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Revealed: the rising costs of pet insurance

Discover which breeds are the most expensive to insure

One in five pet owners have had a problem with soaring insurance premiums – with dog and cat lovers being charged as much as £2,000 to protect their precious animals, a Which? survey has found.

According to a survey of more than 1,300 Which? members, the average price for an annual lifetime policy has reached £472 for a dog and £285 for a cat.

Six in 10 (60%) policyholders have seen a rise since their last renewal – on average, £123 for dogs and £57 for cats. One in three (32%) people with insurance for a dog or cat have put the policy to use, making at least one claim over the past year.

A version of this story first appeared in Which? Money magazine. Take a £1 trial for two months today.

How much does pet insurance cost?

Our survey found that the average amount pet owners shell out for dogs aged seven to 10 is £526. This is a marked increase on 2014, when the cost was just £456.

The breed of cat or dog you own can make a significant difference to how much it costs to insure it. We averaged the five cheapest lifetime policy quotes for eight dog and seven cat breeds on a comparison site using a Cambridge postcode.

French bulldogs (£358) were the most expensive of the eight popular breeds of dogs we compared, costing hundreds of pounds more to cover than a Jack Russell terrier (£133). When it comes to cats, a Maine Coon (£114) was the most costly followed by Bengal tiger (£105) and domestic long-haired cats (£86).

Dogs Average premium
French bulldog £358.49
Golden retriever £186.99
Labrador retriever £182.12
Cockerpoo £141.49
Cocker spaniel £140.54
Crossbreed £139.08
Border collie £133.87
Jack Russell terrier £132.75
Cats Average premium
Maine Coon £114.44
Bengal tiger £105.44
Domestic long-haired cat £85.64
British Shorthair £85.09
Tabby £85.09
Domestic short-haired cat £81.94
Crossbreed £81.00

In the survey, pet lovers in the East of England paid the highest average premium for insuring a single dog on a lifetime policy (£565), followed by:

  • East Midlands – £535
  • South East England – £517
  • London – £493
  • South West England – £470
  • North West England – £427
  • West Midlands – £424

Harry Rose, Which? Money Editor, said: ‘While rising premiums have left many feeling squeezed, there are a few things you can do to help rein in the cost of insuring your pets.

‘The earlier you get cover, the better. Not only will premiums be cheaper, a younger animal will have fewer pre-existing conditions, making for fewer exclusions and greater choice between policies.’

Finding the best pet insurance

Getting the right cover for your four-legged friend can be a minefield: there are a variety of policies, offering different levels of cover and coming with a range of exclusions.

So, Which? is here to help. On this site you can read:

Which? members can log in to see our expert reviews of pet insurance. If you’re not a member, you can take a £1 trial to Which? Money for two months to get access to our analysis.

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