To those pet owners who think that having pet insurance is a luxury, Sainsbury's Finance has found that dog and cat owners in the UK made almost 200,000 claims in the first half of 2009.
The Sainsbury's Finance Pet Insurance Claims Index estimates that £77,000,000 was paid out in pet insurance claims during the first six months on the year, to around 50,000 cat owners and 129,000 dog owners.
But with only around 26 per cent of cat and dog owners in the UK having pet insurance, Sainsbury's Finance estimates that those without cover could be facing costs of around £435million a year.
This cost relates to an estimated 1.02 million illnesses, incidents and injuries experienced each year by the remaining 74 per cent of cats and dogs without pet insurance.
The most common cause of dog pet insurance claims – of which there are more than 240 different incidents or illnesses – is skin tumours, accounting for as many as 10,500 claims. The average claim for a dog is £458.
For cat pet insurance claims, of which there are around 180 different types, the most common reason for claiming is road accidents, which led to around 2,200 of the claims. The average claim for cats is cheaper than dogs, at £354.
Commenting on the findings, Lucy Hunter, manager of Sainsbury’s pet insurance, said: "The sheer volume of claims made should belie the idea that pet insurance is a luxury. With vet fees rising, the potential cost of treatment for those pet owners doing without cover is considerable and it’s a genuine concern that cats and dogs may be missing out on necessary treatment as a consequence."
For pet owners who have been thinking of cancelling their pet insurance as a cost-cutting measure, Ms Hunter hopes that the results of the index will "indicate just how valuable good quality cover can be."
Not only will their pets be protected with up to £7,500 of vets fees, but Sainsbury's pet insurance customers also get double Nectar points on their shopping for two years.
Click here to apply for Sainsbury's pet insurance and save 20% »