Pet insurers paid out a record £657 million in claims in 2015 - equating to £1.8 million every day - according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The figures show that in 2015, t he number and cost of claims reached record levels, with 911,000 pet insurance claims made, up 9% on 2014. Their cost, at £657 million, was also up 9% on the previous year.

The average claim was for £721 last year, while the average pet insurance premium was £241.

Pet insurers dealt with 686,000 claims for dogs costing £501 million. For cats, 193,000 claims were handled, worth £105 million.

Despite the record payouts last year, most pet owners remain uninsured, the ABI said. Only one in four of the nine million dog owners and one in seven of the 7.9 million cat owners are thought to have pet insurance.

The ABI said some of the more unusual pet insurance claims handled include the r emoval of a sock eaten by a dog, and treatment for a cat which fell from a fourth floor window.

Mark Shepherd, general insurance manager at the ABI, said: "The record levels of claims handled by pet insurers highlights that owning a pet can be costly as well as rewarding."