How to Cover Vet Bills for Your Exotic Pet


Bryan Huynh

- Updated February 23, 2024

How to Cover Vet Bills for Your Exotic Pet

Did you know that exotic pets need just as much love and care as your cuddly cats and dogs? They're part of the family too! The only catch is that finding insurance for these unique pets can be quite a challenge.

On top of that, vet bills for exotic pets can be pretty steep, and they often require specialized care. That's why it's a smart move to have a plan in place for emergencies.

Taking care of exotic pets can be different from what you're used to with more common pets. They have unique needs, and they may be more susceptible to injuries, illnesses, or even hereditary conditions. It's crucial to do your research and find out the specific dietary requirements, space needs, and living conditions that will give your exotic pet the best quality of life. And that's where pet insurance can come in handy.

Now, let's dive into how you can find the best insurance for your furry or feathery family member. We'll also explore some alternative options to cover those expensive vet bills if you don't have pet insurance.

Pet Insurance Pros & Cons For Exotic Animals

Pet insurance is helpful to offset the cost of a high vet bill and can cover around 60-90%. However, pet insurance still comes with pros and cons.


  • Pet insurance companies offer coverage for pet owners on a budget
  • Pet insurance can cover the high cost of treating lifelong illnesses and accident coverage so you don't have to worry about costs other than your monthly premiums


  • Buying a policy when your pet is older is more costly
  • Pet insurance may not be able to cover every type of illness or need
  • Pet insurance doesn't usually cover pre-existing conditions and it’s unlikely to switch policies in the future with pre-existing conditions, so it’s important to get coverage as soon as possible

Getting Insurance For Your Pet


Currently, the only company that provides insurance for exotic pets is Nationwide through their Avian & Exotic Pet Plan. This affordable plan covers accidents, illnesses, examinations, lab fees, prescriptions, X-rays, hospitalization, and more. In addition to birds, exotic pets covered include:

  • Amphibians
  • Chameleons
  • Chinchillas
  • Ferrets
  • Geckos
  • Gerbils
  • Goats
  • Guinea pigs
  • Hamsters
  • Hedgehogs
  • Iguanas
  • Lizards
  • Mice
  • Opossums
  • Potbellied pigs
  • Rats
  • Rabbits
  • Snakes
  • Sugar gliders
  • Tortoises
  • Turtles

Can't Get Insurance? Here Are Some Options To Finance A Vet Bill

Emergency vet costs can be high and dealing with the expense can be a struggle -- especially if you don’t have pet insurance and you need to care for your beloved pet. However, there are some options for you to pay it off:

Ask your vet if they have in-house payment plans to help you pay off the bill in smaller installments.

Emergency animal clinics may offer a payment plan so you can pay the bill in small installments over a period of time. In rare circumstances, they might even waive part of your bill. There are no guarantees, but it never hurts to ask about your options.

Local animal shelters, humane societies (like the SPCA), and rescue groups sometimes provide affordable emergency services and wellness checks. For more information, check the Animal Humane Society website for an extensive list of resources to find veterinary assistance and other important services.

Veterinary schools sometimes provide clinics for emergency services. To find one nearby, check The American Veterinary Medical Assocition or VeterinarySchool.com.

Consider applying for veterinary grants and funds to help fund part or all of your vet bills.

The Banfield Foundation and Waggle have a list of resources and assistance available.

You can use CareCredit -- a type of card that is used for healthcare and medical financing -- for veterinary services but check with your provider to make sure they accept this.

Pet Assure offers an alternative to exotic pet insurance while still covering in-house medical services, even for pets with pre-existing conditions. Check with your vet to see if this service is right for you. 

Is pet insurance available for pets that are already sick?

Yes. Your bill may not be covered immediately by the new plan but you'll receive coverage in the future.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance covers checkups, vaccines, treatments, illnesses, and/or accidents that your pet may have to deal with.

About The Author

Bryan Huynh

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a dedicated Product Tester & Writer. Just as insurance has your back, Bryan works to review and inform you about the wide range of insurance products available, ranging from business, auto, health, home, pet, to life insurance.

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