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Cats are the top dogs

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A recent report on pets has revealed that people’s changing lifestyles have profoundly affected the pet health insurance market, with pet cats becoming the animal of choice for more people than ever.

Compiled by Defaqto, the report claims that although the pet insurance market is potentially worth over £1 billion a year it is only valued at £275m, by far the smallest insurance market in any category.

This is because only 17% of cats and 32% of dogs are covered, with many owners unwilling to get a quote even for cheap pet insurance. Defaqto also found that in the mid-90s the population of pet cats overtook that of dogs. It attributed this to a large rise in single-person households and the increasing prevalence of longer working hours, which meant there are fewer people with enough time to care properly for a dog.

The real opportunity, therefore, according to Defaqto, lies in the cat pet health insurance market. The report’s author, Defaqto’s Brian Brown, said: “Despite the big number of policies on the market, many owners – especially cat owners – have never experienced the circumstances that lead to making a large veterinary claim and therefore do not perceive the need for cover.

“Also, some owners have deliberately opted for self-insurance rather than the best pet insurance, recognising the risk to their pets but deciding to pay the bills as they arise.”

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