Dog and cat owners are discovering the benefits and are embracing this coverage.
Though the majority of animal owners in the United States still do not have pet insurance, the number of policyholders is growing rapidly in popularity as a greater number of people learn about the coverage and the savings it can provide.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has no way of tracking the specific number of animal owners who purchase pet insurance policies, but it has said that its use is on the rise. According to a spokesperson David Kirkpatrick for the association – which represents approximately 82,500 veterinarians – it is estimated that there are 146 million pets living among 68 million homes in the United States. When asked about pet insurance, Kirkpatrick said that the coverage provides animal owners with:
“Some security and flexibility when it comes to providing for their pet’s health,” adding “we endorse the concept.”
The official website for the North American Pet Health Insurance Association states that there are approximately 1 million people in the United States who have insured their animal family members. In this country alone, the industry has reached an annual $100 million.
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Pet insurance in the United States was first started around thirty years ago in California, by a group of veterinarians that were hoping to bring “economic euthanasia” to an end. They were against the concept of animal owners being placed in the position where they had to choose between the lives of their dogs or cats, and their financial wellbeing.
There are currently between ten and twenty pet insurance companies in the United States.
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, among all of the insured animals, dogs make up 85 percent of the policies. Cats make up nearly all of the remaining 15 percent, with reptiles, birds, and other animals representing less than 1 percent of the total covered pets.
A more recent development illustrating the growing popularity of pet insurance has been its inclusion among benefits offered by employers. Approximately 3,000 companies are allowing employees to enjoy this discounted form of coverage, where they can pay directly or sign up to have it deducted from their pay.