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The average vet’s bill hits an eye-watering £757. Is your furry friend insured?

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
May 29, 2018

Pet insurers paid out £775 million in claims in 2017 – the highest figure on record, and a 10% year-on-year increase

Figures from the Association of British Insurers reveal that:

The number of claims topped one million for the first time since records began, increasing 10% year-on-year. Insurers paid out an average £2 million per day – another 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.


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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.

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.”


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