Rising Insurance Costs Are Pet Peeve for Animal Owners


December 2020

Rising Insurance Costs Are Pet Peeve for Animal Owners

Many Britons adopted pets during the coronavirus crisis, but those seeking insurance for their four-legged friends may have to pay a pretty penny.

Which? consumer group has found that premiums on pet insurance policies are creeping up. A survey of more than 1,100 Which? members revealed that lifetime pet insurance policies cost £420 a year for dogs and £264 for cats. However, dozens of respondents spend more than £1,000 a year for pet insurance.

Price was the most common complaint pet owners have about their insurance, with nearly one in five (19%) expressing frustration with the cost of their policies, including increasing premiums.

Seven in 10 policyholders have seen a rise in their premiums since their last renewable, with premiums increasing by an average of £84 a year for dogs and £40 for cats.

The cost of pet insurance increases as pets age and develop pre-existing health conditions. Owners of dogs aged 10 to 12 years old pay, on average, 80% than those with dogs under the age of four.

Similarly, cats aged 10 to 12 are 76% more expensive to insure than cats under three years old.

The high cost of pet insurance is putting some animal lovers off purchasing cover. Nearly half (46%) of the 478 pet owners without insurance that Which? surveyed said they thought policies are too expensive. 22% said they thought pet insurance wasn’t worth having.

Pet owners without insurance usually fund vet treatment from their own pockets, with 16% “self insuring,” saving money to cover future treatment costs.

Among pet owners with insurance, around a third (31%) had made a claim for their dog and a quarter (24%) had claimed for their cat.

Jenny Ross, money editor at Which?, said: “High vet bills could be crippling for some people, so many animal lovers think pet insurance is a cost-effective option. But we have found rising insurance costs and premiums can give policyholders an unwelcome shock.

“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. A younger animal will have fewer pre-existing conditions, making for fewer exclusions and greater choice between policies.”