23 Shocking Pet Insurance Statistics to Consider in 2021

People buy health insurance to cover unforeseen medical expenses. On the other hand, pet owners take pet insurance to cover unexpected veterinary bills.

Pet insurance is an insurance plan for pet owners that reduces the overall costs of expensive veterinary bills. Its coverage is similar to human health insurance.

Pets are often considered furry family members. Like humans, they’re prone to accidents, illnesses, and pre-existing health conditions. As family members, they also need proper medical attention whenever the situation calls for it.

Here are some pet insurance statistics you probably didn’t know about. Read on to find out more about how you can provide your pet with health insurance and save some money on future vet visits.

Notable Pet Industry Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • 63.4 million US households own a dog.
  • 42.7 million Americans own a cat.
  • 56% of the people worldwide have at least one pet living with them.
  • 47.4% of pets insured in the US are female, and 52.6% of them are male.
  • 95% of Americans consider pets family members.
  • 2.82 million pets were insured in North America by the end of 2019.
  • The pet insurance market expects a growth rate of over 20% in the following years.

Dog Statistics

Let’s start with the man’s best friend — the dog. These loyal companions are a favorite in almost all pet-loving households. You will find more info about dog ownership in the US and dog owners’ interest in pet insurance below.

1. 63.4 million US households own a dog.

(APPA, Spots)

Dogs are the most popular pets in the US, followed by cats that are kept in 42.7 million US households. Reports also indicate that dog ownership has increased by 21.9% in the last two decades. This increase tells us that dogs continue to be the favored pets in American households.

2. 81.6% of dog parents are interested in pet insurance.

(Pawlicy)

Most dog parents opt for pet insurance since dogs are more expensive to treat than other pets. Dogs are usually larger and sometimes prone to breed-related diseases. Moreover, certain dog breeds are more susceptible to injuries due to their constitution.

3. Pet insurance statistics show that 9.8% of pet owners in the US want to buy pet insurance for dogs with a pre-existing health condition.

(Pawlicy)

No insurance provider covers pre-existing conditions. However, some plans cover curable conditions with no recurring symptoms after a certain waiting period. Therefore, it’s important to apply for pet insurance while your pet is young and healthy so that the insurance covers the costs if any condition arises.

4. According to the latest data, the average cost of pet insurance for a dog is $585.40 per year.

(NAPHIA, Business Insider)

This amount covers both accidents and illnesses. On the other hand, the average annual premium that covers accidents only is $194.09. If a pet owner decides to purchase the accident-only policy, they risk paying an out-of-pocket expense later on if their pet gets sick.

Moreover, the monthly coverage for accidents and illnesses is $48.78. Of course, the costs are lower if a pet parent chooses a plan that covers accidents only.

In this case, the average pet insurance costs per month are $16.17. One of the factors that also determine the price is a dog breed.

23 Shocking Pet Insurance Statistics to Consider in 2021 (3)

Cat Statistics

These low-maintenance, independent house companions are the second favorite among pet parents. Read on to learn some interesting facts about cat ownership.

5. Around 42.7 million Americans own a cat.

(APPA)

After dogs, our feline companions are the second most popular pets. Pet insurance statistics show that 35.7% of American households own a cat. Moreover, the highest rate of cat ownership is in Vermont — 44.6%.

6. In the US, around 18.38% of cat parents are interested in pet insurance.

(Pawlicy)

Cats usually experience fewer breed-specific health issues than dogs because their breeding history paved the way for more genetic diversity. Also, they’re smaller in size, and treatment costs are relatively lower.

7. Statistics on pet insurance show that 12.27% of cat parents want to get insurance plans for pets with pre-existing medical conditions.

(Pawlicy)

Moreover, 91.9% of those cats are adult pets. The conditions are similar to those dogs can develop, such as allergies, cancer, and heart disease.

Cats can also have curable pre-existing medical conditions like gastrointestinal problems and infections. Although currently cured, these conditions can be covered with a pet insurance plan if they ever come back later in a pet’s life.

8. The average annual A&I premium price for cats is $349.93.

(NAPHIA, Business Insider)

This amount covers treatments for both accidents and illnesses. On the other hand, the average annual AO premium price is $126.08. However, with AO, cat parents will have to pay a significant amount of money if their pets get sick at any point in their life.

The average monthly cat insurance premium that covers accidents and illnesses is $29.16. If an owner decides to pay only for accidents, then the amount will be even lower — $10.51.

Additional Pet Ownership Statistics

Now let’s look at the bigger picture and learn more about pet ownership in the US and worldwide.

9. The first pet ownership study in the US was conducted in 1988, and it showed that 56% of US households owned a pet.

(APPA)

Today, the rate is 67%, which is equivalent to 84.9 million American households. This steady increase tells us that even in our fast-paced modern world where digitalization takes up most of our time, a considerable amount of people still like having pets in their households. Anyway, if you’re not at home, you can always get a pet surveillance camera to monitor your pets.

10. More than half of the people worldwide (56%) have at least one pet living with them.

(Modern Cat)

Furthermore, pet ownership statistics by country show the following results:

  • Argentina and Mexico — 80%
  • Brazil — 75%
  • Russia — 73%
  • US — 70%

Asian countries seem to have the smallest percentage of pet owners:

  • Japan — 37%
  • Hong Kong — 35%
  • South Korea — 31%

11. Pet survey statistics show that women are more likely to own a pet.

(Modern Cat)

A survey reported that pet ownership was not equally divided between men and women. Women are generally more likely to own a pet — 34% are dog owners, and 25% own a cat. On the other hand, 32% of men have a dog, and 22% have a cat.

12. In the US, Wyoming has the highest pet ownership rate of 71.8%.

(Spots)

Pet ownership statistics by the state show that the pet ownership rate varies across states in the US. You can find some of the significant numbers below.

The top three states with the highest pet ownership rate:

  • Wyoming — 71.8%
  • West Virginia — 70.7%
  • Vermont — 70%

The states with the lowest pet ownership rate:

  • Rhode Island — 45.4%
  • South Dakota — 46.4%
  • Colorado — 47.2%

Moreover, Idaho has the highest dog ownership rate (58.3%), while Vermont holds the highest cat ownership rate — 44.6%. The District of Columbia has the lowest rate of both dog (22.5%) and cat (16.4%) ownership.

13. According to pet ownership statistics from 2019, 67% of US households owned a pet.

(Statista)

According to Statista, there has been a 20% increase in pet ownership from 1988 when the first pet insurance survey results had been presented to the public. As more Americans became pet owners, pet industry expenditure experienced steady growth, including the increase in pet insurance purchases.

14. 95% of Americans treat their pets as family members.

(Spots)

Therefore, it’s not strange that they spend $1 billion a year on pet insurance. Pet owners consider their pets family members who deserve proper health and care treatment whenever the occasion calls for it.

Moreover, out of $1,126 spent yearly on pet care, 35.7% goes toward veterinary care. That’s why it’s important to have good pet insurance, and 1.6% of pet owners know that.

23 Shocking Pet Insurance Statistics to Consider in 2021 (3)

Some Interesting Pet Insurance Statistics

15. 47.4% of insured pets in the US are female, and 52.6% of them are male.

(Pawlicy)

Pet gender affects the pet insurance rate since spaying females require a more complicated procedure and is more expensive. Moreover, unspayed and unneutered pets have a higher risk of additional medical complications later in life that would be expensive to treat. Some examples of those conditions are infections and cancer.

16. Pet insurance sales in North America have experienced an average annual growth rate of 22.1% in the past five years.

(NAPHIA)

The pet insurance market in North America currently includes 20 companies. Moreover, 97% of effective policies in the US and Canada come from NAPHIA member companies.

According to the NAPHIA report, 2.82 million pets are insured, and pet health insurance has experienced steady growth in the last five years.

17. The global pet insurance market is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 20% by 2025.

(ReportLinker)

Several factors contribute to this expected growth. These factors are the increasing popularity of pet insurance policies among pet owners, the millennials’ high interest in pets, and the rising popularity of the pet humanization concept.

18. Pet insurance statistics and trends from 2018 show a 17% increase compared to the previous year.

(iii)

In 2018, 2.43 million pets were insured. The combined gross premium from the US and Canada’s pet insurance sector was $1.42 billion, up from the reported $1.15 billion in 2017.

19. Healthy Paws was considered the best pet insurance in 2019.

(Pet Insurance Review, Healthy Paws)

Healthy Paws was ranked No. 1 based on its overall performance, especially in terms of customer service and the efficiency of the claims process.

The company offers a simple and straightforward plan that covers both accidents and illnesses, including unlimited annual and lifetime payouts. Moreover, it has created an iPhone app to facilitate the claim process.

Apart from that, it has the Customer Center that assists pet owners in managing their current policies.

20. Pet ownership statistics from 2020 show that only 19.44% of pet parents would be able to pay $5,000 for vet expenses out-of-pocket.

(Pawlicy)

If an uninsured pet gets ill or suffers an accident, the high veterinary costs have to be paid in cash. The amount of $5,000 was used as a reference in statistics because it represented approximate veterinary costs.

This high amount may be affordable to some pet owners, but the majority of them can’t pay it. Pet parents should consider this when deciding whether to purchase an insurance policy for their pet.

21. The average cost of emergency veterinary care is $800–$1,500.

(Spots)

This amount isn’t easy on the pocket. Perhaps it’s affordable to a few pet parents, but the majority of them can’t pay high veterinary costs on the spot.

Pet owners who consider buying an insurance policy should estimate whether they can afford any amount from this range. If not, investing in a pet insurance plan would be a wise move to make as soon as possible.

22. Pet insurance rankings show that the best pet insurance is Pet Assure.

(Investopedia, Pet Assure)

Pet Assure has the best insurance plan due to several factors. Their plan includes the following:

  • All types of pets are accepted.
  • All in-house medical procedures are covered.
  • No annual limitations.
  • Pre-existing conditions are accepted.

These are just some of the benefits the company offers. However, pet owners should consider the factors they deem essential when choosing the best pet insurance plan for their pets.

23. Allergies and gastrointestinal conditions are the most common pet insurance claims for dogs.

(DVM360)

According to pet insurance claim statistics, the most common health issues in dogs are:

  • Atopy/Allergies
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Otitis (ear infection)
  • Benign skin neoplasia

The most frequent health issues in cats are:

  • Gastrointestinal condition
  • Urinary tract infectious disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes

These are the most common pet insurance claims, but they can slightly differ depending on the company.

To Sum Up

Pet insurance facts show that the market is growing together with our modern world. It’s lucrative because pet owners often consider their four-legged companions family members.

Considering this idea, pet parents buy pet insurance policies to cover emergency expenses because pets are prone to accidents, illnesses, and pre-existing health conditions, just like us.

It’s a wise decision since it’s better to have insurance that will cover unexpected costs rather than paying them as out-of-pocket expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do most vets take pet insurance?

Pet survey results show that all vets accept pet insurance since it is similar to car insurance. You must pay for veterinary services and file a claim to the insurance. Afterward, the insurance will reimburse you for your costs, in accordance with your insurance plan.

Pet insurance claims are different from human life insurance claims. Unlike human healthcare where doctors accept only a particular insurer’s policy, you can generally use your pet insurance at any licensed veterinarian, including university, specialty, or emergency hospitals.

At what age does dog insurance increase?

Insurance premiums are the lowest when a dog is still young and healthy. But about four to five years later, they increase because pets get older. Pet insurance statistics indicate that purchasing pet insurance for dogs older than nine may be complicated due to possible age limits.

Do you really need pet insurance?

All pet parents should consider purchasing pet insurance for their pets. Some owners can afford to pay for veterinary expenses out-of-pocket; however, an insurance plan can help the rest of the pet parents save thousands of dollars. Pet insurance prices increase proportionately as the pet ages. If you’re planning to buy one, do so when your pet is still young.

How much does pet insurance go up each year?

Pet insurance has experienced a significant increase in popularity over the past five years. In the US, the average annual growth rate is 22.6%.

Moreover, pet insurance statistics worldwide indicate that the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.5% by 2027 and could reach $14.9 billion by 2028.

Is it best to get lifetime pet insurance?

Pet insurance facts show that lifetime pet insurance is an ideal option if your pet has a chronic or recurring illness. Although it is the most expensive coverage, it offers the most comprehensive protection.

If the high vet costs of your pet’s chronic illness are one of your primary concerns or you want to cover your pet for a wide range of injuries and illnesses throughout their life, then a lifetime policy can be a reasonable choice.

What is not covered by pet insurance?

Although pet insurance policies can have different coverage options, they all share some general exclusions. The most common one is a waiting period that usually lasts 10 to 30 days and during which there’s no coverage.

Other common exclusions are pre-existing medical conditions, pregnancy and/or birth, death or theft, bilateral condition, preventable diseases, age exclusion, elective procedures, and non-standard or non-veterinary services.

Insurance policies may even have breed exclusion since some pet breeds have a predisposition to certain medical conditions.

What was the best pet insurance in 2020?

Pet insurance statistics for the US show that the best pet insurance company in 2020 was Pet Assure. However, some other pet insurance companies deserve recognition for their respective advantages:

  • USAA: Best for service members’ pets
  • Embrace: Best for emergencies
  • Hartville: Best for older dogs
  • 24PetWatch: Best for chronic conditions
  • Figo: Best for holistic care (according to its website, it was the top pet insurance in 2018)
  • ASPCA: Best for multiple pets.

What percentage of pets are insured?

According to the pet insurance statistics, 2.82 million pets have insurance, which is about 2% of the pet population. The five states in the US with the biggest percentage of insured pets are California, New York, Florida, New Jersey, and Texas. Regarding the percentage of insured pets by species, dogs make the majority of insured pets with 83%, while cats make up only 17%.

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