When you're weighing up whether to buy a pet, there's a lot to consider - from whether you can give it enough exercise to the cost of food and veterinary bills.
However, if the tales of Saga insurance customers are to be believed, you may also need to be prepared for some very expensive chaos in your home.
"We are a nation of pet lovers, but even the best behaved dog or cat can leave you with a big bill. Animal accidents in the home can cost thousands to put right," says Saga communications director Paul Green.
"This is why it is important that pet owners protect both their pets and their homes so they ensure that they can get back to normal as quickly as possible. Accidental damage cover is essential for any pet owner to protect themselves against any pet mishaps."
The company has compiled a list of the pet-related insurance claims it's received over the last year; we look at some of the more unusual incidents.
One Saga customer was relaxing at home when her husband starting shouting for help - there was a fire in one of the rooms. After putting it out and investigating the damage, the customer realised that her two pet tortoises had knocked over their heat lamp, starting the fire; luckily, they were unharmed, but the damage cost more than £6,000 to repair.
One policyholder was at home looking after her daughter's puppy when the next door neighbour's cat came into the garden. The puppy jumped up to chase it away - but didn't realise the patio doors were closed. They were shattered, and cost over £2,000 to repair.
When a Saga customer returned home from shopping, she thought she must have been burgled, after discovering that all her favourite antique ceramic ornaments were smashed on the floor. But she realised the true culprit when she saw her next door neighbour's cat sitting amongst the chaos; the china cost more than £500 to replace.
Returning from a walk, one woman let her dog off the lead as they came into the house - forgetting that her husband was doing some painting. The dog ran straight through wet paint leaving white paw marks all over the house - which needed to be completely recarpeted.
One customer wanted some peace and quiet so took his hearing aids out and placed them on the coffee table. However, his dog, thinking they were some sort of treat, jumped up and ate them. They cost almost £2,000 to replace.
Top Ten Weirdest Holiday Home Insurance Claims
Top Ten Weirdest Holiday Home Insurance Claims
The owner of a holiday home in Spain returned to inspect his property after he had let it to a group of young people in their 20s for two weeks, to find that they had created an indoor beach including sand and water to emulate the sea. The youngsters explained that the local beach “hadn’t lived up to their expectations”.
A slightly oblivious swan didn’t see what was coming his way. It was flying happily through the air, completely unaware of a set of high voltage power cables in its flight path which it duly hit. The swan had the shock of its life and dived straight for the roof of a holiday home underneath, crashing through the roof and leaving a massive hole in need of fixing.
At a holiday home in France, a cow walked over a swimming pool cover. As the cow was considerably heavier than the cover could hold, the cover broke and the unsuspecting cow took an involuntary dip in the pool; resulting in considerable damage to the pool and the need for a winch to rescue the distraught bovine.
Holiday guests staying in a Spanish property moved items of furniture from inside the holiday home they were renting, including a sofa, single bed and chest of drawers, into the shallow end of the swimming pool. The guests had been under the influence of alcohol when they’d decided to rearrange the furniture in such a way and claimed they "couldn’t remember" why they had done it.
A particularly passionate couple managed to not only badly scratch the wooden floor of their bedroom by causing the bed to move vehemently, but also caused the bed to break, as well as the bedside lamp and bedside table. The couple explained that all damage had been caused during one session of lovemaking and they apologised profusely.
Following a rental, a holiday home owner made a gory discovery; he found blood splattered all over carpets and walls. After further investigation, he discovered a makeshift cardboard coffin containing a pig’s head in the bin, suggesting that a sacrifice had taken place at his property.
A young couple tried to pursue a claim against the owner of their holiday apartment in Spain on the basis that both bed sheets and towels were "too hard" and caused scratches and irritations on the skin, which prevented them from using the pool and sunbathing comfortably.
A holiday cottage in Devon needed completely redecorating after the holiday guests had decided to have an indoor barbecue on the flagstone floor, as ‘the weather didn’t allow for having it outside’.
One unsuspecting holiday property owner in Italy was shocked to find out that his house had been turned into a brothel by his guests during a four week rental period, resulting in the need for a deep clean and replacement of soft furnishings.
A lady in her late 30s from Manchester sought compensation from the owner of her holiday home in Marbella as the gravel on the driveway "had wrecked" four pairs of her designer stilettos and forced her to replace them with new ones.