Pet insurance is a growing industry that saves pet owners thousands of dollars annually on vet emergencies and routine care.
We at the Home Media reviews team dove deep into the numbers to provide you with the most significant pet insurance facts and statistics, including data on pet insurance companies, claims and plan types.
We’ve gathered 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 proprietary survey.
Pet Ownership by Type of Pet
According to APPA’s 2021 to 2022 National Pet Owners Survey, 90.5 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
APPA’s survey also looked at pet ownership by generation. It found that more millennials own pets than any other generation, at 32%.
Around a quarter of Gen X and Baby Boomers own pets, with 14% of Gen Z reporting that they own a pet.
Builders, also known as the Silent Generation born before 1945, account for only 3% of pet owners in the United States.
How Often Pet Owners Take Their Pets to the Vet
In our proprietary survey of 1,000 pet owners, nearly 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 remainder of pet owners only going to the vet when necessary, if at all.
Different pet insurance plans cover routine costs and unexpected emergency visits to the vet.
The Cost of Vet Emergencies
We asked pet parents how much they’ve paid for vet emergencies. Nearly 21% said they had paid more than $1,000 for a single vet emergency visit.
Alternatively, 25.1% of pet owners paid $200 or less for a vet emergency, while most participants (31.5%) fell in the middle at $201 to $500.
The Health Paws Cost of Pet Health Care Report 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 a vet emergency using a credit card or personal loan. Only 12.9% of participants said they would rely on a pet insurance policy to pay for expenses, with most pet owners saying they would use cash or savings.
Here’s the breakdown of how people responded:
The Cost of Pet Insurance
Some pet parents purchase pet insurance to account for these costs. We surveyed the pet owners who have policies to gauge average coverage costs. Roughly 37% said they pay $25 to $40 on 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 selected coverage.
Why People Avoid Pet Insurance
We asked pet owners who aren’t insured why they decided not to get a policy.
Some 34% of survey respondents said they don’t have pet insurance because they don’t know much about it. Another 28% of pet owners passed on a policy because they felt it was too expensive. An additional 16% of pet owners stated that they didn’t need a policy because their pet was healthy.
Take a look at the top five reasons below:
Pet Insurance Industry Trends
So how many pet owners have pet insurance? About half, or 44.6%, of pet owners stated they currently have pet insurance in our survey.
On a larger scale, NAPHIA’s 2022 State of the Industry Report 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 of pet insurance premiums were in force in 2021, a 30.5% increase from 2020.
NAPHIA speculates some of this growth is related to a higher number of pet adoptions throughout the pandemic and increased concern over healthcare costs for pets.
The Number of Dogs and Cats Insured from 2017–2021
While some companies offer pet insurance plans for more exotic pets, most plans are designed to protect dogs and cats. As dog and cat ownership has increased over the last few years, so has the need for pet insurance.
Here’s an overview of the increase in pet ownership of dogs and cats between 2017 and 2021, based on NAPHIA’s report.
The Future of the Pet Insurance Industry
Based on the data in this guide, pet ownership is rising in the United States. As vet expenses increase alongside 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: