Insurance companies paid out a record £706 million in pet insurance claims in 2016 as the number of claims also reached an all-time high, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has revealed.
According to the trade body, insurers received and paid out more pet insurance claims last year than ever before – 932,000 claims, or over 2,500 every day.
The ABI said the rise in claims and costs reflects the ever-increasing range of veterinary treatments now available, along with higher vet bills.
“Last year’s record levels of pet claims show that owning a pet can not only be very rewarding, but also very costly,” said Rebecca Hollingsworth, general insurance policy adviser at the ABI.
“There is no NHS for pets, and the cost of getting quality veterinary treatment can quickly run into thousands of pounds, particularly with rising veterinary costs and a greater range of medical treatments for pets now available,” she added.
However, the ABI also lamented that despite rising claims, the vast majority of pet owners are still not insuring their pets. Hollingsworth said 70% of dogs and 85% of cats are not covered.
“This difference of 30% and 15% means that cat owners are twice as likely to risk expensive costs if their pet needs vet treatment,” Hollingsworth explained.
Among the unusual pet insurance claims handled in 2016 was the case of a cocker spaniel that swallowed a turkey baster on Christmas day. The total cost of treatment amounted to over £1,600.
An English springer spaniel also needed treatment after swallowing a tiny grass seed at a cost of £3,400. Meanwhile, £790 was paid out for a Burmese python that suffered anorexia.
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