Does pet health insurance make sense for clients?

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AVMA chart of the month

Pet health insurance can help pets get the health care they need. Today’s chart looks at several key data findings that illustrate the value of insurance, for both pets and veterinary practices.

Insured pets get more veterinary care - data

What the data show

Research shows that insured pet owners typically get more veterinary care services for their animals than those without insurance. This is true for both dogs and cats and likely translates to healthier animals.

  • A study of dog owners’ attitudes toward pet insurance, conducted by the AVMA and Mississippi State University, found that owners whose dogs were insured took advantage of more veterinary services during each clinic visit than those without pet insurance. Looking at the monetary cost of that care, the insured dogs typically got an additional $211 worth of care per year.
  • That same study found that owners with pet health insurance were more likely to have a preventive health care plan for their dogs. Three-quarters of all owners with pet insurance had such a plan, compared with only 23% of those without insurance.
  • A separate study conducted by the pet insurance industry found that cat owners with pet insurance spent 81% more per year on veterinary care than owners without insurance. Spending on insured dogs was 29% higher than for uninsured dogs.

Research shows that pet owners are more likely to follow their veterinarian’s recommendations for care if their financial concerns are addressed. This is good for pets, clients, veterinary team members, and practices. 

What does it mean for veterinary practices?

Talking with your clients about pet health insurance and its potential benefits can help improve patient care and enrich client relationships. The topic is a natural extension of the health care that we and our veterinary teams provide. That’s why AVMA endorses the concept of pet health insurance and encourages veterinary teams to proactively educate clients about it.

There are certain times when it’s especially impactful to talk about insurance: during first appointments with new clients and new pets. Research shows that most pet health insurance is purchased after a pet’s first visit to a veterinarian or within the first six months of pet ownership. Incorporating a question about pet health insurance into new client intake forms and your new puppy/kitten talk checklist can have a powerful effect over the full course of your new patient’s lifetime.

Tools for AVMA members

You’re not on your own here. AVMA members have access to a suite of tools to make conversations about pet insurance easier and more productive with clients. These resources are available free of charge to all AVMA members at


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