* Seven million over 50s own cats and dogs

* Saga estimates that only one in three insure their pet

* Over 50s are three times more likely to claim on pet insurance than motor

* Average pet insurance claim is almost £650

* Case study available on request

They chew your shoes, slobber on the furniture and leave nasty surprises in the garden, but more than seven million over 50s can’t live without their cat or dog. However, Saga Pet Insurance estimates that only one in three insure their furry friends.

Perhaps the reason for this lack of proper cover is because half of over 50s think people are unlikely to claim on their pet insurance. However, data suggests that the over 50s are in fact more likely to claim on their pet insurance than any other type of insurance. Almost one in three Saga pet insurance customers has made a claim, and pet insurance customers are three times more likely to make a claim than motor insurance customers.

Dogs and cats are prone to recurring complaints, and the most common claims for pets are arthritis, tumours and heart problems. These claims alone make up almost a fifth of all pet insurance claims.

Animal lovers could be left penniless if their pooch becomes poorly. Research shows that the average pet claim is almost £650, but some customers have faced bills of £20,000, when their dog has injured someone else.

The wisest pet owners are those in East Anglia, as they are the most likely to insure their pets in case of an emergency. However, pet lovers in East Midlands are the most willing to take a risk and leave their pets uninsured.

Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services, commented: “A sick pet can be the cause of family heartache, and with vets bills soaring by 10% last year, it can also cause a financial headache if pets don’t have the proper cover.”

7 weeks old hovawart puppy by Bodlina

7 weeks old hovawart puppy by Bodlina

Image By Bodlina (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

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