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Home > Insurance > Do I Need Exotic Pet Insurance? Cost and Benefits Explained

Do I Need Exotic Pet Insurance? Cost and Benefits Explained

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Whether or not you need exotic pet insurance depends on your situation and preferences. Pet insurance can help lower your emergency veterinary bill cost, potentially saving you thousands of dollars. However, exotic pet insurance is often challenging to find and isn’t always as objectively good as other pet insurance.

Read on below to find out more about exotic pet insurance and whether or not you need it.


What Does Exotic Pet Insurance Cover?

Exotic pet insurance usually covers emergency medical costs like injuries and illnesses. Regular, preventative care doesn’t fall in this category and must still be paid out of pocket. However, this coverage can save you thousands of dollars because illnesses and injuries are nearly impossible to predict and budget for.

Coverage often extends to everything your pet needs to treat the illness or injury. This includes hospitalizations, emergency care, specialized treatments, diagnostic tests, and medications. However, the initial vet exam to diagnose the illness may not be covered.

You can occasionally find plans that cover routine check-ups and other preventative measures. However, these are often quite expensive and very rare with exotic pets.

Are Plans Tailored for Different Exotic Pets?

Sometimes. When you sign up with your exotic pet, the company will often tailor the plan to your pet. Therefore, a reptile may get different coverage from a bird. There will probably be different exclusions, as these animals get different illnesses. The plan’s cost may change based on the pet’s specific health risk and veterinary care cost.

After tailoring the plan to your pet, it’s important to look at the plan details. Common conditions may be excluded, especially those related to the animal’s diet. For instance, many companies exclude metabolic bone diseases and similar disorders. You’ll need to decide if these exclusions still make the plan worth it.

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How Much Does Exotic Pet Insurance Cost?

The cost of exotic pet insurance varies widely. On average, you can expect to pay from $10 to $50 a month. However, prices can be much higher in expensive areas or for high-risk pets. The type of pet, plan details, and location will all affect the plan’s overall price.

For instance, the deductible and coverage limits affect how much money you can expect for your pet’s care. The higher your coverage limit and the lower your deductible, the more expensive the plan will cost.

Similarly, pet insurance companies know that vet care costs differ from location to location. Therefore, your zip code is often taken into account. If you live in an area with a higher cost of living, you can expect your price to be higher.

What Are Common Exclusions in Exotic Pet Insurance?

You can expect practically every exotic pet insurance to have some exclusions. However, what’s excluded can vary from plan to plan (and the type of pet).

Common exclusions include pre-existing conditions (though the definition varies), elective procedures, breeding-related expenses, and behavioral issues. If your type of pet is prone to diet-related problems, these may also be excluded. Some plans have waiting periods for certain illnesses and disorders before they are covered. Nothing occurring within this waiting period will be covered, and it may fall into the pre-existing condition category.

Therefore, reading and understanding the policy is vital before moving forward. Furthermore, getting the plan sooner rather than later is almost always better.

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Can I Get Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions?

In general, most pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is typically defined as any illness, injury, or symptom that existed or was diagnosed before the insurance coverage started.

If your exotic pet has a pre-existing condition, it is unlikely to be covered by insurance. This is why we recommend purchasing pet insurance sooner rather than later; it helps protect you from pre-existing conditions.

However, it’s worth noting that definitions and policies can vary between insurance providers. Some providers may offer limited coverage or waiting periods for certain pre-existing conditions. For instance, some insurance providers may not count illnesses as “pre-existing” if they haven’t needed treatment within a certain amount of time.

Does Exotic Pet Insurance Cover Routine Check-Ups and Vaccinations?

Routine care, like vaccinations, isn’t usually covered by pet insurance. Usually, the only things covered are directly related to unforeseeable illnesses and injuries, like hospitalization and diagnostic tests. Annual exams, vaccinations, and wellness visits don’t fall into this category.

However, some plans may offer an optional add-on that provides some coverage for these preventative expenses. That said, it is important to understand that most of this coverage is limited, and you won’t get extra money back in most cases. If the plan requires you to pay $300 yearly, that’s probably the max you’ll get back.

Therefore, it’s often more of a veterinary savings plan than true pet insurance.

veterinarian examining green quaker parrot
Image By: VH-studio, Shutterstock

Factors to Keep In Mind

  • Veterinary care costs: Some exotic pets have different veterinary costs than others. Usually, exotic pets are more expensive, as they require specialized vet care. Therefore, exotic pets may need insurance more than your average dog or cat.
  • Risk of illness: Some exotic pets are more prone to injury and illness than others. If the particular pet you have is prone to expensive health problems, you may want to consider pet insurance.
  • Your budget: You should first consider whether you can afford exotic pet insurance. Then, you should also consider if you can spend thousands out of pocket for emergency vet bills. Pet insurance may make sense for your financial situation if you can more easily afford a low monthly payment than a large lump sum.
  • Coverage options: Not all insurance providers offer coverage for exotic pets. You may have a hard time finding insurance in your area, as pet insurance companies that do provide coverage may not cover your zip code.
  • Lifespan: If your pet only lives for a year or two, their chance of needing an emergency vet may be lower. Furthermore, they may be less likely to get age-related issues and chronic conditions. Therefore, you may have less of a need for exotic pet insurance.



Exotic pet insurance is pretty rare. Most companies that offer pet insurance only offer it to cats and dogs. Therefore, you likely won’t have many exotic pet insurance options. Furthermore, exotic pet insurance can be expensive and often has many exclusions, like pre-existing conditions and diet-related problems.

However, the right exotic pet insurance can save you tons of money. Exotic pets can get illnesses and injuries just like any other pet. These are hard to predict and impossible to budget for. Therefore, having insurance can make budgeting for this expense a bit easier. Instead of paying thousands at one time, pet insurance helps you spread the cost over several months.

Therefore, we recommend exotic pet insurance to pet owners who can get it. It isn’t available everywhere, and certain exclusions may make it not make sense for all pet owners. It’s important to read and understand the policy before you sign up for a plan.

Featured Image Credit: Deb Davis, Shutterstock

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