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Dog owners are no longer allowing pets to die as figures show rise in 'Super Vet' procedures, ABI figures show

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 19/04/2019 Katie Morley
a close up of a cat: Pet insurers paid out a record-breaking £785 million in 2018 © Sergei Savostyanov Pet insurers paid out a record-breaking £785 million in 2018

Dpg owners are no longer allowing pets to die as insurance industry figures show a rise in complex "super vet" procedures.

Pet insurers paid out a record-breaking £785 million in 2018 to cover the unexpected costs of owning a pet, figures from the Association of British Insurers show.

The jump in the cost was driven by a significant increase in the average claim size as veterinary treatment becomes increasingly sophisticated, the ABI said. The average claim cost climbed by £36 year-on-year to £793 in 2018.

Over the past decade, the average claim has increased by 75 per cent, while the average premium has increased by 50 per cent, according to the ABI's data.  

a person holding a dog: A veterinarian examines a dog © Sergei Savostyanov A veterinarian examines a dog

The ABI said some examples of claims include PetPlan paying out more than £40,000 for a terrier since its "covered for life" policy started in 2010. The terrier has had several treatments for a serious congenital lung disorder, the ABI said.

It also said Direct Line, another insurer, had recently helped a French bulldog that had fractured its leg, with the claim costing £7,300 in total.  

But average premiums were down slightly for the first time in eight years, at £279 in 2018 compared to £281 a year earlier. It comes as separate research found insuring pets can be more expensive than insuring a house and all its contents.

Research by consumer analysts at Mintel found average pet insurance premiums for dogs rose 6 per cent to £324 in 2017, while cat cover went up 7 per cent to £171. By comparison the average home building and contents insurance policy now costs just £162 a year, according to the AA British Insurance Premium Index.

© Getty

Meanwhile it appears that pet owners are becoming more dissatisfied with the value of pet insurance as calls about it to the Financial Ombudsman, which oversees complaints about insurers, soared 113 per cent from 727 in 2013 to 1,554 in 2018.

The ABI's senior policy adviser for pet insurance, Joe Ahern, said: "There is no NHS for animals, so if you've not got a pet policy in place - you risk having to foot veterinary bills out of your own pocket.

"These can often be in the thousands of pounds and vet treatment is only getting more expensive, not less.

"It's promising to see the average premium coming down regardless of this trend and I'm pleased to see our members paying out more than ever before to protect the wellbeing of pets across the country."

Related: 22 healthiest dog breeds with long lifespans [Country Living UK]


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