SunLife is celebrating the start of National Pet Month by adding complimentary Courtesy Pet cover to all its pet insurance policies. From today, if your pet is ill or injured, and away receiving care at the vets, the company will deliver a courtesy pet to keep you company.
Simon Stanney, General Insurance Director at SunLife, said: "Motor insurance has offered this service for years – a courtesy car while yours is being repaired. But what about something you'll really miss while it's away – your pet? Why are we expected to carry on regardless while Bluebell the Labrador is away having her ears syringed? At SunLife, we understand that the family pet is an important member of the household – and while they're away being treated by the vet, a courtesy pet can fill the gap."
The firm uses PetMatch, an algorithm that ensures the courtesy pet matches the original in some important way. This may be by name, colour, favourite food or intelligence
SunLife customer Joyce Beckett was one of the first to benefit from Courtesy Pet when her cat Winston fell from a tree and broke his hip. His operation meant an overnight stay at the vets, so PetMatch found Mrs Beckett a suitable replacement, Brian, a twelve foot South American boa constrictor - who shares Winston's fondness for mice.
There are some limitations to the courtesy pet. The company says that anyone with SunLife Pet Insurance is guaranteed to be accepted for free courtesy pet cover. However, it adds: "Whilst we cannot give advice on whether our pet insurance is right for you, if you don't have a pet you may want to consider not taking out pet insurance in the first place. "
The pet you receive is also not guaranteed to be an exact match. It explains: "Our unique PetMatch™ service will match your courtesy pet to your own pet based on one special feature, such as colour or favourite food. The special feature is fixed from day one and will never change, so you'll always know where you stand, which might well be next to a llama."
It adds: "You courtesy pet will be well-fed and watered on arrival and must have a full tummy on collection. If your courtesy pet is found to be even the slightest bit peckish you will be charged a full feeding penalty (average £75 based on a kilo of fillet steak and a bottle of mineral water). Our courtesy pets are used to the best."