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Pet insurance claims hit record high

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Pet insurers received and paid out record numbers of claims in 2015, figures reveal.

Firms paid out £657m in pet insurance claims last year – the equivalent of £1.8m every day – according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Most of the claims were for vet bills.

Around 900,000 pet insurance claims were made, up 9% on 2014. The average claim was £720, while the average pet insurance premium was £241.

Pet insurers dealt with 686,000 claims for dogs, up 11% on 2014, costing £501m. For cats, 193,000 claims were handled, worth £105m.

While 3.9 million dogs and cats are now covered by pet insurance, most pet owners remain uninsured, the ABI said.

Only one in four of the 9 million dog owners and one in seven of the 7.9 million cat owners are thought to have pet insurance.

Some of the more unusual pet insurance claims handled included removal of a sock eaten by a dog, treating a dog who swallowed a whole kebab stick and a python who needed treatment for anorexia at a cost of £200.

Mark Shepherd, general insurance manager at the ABI, said: “The record levels of claims handled by pet insurers highlights that owning a pet can be costly as well as rewarding. While it is good to see more pet policies in force, too many of the nation’s pet owners still don’t have any cover in place.

“The cost of getting quality veterinary treatment can quickly run into thousands of pounds, particularly with a greater range of medical treatments for pets now available. Pet insurance gives you peace of mind that you won’t have to deny your pet life-saving treatment because the veterinary bills are too expensive.

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