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How to Cover Vet Bills for Your Exotic Pet

Insurance Ranked - Updated January 9, 2023
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How to Cover Vet Bills for Your Exotic Pet

Exotic pets require just as much love and care as their cat and dog counterparts -- after all, they are family -- but finding insurance for them can be difficult.

On top of that, vet bills for exotic pets tend to run higher and require specialists so it's a good idea to have a plan in case of an emergency.

Exotic pets may require a different type of care than what you are familiar with. Their needs may vary and they may be prone to injury, illness, or even be at risk for certain hereditary conditions. You should always research what types of diet, space requirements, and living conditions your exotic pet needs in order for them to have the best quality of life. Pet insurance is just one way you can ensure this.

Below, we break down how you can find the best insurance for your furry or feathery baby and some ways you can cover an expensive bill without 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

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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.

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