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3 In 5 Pet Parents Say They Expect To “Go Without” So That They Can Care For Their Four-Legged Friend

Inevitably, being a pet parent comes with a price tag and, perhaps unsurprisingly, research[1] has uncovered that eight in ten (81%) agree that the expense of owning a pet has increased over the last 12 months. In fact, a quarter (28%) say that costs have increased significantly.

As the Chancellor’s Spring Budget expects that disposable income per person will fall by six per cent this financial year and next, the cost-of-living crisis continues to deepen and three in five (63%) Brits admit that they will need to go without to ensure that they are able to care for their four-legged friends.

In an effort to discover the impact of rising costs on pet owners, Agria Pet Insurance has commissioned research to examine the effect the cost-of-living crisis is having on the ability to afford a pet insurance policy that is fit-for-purpose and will pay for any unexpected or long-term vet bills.

Over half (53%) of pet owners admit that rising costs have made them reconsider protecting their pet with insurance in a bid to reduce their outgoings. In fact, one in ten (13%) confess that they do not have a pet insurance policy due to the rise in the cost-of-living.

Vicki Wentworth, Managing Director at Agria Pet Insurance, says: “What is incredibly worrying about the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on pet owners – and the resulting repercussions on pet insurance choices – is what happens when an unexpected illness or condition arises. The sad fact is that our animal rescue partners are reporting an increase in pets being handed over to them, simply because their owner cannot afford their vet bills.

“Willow, a 10-year-old retriever, protected by us since she was a puppy, is a typical example of this. She developed epilepsy out of the blue when she was just 2-years-old, and since then, her owner has claimed over £13,000 for treatment that enables her to live a full and happy life. Every day we see owners faced with unexpected one-off bills for hundreds of pounds – amounts of money that most people just can’t find at a moment’s notice.”

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the average pet insurance claim increased by £31 to £848 in 2021, yet the new data from Agria reveals that the rising cost-of-living has encouraged three in five (61%) pet owners to ‘shop around’ when their pet insurance is due for renewal – with almost half (44%) admitting they are unaware of the benefits of lifetime cover.

Iain Atkin, Manager at Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, one of Agria’s many rescue partners, comments: “We often see animals, particularly dogs, come in to us in their senior years because they haven’t had the veterinary care they’ve needed during their lives. Like people, conditions often worsen with age so something left untreated due to lack of insurance when they were younger can often become a bigger issue in old age. It’s devastating for an owner to discover that they can no longer afford to give their dog the care they need, leaving them with the only choice to take them to a rescue like ours.”

Vicki, continues: “Unlike other types of insurance, unless your pet has never been ill, we would not recommend ‘shopping around’. Switching to a new policy or provider will often result in your pet no longer being covered by insurance for anything that happened prior to the new policy starting – so always be very mindful of that when considering your options.

“Our pets really are like members of the family, that’s why Agria is built on truly safeguarding the bond we share with our four-legged friends throughout their lifetimes. We’re committed to helping pet owners through tough times with the certainty that we’ll be there for them and their pet when they need us most.”

1Study with 1,000 pet owners around the UK, completed in November 2022.

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