Pet insurance statistics 2024

Author pictureAuthor picture
Author picture
Author picture
Edited by:
a couple playing with a golden retriever and a cat

Pets are part of the family, with 86.9 million households owning a pet. Of the estimated $143.6B that Americans spent on pet care in 2023, $37.0B was spent on vet care and products. Evidence of pet care is the estimated $143.6B that Americans spent on their pets in 2023. Pet health insurance has been growing rapidly, at a 22.5% compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2022, from 2.2 million pets insured to 4.8 million pets insured. Pet insurance helps offset veterinary medical expenses, both routine and unexpected.

Key insights

There were 4.8 million pets insured in the U.S. at the end of 2022, with dogs accounting for 80.1% of the insured pets, compared to cats which comprised 19.9%.

Jump to insight

The average monthly pet insurance premium for accident and illness (A&I) is $53.34 for dogs and $32.25 for cats.

Jump to insight

Wyoming had the lowest pet insurance premiums for cats and dogs, while California had the highest.

Jump to insight

The monthly basic cost of care is $123 for a dog and $75 for a cat.

Jump to insight

Skin-related issues are the most commonly treated condition in dogs, and urinary tract infections are the top medical condition treated in cats.

Jump to insight

General pet insurance statistics

Sixty-six percent of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 86.9 million households, according to the 2023-2024 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. By generation, millennials reported owning the most pets at 33%.

There were 4.8 million pets insured in the U.S. at the end of 2022, up 22.1% from 4.0 million pets in 2021.

Dogs account for 80.1% of insured pets, compared to cats, which comprise 19.9%. However, cat owners are increasingly insuring their cats; the cat insurance market has seen over 30% year-over-year (YoY) growth in 2021 and 2022.

The total U.S. pet insurance market totaled $3.2B in 2022, up 24.2% from $2.6B in 2021. When comparing the gross written premium distribution, the percentage of the total U.S. pet insurance policy holders, the states with the most pets and the most insured pets are California, New York, and Florida.

Americans will spend an estimated $143.6B on their pets in 2023, with vet care and products totaling $37.0B, or 25.8% of the total.

Plan types and benefits

Similar to human health insurance, pet insurance includes varying levels of coverage, deductibles, payment limits, and exclusions. Some pet insurance companies exclude pre-existing conditions and hereditary or congenital conditions, or will not accept pets after a certain age.

Generally, pet insurance companies break down their coverage areas into three main pet insurance plans: accident-only, accident and illness, and wellness coverage. Each plan covers specific services, and policies are issued based on the pet’s breed, gender, age, location, coverage, and deductible chosen. Most pet insurance companies pay by reimbursement.

Accident-Only (AO): As the name suggests, this coverage is for when your pet is involved in an accident, including car accidents, bites, cuts, torn ligaments, poisoning, foreign body ingestion, and bloat. Each insurance provider has their own definition of what qualifies as an accident. This is the most basic level of coverage and offers protection against an unexpected event.

Accident and Illness (A&I): This plan encompasses  AO coverage and also includes chronic illnesses, hereditary conditions, digestive problems, congenital illnesses, cancer, and other diseases. Under A&I, routine care and diagnostic tests may not be covered; however, this plan provides good coverage for expensive treatments one’s pet may need.

Wellness Coverage: These plans are sometimes referred to as preventive care plans as they are intended to help pay for treatments that may reduce further pet health concerns. Coverage may include vaccinations, early screening diagnostics, nutrition consultations, and dental care. Wellness plans are offered as add-on plans and can also be purchased separately.

Pet insurance costs

The average monthly pet insurance premium for  A&I is $53.34 for dogs and $32.25 for cats, according to the latest report published by the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). The average annual premiums for A&I insurance are $640.04 for a dog and $387.01 for a cat. Accident & illness and comprehensive insurance coverage are the most popular choices among pet owners, as 92.8% chose these in 2022.

Average premiums for dogs and cats, 2022

Source: North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA)

By state, pet insurance premiums vary based on the breed. On average, Wyoming and Mississippi have the lowest monthly premiums for cats, averaging $19.35 and $19.77, respectively, while Arizona and California have the highest premiums, averaging $31.96 and $31.97 per month.

California has the highest average premium for dogs, averaging $61.29 per month, followed by New York at $61.05. The lowest monthly dog premiums were led by Wyoming, averaging $33.97, seconded by Mississippi at $34.17 per month.

The cost of insurance differs by breed. Generally, the most inexpensive dogs to insure are mixed breeds because they are less prone to genetic predispositions. Purebreds have higher insurance premiums because certain diseases, such as cancer and orthopedic problems, can be hereditary. Large breeds also tend to have higher insurance premiums because they are more susceptible to joint and bone issues and require larger doses of medication and anesthetics.

It’s also worth noting that insurance premiums increase as pets age. For example, the average premium for a 5.5-year-old dog is roughly 18% to 44% higher than the premium for a six-month-old puppy, depending on breed.

The most expensive dog breeds to insure across all dog ages are Rottweilers, Great Danes, Bernese Mountain dogs, English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs. The most costly cat breeds for cats ages 5.5 years of age are Sphynx, Himalayan, Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat and Abyssinian. However, while the Sphynx breed is still the most expensive breed across all cat ages, Oriental Shorthairs, British Shorthairs, and Persians are among the top five most expensive breeds to insure at these ages.

Most commonly treated conditions

The most commonly treated conditions for dogs are skin-related issues, which include infections, allergies, and skin masses (cysts). The most frequent medical condition treated in cats is urinary tract infections, which is also a top-ranked condition for dogs, placing at number four. Stomach-related issues are the second most treated condition for both dogs and cats, with gastroenteritis being most common for dogs and gastrointestinal upset for cats.

Most common medical conditions in dogs and cats in North America, 2022

Source: North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA)

Annual costs to own a pet

The annual costs to own a pet vary by the breed and size of one’s dog or cat. However, there are basic expenses such as food, recurring medical expenses (such as annual checkups, vaccinations, heartworm medication, flea and tick prevention, and dental cleanings), toys, treats, and regular grooming that pet owners can expect.

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) conducts an annual survey asking participants the approximate amount they spent on their pet in the past 12 months. According to their latest survey, consumers spent an average of $1,480 on their dog per year and $902 on their cat.

Average annual expenses on dogs and cats

Source: American Pet Products Association (APPA)

Based on the average annual costs, the monthly cost of basic care is $123 for a dog and $75 for a cat.

Top medical claims

The top medical insurance claims by dollar value in 2022 totaled $60,882 for dogs, which was 52% higher than the top medical claims for cats at $40,057. The median of the top ten medical claims for dogs was $50,215 compared to $18,131 for cats.

The two highest dog claims were for pneumonia treatment. Seventy percent of the top ten medical insurance claims for dogs were males, and 60% were aged five and under.

Top ten medical dog claims paid in North America, 2022

Source: North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA)

Forty percent of the top ten highest claims for cats were for domestic shorthair breeds. In  comparison to dogs, 60% of the ten highest medical claims paid were for cats aged six and older.

Top ten medical cat claims paid in North America, 2022

Source: North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA)


Is pet insurance worth it?

Trips to the vet can be expensive, particularly emergency visits, which can range from a few hundred dollars for an exam and fluids to $5,000 or more for emergency surgeries. Pet insurance with a low monthly premium can help pet owners defray some of these costs.

Do vets accept all pet insurance policies?

Yes, you can use pet insurance at any licensed veterinary clinic or pet hospital in the U.S.

How are vet claims paid?

When your pet receives treatment, you will receive an itemized bill for the vet services. Then, you will submit a claim to your pet insurance company. After review and approval, the pet insurance company will reimburse you, usually within 5 to 7 days. The average reimbursement level ranges from 60% to 100% depending on the plan; most of the popular plans reimburse 80% to 90% of the total bill. The most common deductible amounts are $100, $200, and $500.

Does pet insurance cover spaying and neutering costs?

Most insurance companies do not cover these procedures as they are considered elective. However, many pet insurance companies offer wellness add-ons, also known as preventive plans. These include partial or full reimbursement for annual checkups, some standard tests and lab work, vaccines, fecal exams, urinalysis, dental exams, and sometimes spaying and neutering.


  1. North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). “State of the Industry Report 2023 Highlights,” NAPHIA. Evaluated 1/25/24 Link Here
  2. Mawhinney, W. “Average Pet Insurance Cost in 2022 by Breed, Age, & State” Pawlicy Advisor. Evaluated 1/25/24 Link Here
  3. National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) “Pet Insurance” NAIC. Evaluated 1/25/24 Link Here
  4. North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). “Breeds with the Best Health Insurance Rates,” NAPHIA. Evaluated 1/25/24 Link Here
  5. Heather M. “How Much Does it Cost To Have a Dog?” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Evaluated 1/26/24 Link Here
  6. American Pet Products Association (APPA), “Pet Industry Market Size, Trends & Ownership Statistics,” Evaluated 1/26/24 Link Here
  7. Macartney, E. “Pet Insurance that Covers Spaying and Neutering,” Evaluated 1/26/24 Link Here
  8. Pet Insurance Quotes “Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Insurance” Evaluated 1/26/24 Link Here
  9. Care Credit “Average Veterinary Pricing by Procedure” Evaluated 1/26/24 Link Here
  10. Daugherty, L. “10 Pet Questions to Ask Before You Buy” Dog Advisory Council Evaluated 1/26/24 Link Here
  11. Steere, K. “What is a Pet Wellness Plan and How Does it Work?” Pawlicy Advisor. Evaluated February 5, 2024 Link Here


Back to ConsumerAffairs

Journal of Consumer Research