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Pet claims are through the WOOF – insurers settle 1 million claims for the first time EVER

Insurers pay out a record average of £2 million EVERY DAY through 2017.

Pet insurers paid out £775 million in claims in 2017 – the highest figure on record representing a 10% year-on-year increase – to help Brits with the unexpected costs associated with pet ownership. Figures released by the Association of British Insurers today reveal that:

  • The number of claims surpassed 1 million for the first time since records began, increasing 10% year-on-year. Insurers paid out an average £2 million per day – a record.
  • The average claim hit a new peak of £757, compared with the average annual premium of £324 for dogs and just £171 for cats.
  • Average claim pay-outs are up 56% since 2010, highlighting ever increasing costs.
  • 3.7 million households now have pet insurance (up by 11% year-on-year), which means 8.2 million households still choose to leave their pets uninsured.
  • An estimated 67% of dogs and 84% of cats are still uninsured – leaving approximately 12.4 million cat and dog owners at risk of having to foot the bill themselves.
  • Dogs are therefore twice as likely to be insured by their owners (16% against 33%).

Veterinary bills can often rise into the thousands of pounds for treatment, with the average cost of surgery amounting to approximately £1,500. Some of the most expensive claims last year include:

  • A dog suffering from seizures required £30,000 of treatment
  • A Golden Retriever with a fracture required £10,000 of treatment.
  • A cat with inflammatory bowel disease required £9,600 of treatment.

The constant modernisation, development and improvement of veterinary medical capabilities brings with it an increase in price. 

Joseph Ahern, General Insurance Policy Adviser at the Association of British Insurers, said:

“Owning a pet can be rewarding, but also very expensive if they fall ill. None of us want to imagine anything bad happening to our pets, but leaving them uninsured can lead to expensive bills and unnecessary stress. 

“It’s good to see the number of pets being insured growing, and the amount being paid out by insurers, but the fact that millions of pets still aren’t covered means that owners are at risk of having to fork out thousands to cover the costs of vet treatment because there’s no NHS for animals.

“No matter what type of pet you have – there should be a policy that’s right for you. The market is very competitive, so be sure to shop around or speak to a broker.”




Notes for Editors


Enquiries to:
Malcolm Tarling                        020 7216 7410    Mobile: 07776 147667
Sarah Cordey                           020 7216 7375    Mobile: 07860 189071
Dominic Stannard                     020 7216 7350    Mobile: 07725 245838


1. The Association of British Insurers is the voice of the UK’s world leading insurance and long-term savings industry.  A productive, inclusive and thriving sector, we are an industry that provides peace of mind to households and businesses across the UK and powers the growth of local and regional economies by enabling trade, risk taking, investment and innovation.


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3. More news and information from the ABI is available on our web site, www.abi.org.uk.

Last updated 28/05/2018