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When my family adopted our dog Hyko five years ago, we immediately took out pet insurance with ManyPets. They are highly rated, so I thought it was a safe, if expensive, option, at £530.

We went for pricier “lifetime” insurance so he’d be covered for chronic conditions, not just one-off accidents or illnesses. This turned out to be a smart move as he had his first seizure shortly after we adopted him.

After some tests, we discovered that Hyko would be taking epilepsy medication for the rest of his life. We weren’t too worried, though, because ManyPets promised “you won’t be singled out for making a claim” in a renewal email to us.

For the first few years, it looked as if that was the case as price rises were manageable (£653 in 2020 and £833 in 2021). That was until 2022, when the cost of the policy jumped by more than £500 to £1,353.

Then this month I got the renewal email I’d been dreading. The annual cost has doubled to £2,692 and we can’t switch provider because of his pre-existing conditions.

Hyko is almost 10 and will probably live for another three to five years. We are dreading what future price increases could look like and the difficult decisions we might have to make. We’re at a loss about what to do.

LL, London

Caring for pets is an expensive business, as you have discovered, but the insurer you chose comes highly recommended, with ManyPets rated a “best buy” in the consumer group Which?’s recent pet insurance guide.

ManyPets says there are a number of factors that feed into the increase in a premium, including the dog’s age, breed and “changes to our estimate of the risk of a pet getting ill in the future”. It adds: “In the past year inflation has been a big factor and this has affected veterinary care and drug costs; this inflation affects all our customers but the extent of this will depend on their pet’s age and circumstances.”

Hyko’s advancing years (he is 10 this year) are an important part of this picture as, according to Go Compare, owners can expect the cost of their insurance to increase by an average 110% when their dog turns eight. This helps explain the pattern you have seen.

You had opted for a “lifetime” policy for Hyko, which is the most comprehensive and therefore expensive you can buy. There are cheaper options but your choice is limited due to his pre-existing condition. However there are still things you can do, as with any type of insurance, to bring down the cost, including reducing the level of cover or agreeing to a higher excess. Given the worry caused by an unexpected vet bill, these are difficult decisions to make. In the end you opted for a reduced £4,000 claim limit. It more than covers his drug costs and at £1,604 for the year is a saving of more than £1,000 for your family.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions

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