First of all, what exactly is an “exotic” pet? For insurance purposes, any animal other than a cat, dog or domesticated farm animal is considered exotic.
Exotic pet insurance is that much more important because treatments often cost more. First, veterinarians often charge more for their specialized knowledge, and rightfully so. Second, with exotic pets come a variety of more exotic medical conditions. Like other pets, they are also subject to things like lacerations, fractures, infections, swallowing foreign objects and insect bites.
There is a pet insurance plan for any type of animal you might have. The most popular type of insurance plans are for dogs and cats, but bird, rabbit and horse insurance have been gaining popularity.
The biggest driver for this trend are increased veterinary costs. The fact is, whether you have a Golden Retriever, Domestic Shorthair or Parrot, an emergency trip to the vet is going to be expensive.
Nationwide Pet Insurance, America’s largest pet insurance provider, covers exotic pets in addition to dogs and cats. Birds, iguanas and other exotics account for just over 1% of all pets insured by Nationwide.
This page is dedicated to exotic pet insurance plans for every type of animal from birds to Guinea pigs.
Pet Insurance & Rising Veterinary Costs
The good news is that veterinary care is more sophisticated than ever. Advances in human healthcare are driving enhanced veterinary care. Examples include CT scans and MRIs. Your vet is often more able to treat your beloved pet than in the past. More advanced care comes at a cost. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says pet expenses per U.S. household increased 35 percent during from 2007 to 2016.
Pet Insurance Details
When you evaluate pet insurance, always be clear about what’s covered and what’s not. Be prepared to pay out-of-pocket for routine procedures like:
- Preventive care
- Spaying and neutering
- Exam fees
- Owner negligence
- Expenses related to breeding
Keep in mind that an insurer may offer a wellness program that addresses routine care.
Pre-existing conditions can be an issue. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires coverage of human pre-existing conditions. Pet insurers may or may not cover pre-existing conditions, certain hereditary conditions and older pets. The best way to deal with this is to get a policy when you get your pet.
Co-pays, deductibles and maximum payouts are all common with pet insurance. You’ll usually pay upfront for covered veterinary services. You then file a claim with your pet insurer. Once a claim is approved, you are reimbursed by check or direct deposit.
Types of Pet Insurance
Some pet insurers specialize in cats and dogs. Others, in horses. Exotic pet insurance is available for pets as varied as rabbits, birds, snakes, turtles, hamsters, ferrets and gerbils. It’s also possible to insure larger pets like goats, llamas and potbellied pigs.
Pet Ownership in the U.S.
As you know dogs and cats are the most popular type of pets in America. But, did you know that birds and horses are also popular pets? Here is a breakdown of pet ownership in the U.S.
|Percent of households||36.5%||30.4%||3.1%||1.5%|
|Number of households owning||43mm||36mm||4mm||2mm|
|Average number owned per household||1.6||2.1||2.3||2.7|
|Total number in United States||70mm||74mm||8mm||5mm|
|Veterinary visits per household per year||2.6||1.6||0.3||1.9|
Birds are the 3rd most insured type of pet behind dogs, cats and horses. In fact, nearly half of Nationwide’s insured, exotic pets are of the avian persuasion.
Just like other animals, birds can get sick or injured, requiring expensive trips to the vet clinic, hospital or specialist.
Another interesting fact is that many birds far outlive their canine and feline counterparts, which can make pet insurance for birds a very wise decision.
So if you have a cockatiel, parrot or cockatoo as a pet then bird insurance might benefit you in the long run.
Proud bird owners consider their pets a part of the family, just like other pet owners. Perhaps you have a cockatoo, parrot or cockatiel. Many birds, like the hyacinth macaw and the toucan, are significant investments. Exotic pet insurance is very helpful in these and many other cases. Birds can develop various challenging conditions. Bladder infections, vomiting, diarrhea, and hypothyroidism are some examples. When a cat injures a pet bird, the risk of infection is often the key concern. It’s important to locate a local veterinarian trained to treat birds.
Horses are the 4th most popular type of pet behind dogs, cats and birds, respectively.
Although there aren’t as many pet horses as other, small companion animals, they do require a significant amount of veterinary care.
Another unique aspect when considering insurance for horses is that you can combine veterinary care with equine mortality.
Equine mortality (livestock insurance) policies pay claims if your horse unexpectedly passes.
These are the most common type of horse insurance because the acquisition cost of a horse can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Although a horse is not technically considered an exotic pet, its needs are very different from those of a cat or a dog. Accordingly, there are companies that specialize in horse insurance. A major medical horse insurance policy will not cover routine exams and preventative care like teeth cleaning, worming and vaccinations. However, horse insurance does cover many medical expenses, including those that are expensive. A horse policy typically covers diagnosis, treatment, medication, anesthesia and surgery when needed. It will also cover a hospital stay.
Horse insurance prices reflect the higher cost of treating bigger animals. Veterinary facilities have to be larger. Diagnostic and other equipment is expensive. Horses need greater quantities of meds and anesthesia drugs. Boarding during recovery further increases costs. As with other types of pet insurance, be aware of deductibles and copays. It is also possible to exceed the maximum coverage, often $5,000 or $7,500.
Equine mortality insurance is often required when you take out a major medical policy. The value of your horse is determined at the time of purchase. Should the horse not survive due to accident or illness, you are reimbursed for your pet’s predetermined value. You’re also reimbursed if your horse is stolen but not recovered. Loss-of-use, personal liability and limited mortality are other types of horse insurance to consider.
Who doesn’t love rabbits? Right behind a cute puppy and cuddly kitten, rabbits are inarguably the 3rd cutest type of pet you can have!
As a bunny parent you know how important annual veterinary checkups are. Just like any small mammal, rabbits can suffer health setbacks.
This is where pet insurance for rabbits can come in handy.
Some common health problems in rabbits include gastrointestinal stasis, parasites, upper respiratory infections and dental issues to name a few (learn more).
As with birds, finding a veterinarian trained to treat rabbits is key. Specialized knowledge of surgical and anesthesia techniques is important. House Rabbit Society, a non-profit rabbit rescue organization, tracks vets maintains a list of veterinarians that treat rabbits. Rabbits may require veterinary care due to a variety of medical conditions. GI stasis, upper respiratory infections and parasites are some examples.A rabbit specialist knows what to watch for if there’s an injury after an encounter with another animal.
Although rabbit insurance doesn’t typically cover routine care, spaying female rabbits is crucial. About three-fourths of unspayed female rabbits develop uterine cancers. Routine care also includes a checkup after adoption, followed by annual exams. Once your rabbit is five years old, your vet may recommend two routine exams each year.
Other Pets You Can Insure
Dogs, cats, birds, horses and rabbits are the most commonly insured pets, but you can find a plan for many other types of animals. Here is a list of pets you can get insured.
- Guinea Pigs
- Guinea Pigs
- Potbellied Pigs
- Sugar Gliders
At Pet Insurance Quotes, we make it easy for you to find the right insurance for your exotic pet or horse. Our time-saving service is free, and it does not impact your rates. We are a fully independent, unbiased service that’s already delivered more than 1 million pet insurance quotes to pet owners.