Pet Insurance Facts That You Might Have Not Known About

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By Allison Salonko.

Allison is a Veterinary Technician in the state of Indiana. She graduated from International Business College and Vet Tech Institute of Indianapolis with a degree in Animal Science and Technology in 2011.

As pet ownership has increased significantly in the last year, so has the number of insured pets.

Most people would not have considered purchasing pet insurance for their dogs and cats until folks started to realize how actually beneficial it can be. 

Financial Peace of Mind and Confidence

Insurance brings people financial peace of mind and the confidence to take care of their pets in an emergency.

It has recently become a huge benefit for the progressive pet owner.

All that is great, but have you ever wondered who the first pet ever insured was, or who the most expensive breed to insure is? 

There are lots of interesting facts and statistics regarding insurance that most people probably hadn’t even thought of.

Don’t worry, this article will jump into some of those facts and stories for your entertainment.

Who was the first dog ever to be insured? 

In the United States, the first dog to ever have an insurance policy was Lassie.

The owners and trainers felt that she was so well-loved that she needed her own pet insurance policy.

Which was carried through the first pet insurance company in the US, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI).

When did pet insurance first start? 

Pet insurance was started over 100 years ago in 1890 by a man named Claes Virgin in order to insure livestock and horses.

Considering how expensive these animals are, it makes sense that someone would eventually come up with a way to insure them.

I’m just surprised to find out it happened that long ago.

Claes was a progressive gentleman!

What country was the first to insure a dog? 

Sweden! They were really early to start insuring their pets when the first dog ever was insured in 1924.

As a matter of fact, pet insurance is so popular in Sweden that over 50% of all the country’s dogs are covered by a policy.

Trupanion’s top 3 dog names and breeds

Trupanion has been a long-running pet insurance company in the US.

It was founded in 2000 and has since gone on to insure over 2 million pets over the last 20 years.

They have a long list of data for 2021 including the most popular pet names and breeds for the year.

Their top 3 dog names of 2021 are Bella, Luna and Charlie.

The most popular breeds are  Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles.

Top 3 most expensive dog breeds to insure

There are several lists out there comparing different data with which dog breeds are the most expensive to have pet insurance policies on.

These three breeds are the most commonly seen when cross-referencing insurance data.

  • Rottweiler
  • English or French Bulldog
  • Doberman Pinscher

These pooches tend to have several hereditary conditions that make owning and insuring them pretty expensive.

There were several companies saying that Great Danes barely avoided making this top 3 list.

Top 3 least expensive dog breeds to insure

There can be a flip side to the cost of pet insurance if you have one of these 3 breeds of dog.

These pups tend to be hearty and live long lives with few health issues.

  • Jack Russel Terrier
  • Chihuahua
  • Mixed Breed

Top 3 most common insurance claims in dogs

There is typically a commonality among what claims are being called in with pet insurance companies.

There are three presenting complaints that are more common than others, meaning insurance companies shell out a lot of money per year for these issues.

  • Stomach problems
  • Skin issues
  • Ear and eye infections

These three things are by far the most common illnesses that the average clinic will see and handle.

Depending on the season, skin and eye issues can be more or less, but gastrointestinal upset is always constant.

Veterinarians could probably back up that data by agreeing that they certainly see these issues the most in their clinics.

Expensive pet insurance claims 

There are several reasons why an owner would have a very expensive vet bill, typically it’s due to intensive critical care and management as well as weeks of follow-up appointments and procedures.

Hit by car

Accidents that involve animals and cars tend to be pretty serious.

A lot of the time the pet doesn’t survive and if it does there is a huge amount of damage and repair that may need to be performed. 

One particular claim for one dog amounted to over 50,000$ in surgeries, repairs and follow-up procedures.

Thankfully, insurance was able to reimburse this owner for most of the cost of getting his dog back up to health.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) 

Any kind of back injury in an animal is going to be one that requires a lot of care.

Not to mention the financial responsibility as well.

If your dog or cat ‘slips a disc’ in their spine, then the veterinary bills can add up in a hurry.

Most owners will spend anywhere from 10,000$ to 20,000$ having their pet’s back repaired.


While diagnosing and treating Tetanus may not be a standard cost across the board at all clinics, it is possible for this issue to mount into the thousands.

One case in particular required over 50,000$ worth of veterinary bills between diagnosing and treating her serious condition.

Fall from a window 

One kitty named Simba decided it would be a good idea to jump out of a 5th story window.

It is not always true that cats gracefully land on their feet when falling from a high place!

He suffered multiple broken bones and required weeks of intensive care and therapy.

His recovery was an expensive one, coming in at over 24,000$ to the insurance company.

How many pet insurance companies are in the United States? 

There are 20 insurance companies for owners to choose from in the US, according to NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association). 

These companies range from the leader in Pet Health Insurance, Nationwide, to the newer startup company Lemonade.

Even the small competitors have started to take the insurance marketplace by storm.

What is the average annual premium for dogs? 

The answer to that depends exclusively on what policy you are paying for.

Such as accident-only coverage vs accident and illness. Accident and illness coverage is going to be the more expensive premiums because it is covering more than accident-only.

According to NAPHIA, here is the data on annual premiums. 

These policies that cover accident-only situations typically cost a little more than 200$ annually.

These numbers are also dependent on whether you chose any add-ons to your policy. 

Accident and illness coverage is usually around 600$ a year, but it will cover a lot more situations than just accident-only.

What is the average annual premium for cats? 

Cats are going to be a little cheaper than dogs, not saying that they can’t also be expensive little money pits if they have a problem.

For the most part, they are going to be much cheaper premiums. 

For cats, accident-only coverage usually costs about 130$ a year, while accident and illness is much more pricey at 340$ annually.

How many more dogs are insured than cats?

Dogs make up a staggering percentage of those pets that are insured.

The dogs make up over 82% of the insured numbers, while there are less than 18% of pet cats that are insured. 

This data makes it quite apparent that owners don’t see as much value in insurance when it comes to our feline friends.

While cats across the board are cheaper than dogs, it is still a valuable financial resource for owners to take advantage of.

How many pets are insured in the US?

The percent of insured pets continues to grow yearly as the number of owners that see the value in having their pets covered under a policy increases.

Over 23% of household pets are currently insured in the United States. 

The total number of pets that are insured breaks down to about 3.1 million dogs and cats total.

Pet insurance paves the way for better medical decisions 

As pet insurance continues to show its importance to owners, it will only keep growing from here.

Statistics will change as time passes and hopefully for the better.

More insured pets only mean that more dogs and cats will be cared for at the veterinarian.

Cost is one of the biggest barriers that stand in the way of owners making informed, heart-felt and less financially strained decisions regarding their pet’s medical care. 


Photo by Jennie Orh from Pexels.