Increasing numbers of pet owners are injuring or even killing their pets to get insurance payouts.
Pet insurance fraud has nearly quadrupled in the space of a year and insurers believe some owners are selling or even killing the animal so they can claim a payout for early death.
Other tactics include pretending the animal has been lost or stolen, or claiming for expensive vet treatments that have not been given or are unnecessary.
Figures from the Association of British Industry show that detected pet insurance fraud soared to £1.9 million last year from £420,000 the year before. The actual figures are thought to be much higher and are pushing up the average £220 premium. Premiums went up by 12.5% in 2010 from 2009.
Carys Clarke, a solicitor who works as an insurance fraud investigator for law firm Berrymans Lace Mawer, told the Telegraph: "I am aware of cases were owners have maimed their animals in order to make claims on their policies."
John Ellenger, pet product manager for More Than, said: "The increase in detected pet insurance fraud is quite significant. Pet insurance fraud is costing companies more and will have an impact on other people's premiums in the future."