Many people’s brains seem to shut off when insurance is brought up in a conversation because it can be overwhelming and stressful to choose a new plan. However, it’s an important topic, especially when it comes to the health of your beloved pets. The UK is home to millions of pets, and most of them are dogs and cats.
Although monthly or annual premiums can be pricey, pet insurance saves you in the case of an emergency, preventing you from going into debt or losing all the money you’ve saved up when large vet bills come your way due to surgery or unforeseen medical needs. Your pet’s health is important, and it’s your responsibility to take care of them. In the UK, 4.3 million pets have insurance, the most insured pets being dogs and cats.
In this article, we will discuss all the interesting aspects of pet insurance in hopes that you’ll learn something beneficial from it.
The Importance of Pet Insurance in the UK
Pets are popular around the world, with no exception in the UK. In fact, there are 38 million pets in the country, with the highest numbers attributed to dogs and cats. Pet statistics have increased in recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation that accompanied it, with many people adopting new pets for company, entertainment, and affection. Currently, 57% of people in the UK own a pet.
With so many people owning a pet in the UK, there are many more people understanding the importance of pet insurance and seeking it out to ensure that their fur babies will be properly cared for in case of emergency—without going into large sums of debt. According to IBISWorld, the cost of owning a dog in the UK can add up to anywhere between £10,000 and £16,000 without pet insurance.
Pet insurance is important for those looking to save money as you won’t have to pull from your emergency fund if anything were to happen to your pet. Not only that, but vet costs are increasing, and a simple vet appointment can make a big dent in your cash flow. It helps with peace of mind and offers often overlooked benefits such as covering hereditary conditions and third-party liabilities, as well as helping find your missing pet.
How Many People Have Pet Insurance in the UK?
There are many people with pet insurance in the UK, with more people jumping on board since the pandemic. The most recent statistics from ABI show that 4.5% more people purchased pet insurance in 2021, pushing the number of people with pet insurance in the UK to nearly 4 million. An incredible 4.3 million pets are protected by insurance in the UK, and most of them are dogs and then cats.
However, 34 million pets are housed in around 17 million households in the UK, with around 13 million dogs and 12 million cats making up that figure. That means that around 57% of UK households own pets, but it also indicates a large population of uninsured pets in the UK.
Pet insurance companies in the UK have saved many lives in the past year, receiving over 1 million claims and paying out over £8 million, which was around £2.4 million per day. 764,000 of those claims were for dogs, 225,000 were for cats, and 40,000 were for other types of pets.
Popular Pet Insurance Providers in the UK
The UK has several popular pet insurance companies to choose from that offer great benefits. Below are some of the UK’s top pet insurance providers:
Petplan has been in the pet insurance industry for over 40 years and is the largest pet insurer in the UK. Although pretty pricey, they have a good reputation for paying out claims quickly. They have lifetime and time-limited policies and offer cover for up to £12,000. You can insure your dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses with Petplan, which has a wider pet range than many other insurances cover.
ManyPets is the second largest pet insurer in the UK and has a good reputation for its multi-pet discounts. They offer a lifetime policy and cover up to £15,000. They have policies for dogs and cats and are willing to cover your pet’s previous conditions as long as they haven’t needed medical assistance in at least 2 years.
Direct Line is another well-known, popular pet insurance company that has a good reputation. One of the many benefits of their policy is that their clients get cheaper pet medication due to their discounts. They also offer multi-pet discounts and direct payments to the vet. However, they only cover vet fees up to £8,000, which is a bit less than the other two options on our list.
Trends in Pet Insurance in the UK
The UK pet insurance market is on the rise, and the success has much to do with the COVID-19 pandemic and the pets purchased during the lockdown period. 55% of new pet owners from the time of the pandemic have pet insurance, and 54% of additional pets are also covered.
However, the market must continue to grab the attention of pet owners as there is still a large portion of the population uninsured, especially in the cat population. Although the UK doesn’t have as many insured pets as Sweden, they have more insured pets than most European countries.
The pet insurance market aims to gain new customers by keeping their prices affordable and encouraging pet owners to insure their pets rather than self-fund their healthcare. They’ll have to include benefits that outweigh self-funded care and find a good balance between profit margins and premium costs. They’ll also have to develop innovative ways to reach cat owners and develop features that meet their specific needs.
In terms of gross written premiums, the UK pet insurance market is worth over £905 million. However, according to Globaldata, the market is expected to increase each year and reach £1.9 billion by 2026. However, profitability is likely to remain low due to more and more pet owners sending in claims because of the larger population of obese pets in need of medical care.
Obesity leads to many health problems, with one of the largest being diabetes, which is an expensive disease to treat and will require treatment for many years. The pet insurance market encourages pet owners to give their pets a healthy lifestyle to avoid health risks.
A few aspects that contribute to the growing market are a greater concern in pet owners about the health of their pets, a greater awareness of pet insurance, an understanding of the benefit of insurance over self-funded pet healthcare, better medical technological innovations, better treatment, and a higher number of pet owners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Don’t All Pet Owners Have Pet Insurance?
There is still a high percentage of pet owners who don’t have pet insurance. Some reasons for this are:
What Should I Consider When Buying Pet Insurance?
First, you need to know your pet’s needs and what you want your pet insurance to cover. Here are a few basics to ask yourself when looking around:
Is Pet Insurance Compulsory?
In the UK, it’s not compulsory to have pet insurance. However, it is highly recommended if you don’t have a large money fund for emergencies. The sad reality is that many uninsured pets get put down due to owners not being able to afford their life-saving surgery or treatment.
What’s Not Covered by Pet Insurance?
Coverage differs between pet insurers; however, most insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing illnesses or injuries or ones that began in the waiting period, which is usually around 2 weeks from the start of your policy.
Most also won’t cover routine or preventative treatments, such as vaccinations, neutering, grooming, etc. A few also don’t cover expenses from pregnancy or birth unless it states it in their policy. If you want these benefits with your cover, most pet insurance companies have add-ons or wellness packages that you can include for an extra price that will cover basics, such as vaccinations, etc.
What Is Covered?
Your vet fees will be covered up to the amount that your policy states, which can be as high as £15,000. On top of that amount, death, third-party liability, overseas travel cover, kennel fees, dental, and the fees that accompany a missing pet are typically covered by your pet insurance company.
However, do research into the company you’re interested in to be sure that they cover all the features that matter most to you.
There has been a clear rise in the number of people purchasing pet insurance since the COVID-19 pandemic, with almost 4 million people having insured pets in 2022. This increase is due to more people getting pets during the lockdown and the growing awareness of the need and benefit of pet insurance. However, there is still a large percentage of uninsured pets, especially cats, that the market aims to reach in the coming years.
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