When it comes to the well-being of our beloved four-legged companions, the average cost of an emergency vet visit alone can range anywhere between $800 and $1,500. The increasing expenses for pet healthcare have pushed some Americans to explore alternative options, such as seeking more affordable care across the border in Mexico. For those looking for a less drastic option, pet insurance is potentially one such avenue. 

Recent CivicScience data point to a growing interest in pet insurance. The latest poll results show that 21% of U.S. adult pet owners who are aware of pet insurance currently hold an insurance policy, reflecting a slight rise from September 2022. Moreover, those interested in enrolling in a new insurance policy are up two points.

Young adults continue to lead in pet insurance adoption, with 58% of Gen Z pet owners having coverage. However, younger Millennials aged 25-34 saw a three percent decline in enrollment to 34% YoY from September 2022.

Pet insurance adoption rates are consistent at 26% for both dog-only and cat-only households. Moreover, homes with either cats or dogs are five points more likely to have pet insurance compared to those with both types of pets.

Pet owners demonstrate varying vet visit habits for their furry family members. The vast majority (93%) made less than five trips to the veterinarian in the past year, with 49% limited to 1-2 visits and 23% choosing not to visit the vet at all. Those with pet insurance visited the vet much more frequently than non-holders. Among pet insurance holders, 46% made 1-2 vet visits, 37% opted for 3-5 visits throughout the last year, and just 6% didn’t go at all.

‘Tails’ of Pet Insurance Intent: A Look at Key Pet Insurance Intender Insights

A few insights among those who haven’t enrolled in pet insurance but plan to do so in the future:

  • ‘Emergency care’ (32%), ‘overall / routine wellness care’ (27%), and ‘chronic care / long-term treatment’ (15%) are the top three reasons pet owners would most likely sign up for pet health insurance.
  • Pet insurance intenders are three times more likely to report not making any vet visits last year at all compared to those who already have insurance, suggesting the cost of visits may have a role to play in pet healthcare decisions.
  • Cat-only pet owners are four points more likely to have an interest in future enrollment  compared to dog-only pet owners. 
  • Those contemplating pet health insurance are most likely to purchase their pet’s food from chain pet stores (like Petco), an online pet supplier (like Chewy), or a big-box store like Walmart. 
  • When it comes to how pet insurance intenders currently receive human insurance for themselves, they’re four points more likely to be self-insured with a private plan compared to pet owners who are uninterested in pet insurance (11% to 6%).

Should companies offer pet insurance as a benefit? A majority say “no.”

Previous CivicScience data has shown that a majority of pet owners believe their employers do not offer sufficient pet benefits despite prioritizing pet health and well-being over their own. With these sentiments in mind, what level of support does employer-offered pet insurance enjoy among Americans overall?

Despite rising interest in pet insurance, a majority of consumers (56%) do not consider it a benefit that should be provided by their employer. Forty-four percent of Americans on the other hand, believe that companies should offer pet insurance benefits, and 17% ‘strongly agree.’ 

Support levels vary by employment environment with 55% of hybrid workers who at least ‘somewhat agree’ with employer-offered pet insurance, while those working fully in-person are much more likely to say they ‘strongly disagree’ with the benefit as an option. 

So while interest in pet insurance is up, it’s clear there’s still much room to grow with more hearts and minds to win for the pet sector of the insurance industry. Will the continually rising pet care costs inspire more to take the plunge and enroll?

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