What is Exotic Pet Insurance?

Most pet insurance companies cover only cats and dogs, but pet owners who prefer other types of furry, feathered or scaly friends may want pet insurance, too.

If you’re sharing your home with pets like a cockatoo, chinchilla, bearded dragon or pot-bellied pig, you may want to consider getting exotic pet insurance.

What is Exotic Pet Insurance?

Exotic pet insurance is a health insurance policy for your exotic pet that pays for veterinary expenses. This includes exotic pets such as amphibians, birds, fish, reptiles and small mammals.

Types of Exotic Pet Insurance

Nationwide pet insurance offers an avian and exotic pet accident and illness pet insurance plan. This type of plan covers vet bills for accidents (such as soft tissue trauma) and illnesses (such as feather loss or arthritis).

Exotic pet insurance from Nationwide is reimbursement-based: You’ll pay upfront for your exotic pet’s vet bills and submit a claim to your pet insurance company. If your vet expenses are covered by your policy, your insurer will reimburse you.

What Does Exotic Pet Insurance Cover?

Exotic pet insurance from Nationwide covers veterinary expenses for accidents such as:

  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue trauma
  • Sprains
  • Lacerations
  • Poisoning

It covers veterinary bills for illnesses such as:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infections
  • Eye injuries
  • Feather picking/loss
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Internal parasites
  • Mouth rot
  • Overgrown teeth
  • Upper respiratory infection

And an exotic pet insurance plan covers veterinary services such as:

  • Avian specific diagnostic tests.
  • Diagnostic tests such as blood tests, biopsies, radiographs and urinalysis.
  • Hospitalizations.
  • Prescription medication.
  • Treatments.
  • Surgeries.

Does Exotic Pet Insurance Cover Routine Care?

Exotic pet insurance from Nationwide does not cover routine care. Pet wellness plans typically cover routine care costs such as annual vet exams and vaccinations.

You may be able to find a wellness plan for routine care for exotic pets as a stand-alone plan. For example, Pet Assure’s “Mint Wellness” plan covers vet exam fees and other types of expenses for all types of pets, including exotic pets.

What Exotic Pet Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Common exotic pet insurance exclusions include:

  • Boarding or transport expenses.
  • Breeding costs.
  • Congenital or hereditary defects or diseases.
  • Costs unrelated to veterinary care.
  • Diseases preventable by vaccines.
  • Elective procedures such as wing clipping and nail trims.
  • Food and supplements such as vitamins.
  • Orthodontics.
  • Pre-existing conditions, which are injuries or illnesses that happened before you purchased an exotic pet insurance plan.
  • Routine care, examinations and vaccinations.
  • Surgical removal of reproductive organs, expression or removal of scent glands.

Certain types of exotic pets are not covered, including:

  • Any species that requires a license, permit or registration by federal or state law.
  • Any species that is illegal to own by federal or state law.
  • Endangered or threatened species.
  • Hybrids of domesticated pets with a wild/non-domesticated species.
  • Species that are kept in flocks or on display.
  • Venomous or poisonous species.

How Much Does Exotic Pet Insurance Cost?

Exotic pet insurance from Nationwide generally costs less than $21 a month, according to the company’s website. Your own exotic pet insurance costs will depend on factors such as:

  • Type of pet.
  • Annual coverage amount.
  • Where you live.

Is Pet Insurance for Exotic Animals Necessary?

Pet insurance for exotic animals is not necessary, but it’s a good way to cover unexpected veterinary bills. For example, if your pot-bellied pig ingests a foreign object, emergency surgery could cost you thousands of dollars at the vet. Without pet insurance, you would have to pay the vet bills out of pocket.

The best way to determine if pet insurance is worth it is to consider how a major vet bill would impact your personal finances versus the annual cost of an exotic pet insurance plan.

To read the full article, click here.