In this article, we explain what exotic pet insurance 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 to get pet insurance for exotic animals immediately, you can get a quote with Bought By Many's sister insurer, ExoticDirect.
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 that is not indigenous to the UK. You may be surprised to learn that this definition includes mice, which were introduced 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 exotic pets, as well as extensive species-specific advice on their website.
Which companies offer exotic pet insurance in the UK?
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 due to the difficulty in finding a UK-based vet that specialises in treating certain exotic species.
Our research found three companies that offer exotic pet insurance in the UK:
Exotic Direct is the leading name in the UK when it comes to exotic pet insurance. The company has been around for over 20 years and offers insurance cover for a long list of exotic animals – from bearded dragons, pythons and parrots to llamas, pigs and reindeer.
Reviews for ExoticDirect insurance are very positive – the company received 4.1 out of 5 stars on their Facebook page, with 43 out of the 62 customers who left reviews awarding the service 5 out of 5 stars. Other reviews of ExoticDirect are scarce, but the company provides a sample of positive feedback on its website.
ExoticDirect also features a news section on its website, which contains useful advice about exotic pet insurance and information on how to care for your animal.
In 2015, Bought By Many acquired Brooks Braithwaite (Sussex) Ltd, the parent company of ExoticDirect.
Follow this link to get an exotic pet insurance quote from Exotic Direct.
In the exotic pet insurance category, E&L only offers Bird Insurance, which it includes within its pet insurance umbrella.
Reviews for E&L pet insurance are mixed - on feefo.com the company has been awarded 4.4 stars out of 5, with 243 customers ranking the service as 5 stars and 112 ranking it as 4 stars (out of 393 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, from 627 reviews.
You can get a Bird Insurance quote from E&L.
Cliverton is a specialist company that has been operating for more than 40 years, with a focus on pet and animal related businesses.
The company is based in Norfolk and is a part of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (as Lycetts Insurance). It offers insurance for such ventures as dog walking and training, pet and wildlife rescues, falconry centres and farms (to name but a few). As it offers such a unique service, there is a shortage of reviews online, though it is rated as Excellent with 5 out of 5 stars on uk-insurance-index.co.uk. The company also has a 5 star rating on Facebook, though this is from just three reviews.
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.
ExoticDirect offers vet fee cover for accident, sickness and disease between £1,000 and £5,000, depending on the species. Please note ExoticDirect covers 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 proven loss or death by fire and weather perils, but does 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.
Cliverton does not offer cover for vets fees, only public liability.
Exotic pets can be valuable, which might make them a target for thieves. ExoticDirect covers reptiles, tortoises, parrots, birds of prey and large mammals against theft (but not small birds and small mammals). E&L Bird Insurance also offers 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 offers public liability, as well as personal accident cover, with some of its bird insurance policies.
ExoticDirect offers public liability for animals kept on private land, including cover in case they escape. It also offers 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 ExoticDirect, though you can find out more information by clicking here. They also offer public liability for birds of prey, as well as no-return cover. This means if your bird flies away and doesn't come back to you, ExoticDirect can pay out some money for a replacement. Again, this policy cannot be bought online, and must be arranged over the phone.
Cliverton offers 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). The company offers £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 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 exotic pet insurance cost?
The price of exotic pet insurance cover will vary depending on the species of your pet. Exotic Direct offers a flat rate for vet fee-only policies only, based on the categories on the website.
ExoticDirect's Essential policy lasts twelve months, and is paid for in 10 monthly payments of:
- Lizards £12.57 for £1000 vet fees cover
- Snakes £12.57 for £1000 vet fees cover
- Tortoises £12.55 for £2,500 vet fees cover
- Parrots £15.43 for £2,500 vet fees cover
- Small mammals £15.10 for £2,000 vet fees cover
- Birds of prey £18.73 for £2,500 vet fees cover
Click on the names of the animals above to find out more information about ExoticDirect's policies. Bear in mind that ExoticDirect do not offer vet fees cover only for parrots - the policy includes cover for death, theft and weather perils.
If you want a policy that covers death, theft, and weather perils, the price you paid for your pet will make a difference to your premium. ExoticDirect's Basic and Premier policies both offer cover for this. (Remember, small mammal policies will only cover vet fees.)
For comparison, here are a few quotes from E&L:
For small birds that cost under £125, the set price for a policy from E&L is £3.66 per lunar month - in other words, every 28 days. For exotic birds and birds of prey, the price is £6.10. If your bird costs more than £125, the price will vary depending on how much you paid for your pet.
There is also an option to pay yearly, as well as to include no-return cover for birds of prey. These will affect the price of your policy.
Prices from Cliverton 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 the company will get back you with an offer for cover tailored to you.
Is exotic pet insurance 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.
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 can treat your pet, but be aware that some exotic animals require specialised treatment and so this may not be available or affordable.
Additionally, it is worth considering third party liability insurance, even if you opt not to cover your pet's vet bills. If action is taken against you as a result of injury or damage caused by your pet, claims can cost thousands and even millions of pounds. For animals which may be considered dangerous or venomous, such as those on listed on the Dangerous Wild Animals Act, liability cover is required by law.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you understand all of your exotic pet's needs and requirements, and what pet insurance offers.