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Pet Insurance For Exotic Pets

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” Well maybe not that exotic, but its certainly fair to say that the incidence of people keeping smaller exotic and unusual pets within the UK is on the rise. While in the terminology used in veterinary practice, even rabbits are classed as ‘exotics,’ generally when people think of exotic pets it means taking a walk on the wild side; so we’ve looked into the possibilities for insuring exotic pets such as snakes, lizards and other reptiles, arachnids (such as tarantulas) exotic mammals and rare and unusual birds. If you keep a pet that is unusual, rare or potentially difficult to handle, can you get insurance for them, and how hard is it to find coverage? Read on to find out more!

How easy or hard is it to insure an exotic pet?

Understandably, insuring a rare or unusual animal, or one that it is hard to find qualified veterinary care for is going to be exponentially harder and potentially more expensive than finding cover for much more common pets, such as cats and dogs. If you keep an exotic pet or are at the research stage of looking in to getting one, a good guideline to follow in terms of your ability to have them insured can be to look at how hard it will be to find a suitably experienced exotics vet that will be able to treat them. Unless you luck out and find an appropriate vet right on your doorstep, owners of exotic pets often have to travel some way to find a vet that specialises in their particular pet. The harder it is to find a vet with the appropriate knowledge, the greater the likely rarity of that particular animal being kept as a pet in the UK, and so, the harder it will probably be to find insurance coverage for them. Companies will generally not take a gamble on an animal that they don’t understand and can’t calculate the relevant policy risk factors for. At the time of writing, one specialist insurance firm provides coverage for many exotic animals in the UK that other insurers will not consider- Exotics Direct. However, Cliverton Insurance, who offer a wide range of pet-related insurance policies such as for pet sitters, dog groomers and people keeping smallholdings, also offer bespoke policies for a wide range of different animals and requirements on a case-by-case basis, and may be able to generate a specialised policy for you for almost any type of pet.

What kind of exotic animals is it possible to insure?

As mentioned, you may find that a specialist insurance company will be able to generate a bespoke policy for you for almost any kind of animal. However, if you’re looking for an off-the-peg policy in much the same manner as you would be able to find for a cat or dog, the following list of animals are all generally relatively easy to get comprehensive coverage for.

  • Parrots and other large birds (excluding birds of prey)
  • Tortoises (all species)
  • Terrapins and Turtles
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea Pigs and other non-dangerous small mammals
  • Lizards of most varieties, such as geckos, iguanas and anoles
  • Snakes (constricting, non-venomous snakes)
  • Small birds such as lovebirds, parakeets and cockatiels
  • Exotic small mammals such as the African Pygmy Hedgehog
  • Birds of prey
  • Medium sized exotic pet mammals, such as the Pygmy Goat or Kune-Kune Pig

The list above is not exhaustive, but should give you a fairly good idea and maybe some inspiration if you had previously thought that you would not be able to get coverage for your pet! Notably absent from the list, is, of course, arachnids such as tarantulas; it is extremely difficult to find insurance for venomous arachnids, just as it is also generally very difficult to find appropriate veterinary treatment for them. However, if you keep a venomous arachnid or other potentially dangerous pet, you might need to consider taking out third party liability or public liability insurance to cover your potential risk factors.

Third party and public liability cover and other considerations

Any pet can potentially cause injury or damage to another person or property, from the largest dog right down to the smallest and most innocuous looking guinea pig! However, if you keep an exotic pet that has the potential or propensity to cause serious harm or inflict an injury on another pet or person that might cross their path them if they were to escape, it is vitally important that you give some consideration to taking out a third party or public liability policy for them. Animals such as a large constricting snake, venomous spider or bird of prey are good examples of exotic pets that could potentially harm another person, or another household pet if they got loose. This kind of policy can be taken out as well as a comprehensive pet health insurance policy (should you be able to get one) or if your animal is hard to insure for veterinary coverage, as a standalone policy. You may find that if you do take a comprehensive policy out on your pet, that third party or public liability cover will be included- but with your potential liability for harm or injury caused by your pet running into six figures or more, its not something that you should leave to chance!


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