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Pet Insurance; Do You Need It?

An image of a dog running

Despite the last five years seeing a decline in the number of pets owned, as of 2018 there are still an estimated 51 million* pets in the UK.

A recent report from MORE TH>N, based on a study of 10,000 cat and dog owners, reveals insight into the associated costs of looking after our beloved companions.

“The study found that British dog owners are spending an average of £240 on their pooch each month, with costs incurred including food, treats, professional grooming, pet insurance and vets fees. Cat owners meanwhile are spending £100 on similar items in comparison. This equates to a whopping £24.5 billion being spent on dogs, and £9.6 billion being spent on cats, in the UK each year**.”

Average monthly spend on a dogAverage monthly spend on a cat
Food £58£36
Treats £34£12
Toys £27£9
Professional Grooming £29£6
Dog Walker £22£10
Pet Insurance £34£11
Medication/Vet Bills £37£17
Total £240£100

For more on this study, please click here.

With such huge figures involved, it is always important to take a close look In the UK we spend around £6 billion on our pets annually and that’s probably not the full picture.

One of the biggest expenses when it comes to larger animals concerns their health. If you have had problems with your pets in the past you will know that vet’s bills can be eye-wateringly expensive and, unfortunately, there is no A&E to take them to where they will be treated on the NHS.

So, do you need pet insurance?An image of a dog on a vets table

Like all other types of insurance, pet insurance is designed to cover all sorts of eventualities whether expected or unforeseen when it comes to the health of your pets. The worst possible case scenario is that it comes down to a choice between paying unaffordable bills or having your pet put to sleep.

You may choose to take your chances and hope your pet lives a long and healthy life but would you take the same risk with your home or car insurance? It is impossible to see into the future so you won’t know whether you will need insurance or not but perhaps it would help to put into context the sort of bills you could face.

Source: Based on the total amount of all closed claims for cats received by Tesco Bank Pet Insurance from July 2015 to August 2016. Average costs provided for illustration costs only. Actual costs will vary.

What you can expect to pay: average cost for dogs

ConditionAverage condition cost
Cruciate rupture£1,060.53
Otitis externa£271.68
Gastric condition£512.64
Injured/infected claw£263.20
Skin condition£241.76
Corneal ulcer£360.84
Respiratory condition£597.85
Mast cell tumour£638.53
Vomiting and diarrhoea£414.43
Liver condition£383.71
Cushing’s disease£319.03
Skin allergy£239.97
Patella luxation£908.10
Eye condition£339.75
Hip dysplasia£485.73
Heart failure£288.13
Ear condition£285.42
Heart condition£433.29
Back/spinal condition£630.85

Source: Tesco Pet Insurance

What should you look out for?An image of a smiling Golden Retriever

There are always a huge number of variables involved in the decision-making process and below we take a closer look at some of the areas you need to check.

  • Certain breeds of dog are not covered under any form of pet insurance so it is important that you discuss this with your insurer in detail.
  • Make sure you declare any known medical conditions exactly as you would with your own travel insurance for example.
  • Pets over a certain age will not be insurable as the risk is simply too great; this is something you really need to plan ahead for.
  • There are multi-pet policies available if you have more than one pet which should bring down the total premiums.
  • Consider the amount you wish to pay in excess. As with all insurance, the higher the excess the lower the monthly premium.

For a little further insight, the excellent Mila Araujo of The Balance has written a hugely informative article titled ‘The Top 10 Questions to Ask When Buying Pet Insurance‘ focusing on all the pertinent questions.

What are the alternatives?

Self-cover; pay a little a month into a savings fund to cover you in case of emergency. You might, however, find you have to dip into the savings too soon or you have unexpected legal bills.An image of a small dog asleep

For smaller pets like rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs you can usually get help and advice for simple issues from a local pet shop. After an £80 bill to treat two guinea pigs with mites, a friend learned that buying the treatment and having the pet shop owner administer it was a much better option!

We know that bills can sometimes get out of hand and that if you have poor credit personal loans are difficult to obtain.  Our loan lenders specialise in helping people like you.  We can have a quote back in minutes and, in many cases, funds in your bank the very same day.

Clare McDonald
Clare McDonald
As a mother of two, Clare knows the importance of being careful with money, so writes posts from personal experience.Clare also loves to find great deals, so shares her finding here.

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