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Insured pet population grows by 18%

Dog and cat owners favor accident and illness plans over accident-only coverage.

Insured pet population grows by 18%Nearly 2.2 million U.S. pets were covered by health insurance in 2018, an 18% jump from the prior year, according to a new study. The North American Pet Health Insurance Association’s 2019 State of the Industry report found that gross written premiums across the United States rose by 24% in 2018, to a total of $1.3 billion. Just over 1% of U.S. dogs and cats are insured. That number pales in comparison to the United Kingdom, where an estimated 25% of pets are covered, and Sweden, where the total is said to be as high as 40%. Rick Faucher, president of NAPHIA’s board of directors, saw reasons for optimism given the 18% growth in insured U.S. pets and an 11% increase in Canada. “Beyond what our industry data tells us, there are many other indicators that pet health insurance is a robust line of insurance,” Faucher said. “There have been several acquisitions of pet insurance companies this year, and we’re seeing a number of new market entrants.” The NAPHIA report also discovered that:
  • Insured North American dogs and cats averaged 4.6 and 5.5 years old, respectively.
  • U.S. pet owners overwhelming choose accident and illness coverage or insurance with embedded wellness care. Those policies make up 98% of business. The other 2% is accident-only coverage.
  • The average annual premium in the United States for accident and illness coverage was $566 for dogs and $354 for cats. Accident-only plans cost an average of $190 for dogs and $141 for cats.
  • When a claim was paid in 2018, an accident and illness policyholder received an average of $284.
The report relied on data submitted by 13 companies operating in the United States or Canada.