Insurers now paying out £1.65m a day to treat the nation’s pets

Pet insurers paid out £602million in claims in 2014 – the equivalent of £1.65m a day and an increase of nearly 15% on the previous year – according to the latest figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), published today (4 May 2015). The average cost of a claim has risen 7% to £679, while for dogs it’s even higher at £683.

The number of UK animals covered by pet insurance policies has now passed 3 and a half million but the proportion without insurance remains much higher.

  • Out of an estimated dog population of 9 million*, approximately 2.4 million are covered by pet insurance – leaving nearly 75% of dog owners without it.
  • For cats, only 15% benefit from pet insurance – around 1.2 million out of an estimated population of 7.9 million*.
  • Insurers are also providing cover for more than 250,000 other pets such as horses, rabbits and even exotic animals such as snakes.

Mark Shepherd, General Insurance Manager at the ABI, said:
“It’s good to see an increase in the number of animals and their owners who are now benefiting from the protection offered by pet insurance. However, it remains a concern that the majority of pet owners in the UK don’t have any cover in place.

“The cost of getting quality veterinary treatment for your pet can quickly reach into thousands of pounds, particularly if they have to have surgery or need chemotherapy to tackle cancer. 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.

“There is a highly competitive market for pet insurance which means customers can choose from a wide range of products that offer different levels of cover depending on their needs. It’s encouraging to see more consumers taking advantage of this, and the hope is that other owners will give more thought to how they would cope if their pet fell dangerously ill or had a serious accident.”

Among claims insurers have dealt with recently are:

  • a kitten needed to have its stomach pumped and was treated with antibiotics after falling into a toilet. The total bill was around £600.
  • a tortoise was treated for a digestive disorder at a cost of over £560
  • helping out a cockatiel which was having trouble flying properly cost nearly £500

Notes for Editors

*estimated pet population figures are taken from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association’s annual pet population report, compiled by TNS.

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1.     The ABI is the voice of the UK’s insurance and long-term savings industry. It has over 250 members, who together account for around 90% of premiums in the UK domestic market.

The ABI’s role is to:

–       Be the voice of the UK insurance industry, leading debate and speaking up for insurers.

–       Represent the UK insurance industry to government, regulators and policy makers in the UK, EU and internationally, driving effective public policy and regulation.

–       Advocate high standards of customer service within the industry and provide useful information to the public about insurance.

–       Promote the benefits of insurance to the government, regulators, policy makers and the public.

The UK insurance industry is the third largest in the world and the largest in Europe. It is a vital part of the UK economy, managing investments amounting to 25% of the UK’s net worth and contributing the fourth highest corporation tax of any sector. Employing around 315,000 people in the UK alone, the insurance industry is also one of this country’s major exporters, with 28% of its net premium income coming from overseas business.

Insurance and businesses protect themselves against the everyday risks they face, enabling people to own their own homes, travel overseas, provide for a financially secure future and run businesses. Insurance underpins a healthy and prosperous society, enabling businesses and individuals to thrive, safe in the knowledge that problems can be handled and risks carefully managed. Every day, our members pay out £147 million in benefits to pensioners and long-term savers as well as £60 million in general insurance claims.

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