The average pet insurance claim & is it worth claiming?

26 September 2022 - 4 min read
A dog bowl full of money
A dog bowl full of money

The average pet insurance claim increased by £31 to £848 in 2021, according to 2022 Association of British Insurers (ABI) figures. Average pet insurance premiums also tend to climb each year, but our own data shows that the 2022 increase might not be as high as you'd expect given the cost of living crisis.

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Our average premium for so far for 2022 has increased just 4% on the previous year. That's against a backdrop of the rate of inflation reaching almost 10% in August.

In 2021, similar to the industry increase of £31 that year, our average pet insurance claim went up by just over £10 to just under £440.

In 2021, similar to the industry increase of £31 that year, our average pet insurance claim went up by £59 to over £500. In 2020, it went up by just over £10 to reach almost £440.

ManyPets' average seems lower than the industry's because of the way we calculate our claims. Most insurers count individual payouts for the same condition as one large claim - meaning they log fewer but bigger claims - and these make up the majority of the data used to calculate the industry average.

ManyPets logs every individual payout as a standalone claim, therefore totalling a higher number of claims at a lower average. But overall, our average payout is likely to be similar to that of the industry. This means 2022 might be another record year for pet insurance payouts given the spiralling costs in all areas of our lives.

In 2021, pet insurers processed a record £872 million in claims a day, according to the latest data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The average pet insurance claim has gone up by 13% between 2015 and 2021, with this increase likely to be driven by higher vet fees. With more advances in veterinary medicine, average claims are likely to keep going up.

How many people have pet insurance?

According to the ABI, 4.3m pets in the UK are insured. That's an increase over the previous year's 4.2 million.

But according to the PDSA's 2022 PAW report, that still leaves 39% of dogs and 41% of cats uninsured in 2021.

Why is the cost of pet insurance increasing?

It's likely that the main reason has been higher vet fees. When vet fees increase, insurers have to pay out more when a customer makes a claim (as you can see in the ABI's recent figures). Premiums have been increasing in order to cover the higher payouts.

It's worth bearing in mind that these prices are only average prices. Your pet insurance premium will depend on a variety of factors, including:

Why has the cost of pet insurance claims been increasing?

There are several factors that have contributed to the increase in the average pet insurance payout. One of the most important is the fact that vet fees are increasing.

This is because the cost of treating a pet has been increasing overall in recent years due to advances in veterinary treatments.

Pet owners are investing more in the health of their pets these days by paying for procedures like ultrasounds and MRIs. These have only started becoming common practice for vets in the last few years.

Vets can do more for pets than ever before with better technology and more treatments available, including advanced surgeries for things like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS).

And then there's the cost of living. Veterinary practices use a lot of electricity, they have staff to pay and they need to buy drugs, food, bedding and equipment. The cost of all these things are on the rise in 2022 too.

While the cost of pet insurance is increasing, covering the cost of treatment can run into thousands of pounds if you don't have cover.

Is pet insurance worth it?

Whether you need pet insurance or not is down to your personal circumstances. But it can help pay for expensive vet fees that many of us couldn't otherwise afford.

The cost of vet fees will depend on the injury or illness your pet is suffering from but some treatments can cost thousands of pounds.

Some of the most costly claims we saw in 2021 included a ruptured diaphragm costing over £6,000 and a £15,000 to treat central nervous system disorder.

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“With no NHS for pets, insurers are there to protect you and your furry friend when they get into mishaps or fall ill," says Johnathan Purvis the ABI’s general insurance policy adviser.

"As the cost of living crisis starts to bite, insurance can give you the peace of mind that, should your pet need medical care, the costs won’t leave you feeling sick as a parrot.”

Most policies will only consider paying out for treatment if your pet becomes ill after you take out the policy. However, ManyPets has a Pre-existing policy that can cover your pet for conditions your pet has experienced in the past, as long as your pet hasn't had any signs or symptoms, or needed treatment, medication or advice for that condition for at least three months.

Our Pre-existing policy can cover recent conditions.

Vet fee cover isn't the only benefit of pet insurance, especially for dog owners. It can also include public liability cover. This can cover costs you are liable for if your dog injures someone or damages their property. For instance, if they ran out in front of a car and caused an accident.

This insurance isn't necessary for cats, as the law does not hold the owner responsible if a cat harms someone.

Irina Wells
Content Marketing Executive

Irina is a former content marketing executive for ManyPets. She has contributed to a number of personal finance sites, including Loot Financial Services and Claro Money.