered in any policy plans. You will most likely have to pay for this out of your own money.
A good piece of information to keep in mind is the country you’re planning to travel too. Just like living in a ‘high crime’ postcode, insurances can, and will vary depending on your chosen destination. For example, European countries will be typically seen as ‘safe’ destinations, compared to non-EU, or other highly infectious areas of the world.
It’s also recommended that you check with the company you’re travelling with (such as a ferry operator) on whether they will accept your pet. If applicable you also need to see how many they’ll accept if you have more than one.
You will also need proof that your pet is fit and healthy to travel, for example a letter from a vet or certain information in your pet passport.
How to Get a Pet Passport?
It’s quite easy to get a pet passport in the United Kingdom. Every pet needs one if you’re travelling outside of the British Isles. A general Pet passport will list the different treatments your pet has had.
If your vet doesn’t issue a pet passport, ask them for the nearest that does, or contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
To be issued with a pet passport, you’ll need to take your pet, its identity and vaccination records and any rabies blood test results (if you have them). If you pass all requirements you will be issued with a fully-fledged UK pet passport, all ready for your travelling!
For more information regarding pet passports, please visit the official government website by clicking here .
What happens when I return to the UK with my pet?
Typically, at border control your animals microchip will be scanned and their passport will be checked. If the correct documentation is not in place your pet will be quarantined, or even worse, they could potentially be sent back to the country you have just travelled from.
From a national point of view, the UK Government takes animal diseases and infections incredibly seriously, particularly after the foot and mouth outbreaks at the start of the century.
You should also be aware that if your pet does go into quarantine the cost will depend on the carrier and premises. You’re responsible for paying all quarantine costs.
Your cat, dog or ferret can only be released from quarantine when one of the following applies:
• it meets the pet travel rules
• it’s been in quarantine for 4 months
• you’re sending it back to the country it travelled from
As you can see, it’s extremely important for you to have the correct pet insurance, documentation and information if you plan to travel abroad.