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We are claiming cats and dogs – insurers help a record number of pet owners

29/03/2016
Pet
  • £1.8 million now being paid out in pet insurance claims every day
  • Insurers received and paid out more claims in 2015 than ever before.
  • Cost of average claim tops £700, nearly three times the average pet insurance premium

Pet insurers paid out a record £657 million in pet insurance claims in 2015 – the equivalent of £1.8 million every day - to help the UK’s pet owners cope with the unexpected costs of owning their pet, according to figures published today from the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Most of the claims were for vet bills.

The figures show that in 2015:

  • The number and cost of claims reached record levels: 911,000 pet insurance claims were made, up 9% on 2014. Their cost, at £657 million, was also up 9% on the previous year.
  • The average claim was £720; the average pet insurance premium was £241.
  • Pet insurers dealt with 686,000 claims for dogs, up 11% on 2014, costing £501million (up 12%). For cats, 193,000 claims were handled, worth £105 million – a rise of 6% and 12% respectively.

While 3.9 million dogs and cats are now covered by pet insurance, most pet owners remain uninsured: only one in four of the 9 million dog owners and one in seven of the 7.9 million cat owners are thought to have pet insurance.

Some of the more unusual pet insurance claims handled include:

  • Removal of a sock eaten by a dog.
  • Treating a dog who swallowed a whole kebab stick.
  • A python who needed treatment for anorexia at a cost of £200
  • Removing a tumour from a polecat, which cost £333.
  • A cat needed treatment for injuries suffered after falling from a fourth-floor window at a cost of £1,954.*

Mark Shepherd, General Insurance Manager at the ABI, said:

Mark Shepherd"The record levels of claims handled by pet insurers highlights that owning a pet can be costly as well as rewarding. While it is good to see more pet policies in force, too many of the nation’s pet owners still don’t have any cover in place.

"The cost of getting quality veterinary treatment can quickly run into thousands of pounds, particularly with a greater range of medical treatments for pets now available. Pet insurance gives you peace of mind that you won’t have to deny your pet life-saving treatment because the veterinary bills are too expensive.

"Even with record claim levels last year, pet insurance remains very competitive, so you can choose from a wide range of products that offer different levels of cover depending on their needs. You should think carefully how you would cope without pet insurance if your pet fell dangerously ill or had a serious accident."

* Asda Money, March 2016

More on Pet insurance
Last updated 29/04/2016