Pet Insurance has a Long History

It's More Affordable Than You Think!
Jenifer Dorsey
2018-09-12 April 30th, 2013 |
Read time: 5 minutes

Pet insurance may seem new and gimmicky to some, but it has a long, respected and star-studded history. Its European roots that date back nearly a century, and it crossed the Atlantic in 1982 when North America’s first pet health insurance company VPI issued its first policy to beloved four-legged TV star Lassie.1

In issuing that first policy, VPI and Pets Best founder Dr. Jack Stephens is credited with establishing North America’s ever-expanding pet insurance industry.

The North American Pet Health Insurance Association’s State of the Industry Benchmarking Report 2014 showed a 14.6 percent increase in policies from 2012 to 2013 and noted, “the industry has experienced double-digit increases since 2009 (average annual growth rate of 13.2 percent).2

Nearly 1 million pets in North America are covered by pet insurance—85 percent are dogs and 15 percent are cats.3

What is pet insurance? Why do I need it?

Pet insurance reimburses pet parents a percentage of bills related to emergency visits, surgeries, prescription medication, cancer treatments, lab tests, X-rays, MRIs and more, after the selected deductible.

When a medical emergency occurs, it can be stressful and heartbreaking. Sometimes pet parents are forced to make difficult decisions about care when faced with unexpected veterinary bills potentially beyond what they can afford

In recent years, veterinary costs have been on the rise. JVMA reported that, according to a 2012 sourcebook, total veterinary expenses for all pets increased from $24,5 billion in 2006 to $28 billion in 2011—an increase of 14.3 percent, as the Consumer Price Index increased 11.6 percent.4

Claims data from Trupanion shows the following recent costs for common accidents and illnesses5:

  • $10,496 – long-term diabetes medications and bloodwork
  • $7,815 – long-term medication and surgery for hip dysplasia
  • $5,351 – for cancer chemotherapy
  • $3,717 – emergency surgery for a fractured pelvis after being hit by a car
  • $2,964 – ingestion of a foreign body

USA Today reported that as of early 2012, 11 companies were insuring dogs, cats and exotic animals in the United States. They offer many plan designs and coverage options.6

Deductibles range from $0 to $1,000, and pet parents can receive 70 to 100 percent reimbursement for covered services, depending on the plan selected.7 8 That may mean the difference between treating your pet or not.

Talk to your veterinarian or contact a pet insurance carrier directly to determine if pet insurance is right for you and your furry loved ones. For things to keep in mind when shopping for and making decisions about coverage, read the American Veterinary Medicine Association’s “Do you need pet insurance?”.

Ready to insure your cat or dog? Visit to get pet insurance now.


Begin Coverage in 3 Easy Steps!

Step 1: Get a quote within seconds
Step 2: Compare multiple plans
Step 3: Finish application online
Originally Published On April 30th, 2013


  • 1 Veterinary Pet Insurance. “About Us.”
  • 2 North American Pet Health Insurance Association. “State of the Industry Benchmarking Report 2014: North American Pet Health Insurance is Strong and Growing.” N.D.
  • 3 North American Pet Health Insurance Association. “Pet Health Insurance FAQ.” N.D.
  • 4 American Veterinary Medical Association. “JAVMA News: Vital Statistics.” Feb. 1, 2013.
  • 5 Trupanion. “Actual Claims and Veterinary Costs.” N.D.
  • 6 Meehan, Sarah. “More Owners Buy Pet Insurance for Furry Pals.” USA Today. March 7, 2012.
  • 7 Pets Best. “Pet Insurance Plan Options for Dogs and Cats from Pets Best.” N.D.
  • 8 Pets Best. “Pet Insurance Comparison.” N.D.