Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) is the only pet health insurance provider that offers policies to exotic pets, with over 5,000 policies in-force in February last month. While this is only just over 1% of all policies issued, it includes a wide variety of pet types, including parrots, tortoises, snakes, pigs and more. And, according to VPI, exotic animals become ill and suffer injuries the same as or more than common pet types. They also point out that many reptile and avian species can live for decades, potentially meaning many years of trips to the veterinarian.
"People frequently assume insurance policies only cover dogs and cats. Exotics usually experience conditions unique to their species that might require specialized treatment, which can oftentimes be expensive. What we want to stress is that maintaining your pets’ health insurance is a part of being a responsible pet owner – regardless of what type of pet you own," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI.
The exotic pets that are covered by VPI include:
- 60 iguanas
- 1 anaconda
- 4 boa constrictors
- 18 pythons
- 1 Uromastyx (spiny-tailed lizard)
VPI also insures more common exotic species, including dozens of pet birds, hundreds of guinea-pigs, over a thousand rabbits and a variety of pet pigs. Among the more exotic pet birds that are insured are peacocks, ostriches and hummingbirds. The company does not insure some exotic species that it considers "high risk", such as alligators, spiders and venomous species of reptile.