RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Millions of pet owners risk big vet bills due to confusion over cover

25th November 2013 Print

Millions of cat and dog owners are baffled by pet insurance; with nearly one in four (24%) policyholders admitting that they don’t even know what type of policy they have, according to research from’s survey also found more than a fifth (23%) of those with a pet insurance policy don’t understand what cover they’re entitled to, with one in ten (10%) saying that they have ‘no idea’ what cover they have.
When asked, only 15% of UK cat and dog owners claimed that they fully understood what cover they had for their pet. This means some pet owners might face unexpected vet bills for treatment they assumed was covered by their policy but wasn’t.
For example, in the survey a third (33%) of pet owners thought that their insurer would pay for their pet’s vaccinations and boosters, though in reality insurers will expect owners to foot the bill for these. What is more, 14% wrongly assumed that their insurer would pay for their cat or dog to be groomed and have their nails clipped, which for high maintenance animals can be a frequent expense.
Even more worryingly, the research discovered that more than half (52%) of UK cat and dog owners do not have insurance for their pet at all, with nearly one in four (23%) believing that pet insurance is a ‘rip off’. This means that more than eight million cats and dogs in the UK do not have insurance, so their owners could be responsible for the full cost of their vet bills should something happen to them.
With recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) saying that over a third (36%) of Brits would be unable to cover an unexpected but vital bill, uninsured pet owners could be sitting on a financial time bomb when it comes to their pet’s health as common treatments, such as cruciate ligament surgery, can cost up to £4,000.
 How much can vet bills cost?

Treatment for diabetes over one or two years - £1,018 per year
Treatment for arthritis over five years - £6,480
Treatment for canine kidney disease - £750 - £2,400
Treatment for cat congestive heart failure - £935 - £2,310
Cruciate ligament surgery - £1,750 - £4,000

Ben Wilson, pet insurance expert at, said: “It’s vital that you read through your policy documents carefully so that you understand what cover your pet insurance provides.
“Our survey found that just two in five (41%) pet insurance policyholders had researched policies to find the best cover for their pet, and a quarter (25%) had instead chosen their policy based on a vet or breeder recommendation.
“Most shocking of all, however, is the revelation that more than half of cat and dog owners don’t even have a pet insurance policy. This could not only result in some rather unwelcome vet bills, but may make access to treatment difficult, putting your pet’s health and wellbeing at risk.” is the only comparison site to provide additional policy information and product star ratings for pet insurance from independent financial research company Defaqto; allowing customers to compare up to 30 key features for each policy.
To further help customers choose the best policy for them and their pet, has also put together some useful guides on the different types of pet insurance policies available at: