Pet Insurance Offers the Potential of $7 Billion More in Veterinary Spending Annually, New AVMA Study Finds

It may not be surprising that a new survey of dog owners shows that owners with coverage spend more annually at their veterinary practice, but the potential for financial impact that the report uncovered was unprecedented.

The research* funded by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and published on July 9, 2020, looked at how pet insurance impacted both pet owner spending and visits.

This research was the first seeking to identify the driving factors behind dog owners’ choices regarding health care for their dogs, however the findings also complement NAPHIA’s own past research by again confirming that pet insurance has a significant and positive impact on the amount owners spent on their dogs.

“We’re pleased and not surprised that this new report complements the findings published previously in the 2016 NAPHIA Driving Growth of Pet Insurance Report”, stated NAPHIA President Rick Faucher, “which showed that medicalized pet owners with pet insurance spent as much as 29% more treating their dogs, and 81% on their cats than pet owners without coverage.

“What is truly astonishing about this report is the potential it underscores for the financial impact of pet insurance on the profession,” said Kristen Lynch, NAPHIA Executive Director.  “A multi- billion dollar injection of annual veterinary spending could literally transform the state of veterinary medicine.”

The AVMA report states that, ‘based on the roughly 30% of pet owners that do not see a veterinarian at least once a year, and the average expenditure per pet, this translates into $7 billion of veterinary care not being delivered to animals. This is a miss for the economic sustainability of the veterinary practice but also for the livelihood of pets.’

AVMA findings include:

  • There is an untapped potential for pet health insurance companies as 47% of pet owners would likely purchase pet health insurance if vets made the recommendation
  • Owners with pet insurance and in a higher income bracket are more likely to choose a treatment option over euthanasia

* Williams, A.; Williams, B.; Hansen, C.R.; Coble, K.H. The Impact of Pet Health Insurance on Dog Owners’ Spending for Veterinary Services. Animals 202010, 1162.