Exotic Pet Insurance 101: Unique Pet Owner’s Guide

It is really common to encounter dog insurance, cat insurance, and even horse insurance. But is there an existing exotic pet insurance?

We are glad to say yes! Although not a lot of insurance companies provide exotic pets insurance, there are few very reliable ones. 

Lucky for you, you won’t need to spend a lot of time looking for them all over the internet because we are here to tell you the best exotic pet insurances available today. 

If you are a newbie when it comes to insurance policies, do not worry. Because before we go straight to the review, we will first talk about the basics of exotic pet insurance. This way, you will have an idea on what you should consider in choosing the best exotic pet insurance for your unique companion. 

Are you ready? Let’s get into it! 

What are exotic pets?

There is no clear delimitation on what are considered as exotic animals. But when we speak of exotic pets in relation to insurance policies, we generally mean pets other than cats, dogs, rabbits and horses. Listed below are the most common exotic pets that insurance companies encounter.

Birds 

Examples are African gray, Amazon, Canary, Cockatiel, Cockatoo, Conure, Finch, Lory, Lovebird, Macaw, Myna, Parakeet, Parrotlet, Toucan, etc.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Examples are Turtle, Tortoise, Snake, Lizard, Iguana, Gecko, Chameleons, Water Dragon, etc.

Small Mammals

Examples are Ferrets, Gerbils, Goats, Guinea pigs, Hamsters, Hedgehogs, Mice, Rats, Opossums, Potbellied pigs, Sugar gliders, etc.

What are the most common exotic pets conditions?

Exotic pets comes with a variety of health conditions and challenges that need medical attention. Listed below are the most common exotic pet problems encountered by vets. 

Birds 

For birds, the most common health conerns are feather loss, excessive egg laying, soft tissue trauma, parasites, diarrhea, runny nose, liver disease, respiratory infection, etc. The costs of the treatment of the said problems range from $200 to $400.

Reptiles and Amphibians

For reptiles and amphibians, the most common health concerns are parasites, diarrhea, dehydration, constipation, skin infection, eye infection, respiatory infection, bacterial infection, etc. The costs of the treatment of the said problems range from $100 to $300. 

Small Mammals

For small mammals, the most common health conerns are constipation, dehydration, eye infection, bladder infection, respiratory infection, arthritis, tumor, parasites, abscess, etc. The costs of the treatment of the said problems range from $50 to $550.

What is an exotic pet insurance?

An exotic pet insurance is a type of pet insurance for any of the above mentioned animal pets. Pet owners buy an exotic pet insurance policy to protect themselves from paying expensive out-of-pocket vet services and procedures should an unfortunate circumstance befall their pet in the future. 

When pet owners get an exotic pet insurance, they shell out only a reasonable amount every month to their insurance provider (premium), cover a manageable initial amount of vet bills (deductible) and pay only a small fraction of succeeding vet expenses (copay). 

In exchange, their exotic pet insurance provider will step in and either pay or reimburse as much as 90% of their vet bills, if their pet falls ill or incurs an accident. 

We will explain each concept and the entire process of how exotic pet insurance works later. But before that, let us tell you first why it is important to avail one. 

Why do you need an exotic pet insurance?

Like cats and dogs, exotic pets are also prone to risks. They can fall ill, get infected, and incur injuries. And exotic pets by virtue of being unusual, have unique health needs. Their medications and maintenance are species specific, and their treatment procedures require specialized skills. No wonder that their health care costs more. 

When unfavorable things happen (and we hope not), we know that you wouldn’t want the issue of money to stand in the way of their recovery. This is where exotic pet insurance becomes important (if not necessary). 

With exotic pet insurance, you can be prepared financially. So that you can focus more on your pet’s health and wellness and less on worrying about the money. 

Meanwhile, some exotic pets are considered valuable investments. In case they get lost, stolen, or even die, some exotic pet insurance coverage can reimburse their market price. 

Exotic Pet Insurance Key Concepts

Now that we know the importance of having exotic pet insurance, let us get acquainted with the key concepts of exotic pet insurance.

Premium

A premium is the amount that you have to pay for your exotic pet insurance every month. The average monthly premium cost about $9. However, this may vary depending on the type of exotic pet and may be subject to changes.

Reimbursement

The reimbursement is the percentage of the vet bill that you can claim from your exotic pet insurance provider. Usually, reimbursements range from 70% to 90%. This means that for every $100 vet bill, your insurance company will give you back $70 to $90, depending on your reimbursement policy. 

Copay

Copay or copayment is practically another way of understanding reimbursement. If reimbursement is the amount that your insurance company gives back to you, copay is the percentage of the vet bill that you have to shoulder.

For example, if your insurance policy has 80% reimbursement, then your copay is 20%. If the reimbursement is 70%, then your copay is 30%.

Deductible 

Deductible is the amount of vet expenses that you first have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company begins to reimburse succeeding vet expenses. There are usually two types of deductibles. The annual deductible and the lifetime per condition deductible. 

Annual deductible is the fixed amount of vet expenses that you have to pay first before you can claim reimbursements for a policy period. The annual deductible resets when you renew your insurance policy each year. 

The lifetime per condition deductible on the other hand means that you have to pay a fixed amount for each and every condition before your insurance company begins to reimburse. 

Maximum Annual Benefit

The Maximum Annual Benefit or Maximum Annual Limit is the total amount that your insurance company reimburses for a given period. You will have to pay for any additional costs beyond the maximum annual limit.

Inclusions or Coverage

Inclusions refer to all the health conditions and health care services that are covered in thet insurance. 

Exclusions

Exclusions are the health care needs that are not covered in the insurance. The most common examples of exclusions are routine care (like regular check-ups and grooming) and pre-existing medical conditions (because insurances are made specifically for unexpected veterinary needs). 

Claim

The claim is the percentage of the vet fee or a fixed coverage limit that you can reimburse from your insurance company. The most common claims for exotic pets are feather issues and shell or skin disorders.

Waiting Period

Waiting period is the length of time that has to pass before the insurance policy takes into effect. Usually, waiting periods for accidents are 2 days and for illnesses are 2 weeks.

How does exotic pet insurance work?

The process of how exotic pet insurance works is pretty simple. First, choose a policy for your exotic pet. Second, sign the insurance policy contract of your choice. Last, follow the contract and pay the amount of the monthly premium. 

If your exotic pet gets sick or incurs an injury, check if your policy covers the health condition. If yes then follow the procedures below.

  1. Bring your pet to their vet. 
  2. Pay the bill.
  3. Send the invoice of the bill to your insurance provider.
  4. Wait for your claim to be approved.
  5. Get the reimbursement. 

How much will exotic pet insurance cost you?

Like we mentioned earlier, the total costs of your exotic pet insurance will vary depending on the species, breed, age, coverage, premium, deductible and copay. 

Just expect that you will pay monthly premiums, a certain amount of deductible and copay for every vet visit. You will also shoulder any cost over the maximum annual limit. 

Rest assured that everything put together is still cheaper compared to paying out-of-pocket, the entire health and vet expenses of your exotic pet.

Now that we pretty much know all the basics of exotic pet insurance, let us proceed with the review.

Top Picks For Exotic Pet Insurance 

Nationwide

The Nationwide Avian and Exotic Pet Coverage is the best overall when it comes to bird, reptile, amphibian and small mammal pets. This insurance provider covers illnesses, accidents, diagnostic exams (like x-ray, prescription, laboratory fees), hospitalization and many more. 

Nationwide member net cost is $45. And they provide as much as 90% reimbursement. Exclusions applies. And the Nationwide insurance company does not guarantee coverage for all states.

Exotic Pets Covered: Bird, Turtle, Tortoise, Snake, Lizard, Iguana, Gecko, Chameleons, Water Dragon, Ferrets, Gerbils, Goats, Guinea pigs, Hamsters, Hedgehogs, Mice, Rats, Opossums, Potbellied pigs, Sugar gliders, etc.

Pet Assure

The Pet Assure Exotic Pet Insurance Program has the best coverage and best value when it comes exotic pet insurance. They have absolutely no exclusions. This means that they cover all medical concerns of your pet, including pre-existing medical conditions. This insurance provider also has no age limitation, no waiting period and zero deductible. When it comes to premiums, their motto is: if you can’t afford their premium then you can’t afford your pet. 

Exotic Pets Covered: Bird, Equine, Fish, Hedgehog, Mice, Pig, Rat, Sugar glider, Chicken, Frog, Guinea Pig, Monkey, Pony, Reptile, Turtle, Duck, Ferret, Gecko, Hamster, Lizard, Mouse, Rabbit, Snake, etc.

Bottomline

There are very few companies who provide insurance programs for exotic pets. But they offer comprehensive deals for whatever your exotic pet needs. Insurance program prepares you for difficult circumstances. Just remember that in order to reduce the health risks of your unique pet, make sure to learn as much as you can to help them thrive in your home environment. 

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