Pet insurance is a growing industry that saves pet owners thousands of dollars a year in veterinary emergencies and routine care.
We at Home Media Reviews team dug deep into the numbers to bring you the most significant facts and statistics about pet insurance, including data on pet insurance companiesclaims and plan types.
We collected data from the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the American Pet Products Association (APPA), the Healthy Paws Cost of Pet Healthcare Report, and our own research.
Pet Ownership by Pet Type
According to the APPA National Survey of Pet Owners 2021 to 202290.5 million—or 70%—of households in the United States have pets.
Here’s a closer look at that figure based on the type of animal owned:
- dog: 69 million
- cat: 45.3 million
- Freshwater fish: 11.8 million
- bird: 9.9 million
- Small animal: 6.2 million
- reptile: 5.7 million
- Horse: 3.5 million
- Saltwater fish: 2.9 million
Pet ownership by generation
The APPA survey also looked at pet ownership by generation. More millennials were found to own pets than any other generation, at 32%.
About a quarter of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers own pets, with 14% of Gen Zers reporting that they own a pet.
Builders, also known as the silent generation, born before 1945, represent only 3% of pet owners in the United States.
How often do pet owners take their pets to the vet?
In our own survey of 1,000 pet owners, almost 45% of participants said they take their pet to the vet twice a year.
More than 37% of participants take their pet to the vet annually, with the remaining pet owners going to the vet only when necessary, if at all.
Various pet insurance plans cover routine expenses and unexpected emergency vet visits.
The cost of veterinary emergencies
We asked pet parents how much they paid for vet emergencies. Nearly 21% said they paid more than $1,000 for a single emergency vet visit.
Alternatively, 25.1% of pet owners paid $200 or less for a veterinary emergency, while most participants (31.5%) fell in the middle of $201 to $500.
The Health Paws Report on Pet Health Care Costs provides more insight into the potential costs of vet visits.
How pet owners would pay for vet emergencies
Our survey found that 43% of pet owners would pay for emergency vet care with a credit card or personal loan. Only 12.9% of participants said they would rely on a pet insurance policy to pay for the cost, with most pet owners saying they would use cash or savings.
Here’s a breakdown of how people reacted:
The cost of pet insurance
Some pet parents purchase pet insurance to account for these costs. We surveyed pet owners who have policies to measure the average cost of coverage. Approximately 37% say they pay $25 to $40 in monthly pet insurance premiums.
Here’s a look at how much pet owners we surveyed pay for pet insurance each month:
Pet insurance premiums can vary based on your pet’s age, size, breed, location and the coverage you choose.
Why people avoid pet insurance
We asked uninsured pet owners why they decided not to take out a policy.
About 34% of respondents said they don’t have pet insurance because they don’t know much about it. Another 28% of pet owners switched policies because they thought it was too expensive. An additional 16% of pet owners say they don’t need a policy because their pet is healthy.
Check out the top five reasons below:
Trends in the Pet Insurance Industry
So how many pet owners have pet insurance? About half, or 44.6%, of pet owners said they currently have pet insurance in our survey.
On a larger scale NAPHIA’s State of the Industry Report 2022 found that more than 4.41 million pets were insured in North America in 2021, up from 3.45 million in 2020. The report also found that $2.84 billion in pet insurance premiums were in force in 2021, an increase by 30.5% compared to 2020.
NAPHIA speculates that some of this growth is related to higher pet adoptions during the pandemic and increased concern about pet health care costs.
The number of insured dogs and cats from 2017-2021
While some companies offer insurance plans for more exotic pets, most plans are designed to protect dogs and cats. As dog and cat ownership has increased over the past few years, so has the need for pet insurance.
Here’s an overview of the increase in pet dog and cat ownership between 2017 and 2021, based on the NAPHIA report.
The Future of the Pet Insurance Industry
Based on the data in this guide, pet ownership is on the rise in the United States. As vet costs rise along with the rest of the economy, pet insurance can be a wise investment to protect your pet and avoid potentially high emergency vet bills.
Here are more resources to help you learn about pet insurance: