Pet Insurance Really Does Pay: North America’s Top 10 Claims

Each September, the North American Pet Health Association (NAPHIA) celebrates Pet Health Insurance month, educating pet owners about the importance of insurance and how it works.

This year, the organization is driving home the message that being insured really does pay by sharing NAPHIA Member’s Top 10 Claims of 2013. It’s a revealing look at proprietary data that demonstrates the level of claims paid out by pet health insurance providers for advanced veterinary medicine.

“A lot of people would never imagine their dog could run up a vet bill as high as the cost of a luxury car,” says Kristen Lynch, Executive Director of the North American Pet Health Association (NAPHIA). “And if so, would they believe you could get coverage that would pay for it?”

But it really does happen—and insurance companies are there for pet owners when it does. In 2013, reported claims from NAPHIA member companies showed reimbursements as high as $40,000 for an individual pet, including a border collie with hip dysplasia, whose owner had the largest claim pay-out of the year.

“For many of us, our cats and dogs are like family members. In a crisis, you want to make the decision that feels right, not the decision you can afford,” says Lynch.

According to Lynch, veterinary medicine continues to advance. “Almost any condition a human can develop—like arthritis, kidney disease, or cancer—our pets can too. Now that we have the option to treat our pets for these kinds of serious conditions, owners want to be prepared to cover the costs of treatment when their pets need it.” Having pet health insurance means making the best choice for your pet’s care won’t come down to finances, she adds.

Fortunately, pet health insurance companies recognize this, and have been keeping pace. Depending on the needs of owners and their pets, coverage is available for everything from basic accident and illness care, to the most advanced diagnostics and treatment. And many pet insurance providers now offer preventive, or ‘wellness’ coverage options as well.

The Top 10 Claims list is released as part of NAPHIA’s State of the Industry Benchmarking Report. The annual survey and report monitors key pet insurance benchmarks that demonstrate the growth of the sector in North America, and its continued success.

“Through our benchmarking initiative, we know that member companies pay out millions of claims each year,” says NAPHIA President Dennis Rushovich, “…for problems both large and small.” While typical claims are for less serious issues like urinary tract infections, respiratory problems or ear infections, Rushovich says, “It’s important to remember that treatments and claims come in all sizes, just like our pets.”

For those who believe their cat or dog will never be affected by a serious health condition or accident, Rushovich says, “think again,” adding, “It’s not out of the realm of possibility that every pet will have at least one major illness in its lifetime.” With pet health insurance, responsible pet owners know they’re prepared.

Compiled from this year’s data, below are the Top 10 Pet Insurance Claims paid out to dog and cat owners in 2013.



1 $40,606 Hip Dysplasia,
3-year-old female Border Collie Cross
2 $36,485 Pleural Effusion (build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lung),
1-year-old male Rottweiler
3 $29,173 Insulinoma; Post-Op Pancreatitis / Biliary Obstruction,
7-year-old male Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
4 $27,142 Toxic Myelodysplasia (a serious blood condition),
8-year-old female Beagle
5 $25,442 Spay Complication / Systemic Infection,
1-year-old female mixed breed

Source: NAPHIA 2013 State of the Industry Report



1 $17,685 Inflammatory Bowel Disease,
6-year-old male Siamese Cross
2 $16,704 Acute Renal Failure Syndrome (failure of the kidneys),
10-year-old male Domestic Shorthair (age 10)
3 $16,552 Hypoglycemia Crisis With Seizures,
3-year-old male mixed breed
4 $10,000 Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder),
12-year-old male Domestic Shorthair
5 $7,000 Sarcoma (cancer),
12-year-old female Domestic Shorthair

Source: NAPHIA State of the Industry Report



  • There are currently more than 1 million pets insured in North America
  • In 2013, NAPHIA members insured 1,033,983 pets.
  • 876,441 of NAPHIA member policies insure dogs and 157,542 are for cats

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Annette Elvers
NAPHIA Communications Coordinator
toll-free: 1-877-962-7442