With half of dog and cat owners lacking insurance to cover the cost of treating their furry friends should they fall ill or become injured, experts are urging owners to get pet insurance to avoid costly pet bills.
With April marking National Pet Month, insurers warn that if you don’t have insurance it can cost up to £1,200 to fix a pet’s broken leg - yet pet insurance is available from around £4 a month.
Research by cashback website Quidco found that half the UK’s cat and dog owners don’t have insurance that would cover costs if their pet was ill or injured.
Nicola Frame, spokeswoman from Quidco, says: “With vet costs said to be rising at twice the rate of inflation, pet owners could find themselves being hit with a hefty bill if they don’t have insurance or if they’ve got an unsuitable policy.
“People can make big savings by shopping around and checking for cashback when they buy pet insurance, but they also need to make sure they check the type of cover they’re getting, the excess and other restrictions, so that they don’t find themselves having to delay treatment for their pet or stuck with a poor value policy.”
Pet insurance was thrown into the spotlight recently when the government announced it would be making it compulsory for all dog owners to have at least third-party pet insurance, but the negative response was so strong that the government pulled the plans a week later.
Other research by price comparison website gocompare.com has found that a fifth of cat and dog owners wouldn’t be able to pay a significant vet bill for their pet.
The survey revealed that 60% of cat and dog owners don’t have insurance to cover the cost of treating sick or injured pets and if faced with a vet’s bill of £500 or more they wouldn’t be able to pay for treatment.
John Miles, head of product development at gocompare.com, says skimping on insurance can be a false economy. “Over the last 10 years pet insurance has become more widely available and much more affordable.
“Premiums can start from as little as £39.60 a year for cats and £44.40 a year for dogs - significantly less than the £120.84 a year some owners spend on treats, bedding and clothes for their pets.
“Recent technological advances in veterinary treatment have increased the cost of taking a cat or dog to the vets. So, insuring a pet for a few pounds a month makes financial sense and can help take away some of the stress and worry when a beloved cat or dog is ill or injured,” he adds.