Insuring Your Parrot, Ferret, Potbellied Pig, or Horse

Avians, Exotics, and Equines Insurance:

  • Avians (Birds) and Exotics Coverage:
    • Nationwide is the primary insurer offering coverage for birds and exotic pets in the U.S.
    • Coverage includes medical treatments and surgeries for accidents and illnesses, such as exams, lab fees, prescriptions, X-rays, and hospitalization.
    • Premiums vary by species and size, with monthly costs ranging from $8 for reptiles to $15.75 for birds on average.
    • Exclusions include preexisting conditions, congenital and hereditary conditions, and specific treatments like orthodontics or breeding-related costs.
  • Equine (Horse) Insurance:
    • Several insurance providers offer coverage for horses, including Nationwide.
    • Coverage options include mortality (life) insurance, medical expenses, colic surgery, liability coverage, and more.
    • Costs for mortality insurance are based on factors like the horse’s age, breed, and value, typically around 3% of the horse’s value annually.
    • Equine insurance is essential due to the potential for expensive medical procedures like colic surgery, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Alternatives to Insurance:

  • Veterinary Discount Membership Plans:
    • Plans like Pet Assure offer discounts on medical care at participating veterinarians’ offices.
    • Monthly fees vary by the animal’s size, ranging from $7 to $12 per month.
    • Coverage includes discounts on all in-house medical services, with no exclusions based on age, breed, or type of pet.
  • Medical Credit Cards:
    • Cards like Care Credit or Wells Fargo Healthy Advantage provide financing for veterinary expenses.
    • They can be used at any veterinarian that accepts them and often come with special financing deals.
    • Unlike insurance, there are no monthly fees, but they do not offer discounts on medical care.


  • Cost of Veterinary Care:
    • Some avians and exotics may require specialized care, leading to potentially higher costs compared to dogs and cats.
    • For example, treatments for birds, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians can vary in cost but may be comparable to those for dogs and cats.
  • Insurance Terms and Conditions:
    • Nationwide’s avian and exotic pet insurance operates on a reimbursement basis, covering 90% of approved amounts after deductibles and co-pays.
    • Exclusions include preexisting conditions, specific treatments, and certain breeds or species.


  • Decision-Making:
    • Pet owners must weigh the costs and benefits of insurance coverage for their exotic or nonstandard pets.
    • While options are limited, insurance provides peace of mind against unexpected medical expenses, especially for animals like horses.
    • Alternatives like discount plans or medical credit cards offer flexibility but may not provide the same level of coverage or discounts.

By carefully evaluating options and considering the unique needs of their pets, owners can make informed decisions to ensure their companions’ health and well-being.

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