50% of pet owners have pet insurance

10 May 2021

COVID-19 increases pet ownership

Half of consumers own a pet, with ownership rising slightly in the past two years. In 2021, 50% of pet owners owned pet insurance, which is higher than the percentage owning in 2019. These findings come from the new IRN Research report Pet Insurance Consumer Research report 2021.

The rise in pet ownership and insurance is likely to have been aided by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has been a double-edged sword for pet insurance. On the one hand, it has increased the percentage of households owning pets, making insurance more relevant. On the other hand, it has reduced consumer spending on veterinary services, thereby making insurance less relevant. It has also squeezed the income of some consumers, making it harder to afford insurance and closed or restricted the opening of key retail sales channels for pet insurance.

COVID-19 increases pet insurance policyholder loyalty

The COVID-19 pandemic which closed many outlets for selling pet insurance has helped reduce the tendency of policyholders to switch provider between 2019 and 2021, with the insured less likely to visit outlets where they could be exposed to new sales literature. This factor could also account for the drop in first time buyers (FTBs) between 2019 and 2021, with uninsured pet owners (especially first-time pet owners) less exposed to in-store marketing literature and hence less likely to take out insurance for the first time.

The Pet Insurance Report

This report (62pp) examines the motivations, experiences and opinions of the UK pet insurance customer. Pet insurance is designed to cover medical expenses if the insured pet becomes ill or is injured in an accident. Most products cater for cats and dogs, although there are policies available for horses and ponies, rabbits, fish and more exotic pets. Similar research was run in 2019 and the report compares and contrasts the findings over 2019 to 2021.

For this report, IRN Research commissioned research from MIS Group’s UK panel. The research was structured so that 2,002 nationally representative consumers aged 18+ were asked if they owned an insurance policy. This generated 496 individuals who owned a pet insurance policy.   Similar research run in 2019 generated responses from 503 individuals. 

Report Details


IRN Team

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