Current AffairsPet Owners

Half of UK dog and cat owners don’t have pet insurance

Over ninety percent of UK pet owners describe their pets as a member of the family. Yet, more than half don’t have pet insurance for their four-legged friends, found M&S Bank.

Despite seeing their pet as part of the family, new research for M&S Bank discovered that over a third of dog owners (39 percent) and 62 per cent of cat owners, who do not have any insurance. The most common reason stated was that it isn’t considered to be worth the money.

What’s more, over three quarters of pet owners spend up to £250 a year on non-essential items for their pet, such as luxury nibbles, toys and outfits.

However, if unexpectedly faced with the average veterinary bill of around £700**, 40 percent of pet owners admit they would not be able to afford it.

Unexpected costs

Paul Stokes, Head of Products, M&S Bank said: “With nearly half of all UK adults now owning a pet, it would seem we are a pet loving nation, so it’s perhaps surprising that less than half of pet owners have insurance; they could be leaving themselves exposed to significant unexpected costs.

“The cost of treatment has increased in recent years due to advances in veterinary science and having the appropriate insurance in place can help avoid costly vet’s fees when you’re least expecting them.”

A quarter of those without pet insurance state another common reason for not having pet insurance is thinking it won’t be needed.

However, almost one million (911,000**) pet insurance claims were made in 2015 and the number of new pet insurance claims has risen by 20 percent in the last two years***, suggesting paying for costly veterinary treatment is more common than expected.

With the majority of owners describing their pet as a member of the family, it’s perhaps not surprising that around a fifth of dog owners have two or more dogs in their household, while nearly two fifths of cat owners have at least two cats****, and over 40 percent of Brits who own pets, own a dog.

However, owners with two or more dogs are less likely to have insurance than those with just the one dog (6 percent less). Similarly, owners with two or more cats are only half as likely to have insurance as those with just one cat (14 percent less)****.

M&S Pet Insurance offers customers access to three levels of cover; Essential, Standard and Premier, depending on their individual needs.


*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2068 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between  25th – 26th January 2017.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
**Association of British Insurers claims data, 2015
***M&S Bank internal claims data 2016
****Mintel Pet Insurance Report UK – August 2016

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