In this article, we explain what insurance for exotic pets covers and how much it costs, as well as reviewing the different exotic pet insurance companies to help you work out which one is best for you.
If you're looking for insurance for your pet immediately, you can get a quote at the Exotic Direct website.
Read the guide to learn:
- What is an "exotic" pet?
- Which companies offer Exotic Pet Insurance?
- What does exotic pet insurance cover?
- What does exotic pet insurance cost?
- Is exotic pet insurance worth it?
What is an exotic pet?
Traditionally, an exotic animal is any animal which is not indigenous to the UK. You may be surprised to learn that this definition includes mice, which were introduced to the UK by the Romans, and Rabbits – only wild in the UK since the 12th century. This definition has been debated by experts, and even defined federally in the US. In the UK, the RSPCA admits that the term is difficult to define, but does offer guidelines for owners and potential owners of non-domestic pets, as well as extensive species-specific advice on their website.
Which companies offer Exotic Pet Insurance?
Understandably, pet insurance for exotic pets is not as common as for more traditional pets, such as cats and dogs. Some pets that are technically considered exotic, like rabbits, may be easier to find insurance for, whereas others, like snakes and spiders, are considerably more difficult to insure. This is usually do to the difficulty in finding a UK based vet that specialises in treating certain exotic species.
Our research found three companies who offer insurance for exotic pets in the UK:
Exotic Direct is the leading name in the UK when it comes to exotic pet insurance. They have been around for over 20 years and offer insurance cover for a long list of non-domestic animals – from rats, pythons and parakeets to Llamas, pigs and Reindeer. Reviews for Exotic Direct pet insurance (which includes exotic pet insurance cover) are very positive – the company received 4.3 out of 5 stars on their Facebook page, with 39 out of 54 customers who left reviews awarding the service 5 out of 5 stars. Over on money.co.uk, Exotic Direct only have 1 review, but it is also a 5 out of 5 stars one, with a rating of Excellent.
Follow this link to get a quote from Exotic Direct.
E&L (the Equine and Livestock Insurance Company) has been offering niche insurance products, including horse insurance, caravan insurance and wedding insurance, for more than 70 years. In the exotic pet insurance category, E&L only offer Bird Insurance, which they include within their pet insurance umbrella. Reviews for E&L pet insurance are mixed - on money.co.uk customers rate the service as Good, with a rating of 3.6/5, and on feefo the company has 91% positive reviews, with 790 customers ranking the service as Excellent, and 549 ranking it as Good (out of 1,469 reviews left this year). Over on reviewcentre.com things are not as positive – E&L pet insurance scored just 1.1 out of 5 stars, with 10% of customers saying they would recommend the service.
You can get a Bird Insurance quote from E&L.
Cliverton is a specialist company which has been operating for more than 40 years, with a focus on pet and animal related businesses. They are based in Norfolk and are a part of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (as Lycetts Insurance). They offer insurance for such ventures as dog walking and training, pet and wildlife rescues, falconry centres and farms (to name but a few). As they offer such a unique service, there is a shortage of reviews online, though they are rated as Excellent with 5 out of 5 stars on uk-insurance-index.co.uk.
What does exotic pet insurance cover?
Cover usually varies according to species and breed. Generally, all policies offer cover for vet treatments, although the cause of injury or illness covered does vary.
It is important to note that some exotic animals do not reveal any signs of illness or injury until they are gravely unwell. This is because, in the wild, showing signs of weakness can be lethal. This tendency makes good veterinary cover all the more crucial to the pet’s survival.
Exotic Direct cover accident, sickness and disease in exotic pets for between £1,000 and £5,000, depending on the species. Please note Exotic Direct cover reptiles, tortoises, parrots, birds of prey and large mammals (such as alpacas, hedgehogs and goats) for death as a result of an accident or illness and for loss by fire and weather perils, but do not offer the same cover for small birds and small mammals (including rabbits).
E&L’s Bird Insurance includes cover for up to £3,500 in vet fees, as well as cover for death by illness or accident. Cover for aviaries, bird-rooms and equipment is also available, as well as a non-return policy for birds of prey. There is a 10% discount for multi-bird policies.
Exotic pets can be valuable, which might make them a target for thieves. Exotic Direct cover reptiles, tortoises, parrots, birds of prey and large mammals against theft (but not small birds and small mammals). E&L Bird Insurance also offer cover for theft.
Some exotic animals, particularly certain types of snakes, spiders and birds, may be dangerous to both humans and other animals. This makes third party liability insurance important – it covers you in case your pet harms another person or their property.
E&L offer public liability, as well as personal accident cover, with some their Bird Insurance policies.
Exotic Direct offer public liability for animals kept on private land, including cover in case they escape. They also offer cover for animal shows, displays and events, animal centres and clubs, birds of prey and animals included in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act. This cover can only be arranged by calling Exotic Direct, though you can find out more information by clicking here.
Cliverton offer a range of insurance policies for various exotic and wild animals with a focus on the professional and commercial market (although individuals can get cover as well). They offer £5,000,000 standard limit for public liability (with £10,000,000 available at additional cost), cover for the public handling the animals, employer’s liability of up to £10,000,000 and cover for animals scheduled on the DWAA (Dangerous Wild Animals Act). Cover for buildings, contents, tools, equipment, stock and other property relating to the animals (in either a business or domestic capacity) can be added to the policy.
How much does insurance for exotic pets cost?
The price of exotic pet insurance cover varies according to two main factors:
1. Your postcode – in some cases, where you live can affect the price of your policy. For example, someone living in a major city like London may have to pay more than someone living in a more rural setting (this is true for most types of insurance). The availability of vets specialising in your particular type of exotic pet in your area may also affect the cost of your insurance.
2. The species and breed of your pet – how expensive your pet is, as well as potential health concerns they may have and the level of specialised care they require can all affect both the availability and cost of your pet insurance policy.
To give you an indication of cost, we got example quotes based on a pet being kept in a location in Milton Keynes.
First, here are the quotes from Exotic Direct:
Alpaca (with a value of £500) – £145.80 (or £14.58 per month over 10 months) for £2,000 of vet fees cover only / £196.15 (or £19.62 per month for 10 month) for £2,000 of vet fees plus cover for death, theft and weather perils / £58.35 (or £5.84 per month over 10 month) for death, theft and weather perils cover without vet fees cover.
Hedgehog and Goat (with a value of up to £200) – £145.80 (or £14.58 per month over 10 months) for £2,000 of vet fees cover only / £165.94 (or £16.59 per month for 10 month) for £2,000 of vet fees plus cover for death, theft and weather perils / £41 (or £4.10 per month over 10 month) for death, theft and weather perils cover without vet fees cover.
Budgie and Cockatiel – £79.55 (or £7.96 per month over 10 months) for £1,500 of vet fees cover only.
Parrot (based on a bird with a value of £500) – £169.65 (or £16.97 per month for 10 month) for vet fees cover of £2,500 plus cover for death, theft and weather perils / £197.21 (or £19.72 per month over 10 months) for vet fees cover of £5,000 plus cover for death, theft and weather perils / £63.65 (or £6.37 per month over 10 month) for death, theft and weather perils cover without vet fees cover.
Bird of Prey (based on a bird with a value of £800) – £234.84 (or £23.48 per month for 10 month) for vet fees cover of £2,500 plus cover for death, theft and weather perils / £262.93 (or £26.29 per month over 10 months) for vet fees cover of £5,000 plus cover for death, theft and weather perils / £109.76 (or £10.98 per month over 10 month) for death, theft and weather perils cover without vet fees cover.
Gecko, Chameleon, Bearded Dragon, Lizard and Snake (with a value of up to £200) – £116.12 (or £11.61 per month over 10 months) for £1,000 of vet fees cover only / £133.08 (or £13.31 per month for 10 month) for £1,000 of vet fees plus cover for death, theft and weather perils / £41 (or £4.10 per month over 10 month) for death, theft and weather perils cover without vet fees cover.
Tortoise (based on a value of £250) – £120.36 (or £12.04 per month over 10 months) for £2,500 of vet fees cover only / £144.21 (or £14.42 per month for 10 month) for vet fees cover of £2,500 plus cover for death, theft and weather perils / £41 (or £4.10 per month over 10 month) for death, theft and weather perils cover without vet fees cover.
Budgie and Cockatiel – £5.90 per month (the price for all exotic birds with a value of up to £125).
Parrot – £10.15 per month (for a Parrot with a value of £300 – price will vary for cheaper and more expensive parrots).
Cliverton: prices vary according to the required type of insurance. To get an accurate quote for your needs, we recommend you fill out the quote form on the Cliverton website and they will get back you with an offer for cover tailored to you.
Is pet insurance for exotic pets worth it?
This is a difficult question to answer, as it is up to the individual pet owner to decide. Some prefer the peace of mind of knowing their pets are covered by professional insurance, whereas some prefer to put money aside every month for use if an issue arises.
Some things to consider are - as we mentioned above, exotic pets often don't reveal they are unwell until the situation requires urgent medical attention, which can make treatment expensive. You may be able to find a vet in your local area who specializes in treating your pet and reach an agreement for payment, but be aware that some exotic animals require very unique methods of treatment and so this may not be available or affordable.
Additionally, it is recommended getting third party liability insurance, even if you opt not to cover your pet's vet bills. This is particularly true for animals which may be considered dangerous or poisonous. If action is taken against you as a result of injury or damage caused by your pet, claims can run to millions of pounds.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you understand all of your exotic pet's needs and requirements to make the best choice for both you and your pet.