Pet insurers are forking out an astonishing £1.2 million every day to cover the costs of treating Britain's ill cats and dogs, the latest figures show.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) revealed how insurers paid out £452 million for sick or injured cats and dogs in 2012.

What's more, over the five years between 2007 and 2012, the value of a typical claim rose 52 per cent (£207). However, this cost has not been passed on to consumers, with the average pet insurance premium only rising £57.

The spike in pet insurance claims is partly due to the number of pets needing treatment, with one in three having to visit the vets over the course of a year. At the same time, fees at veterinary practices are increasing, with the average bill reaching more than £300 and complex treatments, such as those for hip dysplasia, costing as much as £4,000.

If an animal needs ongoing treatment for a condition, the fees can even rise to five figures.

However, the sky high costs do highlight the need for dog owners to take out insurance in the event that their canine needs treatment. An innocuous accident could otherwise end up costing them a huge amount of money. For example, one Mastiff dog that inadvertently swallowed a snooker ball cost its owner £1,000 to have it removed, while a mutt that ingested a marker pen cost £1,500.

"Owning a pet can be rewarding, but also expensive - especially if they need medical treatment. There is no NHS for our pets and even minor medical treatment can cost hundreds of pounds," said Linsey White, a spokesperson for the ABI.

"Pet insurance protects you against the unexpected vet’s bills when your pet needs treatment and can help your pet live a longer, healthier life."

Written by: Hannah