Pet Insurance Statistics
The rising costs of veterinary care and medicines have made health insurance for pets more critical than ever. That’s why we prepared some essential pet insurance statistics to give you an overview of the industry. Whether you are a pet parent interested in ensuring the best care for your best friend, a part of the insurance business, or just someone keen to keep up with this fast-growing sector, these data points will prove handy.
Pet Insurance Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- US pet owners spent $31.4 billion on vet care and product sales in 2020.
- The US pet insurance industry premiums equaled $1.99 billion in 2020, up 27.5% year-on-year.
- Less than 3% of pets in the US are currently covered by any form of insurance.
- Stomach issues account for over a quarter of insurance claims for dogs.
- One in three Americans adopted a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic, with most forgoing pet insurance.
Pet Insurance Industry Statistics
1. The US pet insurance industry posted gross written premiums of $1.99 billion in 2020.
This was an increase of 27.5% from $1.56 billion in 2019. The pet health insurance market in the US has been growing at an average rate of about 24% since 2016. Of the 2020 gross premiums, more than $1.8 billion came from combined insurance products that cover both accidents and illnesses.
2. Dogs represented nearly 83% of in-force gross written pet insurance premiums in the US in 2020.
The average annual growth rate was 18.4% for insured dogs and 21.4% for insured cats between 2016 and 2020. Pet insurance statistics for Canada show a similar trend (approximate split is 75.2% insured dogs vs. 24.8% insured cats), albeit pointing to a higher proportion of cats insured in Canada than in the US.
3. The average annual premium for insurance covering accidents and illness for dogs in the US was $594 in 2020.
Annual premiums for accident-only coverage meanwhile came in at $218 in 2020. Accident-only coverage includes care for foreign body ingestion, lacerations, motor vehicle accidents, poisoning, and other injuries. When coverage includes illness, additional issues such as cancer, infections, chronic digestive problems, and other diseases are also covered.
4. In the US, accident and illness coverage annual premiums for dogs were about 40% higher than for cats.
On the other hand, pet insurance statistics for Canada indicate that premiums for canines are twice those for felines. Premiums for dogs in the US have also risen faster than premiums for cats since 2016 when the average was $518. Average premiums for cats (accident + illness) in the US were around $321 in 2016 and just under $342 by the end of 2020.
5. The average pet insurance premiums in the US are about 30% lower than in Canada for dogs and 10% lower for cats.
The average price of pet insurance in the US is on par with that in Sweden. However, several other countries have insurers with more affordable plans. For example, pet insurance statistics for Hong Kong, a significant market in Asia, indicate average annual premiums between $150 and $400. Similarly, in the UK, the average annual premiums for dogs and cats are about $400 and $175, respectively, at current exchange rates.
(NAPHIA, NimbleFins, OneDegree)
6. The average pet insurance costs vary by nearly 90% between Oklahoma City and New York.
Your expenditure on monthly payments will depend on location, pet breed, pet age, the likelihood of a claim, and others. The average annual cost difference between Oklahoma City ($570 for dogs, $293 for cats) and New York City ($1,050, $555) shows substantial variation even across prominent urban locations. Similarly, pet insurance statistics for the UK show that average costs in London are over 90% higher than in the next highest location, the West Midlands.
(AdvisorSmith, Scratch & Patch)
7. The pet insurance sector in North America comprises 20 major companies.
Pet parents in the US and Canada have several plans to choose from, as many of these firms offer multiple policies. The companies range from Nationwide, the first provider to offer pet insurance in the US, to newer insurtech firms like Lemonade. Given this choice, pet owners must compare their pet insurance company options and pick the one that best suits their needs and those of their pets.
8. California is the only US state currently with a law governing pet insurance.
One of the more interesting pet insurance facts in the US is that rising rates, claim denials, definitions of pre-existing conditions, and coverage exclusions create confusion for consumers. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is working on a new model law to bring greater consistency to pet insurance rules and more protection for consumers. The proposed standards are expected to be made public by end-2021, providing a boost to the pet insurance market in the country.
9. Stomach issues account for 26% of insurance claims for dogs.
Health conditions for which dogs are taken to vets can range from skin conditions (17%), pain (14%), and ear infections (10%) to cancer (5%), cranial injuries (4.8%), and heart conditions (4.5%). Pet insurance claim statistics show that the highest claims in many of these cases can surpass $10,000 and sometimes reach above $20,000. Conditions in cats can be equally expensive, the most common being stomach issues (31.8%), urinary tract problems (12.5%), and cancer (8.4%).
Pet Ownership Statistics
10. In 2020, US pet owners spent $31.4 billion on vet care and product sales.
This expense formed a substantial part of the overall expenditure of $103.6 billion on pets in the US in 2020. Veterinary costs rose consistently over the previous decade, with the total spend on care amounting to $13 billion in 2010. Pet insurance statistics from an APPA pet owners’ survey show average annual spending of $700 on vet visits for dogs and just under $400 for cats. These costs can be much higher if a pet suffers from a severe ailment.
(American Pet Products Association)
11. Nearly 50% of pet parents in the US would be unable to cover an unplanned $5,000 pet expense.
High unexpected treatment costs form a common worst-case scenario for pet parents, with some life-threatening pet illnesses costing between $4,000 and $14,000. According to recent pet insurance statistics, just about 50% of pet parents can afford to pay for such treatments. Out of these, less than 20% can do so out of pocket, while more than 30% would have to seek financing options to cover the cost, such as payday loans, credit cards, or veterinary payment plans.
12. Less than 3% of pets in the US are covered by insurance.
These percentages are much higher in other OECD countries, representing a tremendous growth opportunity for US insurance providers. For instance, an estimated 25% of pets are covered in the UK, while 40% of Sweden’s pets are insured. According to pet insurance statistics for Australia, the overall percentage for insured dogs and cats Down Under is 6%. Several factors, including awareness, availability of options, and spending power, affect these rates. Another significant factor is the presence of universal health care for humans. Owners that don’t have to worry about their own medical expenses are more likely to get insurance for their pets.
(NAPHIA, Today’s Veterinary Business, Roy Morgan)
13. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans had adopted a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic by October 2020.
While there may be several reasons for this interesting trend, one definite consequence is an increased liability risk for many citizens. Many Americans also undertook substantial home improvement projects and acquired firearms during the pandemic, adding to their liability risk. Not surprisingly, pet insurance facts and statistics from another report show that most new pet parents decided to forgo pet insurance.
(Insurance Research Council, Insurance Information Institute)
14. Among dog owners shopping for pet insurance, 9.8% are doing so for dogs with pre-existing conditions.
Of these, nearly 90% own dogs older than a year. Most pet owners realize that it’s better to get insurance when the pet is still young and hasn’t developed any conditions. However, surveys also show a substantial market for insurance for pre-existing conditions. There are a few options available now for such pet owners. For example, pet insurance industry statistics show that several companies have begun offering insurance for moderate pre-existing conditions where the ailment hasn’t recurred in the previous year.
15. Millennials own roughly 35% of the pet dogs and cats in the US.
One of the main factors driving pet insurance industry growth is that millennials constitute a large pet owner population. Young people are also less likely to have the financial wherewithal to pay for expensive treatments. According to pet insurance statistics from a 2016 study in the US, 61% of millennials are willing to make financial trade-offs to afford care for their pets, compared with 57% of Gen Xers and 50% of baby boomers. Insurance providers making better use of technology are more likely to make inroads into this population segment.
Pet Insurance FAQ
What percentage of pets are insured?
The worldwide figures vary substantially across different regions. For example, less than 3% of the pets in the US are covered by insurance. Pet insurance industry statistics point to higher penetration rates of about 25% for the UK and 40% for Sweden. In most parts of the Asia Pacific, South America, and Africa, the numbers are much lower; however, some regions like Hong Kong and China show rapid growth.
How many people actually have pet insurance?
Based on multiple studies, about 2.55 million families in the US have pet insurance.
What is the cheapest breed of dog to insure?
According to pet insurance statistics from Forbes Advisor, the cheapest breeds to insure in 2021 are Chihuahuas, Peekapoos, Schnoodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, and Maltese dogs.
What dogs are expensive to insure?
Following are the most expensive breeds from an insurance perspective: Bernese Mountain Dog, Dalmatian, Mastiff, Bulldog, Doberman Pinscher, Pitbull.
References: NAPHIA, NAPHIA, NAPHIA, NAPHIA, NAPHIA, NimbleFins, OneDegree, AdvisorSmith, Scratch & Patch, NAPHIA, Investopedia, AdvisorSmith, American Pet Products Association, Pawlicy Advisor, NAPHIA, Today’s Veterinary Business, Roy Morgan, Insurance Research Council, Insurance Information Institute, Pawlicy Advisor, dvm360