Furry Finances: Global Pet Insurance Adoption Rates Revealed

Adult stylish man playing with pet. Family outdoor. Animal lover. Happy dog enjoying freedom. Terrier breeding puppy have fun with owner. Furry crazy canine training at nature. Friends together.

The animal-human bond stretches back to ancient times, with dogs being the first animal to be domesticated by humans some 30,000 years ago. In the present day, many animals provide more than just a working function in people’s everyday lives – from companionship to emotional wellbeing support.

As our bond with animals has deepened, that adoration for our pets has spilled beyond the confines of our homes with the internet and news awash with everything and anything to do with pets in all shapes and sizes.

With domestic animals everywhere you look, it’s estimated that there are over a billion pets worldwide with the United States leading the way as the top country in the world for both dogs and cats. There are approximately 70 million domestic dogs and 74 million domestic cats in the United States.

That being said, with pet ownership rates as high as they are and our bond deeper than ever before, when it comes to our beloved animals becoming sick and having to pay costly veterinary fees, do owners across the world share the same sentiment when it comes to taking out pet insurance to cover the unexpected?

Pet insurance around the World

Our team at The Insurance Emporium has crunched the numbers on global pet insurance adoption rates and we can confirm:

  • Sweden is the world leader with 80% of pets insured
  • Followed by the UK with 30% of pets insured in second place
  • With Italy in third place at 29% of pets insured

Despite having the highest number of pet cats and dogs in the world, the United States has one of the lowest pet insurance uptakes on the planet.

The history behind pet insurance

veterinary treatment red tiger cat at the table of a veterinary, wearing a neck brace and listen with a stethoscope

Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce pet insurance in 1924, covering dogs, leading the way in prioritising the health and happiness of its furry companions.

The UK followed closely in its footsteps where pet insurance was introduced in 1947. At the other end of the scale, it wasn’t until 1982 that the first pet insurance policy was sold in the United States to none other than children’s television sensation, Lassie.

It is believed that a key reason for the low adoption rate in the United States is the lack of awareness and understanding of pet health insurance among pet owners. With pet insurance having been established a considerably longer time ago in the UK and Sweden, this could be one of the reasons why it is more commonplace in these countries.

Francis Martin, CEO of The Insurance Emporium, commented: “We are a nation amongst many others that are animal lovers and to have the second highest adoption rate of pet insurance in the world only proves how valued our pets really are.

Although many UK pet owners see the value in pet insurance there’s clearly still a way to go with a large percentage of pets in the UK that currently are uninsured. When it comes to choosing pet insurance it’s important to do your research and choose a policy based on what suits both you and your pet’s needs. More often than not a person might want to choose to insure their pet to cover against accidents and illnesses as these are more likely to incur expensive veterinary fees.”

Economic considerations for UK pet owners

Despite our love for animals and the surge of pet ownership seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent cost-of-living crisis has seen animal abandonment rates at a three-year high since October 2020 in England & Wales according to the RSPCA. Therefore, before taking on a pet, understanding the costs associated with pet ownership is essential.

The Insurance Emporium’s data reveals from its Most (and least) affordable dog breeds in 2024 that the Dachshund (Miniature Smooth Hair) incurred the highest value claims based on the breed’s most common conditions/illnesses. Without appropriate pet insurance cover, this could be a significant outgoing for owners of the breed.

When owning a pet there’s lots to consider from the food they eat each day, to toys, regular grooming fees and routine veterinary trips for annual boosters to mention just a few of the regular outgoing costs associated with your furry companion. However, like their human parents, they are also susceptible to illnesses and conditions – yet, treating these ailments could result in a costly veterinary bill. Take a look at The Insurance Emporium’s Pet Insurance to find which policy supports you and your pet’s needs best.

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