A Healthy Pet is a Happy Pet

dog playing in snowCan you name an industry that has experienced double digit growth year over year since 2009? If you said the pet health insurance industry, you’re correct! According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the North American pet health insurance industry experienced an average annual growth rate of 13.2% during that time.

What does pet health insurance cover?
The majority of pet health insurance policies would protect your pets against accidents or illnesses, though there are some policies that help cover wellness expenses, too. Wellness coverage includes things that come up annually, such as vaccinations and check-ups.

How much does it cost?
According to NAPHIA, the average health insurance coverage for dogs and cats in 2013 was as follows:

Average Annual Premiums

Accident Only $166.25


Accident and Illness $456.98 $289.99
Insurance with Embedded Wellness $1,178.13 $743.11


What are the most common claims?
Here are the top five accident and illness claims for companion animals, as identified by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance:

Most Common Claims




Illnesses Accidents


Bite wounds Growths/Cancer Bite wounds Chronic kidney failure
Swallowed objects Ear infections Swallowed objects Upset stomach
Cuts Upset stomach Cuts Growths/Cancer
Car accidents Skin problems Fractured teeth Urinary tract infections
Poison ingestions Vomiting Leg fractures Hyperthyroidism


Things to be aware of
The American Animal Hospital Association warns pet owners to be aware of these things when considering health insurance for their companion animals:

  1. Make sure you know exactly what is covered by the policies you are considering, and understand the exclusions. Just like health insurance for humans, most policies for pets exclude pre-existing and hereditary conditions, as well as conditions unique to different breeds.
  2. In addition to the premiums for your pet’s coverage, your policy is likely to have a deductible and copay requirement.
  3. Make sure you know how expenses are reimbursed.
  4. Be sure to make sure the policy allows you to seek care from your veterinarian. Some policies may have a network of veterinarians that you have to pick from.
  5. Before you take the plunge and purchase health insurance for your pet, be sure to talk with your veterinarian. There’s a possibility they’ve worked with the policies you are considering, and may be able to give you some tips.
  6. In the case of pet cancer, it is important to understand the fine print as to what items are covered in the policy (e.g. diagnostic scans, lab testing, surgery, chemotherapy). As far as anti-cancer treatments go, many plans will reimburse up to a certain annual dollar amount, but will leave the treatment decision up to you and your veterinary care provider.

Are you ready to do some research? Check out the top 10 best pet insurance companies identified by consumersadvocate.org in 2014. Let us know if you have pet insurance, or have considered pet insurance in the comments!

  1. This was an extremely informative blog post! My 7 year old lab has had various health issues over the years, currently she has had alot of eye infections and we have had to take her in to the Vet. Getting pretty pricey! My wife and I have discussed Pet Insurance, but this post has really helped us to make a decision regarding Bella and our other family pets! Thank you!!!!!