As National Pet Month begins, the analysis shows that more than half of pet owners in Britain who don’t insure their animals are paying up to £810 for each injury and illness resulting in a trip to the vet.
With the average standard annual pet insurance policy costing £261, households with pets could save almost £560 if they take out cover.
MoneySuperMarket pet insurance expert Rose Howarth said: “There’s no National Health Service for animals and with bills on the rise, a trip to the vet can break the bank these days.
“Pets might suffer illness or injury at any time, so investing in insurance means owners can meet the cost of any unexpected treatment their pet needs. That way, they’ll know their furry friend is covered and won’t face the shock of a hefty bill.”
The cost of claims
As part of the research, we looked at the top 10 most frequently claimed-for conditions and the 10 most expensive claims from last year – which might make for uncomfortable reading if you’re the owner of an uninsured pet.
While the highest average claim was just short of £810, the maximum paid by one unlucky pet owner topped £7,000.
Top 10 conditions for claims
|Condition||Average claim cost|| % split|
Source: MORE TH>N
Top 10 most expensive claims
|Condition||Max||Average of paid|
|7||Reproductive System (female)||£5572.72||£525.05|
Source: MORE TH>N
Cost of cover
The average pet insurance policy available through MoneySuperMarket costs £21.74 per month, but the research also revealed how the age, health and medical history of your pets can affect the price you pay for cover.
In 2015, for example, crossbreed dogs were roughly 20% cheaper to insure than pedigrees. Similarly, moggies were almost 12% cheaper to cover than pedigree cats.
Rose Howarth said: “Before picking a policy, it’s important to compare prices based on your animal’s needs and a budget you’re working to. The best policy might not always be the cheapest, as there are some general exclusions from many providers, so owners need to do their research and shop around to avoid being out of pocket because a particular condition isn’t covered.”
Now’s the time to get cover
National Pet Month coincides with the introduction of a new law which says all dogs aged eight weeks and over must be microchipped, with fines of up to £500 for owners who don’t chip their dogs.
The chips, which can be fitted by your vet for around £20, are loaded with your contact details, which you are required to keep up-to-date. Then, if your dog is found, having become lost, you can be traced and reunited with your pet.
If your dog is found 'chipless', you'll have 21 days to rectify matters, with the fine kicking in if you fail to comply.
Spring is also a key time to take out cover for your pets as they’re exposed to more risks. For example, plants such as daffodils contain lycorine, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in cats and dogs if eaten. It is also the start of the 'tick' season, when insects can attach themselves to animals and trigger major health problems.