Pet Health Insurance Month

September 13th 2023

Americans love their pets, and most will undoubtedly do anything to keep them healthy and happy. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 70% of U.S. households, or about 90.5 million families, own a pet. Forbes reports that 78% of pet owners acquired pets during the pandemic.

But how many have invested in pet health insurance? Let’s take a look at the latest numbers for Pet Health Insurance Month.

Pet Medical Expenses

A new survey of pet owners reports that they spend an average of $1,507 a year on medical care for their four-legged friends and 76% said they would spend much more and even take on debt if it meant saving their pet’s life.

But how often do pets need medical care?

Almost half of pet owners (47%) have had an animal experience a serious medical issue or require a trip to the emergency vet. And almost 3 in 10 owners (29%) whose pet experienced a serious issue didn’t have insurance.

Pet Health Insurance by the Numbers

Pet insurance in the U.S. is not a new concept. In fact, the first pet insurance policy was issued in the U.S. in 1982 for television’s beloved Lassie. What is new, is the increase in the number of insured pets. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the total number of pets insured in the U.S. at the end of 2022 was 4.8 million, a 22% increase since 2021.

Total Insured Pets

The premium volume has also seen a dramatic increase. The total premium volume for pet insurance in the U.S. in 2022 was nearly $3.2 billion.

Gross Written Pet Premiums

How do the species compare?

Dogs (80 %) comprised the largest category of insured pets versus cats (20%). The average accident and illness premium for dogs was $640 a year or $53 a month. The average accident and illness premium for cats was $387 a year or $32 a month.

The most common medical conditions for dogs are:

  • Skin Conditions (Infections, Allergies, Mass)
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Allergies
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety / Behavioral condition / Neuro Issues
  • Vomiting / Emesis
  • Lameness / Limping
  • Growth
  • Dermatitis

Top Dog Claims

The most expensive conditions to treat for dogs are pneumonia and heart issues.

The most common medical conditions for cats are:

  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)
  • Diarrhea
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease / Renal Failure
  • Skin Conditions (Infections, Allergies, Mass)
  • Dental
  • Vomiting / Emesis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Conjunctivitis / Eye Condition

The most expensive conditions to treat for cats are renal or esophageal related.

Top Cat Claims

Obstacles to Securing Pet Health Insurance

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of pet owners said they would have difficulty paying a surprise vet bill amid inflation, and more than a quarter of pet owners (28%) said a vet bill of $499 or less would cause them to go into debt, while a bill of $999 or less would cause 42% to go into debt.

However, more than three-quarters (79%) of pet owners said they do not have pet insurance. This could also be an indicator of pet owner mindset. Forbes recently ranked the 50 states by having the most devoted dog owners finding that Colorado topped the list while Pennsylvania ranked last.

To learn more about the niche claims services and solutions provided by Davies please contact Lee Bradshaw, Managing Director of Niche Claims at

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