Pet insurance a must for 'pet mad' Brits who neglect own health

21 August 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
More Brits are prepared to fork out to insure the health of their pets than their own well being, new research from Tesco Personal Finance has revealed.

According to the study, there are nearly twice the number of health insurance policies for pets in the UK than health insurance policies for pet owners. In fact, statistics last year showed that 23 per cent of the UK pet population was insured, but only 12.2 per cent of the human population had private medical insurance.

Tesco Personal Finance claims that the popularity of pet insurance reflects the UK's love of pets as a nation. Former president of the society of practicing veterinary surgeons, Ewan McNeil, said:

"We are a nation of animal lovers, and many of us regard our pet as part of the family, I'm not surprised that pet insurance is becoming so popular – people will do everything they can to ensure the best for their pets. Veterinary healthcare has made great strides in the last few years offering highly sophisticated treatment for a huge range of animal ailments.

"Pet insurance helps owners choose the best treatment for their pets without worrying about costs," he added.

Reaffirming this, head of Tesco Pet Insurance, Alan Burns, said: "I'm not surprised by this finding. We have known for a long time that us Brits are pet mad."

One increasingly popular type of pet is the 'handbag dog' as named by Sainsbury's Pet Insurance and promoted by the likes of celebrities such as Paris Hilton. Research has found that the number of 'handbag dogs' insured between 2006 and 2008 increased by 41.3 per cent.

However, pet insurance manager for Sainsbury's, Neal Devine warns against buying a pet because of a trend: "A pet should never be seen as an accessory and people should not be guided by fashion trends when purchasing a pet. It’s important that you understand the physical and mental needs of a particular breed, such as how much exercise it needs, when you purchase it, and that your lifestyle enables you to accommodate this."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd