Most cat and dog owners go without pet insurancePet owners risking huge veterinary bills

05 May 2015

cat and dog sitting in a field

The majority of cat and dog owners are choosing not to take out pet insurance, leaving themselves potentially facing huge veterinary bills.

New data published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) suggests that 85% of cats and 75% of dogs in the UK have not been insured by their owners. 

This is despite average costs of pet insurance claims rising by 7% since 2013, to £679.  

Find the right pet insurance policy 

There are approximately 2.4m dogs and 1.2m cats covered by pet insurance policies in the UK, according to the ABI. There are also policies covering around 250,000 other animals, including horses, rabbits and even snakes. 

Pet insurance companies paid out £602m worth of claims in 2014, which is a 15% increase on the previous year and is the highest since records began in 2007.  

It's important to make sure you have the right cover in case you need to claim, but with so many insurers to choose from, it can be difficult to know which is best for you.   

Dog and cat insurance

Which? has reviewed dozens of dog insurance and cat insurance providers, rating each for customer service, value for money, transparency of charges, experience of making claims and much more. 

You'll also be able to compare the amount of cover you get for veterinary bills, along with seven other elements of a policy, to make it easier to find the right pet insurance policy. 

Find out more: Pet insurance reviews - more than 70 policies compared

Avoid huge veterinary bills 

ABI general insurance manager Mark Shepherd warned pet owners to protect themselves from costly veterinary bills.  

'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,' he said. 

More on this...

  • Pet insurance: what's included - learn what elements of your policy to look for
  • Pet insurance: how much cover to take - don't leave yourself under-insured
  • Call the Which? Money Helpline - your pet insurance queries answered