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Pet insurance payouts top £1bn in 2022 as owners face costly vet treatment

Claims reached a record high in 2022 as pet owners faced expensive vet bills, the Association of British Insurers said.

Anna Wise
Wednesday 21 June 2023 00:01 BST
Pet insurance payouts have soared (David Parry/PA)
Pet insurance payouts have soared (David Parry/PA) (PA Wire)

Pet insurance payouts reached a record high in 2022 with insurers dishing out more than £1 billion as veterinary costs soared, new figures show.

Some 1.3 million claims were made in total during the year, 28% more than in 2021, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) revealed.

Dogs make up the majority of pet insurance claims, followed by cats.

Claims for more expensive treatment like spinal surgery can be up to £10,000, or more than £8,000 for a fractured femur in a pedigree cat.

Insurance payouts jumped by 17% on the £872 million processed the previous year, topping £1 billion and reaching the highest amount on record. It amounts to about £2.8 million in claims paid out per day.

Insurers appreciate that these are tough financial times for many pet owners

Jonathan Purvis, policy adviser at the ABI

The increase largely reflects the high cost of vet treatment, including for drugs and diagnostic equipment, which leads to more expensive insurance claims, the ABI said.

It indicates that more people are facing higher bills to protect their pets in the UK, following the lockdown boom in pet ownership and amid mounting cost-of-living pressures.

For dogs, the number of claims jumped by more than a third on 2021 to 1 million, with payouts going up nearly a quarter to £800 million, the ABI found.

For cats, the number of claims rose by a fifth to 269,000, with payouts up 22% to £184 million.

The most common ongoing claims are to treat diabetes and skin conditions. Treating a dog for arthritis can cost more than £2,000 while owners face a typical bill of around £1,000 for a cat with diabetes.

Jonathan Purvis, policy adviser, general insurance at the ABI, said: “Pet insurance gives you peace of mind that should an accident or illness happen to your pet, then you will not face a nasty surprise which makes a dog’s dinner of your bank account.

“Insurers appreciate that these are tough financial times for many pet owners.

“If you are concerned about being able to afford your pet cover then talk to your insurer to see what options may be available.”

The average pet insurance premium was £327 in 2022, up by 1% on the previous year.

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