Cost of pet insurance in the UK

Dogs are 119% more expensive to insure than cats.

During your pet’s lifetime, it’s common that you’ll face some unexpected costs. On these occasions, pet insurance can help give you peace of mind and assure you that you’ll be able to keep your furry friend healthy and happy at all times. We’ve reviewed insurance costs for different pets so that you can keep your pet safe and healthy in every circumstance.

Quick facts

  • 23 million UK households (41%) have a pet. Out of these, the most popular pet is a dog.
  • 59% of pet owners have called or visited a vet in the last 12 months.
  • 13% of dog owners paid more than £750 for their furry friend.
  • 33% of all pet owners in the UK think it should be mandatory to have pet insurance.
  • Insuring a cat with standard insurance will cost you an average of £10 per month. For a dog, it’s £23 per month.

With 23 million UK households (41%) owning a pet, it’s safe to say that we love having an extra friend at home. The most popular pet is definitely the dog, with over 9 million pet dogs currently in the UK. This is equal to 23% of households having one dog each.

The second most popular pet is, unsurprisingly, cats. There are 7.5 million pet cats (16% of households) in the UK.

Type of pet Number in the UK Households with pet
Dogs 9 million 23%
Cats 7.5 million 16%
Rabbits 600,000 1%
Mice 500,000 1%
Indoor birds 500,000 1%
Guinea pigs 400,000 1%
Domestic fowl 400,000 0.30%
Hamsters 200,000 0.50%
Tortoises and turtles 300,000 0.50%
Snakes 200,000 0.40%
Lizards 200,000 0.30%
Horses and ponies 150,000 0.20%
Gerbils 100,000 0.20%
Rats 100,000 0.10%
Ferrets 100,000 0.10%
Frogs and toads 100,000 0.09%
Insects 100,000 0.04%
Newts and salamanders 100,000 0.03%
Pigeons 100,000 0.10%

How often do people contact a veterinarian?

When your furry friend is sick, it’s natural to want to find a professional to help. As pets can’t tell us when they’re feeling sick, it’s often necessary to reach out to those who know better.

59% of pet owners have called or visited a vet in the last 12 months, while a third of all pet owners haven’t had any contact.

Number of times pet owners have contacted a vet in the last 12 months Percentage of owners
1 time 24%
2 times 18%
3 times 7%
More than 3 times 10%
0 times 33%
Don't know 8%

Average cost of pet insurance in 2020

The average annual cost of the lowest coverage pet insurance for dogs and cats in the UK shows that insurance for dogs is £149 more each year than it is for cats. Insuring a cat with a standard insurance policy will cost you £10 per month on average, while a dog is closer to £23 per month.

Average cost of pet insurance Per month Per year
Dogs £23 £274
Cats £10 £125

Average cost of dog insurance in 2020

All types of insurance policies are more expensive for dogs, except for accident-only insurance, which is more than double the cost for cats as it is for dogs. The most expensive plan is, unsurprisingly, lifetime insurance for dogs, which costs £419 per year. As well as being the most expensive annually, lifetime insurance policies increase by up to 25% for dogs and up to 20% for cats every year, with the increase in cost being higher with each year that your pet ages.

The most expensive dog to insure in the UK is the English Bulldog, for which the monthly premium will cost you £66.50 per month on average. A Border Terrier is a whole lot cheaper, costing just £17.84 per month.

As well as the breed of the dog affecting the cost of insurance, so will the dog’s age. Insuring a mixed breed puppy costs on average £23.28 per month, which increases to £28.25 when the dog turns 5. If your dog is 12 or older, the cost climbs to £79.83 per month. This means that there’s an average increase of 12% per year for the cost of pet insurance. The biggest increase occurs between the dog’s 8th and 9th birthday, when the premium rises by a staggering 55% from £38.66 to £60.11 per month.

Age Cost of dog insurance per month
Puppy £23.28
1 year £22.67
2 years £22.78
3 years £23.70
4 years £25.25
5 years £28.25
6 years £31.36
7 years £34.53
8 years £38.66
9 years £60.11
10 years £65.09
11 years £74.70
12 years £79.83

Average cost of cat insurance in 2020

Cats are a much cheaper animal to keep around, at least when looking at insurance premiums. The cheapest cat to insure in Britain is the moggie, which will cost you £128.30 per year, closely followed by the British Shorthair, which costs £141.60 per year.

The most expensive cat breed to insure is the Maine Coon, which costs £168.60 per year on average, 31% more than the moggie.

Breed Cost of cat insurance per year
Moggie £128.30
British Shorthair £141.60
Bengal £147.20
Scottish Fold £151.00
Burmese £151.40
Shpynx £151.40
Norwegian Forest £151.70
Russian Blue £151.80
Ragdoll £152.60
Siamese £156.90
Persian £163.90
Maine Coon £168.60

The cost of the most common cat conditions

The graph below lists the price of a vet visit for the 10 most common cat conditions. The conditions are listed with the most common at the top.

Rank Condition Cost of vet visit
1 Urinary Tract Condition $295
2 Upset Stomach $385
3 Renal Failure $485
4 Diarrhea $203
5 Allergies $235
6 Diabetes $276
7 Colitis $203
8 Ear Infections $149
9 Upper Respiratory Infections (URI) $219
10 Hyperthyroidism $216
The average cost across all 10 conditions is $267. With the priciest condition, renal failure, costing $485 to treat, cat insurance is a worthwhile investment for any pets with a genetic predisposition to this condition. At $100 less per treatment, the next most expensive treatment is for an upset stomach.

What kind of insurance do pet owners have?

40% of pet owners actually don’t have insurance for their animals at all, while 42% cover all corners with full coverage pet insurance. 5% have the most basic coverage with an accident-only policy, and 7% have surgery coverage in case the animal needs an expensive procedure.

Type of policy Percentage of pet owners
Full coverage 42%
Surgery coverage 7%
Accident coverage 5%
Don't have pet insurance 40%
Don't know 6%


Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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