Can you insure exotic pets?

Yes, although they will not be covered by most standard pet insurance policies.

Most only offer cover for dogs and cats, or other common pets like rabbits and guinea pigs.

You will need to look for specialist insurance companies that cover exotic pets, you can compare policies here.

What is an exotic pet?

Exotic pets are more unusual animals that are less commonly kept domestically, like:

  • Reptiles (e.g. iguanas, snakes and tortoises)

  • Exotic birds (e.g. parrots)

  • Exotic mammals (e.g. micro pigs, skunks and pygmy hedgehogs)

You can find out what is classified as an exotic pet on the RSPCA website.

What is covered?

An exotic pet insurance policy should include most of the benefits offered by a standard policy, including cover for:

  • Veterinary fees

  • The death of your pet through illness or accidental injury

  • Theft of your pet

However, exotic pet insurance can include more specific benefits tailored to the type of animal you have, for example:

  • Fire and weather perils: You will be covered if your pet dies or is lost as a result of fire, wind, storm, lightning or flood.

  • Pet housing and enclosure cover: You will be covered against the theft or malicious damage to your pet's housing, or damage caused by fire, lightning storm or wind.

What level of cover do you need?

This will depend on the type of pet you have and the insurer you choose.

The amount of cover for vet fees may differ for different types of pets:

  • Parrots and exotic birds: Up to 5,000

  • Tortoise: Up to 2,500

  • Lizards: Up to 1,000

Check the policy document carefully before you buy cover to see exactly what is covered, and how much you can claim for.

What exclusions are there?

There are some common exotic pet insurance exclusions you should be aware of:

  • Enclosures and housing: Your pet must be kept in proper enclosures with suitable ventilation and heating in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 2006. If they are not, any claim you make for vet fees could be rejected.

  • Commercial use: Any claim you make may be rejected if you pet is used for commercial purposes, like a petting zoo. They can also not be kept on commercial premises for a certain period, for example 28 days.

  • Security requirements: You must secure where your pet is kept or any claims against theft could be rejected. This could mean installing an alarm, security lights and steel padlocks on all doors and gates.

  • Pre-existing medical conditions: If your pet has any medical conditions you must tell the insurer about them before you buy cover. Most insurers will not cover your pet's pre-existing medical conditions.

Make sure you read and understand all the conditions and exclusions before you take out a policy so you are not caught out if you need to make a claim.

Is exotic pet insurance worth it?

Yes, because it could cover the cost of expensive vet bills if your exotic pet is ill or injured.

For example, if your bearded dragon has an abscess it could cost you over 400 to treat, or if it breaks its leg it could cost even more.

If you do not think exotic pet insurance is worth having, here is what you could do instead.