Exotic pet insurance - UK - discussion

UNITED KINGDOM: ExoticDirect is BOUGHTBYMANY's sister insurer and they are said to be specialists in exotic pet insurance. They been going for 20 years or more and they get a decent 4.1 out of 5 stars on their Facebook page. BOUGHTBYMANY bought the parent company of ExoticDirect in 2015 which is why they are in this stable of insurance companies.

F1 Savannah cats except for the cat on the right! These are exotic pets as far as I am concerned. Photo: PoC.

Exotic Pet?

There is a discussion about what is an exotic pet and I can understand that. Technically it seems to mean in non-native species to the UK. In which case it would include rabbits because they've been wild in the UK since the 12th century but are non-native as I understand it. The issue with this definition is that I wonder how far back you have to go before you describe an animal as non-native. The other side of the coin to non-native is 'invasive species'.

I'm not sure that this is a good definition. I think we should take an ordinary dictionary definition of the word 'exotic' and decide that exotic pets are companion animals which are outside of the mainstream and which are not normally considered to be pets. In the world of cats, for example you might include the wild cat hybrids such as the F1 Savannah cat (see above) or the F1 Bengal cat. You might even include, in that vein, the wild cat component of these animals such as the serval and the Asiatic leopard cat. These are all exotic as would be a big cat or any other medium-sized wild cat species if they are kept as pets.

As for dogs, I would include hybrid wolves and wolves themselves as exotic. And of course you have to include birds and reptiles such as dragons et cetera. And it appears that snakes are quite popular amongst a segment of society in the UK and elsewhere. There is certainly a fascination with reptiles. Even large spiders I guess are in this bracket of animal. These are my personal views and I would think that the description of exotic pet is quite elastic. In short they will be non-typical animals.

You will have to make sure that you are allowed to own exotic animals as pets. You'll almost certainly need a license to do so and have facilities. Check with the local authority.

Insurance companies and what they cover

Another recommended company is E&L pet insurance. They appear to cover bird insurance and they get a good rating online in reviews. A third recommended company would be Cliverton Exotic Pet Insurance. This is a specialist company which is been around for more than 40 years. They insure dog walkers, wildlife rescues, falconry centres and farms. They appear to be more into businesses than individuals who want exotic pet insurance.

Exotic pet insurance by ExoticDirect covers veterinary bills, and for tortoises, parrots, birds of prey and large mammals they cover death as a result of an accident or illness, death by fire and extreme weather conditions. ExoticDirect does not cover the death of small birds and small mammals under these circumstances.

Cliverton offers public liability insurance but not insurance for veterinary costs. E&L's Bird Insurance covers veterinary bills as well as death by accident or illness. They also cover aviaries. It would be important that exotic pet insurance covers theft since they are exotic animals and therefore I would have thought liable to theft. ExoticDirect covers birds of prey, parrots, tortoises, reptiles and large mammals against theft but not small mammals or small birds.

Public liability insurance is important

Public liability is important because some of these exotic animals are dangerous. For example, there have been many servals escaping their homes. This is quite typical because this animal needs a large range in which to live and they are confined when they are regarded as pets. When they escape the home they present a danger or a perceived danger to the public. ExoticDirect provided policy for public liability for animals kept on private land and in case they escape. They also cover animal shows and displays and events, animal clubs and centres and animals included in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act. For example, if you have an exotic bird and they fly away and become lost and don't return then ExoticDirect pay out "some money" for replacement. You can arrange this insurance over the phone but it cannot be bought online.

Costs?

Of course the cost varies depending upon all the factors including the animal insured. You can take out a vet fees only policy with ExoticDirect. As an example, for small mammals under this sort of policy you would pay 10 monthly instalments of £15.10 p for £2000 of veterinary fees. Please visit their website or phone for details. Providing a list here is unwise.

Worth it?

As to whether it is worth it to take out exotic pet insurance, this is obviously a personal choice. Insurance brings peace of mind. My personal choice would be to run your own self-insurance program by saving money for a rainy day. It's about risk and reward and whether you are risk-averse or prepared to take some risks in life. Perhaps a big factor would be public liability insurance. If an animal has a potential to cause serious injury to a person if it escapes then it would seem very sensible to take out exotic pet insurance because the cost of compensating somebody under these circumstances would or might be exorbitant and beyond the normal budget of an average person.

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