Insurance will not cover a ransom charge for stolen pets 

Criminals have been cashing in on the demand for puppies during the lockdown by stealing pedigree dogs and holding them to ransom.

These dogs are being used for intensive breeding to meet the demand for puppies as the UK general public continues to work from home, according to Sky News, one pet owner who had her dogs stolen received video threats for a ransom. 

Steven O’Callaghan, senior insurance product manager at Bought By Many told Insurance Times that the insurer would not be able to pay a ransom to someone who has stolen a pet.

He continued: “There has been a boom in demand for pets since the first lockdown.

”However, we haven’t seen an increase in claims for thefts this year, despite processing more than twice the total amount of claims for other issues. Currently, pet theft only represents 0.02% of our claims.”

This demand saw pet insurer Bought by Many saw its insurance sales soar with new sales up at 150% last year in October. 

“We recommend that owners make sure their pet is microchipped, has a name tag with their number on it and that they pay attention to reports of pet thefts in their area,” O’Callaghan added. 

It follows the UK being plunged into another full lockdown after cases of the new variant of coronavirus surged.


Bought by Many’s complete pet insurance policy does include cover for theft as standard and this feature is also available as an add on with other policies.

“As part of this cover we can offer a reward and cover the cost of advertising to help find a lost or stolen pet. This part of insurance is also designed to cover the value of a pet if it isn’t returned or found.

“The £6,000 loss or theft limit on our complete cover is one of the highest in the UK, which means it can cover expensive breeds especially as prices for pets have surged during the pandemic, O’Callaghan continued.

“Losing a pet is heart-breaking and can be difficult to cope with. We also offer grief counselling as part of our pet insurance cover as we understand how upsetting it is to lose a pet.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Direct Line pet insurance said: “Dogs are such an important part of our lives, so to have one stolen is like losing a member of the family.

”We urge dog owners to be extra vigilant while out on their walks or in the car and not leave their beloved pets alone. Simple steps like not tying dogs outside of shops or leaving them in cars can help reduce the likelihood of becoming a target for thieves.”

Direct Line gave the following advice for policyholders: 

  • For a pet dog: The policyholder must report the loss to your local authority and welfare centres (in Scotland you must report this to the police). The insurer will need to see proof of this.
  • For a pet cat: The policyholder must report the loss to your vet and local rescue centres and provide the insurer with confirmation.
  • The policyholder must provide proof of what they paid or donated for the pet. Without this proof there is a minimum amount of £35 for a cat and £70 for a dog.
  • If the pet is found or returns, the policyholder must repay the insurer the full amount paid under the cover for this section.
  • If a pet is held to ransom, the owner should report it to the police as soon as possible.