Pet insurance claims at record levels – but millions have no cover

31 May 2018

The number of pet owners claiming on their insurance has surpassed one million for the first time ever.

According to figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), claims have increased by 10% year-on-year with the average amount paid out to owners reaching a record £2 million per day.  

The figures reflect the increasing popularity of pet ownership in recent times with 3.7 million households now holding pet insurance policies. However, the ABI warns that an estimated 65% of dogs and 84% of cats are still uninsured.

This potentially leaves up to 12.4 million owners liable to foot vet bills should their pet fall ill. The average pet insurance claim is £757.

Bills can skyrocket quickly though. The ABI notes examples such as a dog suffering from seizures that required £30,000 of treatment, and a cat with inflammatory bowel disease whose treatment cost £9,600.

Joseph Ahern, general insurance policy adviser at the ABI, comments: “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.”

If you’re struggling to afford pet insurance and you’re in receipt of certain benefits, check if you have a PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) registered practice in your area as you may be able to seek free or discounted help for your pet from it.

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