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Exotic Pet Insurance Guide: Types, Coverage and Cost

Exotic Pet Insurance Guide
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updated: July 4, 2024

No matter the species, we love our pets, and insuring them can help cover the cost of unexpected vet bills related to accidents and illnesses. Many popular pet insurance companies only cover dogs and cats. However, others will take on more unusual pets, though their policies are not necessarily available in all states.

If you have a guinea pig, snake, or some other exotic pet, you’ll have to do a bit more research to find insurance coverage. Nevertheless, it can be worth the effort.

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Max annual coverage
$5,000 to $100,000
Reimbursement rates
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Deductible choices
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Usual coverage
Diagnostics, injury from accident, cancer, flea and heartworm prevention, allergy medicine, arthritis medicine

Types of exotic pets covered

Exotic pet insurance covers a variety of animals. Nationwide, for example, breaks exotic pets into the following groups:

  • Birds.
  • Rabbits.
  • Mini pigs and goats.
  • Lizards, reptiles, and frogs.
  • Guinea pigs.
  • Ferrets and small mammals.

Specific kinds of animals within those groups include:

  • Chinchilla.
  • Gerbil.
  • Goat.
  • Hamster.
  • Hedgehog.
  • Mouse.
  • Potbellied pig.
  • Rat.
  • Sugar glider.
  • Rabbit.
  • African grey.
  • Amazon.
  • Canary.
  • Cockatiel.
  • Cockatoo.
  • Conure.
  • Finch.
  • Lory.
  • Lovebird.
  • Macaw.
  • Mynah.
  • Parakeet.
  • Parrotlet.
  • Toucan.
  • Amphibians, including toads.
  • Bearded dragon.
  • Chameleon.
  • Frilled dragon.
  • Gecko.
  • Iguana.
  • Monitor lizard.
  • Snake.
  • Tegu.
  • Tortoise.
  • Uromastyx.
  • Water dragon.

Coverage options in exotic pet insurance

Exotic pet insurance usually comes in two forms, though it varies by provider.”

  1. Accident-only insurance. Covers broken bones, soft tissue injuries, lacerations, sprains, and poisoning.
  2. Accident-and-illness insurance. Good for both the above-mentioned accidents and a variety of illnesses, such as cancer, arthritis, allergies, eye and ear infections, internal parasites, overgrown teeth, and upper respiratory infections.

For example, if you have a pet bird that starts picking at or losing its feathers, you wouldn’t be covered with accident-only insurance, but an accident-and-illness policy would likely cover any related treatment costs.

Exotic pet insurance has several exclusions, which usually include the following:

  • Breeding costs.
  • Boarding and transportation.
  • Hereditary or pre-existing conditions.
  • Vaccine-preventable illnesses.
  • Elective procedures, such as wing clipping.
  • Vitamins and other supplements or specialty food.
  • Routine vet exams.
  • Orthodontics.

Before purchasing a policy, check to see exactly what is and isn’t covered, and ask your insurer if you have any questions.

Factors to consider when choosing exotic pet insurance

Pet insurance can be a useful purchase, whether you’re covering a traditional or an exotic pet. Consider the following factors when looking for exotic pet insurance coverage:

Coverage type

How much and what kind of coverage do you want? As noted above, most exotic pet insurers offer accident-only and accident-and-illness plans.

Annual maximum coverage limit

A pet insurance policy’s annual maximum coverage limit is the most that an insurer will pay. It’s vital to consider how much coverage you want and whether you can afford the premiums.

Deductible

The deductible is the amount you’ll have to pay before your insurer starts to reimburse you. It’s usually per year rather than per incident. For example, if you have a $500 annual deductible use it with your first claim, the insurer will fully cover all remaining claims for the year.

Reimbursement rate

The reimbursement rate on a pet insurance plan is the amount of a claim the insurer will pay once you’ve met your deductible. If you file a claim for $2,500 and your deductible is $500, your insurer will pay a percentage of the remaining $2,000. If you opt for an 80% reimbursement rate, your insurer will pay $1,600, and you’ll be on the hook for the remaining 20%, which would be $400 in this case.

How to select the best exotic pet insurance

The following steps can help you select the best plan for your exotic pet.

  1. Decide on the type and amount of insurance coverage.
  2. Research the best exotic pet insurance providers.
  3. Make sure your pet is covered.
  4. Request quotes from several providers, then compare costs, coverage, and reimbursement rates.
  5. Choose the most comprehensive coverage for the best price.
  6. Purchase the policy.

How much does exotic pet insurance cost?

The exact cost of exotic pet insurance will depend on several factors, including pet type and age, the coverage limit, the reimbursement rate, and the deductible. According to MarketWatch, exotic pet plans range from $10 to $100 per month. Nationwide’s coverage can be as low as $10 monthly, though its most popular exotic pet plans run about $20 monthly.

TIME Stamp: Exotic pet insurance can save you money on vet bills

Pet insurance might seem unnecessary, but you’ll be glad for the coverage if your exotic pet is involved in an accident or becomes ill. The right coverage can help focus on getting your pet better rather than worrying about how to pay for treatment.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What types of exotic pets can be insured?

Small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are usually covered.

Is exotic pet insurance worth it?

Exotic pet insurance may be worth it if your pet is injured or becomes ill, as it can save you thousands of dollars in vet bills. As with all insurance, it’s a calculated gamble.

Does pet insurance cover turtles?

No. You need exotic pet insurance to cover a turtle, and you should always ensure your chosen provider has your specific kind of turtle on its list before paying for a policy.

How do I file a claim with exotic pet insurance?

The process depends on the insurance provider. Many let you file a claim online, which involves submitting the bill along with the claim amount for reimbursement. Other providers may only have options for filing a claim over the phone, by mail, and/or in person.

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