Research Reveals Huge Increase in Veterinary Fees and Growing Importance of Pet Insurance

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17% of pet insurance policies for cats and 16% for dogs offer just £1,500 or less (per condition) for vet fees. Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance covers vets bills up to £7,500 per condition.

Sainsbury's Finance
Those with pedigree pets can often face even higher veterinary bills because these animals often suffer more from hereditary health problems.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance has revealed that between 2009 and 2010, the average value of a pet insurance claim it received for veterinary fees increased by 34%(1).

Last year, the average claim it received for veterinary fees for crossbreed dogs and cats was £416.35 and £327.54 respectively. This compares to £469.20 for pedigree dogs and £419.92 for pedigree cats, which are 12.7% and 28.2% higher.

Helen Williams, Head of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance, comments: "Advances in veterinary medicine mean that our pets are better cared for than ever before but with claims for vet bills around a third higher than they were a few years ago, it's all the more important to have good pet insurance to cover your cat or dog's veterinary treatment.

“Those with pedigree pets can often face even higher veterinary bills because these animals often suffer more from hereditary health problems.”

Despite the rising cost of veterinary treatment, research(2) from Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance reveals that 17% of policies for cats and 16% for dogs only offer £1,500 or less for vet fees per condition. Similarly, 16% of policies for cats and 14% of those aimed at dogs, will only provide £2,000 or less towards vets’ fees per year.

Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance provides cover for up to £7,500 per condition for veterinary treatments. However, its research(2) reveals that the average level of vet fee cover for cats is £3,860, and for dogs it is £3,899.

Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance research(1) reveals that the average claim it received last year for a Deerhound was £1,323, and £887 for an Affen Pinscher. Some of the most expensive veterinary insurance related claims for cats last year were for Bengal and Domestic Semi-Longhair breeds, where the average was £658 and £631 respectively.

Helen continued "It's alarming that so many policies are still offering such low levels of vet fee cover. Pet owners could end up with a nasty shock to the tune of many hundreds of pounds if their pet develops a chronic illness that requires regular treatment or requires a joint operation and on going physiotherapy for example."

Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance warns dog and cat owners against delaying taking out cover for their pets, because if they suffer from a condition and don’t have insurance, it is unlikely that they will subsequently find a policy to cover them for that condition. Its research(3) reveals that only 32% of people who own or have owned a cat or dog bought pet insurance immediately after purchasing their pet. Nearly one in 10 waited at least six months before buying cover.

Quality pet insurance does not need to be expensive; good cover at a competitive price can be found by shopping around for the best deal, and it is essential to compare policies on a like-for-like basis – comparing on price alone could be disastrous. Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance offers an extensive range of benefits at a competitive price. For further information call 0800 434 6359, log on to or pick up a leaflet in a Sainsbury’s supermarket.

Notes to Editors:

(1) Sainsbury’s Finance analysis of its pet insurance claims in 2010 and 2009.
(2) Sainsbury’s Finance commissioned Defaqto to carry out this research on 10th March 2011.
(3) ICM interviewed a random sample of 2003 adults aged 18+. The interviews were conducted via an online omnibus survey between 11th - 13th March 2011. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information available at Figures include those people who previously owned a cat and dog.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance is underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Sainsbury’s Finance:
To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury's Finance online media centre at

Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Finance provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times. Our products consistently top Best Buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.

Sainsbury’s Finance recent awards include Best Overall Online Provider, Best Online Pet Insurance Provider, Best Online Personal Loan Provider and Best Direct Home Insurance Provider at the Your Money Awards 2011.

Sainsbury's Finance is a joint venture between J.Sainsbury plc and Lloyds Banking Group.
For further information and general Sainsbury’s Finance enquiries customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit


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Tom Wilson
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